Back to school is around the corner. As kids soak up every last drop of summer, parents are already preparing for getting back into the fall routine. School days can often be chaotic, especially when getting multiple children out the door, yourself to work on time and coordinating pick-ups, dinner and homework.
Organization and routine can help mitigate some of the chaos. So in the weeks before school starts, now is the time to prep your home for those busy fall days. Here are some of the tips and tricks Douglas Elliman agents from around the country have found to work best for their families.
As a mother of four young children, Douglas Elliman Long Island agent Bonnie Zarabi‘s greatest advice is to get organized. Other agents agree that organization is the key to back-to-school success.
“My pantry has clear bins set up in our snack shelf so the kids can grab what they need. Water bottles are right beneath—a quiet and effective reminder to hydrate,” says Zarabi.
Lisa Jaeger, Long Island agent and Nonna to her 8-year-old granddaughter suggests to “pack cupboards with healthy snacks and get rid of outdated food (there’s more in there than you think).”
The Mudroom or Entryway
For the mudroom, Bonnie Zarabi recommends keeping it cleaned out and ready for the kids to unload when they arrive home. “Also, keeping wipes or sanitizer to clean hands and an empty basket for all things dirty by the door are a great way to stop germs from entering your home.”
“Ensure there’s a space to keep everything your children will need in the morning as they leave the house (backpack, shoes, lunchbox, etc). This will eliminate last minute running around for missing items as you’re trying to get out the door,” says Matthias Fretz, Florida agent and father of two, a 2-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.
Fretz also suggests sorting through last year’s school clothes. “Donate any that have been outgrown.” Getting the kids dressed and ready in the morning will be easier when you know what fits.
Designate a Homework Area
With school comes homework, and who really likes homework? Setting up a designated homework area where the kids can focus on their work is a must according to Manhattan agent Jill Gullace, mother of an 8-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.
Matthias Fretz agrees: “Set up a designated schoolwork area in the house that’s comfortable and free from distractions.”
Make the space fun, inspiring and free of clutter to encourage your children to want to do work there. “At the end of August, we stock the kitchen desk area with new pencils, erasers, a notepad and other homework supplies,” Bonnie Zarabi says.
“I would put anything in front of my children that would be inspiring such as articles, magazines, sports information, anything they may be interested in or that would introduce them to new things,” says Douglas Elliman Long Island agent Thomas Tripodi of his experience raising his three children now in their twenties.
For those days when you may be running late from work, or someone else is dropping your kids off for you, Lisa Jaeger recommends hiding a house key, or giving your kids their own house key. “You never know when you’re going to have a problem getting home in time for the kids.”
And Jaeger suggests if your pool is still open, to “make sure doors are alarmed and pool gates are self-closing.” No swimming until there are adults at home.
Looking for your next home before school starts? Check out these properties currently on the market.
Price: $429,999 | 3 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms
Price: $1,799,000 | 5 Bedrooms | 4 Bathrooms
Price: $779,999 | 5 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms
Price: $5,268,000 | 6 Bedrooms | 6.5 Bathrooms
Price: $9,590,000 | 6 Bedrooms | 6 Bathrooms | 2 Half Bathrooms