WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Back-to-school season needs an organizer's eye most any year, but the current circumstances under the pandemic have made things that much more complicated for families.
Professional organizer Korinne Kubena Belock is the founder of Urban Simplicity. She's recently helped us tackle organizing our closets during a pandemic and keeping our home's key spaces cleaner and healthier healthier through organizing.
She said any time you have a major change in your schedule or life, it's time to consider how to organize your space to reflect your needs.
One of the first steps to getting organized is to get clear on a schedule that works best for your family.
"I think flexibility is really the key here, which can be tough, especially with kids," she explained.
Belock said it helps to plan and come up with a working schedule before you're in the throes of the year. Home schooling will likely follow a different schedule from a typical day at a brick-and-mortar school. A family must balance working from home with the needs of the child.
"Really talking to your spouse before going to the children and saying, 'Look, my key working time is 9 to 12 and yours is 5 to 7, so how do we make that a shared responsibility?'"
Once you have the parents' schedules on the calendar, add the specifics of a child's Zoom calls.
She suggests you also throw in some fun on the calendar with safe field trips for the family to open zoos or parks, or themed days at home.
Belock suggests you make the most of the space in your home to carve out a work space for each child, with their own supplies and landing spots. A nook or an unused closet can work wonders. A currently empty guest room might allow a child a work space away form his or her sleeping quarters.
She pointed to some designed spaces by Shira Bess Interiors, a business based in Palm Beach County.
"It's a super simple desk setup," Belock explained. "Obviously, you've got your monitors, but you have these beautiful chairs that your kids can sit in. They look like they're pretty durable, so that's also a plus. The other thing is, she's taken what are office filing cabinets and somehow worked them well into the space."
She points to some products that can lasso the supplies and materials for each child in the family. Using wall space vertically can wrangle necessary items into one landing zone, like a product from the company Poppin.
"It has these ledges and pockets where you can have your supplies at hand, and that just goes a long way from, like, searching for the scissors or the dry erase pens, just having everything as simple as possible," Belock said.
One of the most challenging areas for any family can be the paper that accumulates from school and art projects. Belock suggests that each child have an inbox or bin for their school papers that might be saved or discarded.
"And then as a parent, it is on you to periodically go through that," she said. "So I always say maybe the six-week period, or maybe it's a monthly. Or what I always love about a bin is, once it's full, that's when you know it's time to review and purge."