Original article by Laura Gaskill on Houzz
With kids having new schedules to learn and teachers to get to know, the back-to-school rush can feel chaotic after so many weeks of summer break. Having a clean, well-organized room can help your child enter the new school year feeling well-rested, centered and ready for whatever’s in store. Read on for the how-to.
Simplify and clean. Total room makeovers are fun (and we’ll cover some tips for doing one further on) but the priority during back-to-school time should be on creating a clean, comfortable space that encourages restful sleep.
– Gather up dirty laundry and get everything washed, folded and put away. Take this opportunity to remove clothes that no longer fit or are worn out and drop them at a donation center or textile recycling bin.
– Edit books and toys, removing damaged items and those your child has grown out of.
– Vacuum the floors and use a vacuum attachment to clean window treatments. Use a microfiber cloth or electrostatic duster to dust surfaces.
– Straighten any rugs and make up the bed with fresh sheets.
Choose outfits ahead of time. Making fashion decisions in advance can prevent school morning struggles and save time on busy weekdays. To keep outfits organized, label drawers, wall hooks, hangers or open shelves with the days of the week. Younger children can still take the lead in choosing what to wear, but help by providing information — such as what the weather is likely to be and which days they should be dressed for gym class.
Try an upright folding method in drawers. Take a page from the KonMari Method and try folding clothes so they stand up instead of lay flat. The benefit of this is that everything in a drawer is visible at a glance — so your child can find that favorite shirt right away instead of pawing through to the bottom of the pile.
Make toy storage portable for easier cleanup. A big, dump-it-all-in toy box may seem appealing, but in practice it ends up creating more problems than it solves: toys at the bottom become crushed and broken and finding anything quickly becomes impossible. Instead, aim to store toys and games in groups sorted by type (Lego in one bin, dinosaurs in another) in portable containers small enough for your child to move alone. A combination of clear labels and open tops (or clear containers) will make it easy for your child to see where items go.
Encourage a love of reading with an enticing book nook. If you have a beginning reader in your house, you know how important it is to make reading time appealing. Devote a space in your child’s room to displaying a few current favorite books and regularly rotate the selection with each trip to the library. A cushy chair as well as a desk nearby will give your child options for settling down with a good book. Be sure to include good lighting in your book nook — and maybe even a book light for reading in bed.
Sort books into themed baskets. If you have a burgeoning reader in your house, you know how those thin paperbacks can get lost on a big bookcase. Instead of shelving them alongside bigger books, create your own themed book baskets that encourage exploration. Personalize the baskets by book series and categories to suit your child’s interests — like outer space, fairy tales or superheroes — and be sure to label the baskets clearly.
Make a clean, quiet space to study. As children move into the upper grades, they are bound to have more homework. Setting up a clean, quiet space to study can help make this task easier. Here are a few tips for getting your child’s study space setup:
– Keep the work surface clean and clear, with space to ensure all materials can be put away when homework is done.
– Include a calendar with important dates and assignments.
– A clock with a timer can help kids focus and avoid dragging out homework. Talk with your child’s teacher to find out how long your child should be working on homework each night.
– Consider including a small potted plant, softly burbling desktop fountain or inspiring artwork to help your young scholar stay centered and relaxed.
A room makeover doesn’t have to break the bank. Replacing furniture is sometimes a must (for example, when your little one is ready for a big-kid bed) but most of the time, smaller, more budget-friendly touches are all that’s needed to create a room your child will love. Here are three ways to get started:
– Repaint the walls. It’s a lot of work, but a new wall color is one of the biggest-impact changes you can make.
– Spring for new bedding. The bed is the focal point of the room, and colorful new bedding can make it feel like a brand-new space.
– Switch up the artwork. Find budget art online, frame fun postcards or have your child pick some of their own work to feature.
Pack up extra toys. If your child’s room still feels cluttered even after tidying up or if it takes a long time to clean up after playing, those are signs there are too many toys out at once. I’ve found kids are much more inclined to pare back on toys when you focus on the positive: Ask your child to pick their top five favorite toys in each category to prominently display on shelves and pack up the rest in bins to save for later. When kids realize you’re not permanently getting rid of the non-favorite toys, it’s much easier for them to let go. Pack up the extras in plastic storage tubs and stow them in a closet or garage until your child is ready for a swap.
Savor success (and snap a photo). Once your back-to-school tidying session is complete, step back and bask in your hard work. You may even want to snap a photo or two to commemorate the moment — we often take pictures at special occasions, but having a photo of your child in his or her own room is its own sweet souvenir.