Although back-to-school shopping can be fun for kids, the influx of new supplies, clothing, and other items creates a variety of storage challenges for parents. In the new pandemic world that blurs the lines between home and school, keeping everything organized can be even more daunting. Families with more than one child learning at home or on a hybrid schedule face a compounded problem — being inundated with school paraphernalia.
The Department of Education provides extensive resources to help families with distance learning, but unfortunately instructions on how to make room for all of the extra back-to-school items now needed is not included. Having experienced the challenges of going back to school as well as remote learning, we have a variety of recommendations that will make both a little easier for the entire family.
Put Back-to-School Items in Their Proper Place
Whether in-person, at-home or hybrid, creating a designated learning space is critical for your students’ success — and your home’s organization. If you can clear an entire room for learning, experts say students do best when there is a clear delineation between home/relaxation and school/work. But even designating a corner of a room as a learning space makes a difference.
Additionally, creating a space specifically for learning and school will help everyone keep track of school-related papers, documents and supplies — as well as limit the potential spillover effect to other rooms in your house.
Here are several organizational suggestions to consider when creating your school/learning room or corner.
Wall file organizer – Sending kids back to school means an influx of handouts, permission slips, papers and other important documents. A wall file organizer is a great tool to ensure important papers don’t get lost while at home. You can separate by subject, document type or child.
Hanging hooks or rack – From backpacks and jackets to hats and scarves, providing a go-to spot to store these everyday items will keep the rest of your home clear of assorted bags and coats. It will also make the often-chaotic mornings of getting ready and out the door a little easier knowing everything the kids need for school is in one place.
Cube organizer – Organizational cubes, or cubbies, are a great solution to store supplies, projects, and other objects that don’t fit in a file organizer or on a hook. You can categorize your cubbies by subject or assign one per child.
Whiteboard calendar – So long, lazy summer days. Hello, due dates, extracurricular activities and school events! An important piece to your back-to-school learning room or corner is the dry-erase, whiteboard calendar to keep track of everyone’s activities and project due dates. You can assign different colors to each member of the family so they can see at a glance what’s coming up for them as well as others.
A Comfortable Place to Study
In addition to establishing an organizational system to keep track of back-to-school items like backpacks and papers, setting up a suitable space for actual studying and schoolwork is key. This is especially important if your students are participating in remote learning or some form of hybrid structure.
Desk space – Desks aren’t just for the classroom. A desk at home provides a designated space for studying and homework and helps keep other common areas of your home — like the kitchen and living room — clear of back-to-school items. If you don’t have room or resources for a full-size desk, consider a portable or lap desk that provides workspace without eating up square footage.
Comfortable seating – Don’t neglect your kids’ seating. Find a chair that’s appropriate to your child’s age and size that also provides for ergonomic support to reduce back and neck strain. If space or resources are limited, look at purchasing portable cushions that can be used with any seat. That way, if your children only have access to dining room chairs, their backs and bottoms will have the necessary support while they study.
Headphones or earbuds – With Zoom school, podcasts, videos, and other digital media, a good pair of headphones or earbuds are a must for students. Especially for those times when the whole family may be working and learning from home, headphones help limit distractions while keeping your child focused on the task at hand.
Back-to-School Bonus: Technology Upgrades
Regardless of how your kids are attending school this year, technology undoubtedly will play a role. Here are three bonus back-to-school technology suggestions to consider.
Cloud storage – Explore a cloud storage plan that provides ample space and access for your kids to store digital files and assignments. Depending on your technological preference, you could look into Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox, among others.
Upgrade your internet speed – Avoid any frustrating lags or connection issues by upgrading your internet speed — especially if you have multiple kids and family members working from home.
Printer – Sometimes you still need a printout. Consider purchasing or upgrading your printer so you have a way to print those term papers and other assignments.
When Space is Limited: Finding Self-Storage
From new clothes and supplies to backpacks and papers, back-to-school items quickly take up space in your home. If you need to make room to accommodate the new school year, consider a self-storage unit to store excess items you don’t need right now but aren’t ready to get rid of. Storage West has units of all sizes to meet your needs.