School Daze

House Calls
By Amy Ross

This is the time of year when there is more stuff and there are more papers coming into your home than you know what to do with! For those of you with school age children you are going school shopping for new clothes to replace the “old” or things they have outgrown, and also things like supplies, new lunchboxes and backpacks. Then we are inundated with school packets, planners, medical forms, insurance, PTO fundraising, Picture forms, Market Day, Lunch menus…

The first two weeks if school makes MY head spin and if you aren’t organized it can really overwhelm you.

Before that school shopping, go through the closets and donate last year’s clothes. If you have saved every paper from the last school years, its time to PURGE! I always start going through the closets and drawers and pitching and piling for the appropriate places.

Routines not only make great practice, they create habits that can grow with children through adulthood. Have a designated drop off zone – for when they come home and to have everything ready for the next day. Closest to the door is always recommended. If you are lucky enough to have cubbies, separate bins or even hooks with their names above them – that’s great! As long as everyone knows the rules.

Homework first! Get as much done as possible before any activities – then anything other than homework, have a basket or bin or the same spot on the same table, for any papers that as parents we need to see or act on.

I like to do what I call having STAFF meetings with my papers:

Sort – just go through the papers as you take them out of the backpacks
Toss – any papers that you don’t want or need to keep
Act – if you need to sign something or fill out a form then do so immediately or put it in the ACT pile for a time later when you can do so
File – some papers go to their permanent home, in a file folder, bin or drawer designated for each child
Find it again – that is making sure you take those few minutes to put it in its proper place, and not only somewhere that YOU can fid it but anyone that might need to find that information.
So, once the homework is done, the papers are signed, the lunch money is in its envelope, at the end of the evening before bed everything goes in reverse! The papers that need returned to school go in the folder for the teacher, the homework or project goes back in the backpack and everything that goes with it – shoes, jacket, etc. gets put back by the door, ready to go for the next day!

So you may not have school age children? This also works with adults at any life stage -Briefcases, keys, cell phones, all should have their place. So check your routine in the morning and see where you can take a few steps to make life a little easier as you head out the door…

If you have an odd or interesting item to dispose of, but you just don’t know where to take it? Write to Amy Ross at House Calls and we’ll put you in touch with the right resource.

Amy Ross is an Interior Consultant and owner of …Er Designs: specializing in Professional Organizing, Interior Redesign, Real Estate Staging, Move-In/Relocation Services, Color & Space Planning. For your personal space solutions call Amy: 724-575-2880 or Visit

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