You know how it goes. Kids run in the door. Backpacks land on the floor, half-zipped.
Shoes kick off, jackets float to the ground.
Lunchbox goes ... somewhere.
Any important papers they’ve been holding on to since they left class? Under alllll that. Maybe on the front porch or in the mailbox after checking for mail (I’m not suggesting I was ever guilty of this, just that it’s a possibility).
My solution? A school wall.
This is different from a designated homework or study space -- so it doesn’t include desks and other pieces of furniture that they’ll need. Those pieces can go in their rooms. And it’s not going to prevent the initial home-arrival chaos, but it WILL help get everything pieced back together and organized.
Here are some suggestions for creating the ideal school wall:
The first step is to find a centrally located “wall” that both you and your kids can easily see. A weird tiny wall will work. Or designate a section of wall in the kitchen, hallway, or even playroom. If you don’t want to use a wall at all, make use of the side of your fridge or cabinets. The most important thing is to have a space where you can put everything related to school together.
Chalkboard or dry erase paint -- Paint an oversized calendar onto the wall with squares big enough to accommodate due dates, special events, and test schedules. If they're old enough, let your kids do the filling in each night.
Hooks -- Decorative or plain, temporary or permanent, use hooks to hang book bags, lunch totes, and jackets. Even the removable hooks these days are sturdy enough to hang a book-bag on -- and you aren’t just limited to plain-jane white anymore.
Hanging folder bins -- Personalized for each kid, this is where they can dump homework folders, papers to be signed, and other detritus from the school day. Look for deals on hanging magazine racks -- IKEA is a good place, as is Wal-mart (though I usually dress up my Wal-mart racks with paint).
Corkboard -- Hang a regular cork bulletin board or get a little more creative, cutting sheets of cork into monograms or cool shapes. These can even be painted (a great way to get your kids involved) before being hung. Cool pushpins will keep A+ papers and new art in place -- and encouraging notes to your kids.
Pocket wall organizer -- Perfect because they have a narrow profile, but enough substance to hold clipboards, calculators, and other small essentials. This one from See Jane Work is made of metal, so you can also use magnets to hang VIPs (Very Important Papers).