My high school kids are getting ready to go back to school. I want to create a better homework environment for them and also try to tackle their front door clutter before it overtakes my living room. What can I do to make my kid’s school life more productive and my home less of a mess when school starts?

Maria, Encinitas


Educational tools have certainly changed in the last decade. The old three foot desks aren’t large enough to hold the computers, printers, cell phones and oh yes, the books, that are a daily part of your teenager’s school life.

What kids need now is at least six feet of desk surface. This space will accommodate their computer and leave a large open surface for book studies, homework and special projects.
Stagger two-three shelves above the desk opposite the computer. Shelves that are12 inches deep will fit three ring binders, dictionaries and the printer.

A small drawer for tape, scissors and pens along with a file drawer will complete the study area. Consider teaching your kids a filing system this year. They will use this skill for years to come.
Regarding your front door drop zone; buy a decorative basket for each sibling. These baskets can live inside a cabinet or stand-alone by themselves. If you can persuade the kids to enter through the garage or carport, you can place the baskets there. Make sure these baskets are tall and vertical so your kids will drop their stuff into them. Don’t try to get them to place their packs on shelves. Kids love dropping their bags, so use this to your advantage. Baskets with handles will help transport their items to and from their rooms if necessary.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

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