Tips for keeping school clutter in check

Cindy is a professional designer and organizational genius. And above that, she knows how stressful trying to get kids to do their homework can be. But she has a theory, well not just a theory… she has put it to the test and it works!

The truth is… Kids like routines and they like organization. They thrive in structured environments. If you can provide that for them, you’ll be helping them be successful. Teaching kids how to be organized is really important because it teaches them a lot of good habits that they’ll use throughout their life.

(Plus, it just makes getting to school in the morning run a whole lot smoother if you don’t have to spend an hour looking for that test that they needed you to sign or the math homework they swear they did.)

1. Throw away things they don’t need.

It’s a good idea to go through your child’s backpack every day after school. It lets you see if there is any correspondence from the teacher or grades you should be aware of. Kids are not always going to remember, and they’re not always going to throw out the stuff they don’t need. By purging the junk, you’ll also be lightening their load, so take five minutes every night to clean out the backpack.

2. Set up a simple file system.

If they are always searching for their papers that they brought home from school, it takes away from homework time. A lot of time kids like to hold on their tests, or letters, or photos – it doesn’t have to be all school stuff – but they won’t have any place to put them. When you set up a simple file system for them, or even designate certain drawers for certain things, kids get in the habit of putting things away.

3. Give them a place to study.

If a child has a place to do their homework, they’ll be more likely to focus when they’re in that environment. Make sure they have a desk or a table to work at. Make sure it’s a quiet space where they can concentrate. And make sure they have appropriate task lighting.

4. Stick to the necessities.

Shopping for school supplies is an important ritual, for the parent and for the child. Some schools will give you a list of things to buy, but other times you do it on your own. It’s important to sit down with your child before you go shopping and make a list even if the school provides one for you. Go over what you’ve got that you can use from last year, and what are the new things that you’re going to get. A little planning will go a long way.

See Cindy in action on her website Details, Etc. and check out these other resources for more ideas!

Crafty—But Clean
At Family Fun, you can find tons of family craft projects that double as storage and organizing pieces, like a pocket wall organizer made from plain curtains!

Keep It off the Floor!
At the Lillian Vernon online home store, you can buy cute yet functional organizing accessories for the kids’ room.

Regain Your Sanity With NAPO
Contact the National Association of Professional Organizers to find a specialist who’ll help you get your life back in order!

Thinking inside the Box
Tap into every professional organizers’ handy bag of tricks by taking a tour of the Container Store.