The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



Home Organization Tips for Back To School Season

 September 11, 2023 |  Cleaning Tips, Home Maintenance |  organization, kids

Regardless of the amount of preparation dedicated in advance, heading back to school tends to come as a shock. For families with more than one kid, systems of organization that worked perfectly fine during the summer can unravel quickly once hectic mornings and packed after-school schedules dominate daylight hours. No one wants their home to feel chaotic, and nothing builds up that feeling like disorganized clutter.

The best way to combat the seismic shift that accompanies heading back to school is to discover a new rhythm that works for the entire family. Consistency, ease of use, and setting appropriate expectations that the family can keep up in the long term - accomplishing each of these are the keys to developing an efficient home. To avoid that seemingly inevitable shift that turns your home into a disaster zone through the course of the school year, consider adding these organizational tips to your arsenal!

Establish a Doable Routine
In life, some people can find a fondness for spontaneity, taking life by the horns, and pursuing each odd opportunity. For kids, though, this sort of lifestyle will likely create a sense of uncertainty that affects many aspects of their lives. Trying to leave in the morning when one kid has misplaced a shoe, or forgot that they needed to have a permission slip signed? These situations arise because of a complicated lifestyle that isn't ideal, especially for younger kids.

If bedtimes and morning rituals became a little more casual during the summer, establishing a more dependable, defined routine for school will help the family better understand what to expect on a daily basis. These standards might seem small, but this is the necessary start to any solid home organization plan. For younger kids, printing out and hanging a specific schedule for their bedtime and morning routines can be useful as parents help them through their order of operations. Over time, these routines will naturally get easier, and morning routines will become smoother.

As an additional tip: any spare time spent during the previous night to select outfits or pack lunches will contribute to an even smoother routine in the morning. While bedtime routines can be difficult for some, mornings are usually far more frantic for families, as everyone needs to get to school and to work on time.

Conduct “Zone” Warfare
With consistency in mind, a further strategy that can feed on instilling this within the home’s design is zones. One way that disorganization can spread through a home is when people don’t have a clear understanding of where an item lives when they aren’t using it. Should their backpack go in their room when done with homework? By the front door? In the closet? On the floor?

If items are always in the same place, those frantic instances of last minute searches and misplacing crucial materials disappear. For backpacks, a great aid for organization can start with building a “Drop Zone” in the entryway (or mudroom) of the home. A stylish hanger for backpacks, coats, and keys can line the wall immediately where the family enters and exits the home to remove any guesswork in the mornings, and this area can also house a basket or folder for important documents that the parents need to sign or review. Everything in one tidy, consistent location to eliminate confusion.

Another great “zone” to establish might be one dedicated to homework specifically. Pencils, pencil sharpeners, and paper all in one location (ideally separated from areas filled with potential distractions) will eliminate effort from searching for these materials. Items housed in this area are likely to change depending on the student’s age and workload, but developing a working area outside of leisure spaces should instill a more reliable (and hopefully less cluttered) space to support focus.

Separating specific zones that hold enough storage for the items related to that dedicated task should at least contain messes to that area, and make cleaning up easier in the future.

Install a Centralized Command Center
Finally, larger families in particular will benefit from building a command center, dedicated to sorting the schedules of everyone at a glance. Parents who have accidentally overbooked themselves know the struggle that come with delivering their children to various sports events, dance lessons, and musical performances - all somehow occurring on the same day. Avoiding these instances becomes easier through finding a way to take a step back and view the family’s schedules together.

Hang a large calendar in an area that receives plenty of foot traffic (like the kitchen), where each family member has their events posted together. A week-by-week or month-to-month calendar organized in this way, perhaps while color-coding each family member’s events, can allow for quick reminders and a visual sense of how busy a week will be before getting surprised by a packed afternoon on the day.

Adding to this calendar might change as the kids get older by giving them the responsibility to add their own events, and giving them their own personal planners will further teach that personal responsibility. A well-organized home comes through cooperation, setting appropriate expectations, and establishing consistency - which can all start right in the center of the home. Feel free to share your best home organization tips for entering the school year with us!

Does your home still feel chaotic? Check out our tips to boost your home's Feng Shui for a better flow! To schedule your annual home maintenance inspection, contact your local NPI inspector today!

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