Where did the summer go? It seems like the end-of-school party was just yesterday, and now all of a sudden we’re getting ready to send the kids back to class. While you busy yourself stocking up on school supplies such as Sharpies, exercise books and glue sticks, don’t forget about another important
aspect of back-to-school preparation. Get your house in gear for a successful year of studies by making a few basic home improvements.

• Dedicated study space

Your child will need a quiet, purposeful spot to concentrate on homework and school projects. If your house is squeezed for space, consider installing a foldout desk. This also is ideal when the study area is located in a bedroom; this type of desk simply can be folded away when it’s time to go to sleep.

• Storage, storage and more storage

You’ll need room to store all kinds of school supplies and equipment for sports and other back-to-school activities. Adding a mudroom to your home is an excellent way to organize all that extra stuff. However, if that’s not quite within the household layout or budget for this year, you could construct an artful arrangement of wall cubbies, shelving and/or coat hooks to pinch hit.

• Art gallery

Designate one wall as a gallery area to show off all the handmade artwork your children bring home. Paint a subtle background color, and change the display regularly. Afterward, stash any particularly beloved sketches or finger paintings in a convenient cabinet. That way, you run less risk of children’s artwork gobbling up your refrigerator.

• Family command center

A potential school year sanity saver might be a family command center. Build your own; then fit it out with such staples as a master calendar for coordinating everyone’s activities; and a dry erase white board or chalkboard for urgent messages, and doodles. Stock the latter with plenty of washable markers or colorful chalk.

• Decluttered kitchen

Set up your kitchen to make it a breeze for you to pack nutritious, appealing lunches and rustle up quick snacks. Hang an accessible shelf in your pantry or on the inside of a cabinet door, as the perfect place for bags and containers. Position it at kid height if you are in the process of teaching your youngsters to prep their own meals … and be sure to stock the fridge with lots of fresh, healthy finger foods. Baby carrots, anyone?

• Cozy corner

Back-to-school time tends to mean that everyone in the household will be even busier than ever. But don’t sacrifice the closeness you felt as a family over vacation (we hope!). Here’s a top priority home improvement: Establish some place to pursue a common interest in those precious hours between home time and bedtime. How about an indoor herb garden to plant together or a cozy storytelling nook?

—Laura Firszt | More Content Now

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