Ways to Manage Back to School Clutter

Your e-mail inbox is full of back-to-school sale announcements, and the kids are earnestly discussing new backpack and outfit possibilities. Perhaps you still haven’t completely sorted through last year’s end-of-school clutter. Now you’re faced with the task of renegotiating new supply lists and finding a way to organize it all.

Don’t worry! We’ve compiled several unique suggestions for simplifying the process and securing a smooth transition overall.

Take Stock

If you still haven’t sorted purposely through last year’s end-of-school debris, you’ve likely saved yourself some money. You’ll be surprised at the extent to which gently or unused supplies are mixed in with the hopelessly tattered notebooks and stubby pencils. Back-to-school spending is expected to rise more than 10 percent from last year, totaling over 83 billion dollars nationwide. If you look at the progressive lists of each grade in your child’s school, you’ll see the same items repeatedly cataloged as a matter of course. Keep what can be reused this year and decisively dispose of the rest.

Think Layers in Organizational Design

Supplies, backpacks, lunches, rain and footwear should have a central, easily-accessible location in your home. Consider a top-bottom approach in design. Hang hooks for jackets and backpacks at child-height, arrange a shelf for lunches and supply box storage underneath. Add visible shoe floor mats. Conceivably you’ll still have space above for your out-the-door items. Adult-height hooks, mirror and shelving need not mix inexorably with the kids’ things.

Consider Creative Placement

You want school items to be easily door-accessible, but the front hallway is not an exclusive option. How about your garage? If you drive the kids to school or leave for work at roughly the same time, its utility will be in full swing anyway. Take advantage of this space and see what kind of options will best suit your set up. There are many garage storage options that can efficiently keep clutter out of your immediate living space.

Arrange for Now and Later

Drawer compartments and box sectionals are available in many supply stores. Or you can make them yourself to fit specific requirements. Separate roughly half your school supplies for immediate use and keep the rest in a back-drawer section for mid-year.

When cold-weather coats and boots come out, take the time to place flip-flops and light jackets elsewhere until spring. Consider boxing them up in case your children grow out of them before then!

Emphasize Information Sharing

The importance of a systematic, efficient method for recording appointments and deadlines is crucial. Your child will come home with endless required forms and announcements. You will be responsible for signing documents and, in many cases, checking assignments.

Incorporate an in-out box system and central calendar into your back-to-school routine. Calendars with lots of space in each daily slot are helpful and available to print for free. Assign a different color marker to each family member and record events appropriately. Color-coding adds visual draw and simplifies focus. Keep the pens handy and back-ups ready!

Remember to hang the calendar at a height where your children can easily view it.

Assemble Homework Station

Traditional homework desk-and-chair requirements are hopelessly outdated given today’s wireless efficiency. Children routinely complete assignments from laptops and work in groups via cyber chat rooms. The basic need for conventional office supply still exists, however, and may even have greater emphasis given a lack of fixed desk space.

Do you have an old kitchen serving tray or Lazy Susan? Attach sturdy plastic cups with sealant glue; fill with sharpened pencils, paper clips, large erasers, ink pens and colored pencils. Consider throwing in a charging station and pencil sharpener. Your child can grab-and-go as needed while remaining prepared.

Remember the Big Picture

Back-to-school organizational efforts do more than promote a smooth transition for your family while bolstering self-sanity. An overall emphasis on structure and arrangement offers a vital model for your child. The very act of keeping things in order is a primary tool necessary for skill acquisition and school success.

So, go ahead, think outside the box when considering boxing up that clutter. You’ll discover there are countless ways to achieve a singular goal and the benefits are immeasurable.

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. You can find her on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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