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Mom, I can’t find my homework! Ways to get organized for back to school

by respaced on August 24, 2010

With school starting in a few weeks, it’s time to think about getting organized for the school year. I will be writing a series of posts over the next few weeks about ways you can make this school year more successful and manageable.

Today, let’s talk about storing the things kids take to school each day. One of the major reasons kids are late for school is because they cannot find what they need — their homework, backpack, jacket, sports equipment, etc. Solve this problem by designating a home for those things. Then teach children to put their things away in their appropriate place each and every day with no exceptions! Here are some ideas for homes for things:

Jackets and Coats
Each child should have his or her own hook in the hall closet or by the back door to store jackets and coats. If you don’t have a hall closet, you could place a bench by the back door with hooks overhead for coats and backpacks and room underneath for shoes.

Scarves, Gloves and Hats
Store these in a hanging shoe organizer inside the closet door. Label each pouch with the child’s name and the item to be stored. Avoid throwing all the winter accessories into one big bin in the closet.

Backpacks
These will most likely be in the same place the child is doing homework. After homework is finished, backpacks can go on a hook below the child’s jacket. You could also install a hook inside the child’s room by the door and store the backpack there.

Homework
One of the reasons homework gets lost is because it is often done in a place that must multi-task, like the dining room table. The table gets cleared of homework and everything else just before dinner, and whoosh! the homework disappears. To solve this, you could either set up a desk in the child’s room to do homework or put homework back in the backpack during dinner. And once homework is complete, it absolutely must go back into the backpack.

Musical instruments/sporting equipment
These can be a real pain to store because they take up so much space. Try creating a staging area either in the child’s room or by the front door (or the backdoor, if that is where you always enter and exit from). Ideally, this staging area has a hook for the backpack, a hook for the coat and a cubby, bin or open area under the hooks to store musical instruments and sports equipment. The key is to put this area as close to the house’s exit area as possible so it is impossible to leave the house without seeing it (and thus forgetting about it).

School supplies
Store these as close to the homework area as possible for convenience’s sake. If you have multiple children who do their homework in separate bedrooms, consider putting extra paper, pencils, crayons, etc in a hall or linen closet outside of their rooms. Don’t store them in the home office if you will be annoyed by children retrieving them while you are working in there.

Lurching school bus image courtesy of www.goerie.com.

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