The lazy days of August are slipping by far too quickly; school will start in South Carolina by the end of the month! As a parent, you know what back to school is all about. The most obvious: it’s a change in schedule for the kids. It also requires adjustments in your entire world: getting everyone out the door in the morning, speeding through homework and last-minute projects, 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. A little planning and organization can help immensely with lowering back to school stress – and even make this time of year a little 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. Clean out the closets
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 and all the things they’ve outgrown. Donate anything that’s too small but still in good condition and make someone else’s back to school better while making space for fall and winter clothing that fits. Tip: You might want to do this when they aren’t home to keep grumbling to a minimum.
2. Organize from the beginning
Now that your closets have been cleaned out, organize them while storing all the new school clothes and seasonal items that you purchased. Group items by type and color, and put the most worn or needed clothing and shoes where they’re easiest to reach. Make it easy on the sleepyheads to find their wardrobe when they stumble out of bed in the mornings. Speaking of sleepyheads, consider 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; start setting alarms to get them to rise and shine (or at least rise!) a little earlier each morning too. If they have trouble settling down, take the electronics away and go for a family walk or bike ride to burn up some energy after dinner.  
3. Prep for shopping with a good list
A good shopping list is critical when undertaking something as complex as back-to-school shopping. When you make the list, sort the items you need to get by child, category or retailer, to make it easier to remember to grab related and accessory items at the same time as major purchases like uniforms. Of course, there are always a few surprise needs that come up during the first week. Forgot a notebook or a box of Crayons?  Set up a running list somewhere in easy reach so that everyone in the family can add to it as items come up.  
4. Set the ground rules for home at the start
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 stuff every day, you’ll have an organized starting point to get them settled into homework and studying.
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, South Carolina’s community association management leader. 
Wednesday August 24, 2016