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Organize your house for back to school

By Kathryn Weber
Tribune Content Agency

As summer winds down, a lot of attention is devoted to school supplies and new clothes. Shopping for these items may build excitement about the new year for children, but getting the house ready for the school year benefits the whole family.

School takes a toll on organization, with all the computers, papers and sports equipment required. Carefully outfitting your home to deal with these new arrivals will help keep everything more organized and efficient.

Paper shuffle

Without question, paper is one of the biggest sources of clutter around the house once school starts. Finding a way to tame the storm will keep the house looking neater and help keep your kids better prepared. The first step is to determine which pieces of paper need to be available and at your disposal. This includes lunch menus, announcements and the school calendar. Those can be posted on the fridge or a bulletin board for easy access.

For other papers, create a storage file and an active file for each child. The files can be simple folders where you keep important papers such as sign-up instructions for afterschool activities, or even artwork you want to save for a scrapbook or for framing later. Stash the folders in a file box or file drawer in a desk.

Next, set up a file holder that stays on a counter or desk. Label individual folders for each child for papers you need to look at or sign, and for papers that they need to work on.

Corral the kids

Designate a place to stash all those extra shoes and jackets as well as sporting equipment. If your children need somewhere for balls, bats, gloves and helmets, why not take a cue from school and keep these items in a locker? Companies such as ULine (uline.com) have closed and ventilated lockers for athletic equipment and supplies. Place lockers in the laundry room or garage, and keep the odors out there, too.

Indoors, find a spot for backpacks, jackets, scarves and hats so they don’t end up scattered throughout the house. This also helps kids find their items quickly in the morning. An entryway organizer, such as a shelf with hooks or pegs, is the perfect answer for backpacks and jackets. Don’t have room? A simple hall tree saves space.

Organize the desk

Now that parents are more involved with their children’s homework, it helps to create a work center where students have access to a computer and can seek help from mom and dad. Parents can also easily check to find out whether their young scholars are studying or surfing the web, texting, talking on the phone, etc. Create an address book to store online passwords and make logging into online assignments easier.

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