Tailor homework spaces according to study habits. A desk next to the bed can provide extra storage. For furniture without drawers, use labeled bins, stacked letter trays or hanging wall pockets. “If your child prefers working on the bed, consider buying a lap table,” suggests Lillard.
Simplify lunch packing by consolidating sandwich ingredients, such as cold cuts and condiments, and juice boxes in one container in the fridge. Designate another bin for bread. “Prep snacks in advance,” says Alves. “Fill baggies for the entire week and label them accordingly.” Get kids to help—they’re more likely to eat what they pack themselves.
Create an after-school snack station with healthy choices like carrots and fruit slices. Put them in one bin on a low shelf in the fridge alongside hummus or dip for easy access. Dewkett leaves a second container in the cupboard with quick bites, such as granola bars.
Assign an area for emptying backpacks, says Meredith Mahoney, founder and design director of . Even a small entryway can fit a table for holding phones, plus a box for dropping off forms and tests that need to be signed by a parent. Other essential components include enough hooks for hanging jackets and floor racks for shoes.
Before the end of summer, install double hanging rods in closets to gain extra space for kids’ clothes and a high ledge for out-of-season garments. A canvas storage shelf keeps folded items like tees in plain sight. Shoe organizers can prevent those mountains of mismatched sneakers on the floor. Place kids’ laundry hampers or bags in a user-friendly spot like the closet or a corner of their room.
Keep lightweight drawstring bags or totes packed with gym clothes in a closet right by the door so that kids can grab their stuff and go.
Post a color-coded paper calendar in a common area to keep track of family members’ schedules, suggests Dewkett. If everyone owns a smartphone, have them enter their own events into a shared app like Cozi or Hub. Display a monthly or weekly copy on the bulletin board or fridge as a visual cue.