Start the School Year Clutter-Free

It’s back-to-school time, and if you are a parent of a student or a student yourself, you know that the sudden influx of homework, books and other supplies makes it a challenge to stay #organized and on top of tasks. But several strategies can help manage all that #stuff better while keeping track of assignments, due dates and extracurricular activities.

Parents can help young students stay #organized by streamlining the household environment. Invest in a chore chart, white board and academic planner, Good Housekeeping suggests. And to keep clothing, books, shoes and other items from getting #disorganized, get as many shelves, bins and cubbies as you need and label them.

A homework station is a good idea for students of all ages — and WFH parents, too. You’ll need a rolling cart, plastic storage baskets, a dry-erase calendar and a desk, Woman’s Day says. Post a calendar, a daily schedule and a pegboard organizer or bulletin board nearby, and it will be easier to keep track of tasks and needed supplies.

Teens who build good habits in school will keep them their whole lives. Student empowerment specialist Daniel Wong offers 30 tips on using routines to stay focused, get homework done on time and still have time to relax with family and friends.

One is to #declutter one’s #workspace on a weekly basis. “Look through all the papers, notes, brochures, and other things you’ve accumulated,” Wong says. “Recycle or throw away all the things you don’t need. Clutter attracts clutter, so if you declutter once a week, you’ll be more likely to stay organized in general.”

#Thrift stores supplied by #donations of clothing and goods to ClothingDonations.org are a great place to look for lightly used organizers, baskets and bins. You might even find a good selection of stylish #clothing that growing students can wear to #school at prices that won’t break the bank.

And if you find anything your students won’t be needing in the as they move ahead in school — disused sporting goods, books, outgrown clothing, etc. — contact ClothingDonations.org to schedule a free, contactless #donation #pickup. Here’s to a happy, healthy school year!

Building the Back-to-School Spirit Amid Uncertainty

This year’s back-to-school to-do lists likely include more than equipping the kids with new clothes, crayons and backpacks. #COVID-19 — and in particular, its highly contagious #Delta variant — has brought new uncertainties to reentry.

Parents must navigate mask mandates and consider the level of risk their children face in returning to in-person classes. One vaccine is approved for use in children 12 and up in the U.S., and availability may expand to all school-aged children in the next few months.

Until the #coronavirus is conquered, it may be difficult for parents and students alike to be enthused or unworried about the start of school. But there are some strategies you can follow to ease kids back into the swing.

The New York Times suggests returning to a regular school-year routine that includes regular bed and wakeup times, as well as consistent mealtimes. For grade-schoolers, a ban on screens starting an hour prior to bedtime can help establish a rhythm.

Outings such as hikes and picnics can help everyone cope with the transition back to in-person activity after a year-and-a-half of restrictions. Decide how much risk is acceptable when it comes to kids’ participation in sports and other activities, especially those held indoors.

Families may want kids to avoid “high-breath” activities held in close quarters such as choir, band or wrestling, for example. Follow the recommended safety precautions and try to emphasize what kids can do as they return to classrooms, CNN says — not what they can’t.

Students may not need as many new clothes if some of their classes are held remotely, but they may need new laptops and tablets to pursue their virtual lessons effectively. Shop retailers’ many back-to-school sales for the best deals.

Anything that won’t get used this year — stuff such as too-small clothing, last-generation phones and laptops, and equipment for the sport no one in the family plays — can be donated to ClothingDonations.org.

Sort out all of that that extra stuff, put it in bags and boxes, and leave in a designated location on the scheduled day for #contactless #pickup. You’ll be glad you have the room for all of the new stuff that every new school year seems to bring in.

Back-to-School Shopping Sans Clutter

Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $848.90 per child on back-to-school shopping this year, according to the National Retail Federation, or $59 more than last year.

Given the downturn in spending while kids were distance-learning during the #pandemic, the uptick isn’t surprising. In fact, that lull in spending may mean that many students (and their parents) will be buying more #stuff this year than ever before.

If you’re going to be shopping for school in the weeks ahead, consider what you really need — and what you and your kids can shed in order to make room for it. Otherwise, all of that too-small clothing and all of those broken iPads will just add to the #clutter.

To keep levels of #junk in check, do a thorough #decluttering before you send the kids back to school. Help your children sort toys and books into four piles, Motherly suggests: Keep, donate, trash and “not quite yet.” Put the not-quite-yets in a closet or other out-of-the-way place until your child is comfortable letting them go.

Clothing is simpler: If a garment doesn’t fit, it should be handed down, sold at your next #yardsale or #donated immediately. If something it too worn to be of any further use, you can cut it into rags or trash it.

Books that won’t get read again can go, too. While you may want to hold on to classics that get read again and again, some books are age- or classroom-specific. If your child isn’t going to read a book again, you can donate it to a local library or ClothingDonations.org.

Finally, you can take any starred assignments and drawings from last year off the bulletin board or fridge. New ones will be on the way in just a few weeks, and Family Handyman suggests several #space-saving ways to save and show off a few family favorites.

Once you’ve cleared out the extra stuff you won’t be using, you’ll have space for nearly $900 in new goods. Make a list and start shopping early, however, since there may be shortages of essential items such as backpacks, stationery and tablet computers due to supply-chain disruptions.

“What we will likely see is more limited choice and lower stock levels towards the end of the back-to-school period,” Neil Saunders, retail analyst at GlobalRetail Data, told CNN. “Some consumers will inevitably miss out on the things they want to purchase.”

Six More Weeks of Summer

With the Labor Day weekend behind us, most people (and especially people with kids) are mourning “the end” of summer. Whether or not you or your kids have to be in school, however, there’s still plenty of summer left to enjoy.

At the time of this writing, there are still nearly three weeks until the fall equinox — the official end, astronomically speaking, of the season. But many places in the U.S. won’t see real fall weather for several weeks beyond Sept. 23.

If there was a Groundhog Day in the summer, in other words, Punxsutawney Phil would likely give us six more weeks to enjoy. So there’s no reason to stop having cookouts, taking road trips and otherwise savor the season.

Take in a baseball game, BroBible suggests. Go for swim. Attend a music festival or see a summer blockbuster. Throw a Frisbee. The weather is fantastic (in many places, better than in August), so don’t let the calendar tell you when the summer fun needs to end.

Most of the activities you’ve enjoyed since June are still going strong, HuffPost says, so maintain your summer mindset into October. “Continue to have fun, to eat fresh produce from the farmer’s market, to read trashy novels, to spend time outdoors, to go for walks after dinner and long bike rides on weekends.”

There’s still time for decluttering, of course. As you squeeze in those last few summer outings and events, be conscious of what you will and won’t need as it starts to feel more like sweater weather.

For example, you’ve probably worn those white jeans/shorts/linens for the last time, so you can now safely donate them to ClothingDonations.org. The same goes for outdoor equipment you won’t be using much longer, such as camping gear and pool toys.

By the same token, you can also stock up on sweaters, blankets and household items best suited to fall festivities at the thrift stores supplied by ClothingDonations.org. The resale of #donated goods helps fund veterans programs throughout the country year-round.

Now’s the time to squeeze the last bits of outdoor merriment out of summer. As Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” And summer ain’t over just because the kids are back in school!

Declutter Before Doing Back-to-School Shopping

Before you hit the back-to-school sales with your kids, says Simply Organized, take inventory of what is and isn’t in their closets already. Invest about an hour per child to clean out and #declutter closets and dresser drawers together, having them try on any garments that might be too worn, the wrong size or not their style; ClothingDonations.org an pick up any items that can be resold. Track what you keep and make a list of things you need to buy, and “shop with your list,” the blog says. “This will prevent you from overbuying and keep you on a good budget. [Being] familiar with closet and drawer space will also keep you from impulse overpurchasing.”