Backpack, school, back.

At Home and Back-to-School

The time has come! Back-to-school mode is now in full swing, and we’re here to help make the transition as smooth and effective as possible. From shelf organization to designated homework stations, preparing your home for the school year with this advice will make getting back to the grind that much easier.

Create a Study Station

No matter what grade or level of schooling a student is in, it’s important to maintain a space at home devoid of any distractions. Zillow suggests creating a “study station” to build good habits in a stylish, focused setting. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to suck the life out of everything. In fact, the article goes on to recommend a bright area with windows and plants to provide positive energy for doing A+ work. DIY crafts and décor can also add a nice touch to your homework space, offering a bit of personality and fun for the kids, while collaborative spaces are recommended for creative building and teamwork. Above all, beginning the school year with a clean slate and clear desk is perhaps the most obvious route to take. “Keeping your work station simple and clutter-free ensures you have a productive day — even if your homework is less than exhilarating,” comments a design expert at Zillow.

Well prepared materials for work on wooden desk

Closet Cleanse

A new school year normally means lots of new clothes—fresh outfits for the first day and the coming fall. But before adding to your closet, another back-to-school Zillow article says that it’s important to take stock of what you already have. Clear out all the clothes children have outgrown or articles they rarely wear, and bring warmer articles out of storage. Then, put it in an orderly fashion. Getting ready for school in the morning will be surprisingly painless and much quicker!

a view inside a baby girl closet where several dresses are hung on hangers

Organize a Drop-off Point

Between the endless school supplies, papers, backpacks, lunchboxes and rushed exits and entrances in and out the door, home hallways and foyers can get pretty messy. Before letting this mayhem get to the point of no return, try setting up a “drop off zone” with shelving that can be quickly and easily accessed for neat storage of daily odds and ends. Our friends at Zillow suggest organizing designated spots on shelves or cubbies for shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes and other items associated with the school year that tend to build up over time. Small bins for loose papers, books and forms can be helpful as well.

mud room_sm
Organized mudroom shelving at 395 Maple Street, in Litchfield, Conn.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is always useful during hectic school year schedules, especially when it comes to dinner, packed lunches and of course, that beloved after-school snack. From sorting out your fridge and making weekly menus, to simply organizing cabinets as advised by Good Housekeeping magazine, having a general plan in the kitchen can save time, money and lots of energy. The article suggests keeping all your lunch box items in one spot, alongside easy-to-grab snacks, sealed containers and other to-go items. This keeps them well-stored and easily accessible for kids. “We try to prepare for the morning right after dinner,” comments Karen Climo, an agent from our Great Barrington office, and mom of two daughters, ages 12 and 16. “The kids prepare lunch and put it in refrigerator for an easy grab-and-go in the morning.  We also have a dedicated space for school work and backpacks. Before bedtime, the kids check to make sure all homework and materials are packed up for the next day. Being prepared the night ahead allows for at least ten minutes more sleep in the morning, and we all know the tweens and teens appreciate that!” As for parents, Zillow provides an alternate “to-go” setup, involving a section of your kitchen for easily prepared coffee, travel mugs and caffeine fuel for the week.

School children standing in line outside the schoo

Have a great school year!

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