Closet Organizers and Organization Experts Give "Back to School" Tips

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Go ahead. 
Spend all you want on gorgeous home décor, fixtures and furniture. It’s fun to fix up your home. It’s a smart investment! But if your shiny new hardwoods are constantly crusted in mud or your elegant couches are forever piled with backpacks, you can’t enjoy the fruits of your home improvement efforts.
If you have a school-age child (or, gasp, more than one!) you know how their school stuff can absolutely bury your home and disrupt its peaceful beauty.  
So we asked some Atlanta professional organizers to give our readers some great tips on how to keep their homes organized, orderly and oh-so-stress free.
 

Kid’s Bedroom Chaos
Katina Hand: An easy way to organize and create a functioning, organized bedroom for kids/teens is to ensure that all of the child’s belongings have a “home.” Organizing bins and over-the-door shoe organizers both can serve as great storage for clothing, toys, school supplies and much more. It is very important to label each bin and each pocket of the over-the-door shoe organizer either with pictures (for younger children) or words to help them recognize where their belongings are to be stored. 
 
Scattered Study Area 
Terri Stephens: Set up a designated study area with the right equipment and supplies. A desk (or table) with enough space to spread out, a comfortable chair and good lighting are all a must. 
Keep school supplies in desk drawers or handy organizers so they’re not spread out all over the desktop. Get rid of as much visual clutter as possible and keep only what is needed in front of you when studying.  
Limit distractions by turning off the TV and phone. Try playing rain sounds or soft music (without lyrics) in the background to enhance concentration.
 
Bustling Bathroom 
Danielle Carney: When there is a shared bathroom space, I like to use the dorm room approach (aka, when children have their personal items in a portable caddy). That way, there is no confusion about whose toothbrush is whose. To make it more interesting for the children, let them decorate their caddy with markers and stickers. The added benefit is that this habit will be ingrained in them for when they go to college.
Linda Lanier and Michelle Cooper: Assign certain drawers and cabinets per child. Then have each child organize their items the way he/she would like and set agreed upon rules. For instance, if one child tends to leave all of his/her items all over the counter to the frustration of another sibling, then they need to discuss and reach some solutions on what is and is not acceptable. Middle territory should be used for storing items for everyone, such as toilet paper, shampoo, cleaning products, etc. Clear shoe bins are great to stack in the deep drawers or cabinets—one for nail polish, one for hair accessories, one for travel/spend the night items. Also, two-tiered pull-out bins are good for deodorant, contact lens solution and the like.
 
Mudroom Muddle
Danielle Carney:  A mudroom is a great place to organize by type of item or by person. I suggest designating a bin for each person to store all of their items in. If there are smaller children, make sure you vary the heights of hooks so that they can hang their own jackets.   
Gigi Miller: Think about adding a magnetic board to display notes for the kids, artwork and pictures. Another option is to look for an all-in-one entry cabinet or system that meets all your needs. 
Linda Lanier and Michelle Cooper: Baskets for shoes are always helpful (if this is an item that piles up). And a family calendar showing everyone’s activities, as well as family commitments, is a must.
 
Sports Shambles
Linda Lanier and Michelle Cooper: Create a designated place in the garage for the sports items so that they are not mixed in with excess household items, gardening tools, etc. Mount as much as you can on the wall. An inexpensive trash can is a great way to store bats or tennis rackets. Plastic shelving with labeled bins or baskets for each sport is a way to keep items separated.
Gigi Miller: Here are three steps to help combat the sports clutter and create organizational systems and routines your family can easily maintain.
Step 1:  Gather all the sports items into one place so you can take inventory of what you own. This is a great opportunity to declutter. Toss out old or broken items and donate anything that is still in good shape to a local charity. 
Step 2: Sort items into categories such as soccer, ballet, swimming and so on.  
Step 3:  Contain the items by using backpacks, gym bags or even bins/baskets. The key is to have everything you need for each activity all in one place. Label the bag or container and store it in a designated place in your entryway or mudroom.
Danielle Carney: I like to segregate items by sport or equipment type. Try using big bags (such as the inexpensive IKEA bags) and hook them on the wall. This way they are off the floor and easy to grab on your way out to practice.
 
RESOURCES
Hand in Hand Organizing  |  Katina Hand  |  HandInHandOrganizing.com
Life Management Service, LLC   |  Danielle Carney   |  LifeManagementService.com
Put It There Professional Organizing   |   Linda Lanier and Michelle Cooper   |  Put-It-There.com
Real Order Professional Organizing, LLC   |  Terri Stephens  |  TheRealOrder.com
Vision Organizing, LLC  |  Gigi Miller   |  VisionOrganizing.com
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