It’s August, a time where summer is winding down and back-to-school is on many people’s minds. It can be a hectic time of year, but with some preparation and organization, homeowners can create spaces to make life a little easier. Members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 51 years, offer home improvement tips to prepare the home for the upcoming school year.
1. Create a homework spot. Whether it’s a space in the kitchen or a separate den, select an area where the kids can spread out their assignments, use the computer, and concentrate. Include seating, drawers and bookshelves for storage for supplies, a printer, a desk, and other essentials for projects and homework.
2. Reorganize closet space. Families will need a place to stock up on school supplies. Spruce up and organize the closets with shelving and drawers. It’s also an opportunity to overhaul the kids’ bedroom closets, determining items to keep, toss, or donate.
3. Designate a calendar area. One child may be in drama club and another has soccer practice. Make sure everyone is on the same page by creating a central location, such as the kitchen, mudroom, or laundry room, to put a calendar or leave messages. Hang a bulletin board, include a dry erase or chalkboard, create a “mail station,” and more.
4. Focus on lighting. The right lighting is more important than people might think, especially in study or work areas around the home. It’s essential to focus on ambient (general) and task lighting. Table lamps, floor lamps, and other portable lighting offer illumination for tasks, such as reading or writing, which require more light than the general glow in a room. Also, make sure to include recessed lighting or wall sconces, which can serve as both ambient and task lighting.
5. Consider a breakfast nook. A healthy breakfast can be essential to a successful day, so create a breakfast nook to encourage the kids to eat before they head out the door. In the afternoon, kids can also do homework in this area or gather there to talk about their days. Add comfortable seating, such as a built-in bench, extra kitchen storage, a table, and other elements to make it inviting and functional.
6. Choose a place for backpacks and coats. Avoid morning chaos by creating a spot for backpacks, coats, shoes, hats, and other school necessities. A mudroom with lockers is a popular option, and each family member has his or her own area to neatly store belongings.
7. Have fun! Give the kids a space to unwind and socialize with friends. An activity or arts and crafts room is ideal for younger children’s play dates. A finished lower level or “bonus room” is a great space for teenagers. Include a snack bar, games, home theater, or other entertaining features for them and their friends.
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.