The lazy days of August are moving far too quickly; school will start in North Carolina by the end of the month! As a parent, you know what back to school is all about. Yes, it’s a change in schedule for the kids, but also requires adjustments in your whole world: speeding through homework and last-minute projects, getting everyone out the door in the morning, running back home for left-behind gym clothes, permission slips and backpacks. The good news is that back to school doesn’t have to mean back to insanity. Some organization and prep time can go a long way toward lessening back to school stress – and even make this time of year more fun for everyone.
With a few 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, your first day back will earn high marks!  

1. Get rid of the clutter – be ruthless!
No more Mr. Nice Guy or Gal here. The new school year, and imminent change of season, makes this 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. Pro Tip: You might want to do this when they aren’t home to minimize protests.
2. Organize shopping lists ahead of time.
A complete shopping list is critical when undertaking something as major as back-to-school shopping. Effective list making can have items grouped by child, retailer or category, ensuring that related and accessory items are purchased at one shot. Of course, there are always a few surprise needs that come up during the first week. Forgot a composition book or a pack of markers?  Keep a running list somewhere in easy reach so that everyone in the family can add to it as items come up.  
3. Organize from the ground up
Now that your closets have been cleaned out, organize them while stowing away all the new school clothes you purchased. Group clothing by type and color, and put the most worn or needed items where they’re easiest to reach. Make it simple for the sleepyheads to find their wardrobe when they stumble out of bed in the mornings. Speaking of sleepyheads, 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 and electronics after dinner can help with this as well.
4. Create after-school rules early
School’s out, they run through the door and...chaos: lunch boxes in the hall, backpacks on the floor, and shoes, well, pretty much everywhere (none of them with a mate, most likely). Give your kiddos simple rules when they come home, and an accessible place to put their items (plus maybe a healthy snack to hold them over until dinner?). If they know where to put all of their things each day, you’ll at least have an organized starting point to launch them into homework and studying (or some well-earned free time if they’re all caught up). 
Back-to-school is a great time to make sure your home is working the way you need it to, to keep everyone on track. 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, North Carolina’s community association management leader. 
Wednesday August 24, 2016