Summer is fading quickly and back-to-school time is here. In Delaware, many schools start at the end of August, which is speeding up!  As a parent, you know what back to school means. Sure, it’s a change in schedule, but it’s also a change in your whole world: getting everyone up earlier, driving carpools and catching buses, organizing a plethora of after-school activities, plus the inevitable running back home for forgotten backpacks, permission slips and lunches. A little organization can go a long way toward minimizing back to school stress – and make this time of year more fun for everyone.
Check out these suggestions from California Closets, the leader in custom home storage solutions and an authority in design, for arranging your household to be more school-friendly, and your first day back will earn an A!  
1. Shop With a List. 
Everyone benefits from a good list before they go shopping, even if you’re not a Type A personality. Lists can be created so that items are grouped by child, retailer or category, ensuring that related and accessory items are purchased at one shot. Of course, there are always a few surprises in store after the first day ends. Forgot a composition book or a pack of highlighters? Keep a running list somewhere that everyone in the family can add to it as items come up.  
2. Declutter Ruthlessly.  
No more Mr. Nice Guy or Gal here. This is the perfect time to go through your children’s closets and eliminate what they no longer need or want. Last year’s sneakers, sweaters, pants and shorts likely don’t fit anymore; donate anything that’s too small but still in good condition and make someone else’s school prep better too! Bonus: You’re making space for fall and winter clothing that fits.
3. Maximize organization.
Organize your closests while stowing away all the new school items you purchased. It’s never too late to take this step! Group clothing by type, and put frequently-worn items where they’re easiest to reach. Make it simple for your little sleepyheads to find their wardrobe when they stumble out of bed in the mornings. 
4. Create after-school rules, before school starts.
Everyone made it through the school day, and the first thing that happened at home is...chaos: backpacks on the floor, lunch boxes in the hall, and shoes, well, pretty much everywhere (none of them with a mate, right?). Create a list of simple rules for the kids when they come home and make sure they have accessible places to put their items (plus maybe a healthy snack to hold them over until dinner?). If they know where to put things away and can do so easily, you’ll at least have an organized starting point to launch them into homework and reading and figuring out what’s for dinner.
Getting everyone waking up early is one of the biggest challenges of starting back at school. It’s a good idea to start preparing them for the school year sleeping schedule, gradually, as summer wanes. Get them going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night and try to limit mid-day naps. Cutting back on caffeine can help with this as well. While you’re planning, get carpool and transportation schedules set up as far in advance as possible, especially for the mornings to help them go more smoothly.
Back-to-school is the time to make sure your home is working harder for you. It’ll help your kids focus on the things that matter – and in the process, you’ll be able to, too. For more on making your home school-ready, contact FirstService Residential, Delaware’s leading community association management company. 
Wednesday August 24, 2016