Ensure school year success with these home tips from Bartelt.
Summer is winding down, and while the kids may not be ready to go back, it’s important to ensure a smooth transition between vacation and the start of the school year. We’ve compiled some ideas to make your home more efficient and life easier for back-to-school.
Big or small, consider setting aside a space dedicated to homework. Include seating, supply storage, a desk, and other essentials for assignments or projects. A “homework station” allows kids to be part of family activities. Parents can also easily monitor computer use and ensure students are getting their work completed. A home office is another option. We’ve converted unused formal dining rooms and other spaces into functional dens. Kids have room to spread out their papers and books and concentrate. There’s also plenty of room for bookshelves and office gadgets.
Establish a family hub.
The mudroom is your family’s launch pad. You can keep all out-the-door essentials right where you need them. Incorporate lockers, assigning one to each family member. When they come home from school or extracurricular activities, they’ll have their own space to stash their belongings. The mudroom is a high traffic area, so it’s also the perfect opportunity to keep the family on-task with messages and reminders. Consider a “drop zone,” or command center, for phone charging, file cabinets, a calendar, a chalkboard, mail storage, and other organizational tools.
Lighten the load.
We touched on this recently, but we believe this is important. With the beginning of the school year comes more laundry. Whether it’s part of the mudroom or near the bedrooms, a laundry room should include ample storage and functional features – custom cabinetry, a sink, counter space, shelves, and other elements to make laundry time more efficient. Like the mudroom, we suggest incorporating cubbies, with a designated bin for each family member (or different clothing types), into the laundry room design. This makes it easy to sort clothes and even easier for the kids to put them away.
Have a bite to eat.
Encourage your family to kick off the day with a nutritional meal. A breakfast bar or nook – off the counter or as a banquette – is the perfect spot to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, sip on a cup of coffee, or read the morning paper. It often fulfills other roles, too. Kids can sit there for an after-school snack and share the day’s events. They can set up a temporary homework area. You can use it for extra party seating or a buffet.
Find space to unwind.
Carve out space for the kids to relax and spend time with friends. A play area with toy storage, bookshelves, and a table for projects is ideal for younger children. A finished lower level or bonus room is a great space for teenagers (and adults). Include a snack bar with a beverage refrigerator, games, a bathroom, and a home theater for the perfect “hangout.”
*As seen in the August issue of “Village West Living,” a publication for Elm Grove residents.