In a 25-year study, University of Michigan researchers found that kids who grew up in homes where common areas were rated “clean” or “very clean” stayed in school longer and then earned more money than those raised in dirty homes. It’s not cleanliness per se, but keeping things in order that impacts children. The study showed that there is significant evidence that factors such as organization and efficiency play a role in determining academic and financial success. Now that the kids have settled into their school year, why not see if your/their organizing skills need a “tune-up”? These ten tips can help:

1. Plan together. Family meetings are an integral part of learning to organize time, set priorities and plan ahead. Make time on a weekly basis to look at the family calendar. As kids bring home a note about an event, transfer the information to the calendar so everyone in the household can see planned activities at a glance. Use different colored pens for each family member.
2. Put their names on everything: backpacks, books, jackets, lunchboxes, etc.
3. Prepare each evening for the next day. Pick out clothes and shoes, pack lunches, set out breakfast and place backpacks by the door, ready to go. Make an out-the-door checklist. Note everything they need to take to school and post it on the door.
4. Place a rack near the door for outerwear and a shelf or mat for shoes. Have kids deposit their coats, hats, gloves and shoes upon entering. Have them sort through their backpacks and organize all materials and books. Provide a designated place where they can place anything for parents’ review. This will avoid lost or neglected homework assignments, misplaced papers and school notices.
5. Teach kids to keep a notebook with them to write down all assignments and tasks for every class along with their due dates.
6. Kids often don’t realize how long a task can take from start to finish. They can learn to manage time by listing all their responsibilities (in that notebook!): chores, homework, soccer practice, etc. and how much time each will take.
7. Create a filing system for school papers; there will be a lot of paper! Make copies of frequently used parental release forms/permission slips.
8. Discuss what books can be kept at home as references and which need to be returned to school. Misplaced textbooks can impact grades, and a lighter backpack means less back strain.
9. Make sure kids have a well-lit place to do homework. Don’t let them study in front of the television or in an area where they will be distracted. And try to set up consistent study/homework times. Kids need routines!
10. Give them chores. Teachers report that kids who regularly do chores at home are more responsible in the classroom.

Proponents of the Montessori teaching method have worked for more than 100 years with children as young as 18 months to introduce them to sequential, organized behavior. What location is to real estate, organization is to school work!

Author's Bio: 

Rosemary Chieppo has been a professional organizer, writer and public speaker since 1999. The costs of not being organized are enormous: time, money and stress. Organizing is the greatest gift people can give themselves; it clears the path to life’s more important destinations! Visit Rosemary's website at