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It’s that time of year again – back to school! Though the summer was fun, this school year is bound to be one of excitement, as most students head back to campus for in-person learning. For some students, this will be the first time they will be back in school full-time, as last year proved to be a real challenge.

No matter how old your children are, getting back into the routine of school can be difficult. Lazy summer mornings and more relaxed daily schedules are challenging to break, causing chaos, stress, and mess throughout the house. If you are ready to make this year different, you have come to the right place.

1.) Declutter before the start of the school year.

Take time each day to go through each room of your house, focusing on one target area for 15-20 minute intervals to prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. As you sort through belongings, place items into keep, donate, and discard piles (only choosing to keep things you have a real plan or purpose for). You will be shocked to see how much stuff you can get rid of! If you have items that you want to keep but are simply too large to have on hand, such as sports equipment or seasonal decor, consider renting a self-storage unit nearby to maximize space for items you need access to daily.

2.) Break out the responsibility chart.

The responsibility chart is essentially a chore chart that assigns each member of your family (adults included) tasks around the house for the week. Consider this: if everyone completes their responsibilities for the week, you get to do something together as a family. It could be a trip to an adventure park or simply ice cream before dinner. Whatever it is, make it fun! This will help show your children that everyone has a part to play in keeping the home clean and clutter-free.

3.) Create cubbies.

Whether you have a mudroom, a foyer, an area in your kitchen, or a garage – set up a “dump” area where your children can hang their backpacks, jackets, and any school or art supplies they have. Doing so will prevent chaos in the morning (and clutter throughout the evening) since everything your kids need for school will be in one place.

4.) Set a routine and stick to it.

Set a morning and evening routine so that your children know what to expect each day, including a “wind-down” time before bed to ensure they get enough sleep. We recommend starting a week before school starts to get everyone used to their new schedule.

5.) Think about ways to make your day easier so that you can enjoy time as a family.

Whether that be menu planning, creating set ‘em and forget ‘em meals, or hiring someone to clean every other week – your evenings are a time for everyone to be together. Think of ways you can enjoy each other’s presence, encouraging your children as they go on their educational journey. Use self-storage to clear out, plan, and get into a routine, and watch as your children grow and shine.

Happy learning!