Learn how to declutter and clean your home to make school morning routines less stressful with these four tasks you should knock out before August.
It’s that time of year again…the kids are going back to school. Some parents dread this day after spending all that quality time with the kiddos all summer, while others are counting down the days, hours, and minutes to a little quiet time. However you’re feeling about the upcoming transition, it’s time for you to do some pre-work.
I’m not talking about clothes shopping and supply gathering and frantically searching fun lunch box fillers on TikTok. Although you do need to do all that stuff, you also need to get your home in order. By checking off these 5 boxes, your home will be in the best shape possible for sending the children off to a new grade, and keeping you sane during the next month or two.
1. Organize Your Entryway
This is where the kids dump all their stuff when they walk in the door everyday, and somehow by the next morning, half of it is missing sending you in a frantic All Out Search for Kid One’s homework folder and Kid Two’s field trip permission slip. Oh and the car keys, where the heck did those things go?
By organizing your entryway to work for you, hectic mornings will be a thing of the past. Here’s some helpful entryway organizers you may need:
- bulletin board for important papers and lists
- large calendar for keeping up with school events
- hooks for coats and backpacks
- stackable wooden bins for shoes and science projects
- a small table for lunch box lineups and quick grab-and-go-items (like your oh-so-essential extra large travel mug of coffee)
- small bowl for keys
No entryway setup is alike because no family is alike. Think about what struggles you personally face in the mornings and organize your entry to fix those problems. For a perfect example of a hardworking entryway, check out this post.
2. Declutter Your Pantry
Nothing is more stressful than coming home after a late evening soccer practice and trying to figure out what in the world to feed your family for dinner.
It’s 7:00, you’re tired, the kids are dramatically saying they’re starving, and when you look in your disaster of a pantry, you give up and throw some frozen dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and fries in the oven and hope your partner isn’t too disappointed.
And what’s even worse is when you have to throw away all those great snacks you bought because they were crammed in the back and went out of date.
School year weekdays are tough when it comes to packing lunches, feeding really early breakfasts, and quick, easy dinner prep. A messy pantry can really slow you down and leave you on the brink of a kitchen meltdown. Save yourself the panic attack by cleaning up your pantry now.
Throw out anything old, donate things you doubt you’ll eat, and add some storage containers to make finding what you need even easier.
3. Tackle Kids’ Bedrooms
During the summer, they were home all day and had all the time in the world to play and put things away when they were finished. But now that over half of their day is spent at school, playtime has been drastically cut down.
In just a few hours, they have to eat dinner, do homework, attend practices and games, help with house chores, and try to throw in a little fun with Legos if there’s time.
So with all that to do in such a short amount of time, keeping their rooms clean is nearly impossible. They are stuck with a three hour long job on Saturday when they could be out riding bikes and spending time with you. I don’t know about you, but if I were a kid, that’s not how I’d want to kick off my weekend.
Taking time now to implement decluttering and organization strategies in kids’ rooms will make their evenings so much better.
Put action figures and small toys in canvas baskets for easy and fast cleanup and portability. Switch out bulky container storage with difficult lids for light, open-topped bins. Make sure they have their own hamper so clothes don’t end up all over the floor. And donate any toys and clothes they no longer need or like to reduce the amount of clutter.
4. Create An At-Home Workspace
Whether your kids are homeschooled or go to traditional school, they need a distraction-free zone to do homework, projects, and hobbies. Typically their bedroom is full of distractions like toys and games, so this may not be the best place to set up their workspace.
You can designate a spot at your kitchen island or dining room table as a kid’s work zone, or a spot in your home office. When the weather is nice, an outdoor patio is a great work area too.
If you have a smaller home without a lot of storage space, fill a caddy with school supplies and store it wherever you can. When it’s time for them to do homework, they can grab the caddy and set up camp wherever they’d like.
You’ll also need a storage space for school supplies to restock your child’s backpack. Keep extra pencils, pens, paper, notebooks, index cards, pasteboards and decorating supplies, and anything else they use frequently all in one place. Once a month, they can restock as needed and they’ll always know where to look.
Here’s some of my favorite kid’s workspace organizers:
- This handled caddy is adjustable
- This rolling cart has a pegboard attached
- These drawers are stackable
- This bag holds a ton of pens and markers
- This desk folds up when not in use
- This planner keeps young kids organized
- This academic planner keeps teens organized
5. Give Your Laundry Room Some Love
Back to school season also means back to sports season, and back to band season, and back to being busy from sun up to sun down season.
All these extra events going on means you have less time in the evenings and your weekends will catch all the leftover tasks you didn’t get to finish. Oh and not to mention the additional clothes you’ll need to wash due to uniforms and after-school changing.
It’s safe to say your laundry room will be back from its lazy summer break and you’ll be back to your old “try to keep up with making sure everyone has clean underwear” routine. To save yourself a meltdown from a laundry room cabinet avalanche, give the space a good organizing session.
Purge old products you never use, dust the shelves, run a clean cycle in your washer, vacuum out the dryer vent trap (this tool helps!), and add a few organizers to keep clutter from piling up.
If you need some motivation, here’s my latest laundry room cleaning video.
Bonus Tip: Start A School Planner
These five steps are sure to get your home ready for the Back To School week and save your sanity (at least a little bit), but to really rock the academic year, grab my printable School Planner from the Organized-ish shop.
This back-to-school planner for parents helps you shop for supplies, prep for the first day, keep up with important school info, and track grades and projects along the way. It’s the perfect BFF for parents of all school-age kiddos.
And the best part is it’s a digital download, so you can buy it once and reprint every year. Head over to the Organized-ish Binder Kit Shop for more details.
Originally posted July 30, 2017, Updated July 2023