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How to keep school clutter under control

{Originally written for Kidspot}

Today I am tackling the kids school bags. This is a never ending saga! Where do I put them, how do I make sure the lunch boxes don’t start growing mould, how do I keep up with all the school notes?

With three boys, this isn’t an easy task. They aren’t clean freaks like their mother. They throw their bags around, refuse to unpack them and I am known to miss a note or two!

I always struggle with the idea on WHERE to keep them? I don’t want them hanging around the kitchen and I don’t want them in the kids’ bedrooms.

It really depends on the layout of your house as to where they go.

In my last house we had a walk-in-pantry, so the school bags lived in there (there was plenty of room). In this house my garage is off my kitchen, so they’ve found a neat little spot in there…

In the NEW house we’re building I’ve become super clever and built a spot for them in my laundry which is between the garage and the kitchen…

So the bags come in to the kitchen (from the garage) to be unpacked, then straight in to that storage room.

I think I’m very clever! I’ll make a shelf or a hanging spot and they sit hidden away there each night. No tripping over them in the kitchen, they don’t hang in the doorway and everything has a perfect spot.

Where do you keep yours? Have you got an even better idea? I’d love to see what you do with them! I only have 3 kids, so I’d love to know what larger families do with them.

As the boys head back to school, I thought they could do with a few new goodies for their school bags, so we popped over to Officeworks to stock up.

Notice the pink pencil case with MUM on it? That’s mine. My kids never put lids on things, they wreck everything and then we never have that black texta, or good scissors for the school project. I decided to make my own pencil case and my boys now have to ASK me to get anything out of it. Tricky hey?!

How do you keep up with their school notes? If your house is anything like mine I get at least 10 notes a week. Excursions, newsletters, anything-a-thon-donate-money, church… I have a good habit of pulling them straight out of their bags, reading them and binning the unnecessary clutter. I stick all the important ones straight on to my fridge (with my new magnetic clips!). This makes it easier to keep track of where we are up to. If I just pull them out of the bag and shove them straight in to a drawer I am positive I’ll forget about them. I need them visually in my face to remind me. Do you have a better suggestion? How do you manage?

Do you make your kids unpack their own bags? Do they re-pack them in the morning? Mine are good at packing them in the morning, but it’s like pulling teeth to get them to unpack them in the afternoon.

Are you always tripping over the school clutter? School will be back before we know it and I’m ready!


  • Le BHCH

    Hi Katrina … watch your magnetic clips don’t cause erosion on your SS fridge – they did at my mums in Brisbane – higher humidity there so you might be ok …

    We keep the kids bags in a hamper in the walkway/hall, like you I hate just having them hang round the place dumped on the floor – ick!! cheers Le xox

  • Caroline

    Good idea! Thanks for reminding me about school clutter – this hasn’t been much of an issue so far, but this year I’ll have two at school. We will have a huge bank of cupboards just off the kitchen in the new house, so I might dedicate one section for school bags, lunchboxes, hats, etc. xx

  • Simmone

    There’s nothing like finding that note that requires a batch of “beach themed” goodies (preferably healthy and homemade) 25 mins before you leave for school in the morning! School bags have too many pockets.

  • Deanne

    I would have a colour coded magnet for each child and then a separate one for general school stuff above this I would keep a calender and with the same colour as the magnet highlight the important dates you need to remember stuff for. That way it should be easy to see the date you need to remember something and then check the appropriate note.
    Not that I get notes for my kids seeing as we home school, but I have colour coded all their school stuff this year, so hoping this keeps the chaos a bit more organised! sorry for the novel;)

  • Cara

    Hi Katrina!
    As a Mum of 3 boys too PLUS a little princess the school clutter is a nightmare! Love the idea in the new house! ….will put that on my vision board!
    As far as the notices go, 2 years ago, i put clipboards (the old fashioned ones with the big old style bulldog clip!)up on the inside of my pantry and labeled them – 1 for each child – when important notices come home – I stick them on the relevant board!…and eventually clear them out!!! hahha….it can take me a while! But it holds everything! and the kids know to go there too for relevant timetables etc, house roster that sort of thing! Its been brilliant!
    Good Luck!
    Cheers Carax

  • kl

    I don’t think it matters where the bags are kept, just that there is a designated spot where they ‘sleep’! That way the children can getr into a home, unpack and put away routine.
    I’ve been a diary keeper for ever…everything goes into it immediately! As soon as I get that school note the info (excursion dates etc..) get written up and the note goes into a bulldog clip in pantry. When I see the diary reference I get the detailed note out to action then throw away. My 21 year old’s work roster, medical appointments, birthdays…EVERYTHING is in that diary and it lives open on the kitchen bench for all to use. Works well for me!
    Love your plan snippet….thinking through the DETAILS and minuate of HOW we live make creating practical homes so much easier. x KL

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