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!

Dog Days: Decluttering With Pets

If you have #pets, you know that they can contribute to the #clutter and #grime that your home attracts. And the “dog days” of summer are as good a time as any to discover a few strategies to keep your space #organized and #tidy — whether you have a #dog, #cat, or some other furry, scaly or feathered friend.

First, tackle #decluttering #KonMari-style. “When going through your dog or cat’s items, focus on which of them bring your pet the most joy or serve a true purpose,” FreshPet says. “They usually make it pretty clear what they like and don’t like. Keep only the items that make your #pet the happiest.”

Try not to get too sentimental about pet possessions. If there’s something that has particular significance such as your pup’s first collar, frame it. Most other items can be discarded; #donate lightly used items to a local animal shelter or ClothingDonations.org. If something holds memories but is of little use, take a picture of it before letting it go.

Life Storage suggests creating pet “stations” around the house, designating bins and baskets for grooming items, outdoor/exercise needs, toys, and food and treats. If you house your pet in a crate, cage or aquarium, keep any related supplies #organized nearby for convenient care and maintenance.

PopSugar offers a list of 10 pet #organization products “sure to make your life easier,” or you can DIY your own storage solutions. Get creative with #thrift-store finds, shop the container section of a local hardware store or build an organizer. Consider labeling all boxes, baskets and bins as an additional #streamlining strategy.

Once your pet #stuff is organized and in its proper places, you won’t be tripping over toys or wasting time wondering where the leash went. And your home will be easier to #clean, too! Pets shed, track in dirt and leave other messes in their wake. But that’s a topic that The Organizing Blog will revisit another day. Enjoy the dog days!

Maintenance Is Key to Organization

The key to #organization is regular maintenance, and nowhere is that more true than a child’s COVID-19–era remote learning space. Rolling carts can help kids #organize their paperwork, electronics and other supplies, professional organizer Wendy Buglio told The Boston Globe early in the pandemic: “A small rolling cart can be used to provide easy access during the school day, but can be tucked out of the way as needed.” Bins are a great option for keeping small items such as masks, chargers, pencils and pens from #cluttering the workspace.

Store Your Winter Clothing Sensibly

Instead of stuffing your winter clothes in the back of the closet, pack them away thoughtfully so they can serve their purpose for another year. Folded clothing can go in baskets or bins and placed on a high shelf or under the bed if you’re short on space, Apartment Therapy suggests. Use rolling racks for hanging garments, along with quality hangers that won’t cause items to lose their shape. Blankets and sheets can go in vacuum-sealed storage bags to save on space, while shoes and boots can go into a trunk or clear plastic bins. When you’re done, break out the shorts and flip-flops and get ready for summer.

Gifts That Help You Know Where Things Go

Half of staying organized is knowing where everything is supposed to go. To that end, blogger Abby Lawson suggests getting a labelmaker (or two) to print labels for stacking bins, kitchen canisters, file folders and other dedicated spaces. For small labels, Dymo and Brother make a number of easy-to-use, inexpensive sticky-tape systems, while larger printers offer the ability to print on clear plastic or vinyl. They make a great holiday gift for the accomplished neat freak — or anyone who aspires to get their stuff more organized in the new year.