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Get Ready for Back to School Through Better Organization!

Improve School Performance by Organizing, Organizing, Organizing

It seems like the school year starts earlier and earlier every year. Students start returning to the classroom in August, long before the traditional Labor Day end of summer. Many families will mourn the end of lazy summer days spent by the swimming pool or playing in the park. Others may be secretly glad for the return to the more rigid schedule that the school year provides. Every parent, however, wants the new school year to be a success for their child.

Everyone has an opinion on the best ways to help a child succeed at school. It may seem like tips guaranteed to ensure your student's success bombard from every direction, especially at this time of year. TV talk shows, radio, magazines, parenting blogs and more all claim to know secret methods to boost student performance. If you spend a little time and try to sift through all the "expert advice," however, you will notice that it all boils down to this — ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, and ORGANIZE!

An organized mudroom aids back to school preparation
This mud room system functions as an organized area dedicated to the storage of backpacks, jackets, the lunch box and everything else that should be brought to and from the classroom each day. Having a mud room like this makes it easier for children to keep up with what they need for school. When everything is in its place and there is a place for everything, children find it easier to stay organized, leading to better grades and school performance.

Studies show organization increases student achievement while disorganization leads to poor performance:

As disorganization leads to lower grades and achievement, some students are not prepared for the school side of life. Data collected from journals, surveys, and students' grades indicate that any increase in student organization benefits students. Source: Gambill, Jill M.; Moss, Lauralee A.; Vescogni, Christie D. 'The Impact of Study Skills and Organizational Methods on Student Achievement' 2008 ERIC Institute of Educational Sciences

3 Suggestions to Help Your Kids Get and Stay Organized for the Upcoming School Year:

  1. Transform an Entry Closet into an Organized Mud Room: For most families, children come and go from the back door or rear entry to the home. No matter from where your children come and go, however, the area where they enter and exit the home needs to be organized with a place for their shoes, backpacks, jackets, gloves and other items that must be toted back and forth from school each day. Many families redesign the closet area near the door that the children use into what is referred to as a "mud room." Based on the traditional hall tree that was a feature of every early American farmhouse, this is usually an area with hooks for jackets, shelves or cabinet above, a bench for removing shoes, and a space below the bench for storing the shoes. Have a space like this with a place for everything helps all members of the family stay organized. Hooks are easier to use than hangers for children and can also accommodate heavier items like backpacks. Consider converting an old closet near the door into a mud room storage system to help keep your children organized.
    white mud room system replaces closet near back door
    This white mud room system replaces a closet near the back door.
  2. Create a Dedicated Study Area for Homework: This can be the same as a home office, a desk in the bedroom, or simply a corner of the kitchen where homework is consistently done without distraction. Consistency is key to success. When your child sits down to this location, they should always start doing their homework — not snacking, watching television, playing games, texting friends or any other activity. Just like having a consistent bedtime, younger children will benefit from having a routine time to do the homework as well. It is important that supplies and materials for completing the homework are always available in the same place so that the child does not have to search for them. Everything the child needs to get the work done should be conveniently available so that the focus remains completing the school assignment rather than on gathering supplies to complete the homework. In addition to being convenient, the area should be relatively quiet and free of distractions. Just like a desk or cubicle in an office, the homework desk should be a productive place to concentrate and get things done. If your children share a bedroom, look for a quiet corner somewhere in the home that each can call their own. Every room has four corners. Give your child his own corner. A quiet corner with a reliable work surface and some room for supplies will go a long way to making sure the homework and studying gets done, improving performance at school.
    Teen studying at desk
    A dedicated study area for homework, whether in the bedroom, the kitchen, home office or someplace else, improves performance at school.
  3. Organize the Closets:
    Young girl selecting clothes from closet
    Be sure to install clothing rods in your child's closet low enough so that they can reach them and get dressed on their own.
    A tidy closet with a place for everything will go a long way towards organizing any person's life. Children are no exception to this rule. Make it easy for your kids to get ready for school each day on their own by giving them a closet where their clothes are always neatly located within easy reach. This means closet rods need to be hung relatively low for your young children. Clothes that are hung too high so that they cannot reach them on their own don't do any good. Reserve the high closet rods for out of season or dressy clothes are worn infrequently. Enable your children so that they can make independent decisions about basic things like getting dressed each day. You'll be surprised at how cultivating your child's independent decision-making ability on something as simple as getting dressed will transfer into improved decision making in other areas as well, including school work.

Everyone wants their children to do well in school. One way to improve academic success is through good organization. Why not start the new school year out right and set the stage for a win by increasing your organization at home? Small changes like transforming an entry closet into a mudroom, creating a dedicated homework area, and organizing the closet can translate into a better academic year for your child. Good organization skills start at home. Your child's best chance at obtaining them start with you and the changes that you implement at home to help them gain these important skills.

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EXAMPLES OF HOME ORGANIZATION THAT BENEFITS SCHOOL CHILDREN:

Mud Room closet for coats with built-in bench
This mudroom storage system gives school children a place to keep their shoes, boots, jackets and backpacks as well a bench to sit down — all located right next to the door where they come in.
See Project >



mudroom with rain gear, jackets and backpacks
This organized mud room storage system replaced a traditional closet next to the rear entry door of the home. The space connects the attached garage to the kitchen and is used by the children when they go to and from school.
See Project >



Custom bedroom suite with desk for room with angled ceiling
This custom bedroom suite with a desk designed to fit under the slanted ceiling encourages good study habits.
See Project >



Closet for a young girl
This closet for a young girl includes lower clothing rods poitioned at eye level so that she can select her own clothing and get dressed independently.
See Project >