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How to organize your home for a successful school year

When it comes to getting your kids ready for school, saving time is key, according to professional organizer Nicole Yankowski.

HOUSTON — The thought of getting your home organized for back to school might seem like a lot, but turns out it can be done quite easily and on a budget.

But where we do we start and how do we do it?

Nicole Yankowski, owner of Space to Breathe, is a professional organizer. When it comes to getting your kids ready for school, she said saving time is key.

Here are some of her “get up and go morning tips.”

First, create a morning routine checklist for your kiddos.

“For us adults, it's easy to remember what we need to do in the mornings, like brush our teeth, but for kids not so much, so an actual checklist helps them be independent and take care of themselves and it helps parents from having to repeat over and over again each day, what they need to do," Yankowski said.

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Checklists don't have to be fancy. A cost-free option is to just print one.

"For smaller kids, you'd probably want to use lots of pictures if they're not good at reading words yet,” she said. “For kids who like to check things off, you might want to use a dry erase board."

Another big-time saver is to pick out your children's school clothes for the week on the weekend with them.

"And this can be done by using an organizer like this, so we decide what we want to wear and then we put Monday through Friday’s clothes in each bin," she said.

But if a bin doesn't work for you, Yankowski said you can buy hanger connectors to hold outfits together. A pack of 60 will cost you just under $10 on Amazon or simply use a rubber band.

If your kiddos like a packed lunch, Yankowski said to save time in the kitchen by creating a “lunch-making station.”

"For me, it's a cabinet, it could be a pantry space, but they have one place to go where they can get everything, they need, including lunch boxes, water bottles, containers they can put their little yummy things in,” she said.

Yankowski recommends storing foods in clear plastic bins so kids can easily see and grab what they need.

"So, you have things for sandwiches, you have drinks, you have fruit, I would suggest if you had something like blueberries, that you go ahead and put them into containers for kids to grab that's very simple,” she said.

Bins can be bought she said for under $10 bucks at your local big box stores.

And finally, there's the “drop zone.”

“Something like this will help you and your kids. How many times have heard your kids say, ‘I don't have a pencil, where's my hoodie, I don't know where my backpack is,’” she said.

It's why she suggests hanging your kids' backpacks and jackets near the home entrance, ready to go.

But if a furniture piece like this is too pricey, she said you can DIY using sticky hooks and a cube organizer.

She created one look for about $100 about, a budget-friendly option that still gets the job done.

she said if it feels a bit overwhelming, not to worry, just pick one or two to start and you can customize it to your family’s needs.

Michelle Choi on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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