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The end of summer vacation brings a lot of mixed feelings, doesn’t it?

Everyone has to get back on their school schedules, and sometimes it can feel like the days are a little more…hollow.

 

Of course, this sort of spare time can actually be a huge benefit. Think back to all the things you wanted to get done over the summer but just didn’t have time to do—now that the kids aren’t underfoot all day, you just might have the time now!

To help keep you focused and productive (and to make the most of any time you may have around the house these days), here’s a few projects you can undertake while the kids are in class:

 

Clean out the car: If you’re the sort to take road trips over summer break, or if you’re the parent that always got stuck driving everyone to the pool, you probably wound up with a lot of crud in your car. One morning when you have some time (and a few extra trash bags), grab all of the water bottles, soda cans, food wrappers, and anything else that may still be lingering in the back (or passenger) seats and clean your car up.

 

Donate old clothes: Chances are good that your kids have outgrown a lot of their stuff from the last school year, and even if it isn’t due to growth there might be some clothes languishing in a closet that’s no longer “in style” (which is just as important to kids these days as it was back in your day, we promise). Talk to your kids to figure out what’s still in their bedroom dressers that they’re not going to wear anymore, and after it’s all sorted out, take a drive over to the nearest thrift store to drop it off and help it find new homes.

 

Prepare a new study area: Most of the house was probably given over to the clutter and chaos of fun during summer break, but with the return of school comes the inevitability of homework. If your kids have a dedicated area for studying and reviewing homework, be it a spot in the den, part of the dinner table, or even their very own desk in their bedroom, make sure it’s cleaned up and ready to work. Relocate or toss out any of the toys, games, and distractions that accumulated on this space while it wasn’t in use and provide some new school supplies like notebooks and pencils, maybe in a little desk organizer to stop it from getting so messy next time.

 

Unpacking from vacation: Let’s be honest, it usually takes a while to fully unpack from any big summer trips. This is a great time to go back through your luggage and find things like swimsuits, sleeping bags, souvenirs, and camping supplies that never quite found a home. Then, figure out if you’re keeping them, and if so where it has to go. (Might need to make some room on your garage shelves for whatever you wind up keeping.)

 

Put away the summer supplies: It’s a sad (and oddly symbolic) gesture, but a great way to help get more in the spirit of the season and cut down on excess clutter that’s helped to pile up over the last few months is to take everything that’s real “summery” and get it put away safely. Think about everything you’re not going to need much over the next few seasons even if you’re in a warm September and then find a home for it. Sports equipment can go in that box in the garage or on special sports equipment storage, bikes can get hung up on bike racks to free up space and keep them safe while they’re not in use, camping gear can get stored on something rust proof (like wire shelves) down in the basement, and all the squirt guns and pool toys can get put away for later. Making sure everything is cleaned up and out of sight will help you get in the right headspace for the coming school year and the changing seasons.

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