We are in the middle of the “dog days” of summer here in Central Indiana, but with many area schools on ‘balanced calendars’ these days, a lot of us already have a back-to-school mentality. Even if summer break was shorter in days, it still felt oh so long, right? You didn’t get everything accomplished that you wanted to this summer. Between work, vacations, pool days, camps, and just trying to enjoy some fresh air before Indiana winter locks us away, your house might feel neglected. So, let this article give you the charge of motivation you need to get your home back-to-school ready in a few simple steps.
Organize those closets.
All of them. Organization will bring you a peaceful start to a new school year. Nobody enjoys scrambling or feeling disheveled on the first day of anything. You’ll want to start in the kids’ rooms. Pull the school appropriate clothes to the front and organize/purge all the stuff that has accumulated from the summer. Ideally, clear a space that can hold 5 completed outfits. This will take away the morning struggle of searching, choosing, and arguing about what to wear. (Not a bad idea to do for yourself too, eh?) Look for small cubbies or stackable drawers if you want to take it to the next level. We partner with closet organization companies that can show you plenty of options. Don’t leave out communal closets during this process. Wherever shoes, jackets, backpacks, and rain gear are kept, should be cleared out with most used items easily accessible. If it’s no longer used, donate it. Trust us, you need the space. Thoroughly working through your closet space will help prepare you for the next step we suggest.
There is nothing quite like stocking up on notebooks, pens, and pencils, only to discover an untouched stash of those items forgotten somewhere. Before you start your back-to-school shopping, make a detailed list of what you already have and then assess what you still need. This will save you money, space, and time. Think beyond school supplies here. Take inventory of school clothes, socks, and shoes too. What still fits and what can be sold second hand or donated? Now you’ll be set to make a thorough list and avoid a million trips to Target before the first day. If you want to go the extra mile, give everything summer related a once over. If it will not be of use again next year, take care of it now. If you know there’s something your family will need/want to purchase next year, try to score on end of season sales now.
Your home is a place to relax and be yourselves, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice productivity. Maintain a sense of order by setting up designated areas that will make daily routines easier. A homework station, for example, that will help your kids stay on task and feel accomplished. Let them pick out a cool lamp and maybe even the paint color for the wall. Make it their responsibility to clean up their space when they are finished. Other areas might include a snack station where a 15-20 minute snack break takes place each afternoon. No electronics allowed in this area :). A ‘school supply station’ set up in a utility room, entryway, or closet is where books, backpacks, and extracurricular equipment that need to go to school the next day are kept. How nice would it be to avoid scrambling around trying to find the other soccer cleat as you hear the bus rumbling towards your stop in the morning? This is also a great spot to hang up a large calendar or whiteboard for easy viewing of important reminders.
Get on a schedule.
Breaks in routine are always great from time to time. That’s what summer is all about, right? However, those first few days will be rough without some practice runs. Setting morning alarms and earlier bedtimes are a good place to start. Easy enough. Instead of a shock to the system, start setting the alarms earlier each morning. You could also throw some school-related activities into the mix. Less screen time. More reading. Maybe even some grade-appropriate worksheets that can be easily found on the internet. This is also a great time to discuss any new expectations or responsibilities that come with the next grade level!
Do something fun.
It is still summer after all! Even if the new school year has already started back up for your crew, plan a simple outing this weekend to celebrate a new school year. If you have a few more days of break left, let the kids choose something special to top off a fun-packed summer. There are only so many summer breaks and ‘first days’ for your school-aged kids. Make them special!