We’re not quite sure where the summer went here at A.T.C. Agency, but, if you haven’t noticed, it’s already time for the new school year in Minneapolis.
As you think about how to get your kids organized and ready, consider doing the same thing for your home. It won’t just be good for you. In many instances, removing clutter also means removing distractions, which can help your kids focus.
You can start wherever you like, but it might be best to organize your activities before you start in on the daunting task of tackling all of your stuff. With sports and other activities, the school year can be a blur for parents. A family calendar — whether it’s a dry-erase board or a printout on the fridge — will ensure everyone knows where they’re going, and when.
Reducing your stuff
Eliminate as much clutter from the house as you can, perhaps by following the classic 80/20 theory: 80% of the time, most people use only 20% of their stuff. If the item you’re looking at isn’t in that 20%, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Donate stuff that doesn’t fit or that your kids simply don’t like and won’t wear anymore.
Buying new stuff
Now that you’ve de-cluttered, don’t head out for back-to-school shopping just yet. First, do an inventory of school supplies, clothes and shoes so you aren’t buying things you don’t need. If you’re going through a closet and you’re not sure what fits, have kids try on pants until you find a good pair. Then use that pair to compare the length of all the other pants.
If possible, designate a study space where your kids have the tools they need for success. It should be well-lit, quiet and free of distractions. Different kids have different learning styles, so pay attention to what works well and what doesn’t, and adjust as needed.
Staying on top of things
You’re off to a good start in the battle against clutter — so keep things rolling! Each week, set aside time to go on a “search and destroy” mission. And make sure the kids are involved, too. Everything — homework, school forms, backpacks — should have a home. And when everything has a home, you’ll be happier in yours!