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Back-to-school is in full swing and that means the dreaded rush of art projects, homework and other items that quickly pile up. Keep your house from turning into a tornado with these easy tips from the organizing expert at Shelfie.
Create a Portable Homework Storage Solution
Several of the families I work with are looking for ways to organize the clutter created by their kids’ schoolwork, books, laptops and supplies. Kids tend to do their homework in main/shared living spaces like the kitchen table and family room. This quickly creates clutter-mountains made of folders, note cards, laptops and those little pieces of pencil eraser. To rectify this problem, create portable homework stations by labeling bins with each child’s name on it followed by “homework.” Make sure each bin has a home behind a cabinet door or on a shelf somewhere out of sight. The bin should be big enough to fit textbooks, laptops, note books, etc. When it’s time to clean-up, your kiddies can toss their work into their bin and tuck it away until the morning or next time they need to use it! I love using the White Plastic Storage Bins with Handles from The Container Store. They are big enough for all the supplies listed above, have handles for easy transporting and are made of plastic making them durable and easy to clean. Bonus Tip: Make sure the bins match. Mismatched storage solutions add to visual clutter.
Use Completed Artwork Bins
So Sally, Jesse and Raphael came home from school with a paper-mache dinosaur, a pumpkin covered in glitter and a self portrait drawn in chalk. What to do, what to do? Designate an easily accessible home for completed artwork in… you guessed it, a bin! You or your kids can head over to the storage spot where the bins live (perhaps near the homework station) and drop in those creations. The completed artwork bins can also be used for artwork they create at home which inevitably ends up mixed in with the plain paper, construction paper, sticker books, activity books and so on. Store the glittery stuff in ziploc baggies which come in several sizes and use plastic food wrap for the bulky/messy situations. The key to maintaining this system is to purchase open bins. Anything that stacks, pulls open (like a drawer) or requires lid removal will also require extra effort. For more on how to manage and organize kid’s artwork, click here.
Clean-up is a breeze when you’ve added a label to every storage solution. You and your kids will be less likely to throw everything into a messy drawer when you have beautifully labeled homes for each marker, glue stick, notebook and eraser. Stuck on You makes really great labels for just about everything. Bonus Tip: Labels help the little ones develop their reading skills. It’s a no brainer!
Protect Small Paper Supplies
Supplies like Post-it flags and notecards come in multiples and can easily separate, tear and bend in transport to and from school. Often times they end up in the bottom of backpacks and drawers or go missing all together. Use small plastic containers to store these items and you’ll never have a dogeared post-it again! I LOVE these Hinged Boxes from you guessed it, The Container Store, for this purpose. I use these for everything. And don’t forget to add a label!
Keep Supplies Easy on the Eyes!
Which photo above makes you want to sit down and do some homework and which photo makes you want to pull out your hair? Visual clutter is a real thing that causes stress without people realizing it. Avoid this by categorizing different types of glue, writing utensils, scissors and post-its then use clear containers for storage. I love these Clear Round Acrylic Canisters from The Container Store. They are light and portable, don’t break easily, and kids can see what lives inside. The lid is airtight so it’s easily removable but won’t fall off if the container is knocked over.
Add Hooks at Every Height for Backpacks and Jackets
Make it SUPER simple for the kiddies to hang coats and bags on their own by ensuring they can reach the designated hang solution. Add hooks at different heights on an open space near the entrance to your home. Ideally, the hooks are placed behind closed doors to avoid cluttering up what is likely a high traffic area. If you don’t have space behind a closet door, use an open wall. Be sure to buy all matching hooks and install them in order of highest to lowest. To maintain the system, follow a strict “one item per hook” policy. If your kids are swapping coats/jackets out during the week, keep the extras on hangers somewhere else, NOT on the hooks. Keeping multiple belongings on one hook creates clutter, takes up walk space in a likely high traffic area and makes items inaccessible. Grabbing what you need will be effortless if you follow this rule.
Shelfie is a New York City based interior organizing service that transforms cluttered spaces into beautiful, relaxed, and organized environments.