Hey Friends! It’s official, the countdown for back- to- school is on! We have about two weeks to go. For those of you that live in other states, you may already be back in school. Here in New England the kids go back the day after Labor Day. As much as I’m sad to see summer come to an end, everyone around our house could benefit from the structure and routine that back to school brings.
Since I’m home from Cape Cod this week I’m tackling some long over due organizing in our high traffic areas to get our house in tip, top shape for re-entrance if you will ;). Some of you may wonder why I’d make a big fuss over this now, why not just wait until the kids go back? Sending the kids back to school is a bit of a whirlwind, all the paper work, the new list of to do’s, sports, evening family dinner’s, new bed times… Letting go of summer means it’s time to let go of those non -structured days, eating meals whenever and going to bed whenever. Thankfully with routine comes some peace and calm. When our house is organized before the new structure begins, everything just flows that much smoother!
Today I want to share the TWO major areas of our house I’m prepping for the start of school. For me it’s a MUST to purge, donate, clean and organize these areas before the start of school. Here are some tips and tricks I do at the start of the school year.
The kitchen area is the most high traffic, busiest area of our home. I made a point to go through every cabinet, get rid of all those old snacks we’ve been hanging on to, like the half eaten, now stale ritz cracker sleeve. Extra bowls, trays and platters I haven’t touched in years go to goodwill. I want our cabinets to consist of only the things we use daily or frequently use when we entertain.
In our house the kids have a designated cup, plate and bowl drawer within their reach, so they can easily access it when they need something. Let’s just say we had about a half dozen drink cups with missing tops or lids with out straws. Anyone else have a drawer like this? Also do the kids need 10 different plastic plates? Nope. Time to purge, purge, purge! All their old lunch boxes that are filthy and can’t be salvaged also get tossed. I like to only keep the bare minimum and replace with a couple new lunch items for their back pack or for this drawer.
Now onto the pantry, holy smokes was ours a hot mess! The Fall season means cooking meals at home again. I’m a huge crock pot person. This is the one I own and absolutely LOVE it. Every Monday, I prep a crock pot meal, which is usually dinner for two nights out of the week maybe even a lunch too! I wanted our pantry to be clean and easy to reach in to grab any spice or ingredient. All our canned goods, baking essentials are put in bins so it’s easy to grab and pull the bin into the kitchen when I decide to cook or bake.
I’m also obsessed with these spice rack organizers, I’m not sure why I waited so long to get these, I love seeing every spice we own. It’s definitely inspiring me to start cooking and baking. This summer we did a lot of eating out, ordering food and grilling at the beach house. Now I’m ready to get back into healthier, home cooked meals. (FYI if you are wondering about that “subway tile” it’s not real! It is a easy stick on (removable if you down want it down the road) wallpaper that you can find here. I love how it looks in our pantry and was affordable plus easy to do.
Having a space where kids can come home and put there stuff is so helpful! I know not everyone has a room that can act as a mudroom. But even just a wall or a closet, something that can be a place for bags, coats and shoes is super helpful. To get ready for the new school year, I go through all the bins and donate shoes that no longer fit, or that they won’t need for going to school like sandals or flip flops. I also donate all the coats that they out grew. In the first few weeks of school it will still be very warm here so they will not need to have many coats hanging in the mudroom. I like keeping off season coats in our front closet. Sometimes I keep the kids sweatshirt or light jacket hanging on their lower hooks. Only coats that fit the season are in this entrance room as it is way less chaotic.
Through the school year our house consists of piles, piles of paper everywhere and for an OCD person like me, I don’t like piles on counters. We use a galvanized wall paper storage system which helps cut down on those piles. Right now we don’t have a full out Command center however the galvanized wall paper storage unit helps keeps all our paper work in order. Each kid has their own slot for important school documents and to-do’s/home work etc. Ben and I each have our own compartment but it’s mostly for bills.
Art storage. What to do with ALLLLL the wonderful masterpieces that the kids bring home through the year? First off, I don’t personally feel like I need to keep every drawing or paper that comes home, it just isn’t logical. When the kids get home from school we go through their folders and put the important stuff in their compartment and their special art is hung on the wall in the mudroom for display. We leave the artwork up until some new pieces come home. I save mostly all of their seasonal art pieces, because those are my favorite! Each kid has a storage folder for their art, that stays in their bedroom closet. I’m linking some of my favorite art storage below. At the end of each year I’ve saved maybe 10-15 art pieces for each kid, then maybe a bit more of writing and math too.
I hope this post is helpful to some of you getting ready to send your kids back to school. If nothing else maybe a little motivating to get things in order around your home. I hope the start of your school year is a smooth experience for all. I truly believe that an organized home brings a sense of calm to the whole family. It makes life easier and doesn’t have to be a chore. Get the kids and family involved for a Saturday Morning and treat them to a new lunch box or item for school. You got this! Thanks for stopping by. Do you guys get the itch to clean/organize before the start of a new school year?