How to Prepare Your Home for Back-to-School

July is almost over, and that means it’s time for back-to-school in Houston. Like many families, yours probably isn’t ready to give up those long summer days just yet, but you can help get your home ready for back-to-school with these easy home improvement tips.

Keep reading to learn how simple cleaning, organizing and even some professional services like pressure washing services can help make your back-to-school season a success.

Spiff up high-traffic areas

In your home, there is a route that nearly everyone in your family takes when they get home after school or work. It could be through your front door or garage and through a mudroom or right into the kitchen. That is your high-traffic area, one that is most likely to become dirty and clutter because it is used to much. Before school starts, you need to make this high-traffic area more efficient.

Start by making any repairs needed in this space. Is there a closet door that doesn’t shut correctly because the handle is broken? Repair it. Is there a crack in the tile or a large gap under the door that lets cold air and pests come in and out? Fix them. When everything is working and repaired, your family members will be less likely to toss their belongings to the side when they get home. Instead, they’ll hang up their coats in the closet and put shoes away.

Next, it’s time to give this spot a deep clean. Give the floors a good scrub to take off the dirt that gets tracked in from shoes. Clear off benches and table tops. If your washer and dryer sit next to each other in the mudroom, clean off the tops and put everything away. These are often tight spaces, so you’ll be surprised by how open it feels when all the clutter is gone.

Now these high-traffic areas will likely be dirty again before you know it — there are a lot of people going in and out of your home, after all — so look for easy ways to reduce clutter and dirty moving into your home. Place a shoe rack and indoor/outdoor rug near your garage door and have everyone store their shoes outside. That will track less dirt into your home. You can also place the shoe rack an indoor/outdoor rug inside your mudroom if that’s easier. Indoor/outdoor rugs are made for high-traffic areas, and they can be tossed in the washing machine when needed. 

Create an organization system

Almost every parent has experienced one of these scenarios at least once: You get a phone call from your kid asking you to drop off a piece of forgotten homework at school. Or you find out about a field trip or school project the day before it happens.

These accidents happen to every family, but you can help set your family up for success by creating an organization system for your family. This should include:

  • A calendar for tracking all major school events, field trips and breaks,
  • Folders or boxes for papers that need to be signed and returned to school, and
  • A bulletin board with push pins.

Your calendar should be big, so find one with large squares or even individualized lines for each person in the house. You can also use a white board with markers and magnets to make it fun for kids. This is where you’re going to keep track of everything going on at school and any after-school activities. You and your partner should also include your own schedules such as work functions or even doctor appointments. 

Near your calendar, create a filing system for papers that you need to see or sign. You can do this with either folders or in and out boxes. When they get home, your kids should unload any paperwork they need you to sign or see. When they go to bed, you can look at everything, sign it and place it in the out folder or box. In the morning, your kids can grab the papers on their way out the door.

While a calendar can be extremely helpful for day-to-day events, it can get crowded if you put every detail on it. Next to your calendar, hang a bulletin board and have your kids post lunch menus and other notices they might get from school or their extra curriculars. If your kid is going on a field trip and has a handout with the itinerary printed on it, this should hang next to your calendar while the date of the field trip should be marked on the calendar.

It can be tough to get everyone in your home to follow an organization system, so make sure you and your partner lead by example. Make sure you and your partner are marking important events on the calendar and using your mailbox system. When your kids see you two keeping organized, it will help them stay on track.

Clean out closets to plan for back-to-school clothes shopping

It happens every year, especially if you have younger children: Just when you think they’re good on clothes, they grow a few inches. It happens with every parent, and it can make back-to-school clothes shopping a little chaotic. You might think your kids’ jeans fit just right, but when you get back from the store, you realize they need new pairs — and stat!

One way to avoid this hectic scenario is to clean out closets and dressers before shopping for clothes. Not only do you cut down on clutter, but you also get to see what is in your child’s closet and what needs to be bought. Kids aren’t always great about telling parents when their socks have too many holes or their underwear needs to be replaced. If you’re the one cleaning out dressers, then you can see for yourself what needs to be replaced.

Go room by room and make two piles for clothing: one to be recycled and one to be donated. You can do this with or without your child, but you may want to tell your child you plan to get rid of certain shirts or outfits. You might be getting rid of something they love and want to keep. As you go through, write down who needs what for each kid. This will be your shopping list.

Recycle anything that is ripped or has holes and wash what you want to donate. While you can donate the clothes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, you can also donate it to a women’s or homeless shelter. Unfortunately, many kids go through shelters, but you can do some good by giving these shelters gently worn clothes. They’ll pass them on to parents who can’t afford to do a big back-to-school shopping trip.

Ease into a school sleep schedule with cleaning bedding

During the summer, your family probably got a bit off on the sleeping schedules. Your kids stayed up late for sleepovers and parties, and they slept in when there was no school first thing in the morning. This up-and-down sleeping pattern can be difficult to break when it’s time to get everyone up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school, but if you start it before school, you can make the transition easier.

Before school starts, wash all sheets, pillowcases, blankets and comforters. This will give your kids a fresh feel when they go to sleep. If anyone needs new sheets — or even a new bed if they’ve grown — make sure everything gets changed out before getting back into your school sleep schedule.

Two weeks before school starts, get kids into bed at their school-year time and start waking them up closer and closer to their school-year wake-up time. Have them start setting alarms so they get used to the noise in the morning, and don’t let them keep hitting the snooze button.

Invest in storage bins and containers for extra curriculars

There’s no doubt that papers and backpacks create clutter around your home, but that’s just the beginning. Wait until soccer practices, baseball games, music lessons, dance classes and other extracurriculars start. All those baseball mitts, sheets of music, dance shoes and other gear needs to go somewhere — otherwise it’s all going to be left all over your home.

Before school starts, you need to invest in a storage system for all of your kids extracurricular and sports gear. That way, everything gets put away when your child gets home, and when the soccer cleats or dance shoes are needed again the next morning, your child won’t be running around at the last second before the bus coming trying to remember when the item was last seen.

For sports bags and equipment, carve out a space in your garage for all sports-related gear. It can be a shelf your kids can reach or it can be a storage bin near your garage door. Make it easy to access so kids can drop off gear and go inside. When they go to bed, check your kids’ sports bags for anything that needs to be washed. You don’t want to let anything sweaty sit for too long.

You can also make space in your laundry room for uniforms. Choose a spot either in a closet or near your washing machine where clothes can hang. When your child gets home, have them change and hang their uniform on the hanger in the designated spot. This is your cue to make sure the uniform gets clean. When it’s ready, hang it back on the hanger so your child knows to grab it. This gets especially important for cheerleading uniforms that might need a dry cleaner, so get your kid in the habit of hanging any and all uniforms here — including just t-shirts — that need to be cleaned before a big event.

Why pressure washing services can help kick off a new school year

Once you have the inside of your home ready for back to school, it’s time to get the outside looking ready with pressure washing services.

All summer long, your home has endured rain storms and high temperatures, and as the weather starts to turn cooler, your siding, deck, driveway and fence might look a bit dingy and in need of a good wash. That’s where pressure washing services come in. 

We at Advantage Pro Services know how important pressure washing services can be to starting the school year off right. As all of that dirt builds up outside, it can easily be tracked inside when you have your kids coming and going more frequently. Dirt can also trap moisture, which will start to rot around your wooden deck or fence. With pressure washing services, you can blast that dirt away and everything looking clean.

Pressure washing services can also help you clean those hard-to-reach places outside your home, such as second floor windows. These windows may be streaked and dirty, making it hard to see out of them. With an expert in pressure washing services, you’ll have clean windows for the start of a new school year.

As summer break winds down, it can get stressful to get your home back into school-mode and even harder to get your kids ready for a new school year. That’s why it’s so important to get started early with back-to-school and get the house ready for a new school year. Once these home-improvement projects are complete and pressure washing services done, you’ll find that getting back into the groove of the school year is going to be a lot easier — and maybe even a little enjoyable.

Tell us: What’s the hardest part about going back to school for your family? Leave us a comment or tell us how our pressure washing services can get your home ready for another school year.

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