It’s that time of year again . . . BACK to SCHOOL time for the kids and back to a regular schedule for you. Back-to-school shopping is likely on your to do list, or the kids are already begging to play in their new school shoes. Everyone in the house has been dreaming of either trapper keepers, protractors or peace and quiet. The kids are ready and you can’t wait! But what about your home? As always, Connell’s has you covered! Keep reading for tips to control clutter, create functional space and manage your home during the hectic and exciting back-to-school time.

Start with the entryway. Count the number of times you’ve been in a hurry and couldn’t find the keys, or one of the kids couldn’t find his homework! If this sounds familiar, say it with me: start with the entryway. The foyer or room where you enter and leave your home can and should be the most organized space in your abode. First and foremost, it’s the initial impression of your home altogether. Second, if this space is organized and holds all the essentials ready to go, everyone is golden! Depending on space, install hooks for coats, bags and umbrellas. Set up cubbies for shoes and other small items. Hang shelves for books. Place a cabinet, desk or end table with a drawer or two for keys, pens, pencils, and other items within easy reach.

Organize a specific “homework zone.” Habits normally take three weeks to form and most kids are into school at the beginning of the school year. Setting up a designated homework space will help the kiddos get off to great habits right from the start. Place a desk, comfortable chair, computer (if age appropriate), paper, pens, pencils, shelves and anything else useful in the area and ask that the kids work from this space specifically when reading and completing school work. The space can be in your child’s room or another place in the home as long as it is quiet and relatively free of distractions – NO television!

All work and no play makes for both boring adults and kids! Have you ever thought about a “relaxation station” in your home? Maybe it’s your living room, family room, or some other neutral area. Wherever you decide, the rule is relaxation! Some “must haves” for this room  include a comfy sofa, loveseat or sectional, lots of pillows, low lighting, access to music, and storage for games and other forms of entertainment. Relax with the kids in the evening so they can wind down and get a good night’s sleep!

Make the kitchen accessible and inviting. For the kids to do well in school, a balanced diet is essential. Make snacks healthy and within easy reach after school. Lunchboxes and thermoses should be stored in a place the kids can easily grab them. Teach the kids how to pack their own lunch, including all of the major food groups.

Your home is ready now! These are just a few ideas to get you started. Come up with more ideas of your own and share them with us on Facebook, then stop in to one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon or Newark today for beautiful home furnishings and great values every day!