Ten Ways To Get Your Home Ready for Back To School

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DesignedMega #CollectiveBias

Isn’t it funny how just when you’re starting to really coast into the summer way of life, you’re already starting to think about back to school time? Some people dread it. Some people crave it. Either way, it’s coming for you sooner than you think.

I live in the northeast and we don’t get out for summer vacation until late June. Then summer stretches until early September. I know there are states that start back at school a full month before we do! That said, we start reading about back to school prep, and we start to see the signs in the stores, way before school actually starts. I’ve grown more sensitive to the changing of the seasons, and the back to school transitions, ever since Scarlet started and finished kindergarten.

My mom used to joke that the summer insects start croaking, “School is coming” in August. I can hear it!

In September, Des will start a new preschool and Scarlet will start second grade. (hold me – really!) I struggle with organization and details when I’m anxious. Transitions can do that to me. How can I help myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed by details and emotions, and often at the same time? I can do whatever it takes to feel more ready. I think that attention to detail with the back to school transition – concerning food and bathroom supplies and school supplies and clothes – and factoring in what needs to be replaced or updated, can be beneficial for the back-to-school jitters.

Not just for kids, but for parents too. Maybe more!

Do you sometimes get overwhelmed by details too? Maybe this list is for you!

Ten Ways To Get Your Home Ready For Back To School:

1. School Supplies Inventory Time. First, check to see what your kids already have. Then, get rid of anything broken or worn out. Make a list of exactly what your kids need, and check to see if the school has provided a list over the summer. Then hit the stores with a defined list and buy only what’s on it. You will save time and money! Check what’s on sale and when.

2. Clothes and Shoes Inventory Time. I did this last night, in fact! First check to see what your kids already have in terms of clothes, shoes and accessories. Get rid of anything worn out, too small, with holes, or stained. Make a list of exactly what they need and stick to that list. About a week or so before the first day of school, wash everything that needs to be washed.

3. Get a House Calendar or Get Yours Ready. For us, it’s that looming project of a dry erase board for our fridge. I grew up in a family of seven, and we had a marker board master calendar. It was crucial to our well-being. This is the best way to keep track of everyone in the family’s activities, events, parties, etc. You can also add shopping lists, to-do lists and other sections. When the week is over, you erase it and move on. For us, a 12-month color-coded (for family members) works best.

4. Clean Out Your Closets. We have our house cleaned every two weeks, and we pitch in daily with clutter. Still, the front hallway and front hall closets become dumping grounds for everything. If you have a hallway, mudroom, or closet that everyone uses, invest in hooks for jackets and backpacks, and special spaces for shoes, winter clothes, sports gear, etc. If you build it – a special place for everything – they will generally use it. Use that same organization with your bedroom closets.

Special places for special things!

5. The Homework Zones. As Scarlet gets older and has homework, I realize how important it is for her to have her study area. We haven’t invested in a desk for her bedroom yet, but it helps to give her a special spot – without a television nearby – that is well-lit, and has clean flat space. We stock it with pens, pencils, paintbrushes, and paper. We have bins for artwork and school papers. At the end of the year, you can sort through it and recycle most of it.

6. The Lunch Zone. This will be my first year packing two school lunches/snacks. Des’ daycare provided it for two years but the new school won’t. Making sure both kids have nutritious meals packed is intimidating to me. It’s a big job! Keep dedicated spots in your fridge and your pantry for lunch supplies. Some use plastic storage drawers. Some use labels. Pinterest has many great ideas! As the kids get older, maybe they’ll have some good ideas to help too!

I’m also a fan of the after school snack station.

7. Keep Files For Your Children. Unlike the homework station, this one is all for you. Create a file system away from the homework zone that has permission slips, homework, report cards, doctor records, etc. for YOU that won’t get scribbled on.

8. Don’t Forget Chores. With summer travel and lack of routine, chores do get affected. Before school even starts, develop a chore list for every member of the family, factoring in extra-curricular activities, homework, age-appropriateness, and work. Finding that balance is important for all members of the family.

9. Bathroom Product Inventory Time. This probably gets more crucial the older your kids get, but we’re no stranger to it here! Have your kids help clean out the bathrooms of old products and accessories. Make a list of what you need, regarding toiletries, medications, dental care, paper products, etc. Then stick to the list and buy supplies.

10. Organize Your Bathroom. Did you know that families spend more time in the bathroom than almost any other room in the house? For back to school season, organize the kid and adult toiletries in marked baskets. Put them under the sink or use hanging baskets or plastic bins. Stock up on tissues and toilet paper for the school year, like with Quilted Northern®.

We go to Target quite a bit, and stock up on Quilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong® Mega Rolls.

We do love going to Target because who doesn’t(?), but with the Target Subscription Service, you can save time by having these staple items delivered to your door on a regular basis. This is so key for back to school time, with tough transitions.

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Our Secret Workshop: Five Simple & Smart Ways To Clean Your Garage.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GarageCleanUp #CollectiveBias

I don’t think I know anyone who has as much going on in their garage as we do.

Scarlet calls it a “Secret Workshop” and that’s truly what it is, because not only does it hold the tools we use to have such a bursting garden, but that’s where Cassidy and Scarlet built their infamous and sturdy Lemonade Stand. In only days:

It’s also where Cassidy built his Groot costume in six days. Six days!

It’s also where kid party planning and crafting has taken place for years now.

Sometimes I wonder what’s next. It’s a place filled with lots of tinkering. The kids love to hang out with Cassidy in there while he takes on a new project, and Des is none the wiser that his next birthday gift (a ride-on John Deere Gator) is hiding under a sheet in the back of the garage. It surprises me that he hasn’t seen it, only because the garage is more clean and organized now than ever, thanks to our Rubbermaid® FastTrack® Garage Organization System from The Home Depot.

What’s next for us? I wonder.. Anything seems possible now.

For an “Almost Summer, Almost Father’s Day” celebration, I picked out the pieces for our very own FastTrack® System at The Home Depot – where the staff members are VERY helpful, by the way – and then we set to work on our garage.

I have certainly organized the garage before, many times over. Sometimes it’s a place to load and then unload baby gear after the kids have outgrown it. After every major project, we do some cleaning and organizing. It can be a heavy job, especially in the humid heat, but now we have learned five simple and smart new ways to clean, organize, and save space.

You never know what you’ll need that space for around here.

1. Do you have a ton of adult and kid vehicles, like bikes and cars? The bikes can be hung up vertically (with a Rubbermaid® Vertical Bike Hook), but there are fun things you can do for kid vehicles, like covered parking garages, indoor garages, or even using tape to make brightly colored “parking spaces” on the garage floor (or driveway). You can make the spaces of various widths and lengths, based on the toys you have, and the kids will have fun “parking” their vehicles. They may even learn to parallel park!

2. Here in the north, our house can be a big mess of winter clothes all winter, and some of spring, long. Considering that my kids have two or three coats, two or three pairs of boots, tons of mittens, hats, gloves, and scarves too, it can drive us crazy. We don’t have a mudroom and hate to drip on the floor. You can hang a beam in your garage to hang wet coats and snow pants on, and then you won’t drip snow in through the front door. You can use vintage crates to store wet boots and shoes.

3. Go bins crazy! Bins come in handy for us for holiday storage. We have big red and green ones that store our various Christmas accessories and ornaments. You can also go vertical with recycling bins. Hang them up with scrap wood.

4. Do you like finding old treasures and repurposing them? An old crate, some old scrap wood, or even an old file cabinet can be made into a storage bin. Make one for all sporting goods, or make one into a gardening tools area in your garage.

5. Invest in the Rubbermaid® FastTrack® Garage Organization System from The Home Depot. This is my best way to keep our garage organized and accessible, and also makes a wonderful Father’s Day gift. Maybe we’ll finally have room for our car.

The backbone of the FastTrack® Garage Organization System is the FastTrack® Garage Hang Rails. They are quick and easy to install, and each rail holds up to 1,750 pounds! We also bought the FastTrack® Garage Hardware Pack. One pack is needed to mount a 48″ rail. Two packs are needed for an 84″ rail! The rails can hold a wide range of fun accessories that easily attach and can be changed as your garage storage needs change. The Hardware Pack matches the color of the FastTrack® system. I also bought the Rubbermaid® FastTrack® 48inch Wall Panel, a Utility Bin, a Small Shelf, and a Cooler Hook for our system.

I’m sure we will find many more accessories we need this spring and summer.

After all, this is our Secret Workshop, where family dreams come true.

How does your garage look? What Rubbermaid accessories would you add to your FastTrack® Garage Hang Rails?

Connect with Rubbermaid® at The Home Depot, HERE.