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As much as you don’t want to think about it (or maybe you do—kids can be crazy!), school season is just around the corner. If you’ve been around the block a few times, it doesn’t take an expert to tell you that the start of a new school year can be, well—insane! Drop off, pick up, carpooling, extracurriculars, tutoring, work schedules, homework schedules, social engagements… for multiple, rationale-lacking, nap-needing, energized children that keep going and going and going… (coffee, anyone?).

Rather than rock back and forth in a corner in a mere panic for the months to come, take a moment to look through these helpful tips to keep your home organized this fall.

DeClutter Your Home

Since work schedules are more relaxed and the children are indeed home (lest you forget!), have your family work together to declutter and re-organize each room, deciding which items to keep, which items to donate, and which items to discard.

For items you genuinely have a need for, but are too large to continue storing at home (such as seasonal decor, sports equipment or collectibles), consider renting a self-storage unit to help you maximize space for daily belongings. Storage units are located in almost every neighborhood, so finding one that is nearby (and affordable) should be a breeze.

Remember, your home is your sanctuary, so ensuring it is free from clutter is important to make you and your family feel at ease.

Responsibility Charts

Parents and children alike automatically associate star charts as a list of chores that need to be accomplished in order to attain a prize. While the prize itself is a positive, chores are typically associated with something negative, making most kids resent the star chart right from the get-go (especially as they get older).

Rather than create a “chore chart”, draft a “responsibility chart” for you and your family, listing EVERY member of the household’s responsibilities each week. If everyone accomplishes what they need to, instead of receiving individualized prizes, think of a fun activity or outing your family can enjoy together—even if it’s merely a trip to a favorite ice cream shop.

Your children will learn that each member of the home has responsibilities (a positive compared to simply assigning chores), and you will have less on your plate as everyone does their part to chip in.

Meal Planning

The biggest battle that typically takes place in any home (even between spouses before the minions arrive) is… “Where are we going to eat?”

We’ve all been there.

You pick… no you pick… no you pick… I really don’t care… I don’t even like that…

(Cue the clown music.)

To save your family time, money, and hassle, develop a detailed meal plan each week—from breakfast through to dinner and all those lovely snacks in between—so that you don’t need to exert mental energy thinking about what you are going to do. You can even utilize a multicooker to help make your meals a easy to make, especially if you are on a tight schedule.  

With a little planning, some decluttering, and strategic re-assigning, this school year may actually be one where you feel ahead of the game, rather than behind the bus (cause you all know you’ve chased it before).

To a successful school year!