9 Back-to-School Clutter Busters
The kids are heading back to class and the thought of once again dealing with all their stuff can make even the most organized mom anxious. "Running a household is like running a small business," says Kim Cosentino, owner of The De-Clutter Box, an organizing company in Westmont, Illinois. "To keep things moving smoothly, you need to put efficient systems in place." Check out these tips to keep your house free from stacks of paper, coats, or sporting goods.
"This is probably the most important tool a mom can have," says Cosentino, so don't just hang up the free one from the bank. Find a calendar that has plenty of room to track kids' activities, field trips and more. Cosentino likes the week-at-a-glance kind. Keeping dates in one place eliminates the need to hold on to paper reminders.
Cut the flaps off large clear poly envelopes and pin them near the bottom of the board to house school-related papers—one for each child, advises organizing expert Erica Ecker, owner of The Spacialist in New York City. "Tell your kids to put permission slips and other must-see forms in the envelopes as soon as they get them," she says.
Some papers, like those permission slips, shouldn't linger—they require "next-day service." Maria Ashley, a mom of six from Albany, New York, signs everything and sends it back the next morning. "It's one less piece of paper I have to think about later," she says.
Mount hooks near the door or in the hall closet to make it quicker and easier for kids to hang up their coats, advises Cosentino.
"In our house only two coats per person can be on the hooks at any time," says Rebecca Lazier, a mother of three from Brooklyn, New York. The rest get stored in upstairs closets.
Inexpensive plastic drawers or bins on casters are a kid-friendly stash-it solution for backpacks and more. Smaller ones can roll under an entryway bench; larger ones can be stowed in a hall closet. "If kids have an accessible place to put their stuff, they're more likely to use it," says Sally Allen, owner of A Place for Everything LLC in Golden, Colorado.
Use personalized canvas tote bags to keep track of and transport your kids' uniforms and small gear. "This system keeps things central and makes getting out the door with my six kids possible," says Ashley.
Three-bin storage systems used to sort whites, darks and delicates work for separating balls in the garage too, says Ecker. Lack floor space? Put balls in a mesh laundry bag and hang on a hook.
Odds are you have dead basketballs and soccer balls lurking around, and the pump is nowhere to be found," says Ecker. Storing everything together means less time hunting, more time playing, and fewer deflated balls cluttering your space.
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