Ten Ways To Get Your Home Ready for Back To School

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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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  1. Great advice even though I am so not ready for summer to be over just yet and actually still coming down off Disney mode, but when the time comes will have to use your tips 😉

  2. Can you believe that we start back school in less than a month and I’m not ready? I can’t believe it’s almost here. We still have Disneyland to visit before we head back to school, and we also go to Target and stock up on everything. I haven’t used Nothern in quite some time though. Might have to get that the next time I’m there.

  3. The calendar and closets are a must for me. Great tips, Tamara. School starts for us in three weeks, but we’ve had a longer summer break.

  4. Great list! I had no idea Target had a subscription service…that is awesome! I cannot believe that it is almost time for school to begin already either.

  5. Great advice!
    I’m not ready for the new school year, and thankfully, I still have time. I have one kid starting HIGH SCHOOL!!! Sooooo…. I’m going to go cry in a corner somewhere now. Bye.

  6. Because time flies so fast, it seems like the idea of prepping for back to school is always just around the corner. Definitely bringing a list every time I shop for school supplies because I’m a sucker for notebooks and stuff so I tend to buy something for myself rather than for Reiko. Lol. I’d also love to have a household calendar! I have to DIY one soon.

    1. It’s true. Since retail is always a few months ahead, that means they’re prepping for fall when it’s not even summer. So strange to me!

  7. Every year I feel like summer is just underway and then we’re already talking about back-to-school! (Like you said, I think it feels so early because we return so much later than a good chunk of the country.) It’s funny, even though Eve is not yet in school and her coop runs through the summer, I still think of September as back-to-school time, and there’s a shift in my business back to full-on work mode. I like the idea of getting my house ready for the back-to-school season since my life is still very much tied to those seasons! And who knew we spent so much time in the bathroom?

  8. I love this post.. I love this post… I love this post… all the stuff that I enjoy doing:) Hearing the insects croaking is such a true statement! I hate when August rolls around – I want another month between July and August.

  9. OMG I am ALWAYS at Target. I have to admit, I am so not ready for school to start. We still have a few weeks left but good to start planning now.

  10. The larger rolls are pretty much a Godsend around here. Without them I am filling the rolls up almost every day! Seriously! We start back to school next week, I am sad, but it has been a good summer! A little crazy, but good overall.

  11. I Love mega rolls!!! It’s nice not to have to change the roll so often. Back to School for us is right around the corner and I have a lot to do to get ready for another year of homeschooling. Summer is going by way to fast.

    1. I agree. Even with two kids, it seems like more sometimes!
      I imagine preparing for homeschooling is different, but has some similarities with organization too!

  12. I love that first photo of Scarlet–so sassy and cute!!! I can’t believe it’s already (almost!) that time of year already. I always look forward to September in a way. It always to me seems like a season of change, of new beginnings. But no, I’m not ready and I don’t even have kids, LOL. And yes, me overwhelmed by little things? All the time. 🙂

  13. Ack! Don’t remind me about back-to-school. I actually did most of our back-to-school shopping today…mostly because our kids’ school is ridiculously specific about supplies (eg. one red, one orange, one blue, and one yellow folder…please double-check that they are poly plastic). Though you’re now reminding me that I have to get our system cleared out from last year!

  14. I am SO not ready, but I need to be! We have about 5 more weeks before we go back and both boys go to the SAME school! The supplies list is usually 8 miles long for Josh so I can’t even imagine what its like for both of them. I might rent a truck.

  15. Great tips! We’re in back to school mode too and clothes inventory is big right now in our house. It’s funny how much they grow in a few short months…

  16. These are great tips. I have twins starting kindergarten in the fall and it kind of makes my stomach hurt to think about. Getting organized should make me feel more in control.

    1. WOW to that. I didn’t do well with my daughter starting kindergarten, but when my son does next year, I hope to be better equipped!

  17. Your daughters are adorable! Thanks for letting us know about Target’s new subscription service. I had no idea they started that. PS: Love your closet!

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