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Back-to-School Home Organization Tips

With the new school year right around the corner, it's the perfect time to get your home organized for all the papers, supplies and projects that will be making their way into your home. You can make the transition back-to-school a lot easier by incorporating some of these simple, cost-efficient organizational tips.

If you're not a morning person and/or your mornings are already chaotic, you should try to create a practical schedule where you get as much done as you can the night before, like making lunches, getting clothes ready and packing backpacks. Give your children a list of chores they need to do everyday (make it simple and kid-friendly) like putting away their lunch box, hanging up their jackets and backpack and filing paperwork.

Pottery Barn Design Studio® features a free room planner where you can select from a wide range of furnishings for every room in your home, including your bedroom and home office. Shown is the American Classic Home Office.

You'll want to create a dedicated area for homework. Take into consideration the age of your children (how much will you need to assist them) and design of your home (is their enough space in their bedroom for a desk, do you have a home office/den or a built-in desk in your kitchen/living area). Once you pick out the place, you'll need to gather the necessary supplies and furniture. Remember if you create a cool and inviting place for your children to do their homework, they may actually want to get it done right away so they have more time for fun and family activities.

There is no avoiding tons of paperwork coming home every week, so having a good filing system in place will help to manage the schedule and events of your children, especially if you need to keep track of several different schools at once. There are basically two kinds of papers – paperwork for parents that require immediate action or need to be saved for future reference and homework and study paperwork the kids need to hold onto.

The easiest way to file is to throw away unwanted paper (events and news that don't affect your children) and keep the important papers like the school calendar, policies for dismissal, teacher contact information and class schedule that you'll need to refer to frequently in a binder.

And let's not forget all the A+ homework, projects and artwork that you will want to save. File boxes, portfolios and binders are great ways to store and save school keepsakes.

If you're looking to redesign or remodel an existing room so you can have a dedicated area to do homework, you'll want to check out Floorplanner. You can create accurate, interactive floor plans within minutes with this FREE online tool.

If you have the space in your kitchen or mudroom you should try and hang a bulletin board that has a large calendar, magnetic and/or erasable board or corkboard so you can keep track of daily to-do-items as well as upcoming events.

Speaking of mudrooms, make sure that you have a special storage area for your child's fall sports and activities. It's very easy for them to drop and plop their gear throughout the house and then when it's game time or practice they can't assemble their uniform or equipment. Look for simply storage solutions like racks, shelves, baskets and benches with storage underneath.

Design Tip
Since your child is growing and developing from infancy to teenage years, it is important to protect their immune system from the potential health risks associated with VOCs, so be sure to paint your child's room with low or no-VOC paints and use low-VOC carpet. In fact, play it safe and don't use carpet at all. When you purchase furniture see how it is made and finished and try to buy from companies that are certified green and use low or no-VOC paints and stains.