Before the new school year begins, take stock of how your home design supports a back-to-school schedule switch-up. Between keeping track of team uniforms, packed lunches and homework assignments, your home has to work hard to get back into the school zone — and each room has an important job to do. Here’s how to make sure they’re all doing what they can to make back to school that much easier.

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School Tough Mudder

The mudroom (or foyer) is the gatehouse of the home after school. It’s where you take off your wet coats, throw down laden backpacks and remove muddy shoes. Having a special spot where everything goes minimizes front-door clutter and makes it easier to find what you need when rushing for the bus each morning. Keep it clear, and label hooks and cubbies with kids’ names to let them know what goes where.

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Not-So-Strange Bedfellows

To keep early-morning school runs going smoothly, set up each child’s bedroom to maximize efficiency… even when they’re blurry eyed and (slightly) belligerent. A bedside table with a self-illuminating wakeup light can make morning-time a lot less jarring, while an easy-to-access dresser with clearly labelled drawers can expedite getting dressed. Back to school means back to a regular routine—but it doesn’t have to be a rude awakening.

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Kitchen Confidential

Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, it’s a great spot to find a spare corner and piece of wall to set up a family command centre. Head to the craft store and pick up supplies such as a large wall calendar, a floating shelf, chalkboard paint, clipboards, folder holders, magnet board, erasable markers and anything else you might need to put together an attractive area dedicated to taking down disorder. An appointment calendar, chore assignments and school forms all live here, ready for the school season.

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Bath Bomb

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a house with an en suite bathroom attached to each bedroom (that is, really lucky), you’ll be sharing a bathroom with family members. If space allows, installing Jack and Jill sinks allows for more than one person to use the bathroom at once: brushing teeth, washing faces and fixing hair just got a lot faster. Organizational accessories like wall-mounted basket shelves or wheeled cabinets also really help keep each individual’s products, brushes and hair ties all in one spot, to reduce chaos and make rushed mornings just a little bit easier.

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Wash ‘n’ Dash

As soon as classes ramp up (and the temperature dips), so too does the volume of household laundry. School clothes, gym kits and sports uniforms make the hamper heap higher than ever. Examine your laundry area and see if systemic or structural improvements can be made. If you’ve been thinking of installing an overhead drying rack, a long countertop for folding or a set of clothes-basket cubicles, now’s the time to do it. Plus, if your kids are old enough to lift a laundry basket, they’re old enough to turn on a washing machine — time to start training.

When back to school season hits, there’s a lot to think about: school supplies, class schedules and family meal planning. Make sure your home design and organization systems are ready to take on the change in daily routine.

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