5 Tips for the Back to School Routine


One thing I love about a new school year is, it’s new. We begin the year with all As, we get fresh notebooks, new teachers, and get to start again. It’s also a great time to adopt a few new habits surrounding the school routine to help stay on top of the schedule, the clutter, the schoolwork, and to encourage your kids to have their best year yet. We’ve compiled a few tips to get your year off on the right foot!

5 Tips to Streamline the Back to School Routine!

Image:  Magnolia

Image: Magnolia

1 . An Established Landing Space

This will look different in every home, entirely dependent on your home’s layout. This is an area that should be relatively close to the entry and exit point used each morning. Landing spaces can be useful to collect bookbags and store to-do baskets. Think of this as the command center of the morning on the way out the door. Check out this blog by Joanna Gaines for tips on how locker baskets can be used in your landing space!


2 . Routine Checklists for the Littles

Printable checklists ( laminated or put behind a glass for use with a dry erase ) can be so helpful to guide littles along their new morning routines, this gives them a sense of ownership of their morning and you can still be directly involved to keep them on track.

*We’ve created these two printable options as a framework to your morning routine!


3. Streamlined Schedules for the Big Kids

For kiddos that aren’t exactly kiddos anymore, a virtual approach could keep the entire family on board the same ship! Google calendar app can be a great option for synchronizing sports schedules, events, and the heavier after school schedule that the teen sports/club years can come with.

Another option is a centralized large chalkboard or dry erase calendar in the home. This is a great addition to the landing space or command center and can be a great reminder when headed in or out the door each day. There are definitely pros and cons to each calendaring options, find what works best for your people.


4 . Art & Schoolwork Management

A great habit to adopt for school work brought home is “touch it once!” If the assignment is a worksheet or test from class that has no emotional connection to your child, and your child is ready to let go, after acknowledgment of their efforts and skill they now have by doing the practice, it goes to the recycle bin immediately.
As for artwork, a great rule of thumb for what to keep is to see if you can see the unique work of your own child in each piece. Once that decision is made, a clear Rubbermaid tote with your child’s name and school year(s) can be used if originals want to be kept.
Another option we love is ARTKIVE. ARTKIVE lets you send in all the originals to be professionally photographed and bound into a hardback book or a framed piece!


5 . Designated Homework Areas

This can be such a stress reliever in many ways encouraging productivity, organization, and quality of work. Establishing a homework zone can communicate the same thing to a child as “going to the office” can for an adult. You set the tone for their work flow and focus by designating study areas. This can be as simple as a lazy susan with cups of supplies easily moved to the middle of a table, or as established as a study nook in the home. Wherever the investment, the reward will be worth it!  

Choose Your Absence


This was the title to chapter 16 of the book that’s been hovering on my nightstand for the last few weeks and it got me. Mrs. Freeman had me at the title.

As some of you know, we’ve been doing some revitalizing over here at Help You Dwell. To be honest, we had some pretty major leadership shifts that rocked my little world. Back in May, our sweet Katie Martin, HYD’s first ever employee, left our team as she and her husband prepare to relocate to London next month. We are beyond thrilled for this incredible opportunity for them but my heart still aches a little in losing one of my favs from our crew.

Soon after, the organizer of the organizers, Kellye, our office admin, had an awesome opportunity to reunite with her family up in Virginia after a long time away and made the move back home. She was such an incredible asset to our team in creating systems and smart, efficient ways to communicate with the team and clients and did it all with such grace and love like few people I know.

Then in mid-July, sweet Ada Jane joined the world and Caroline became a mama of 2 under 2 and clearly has her hands very full. Thankfully everyone is doing so well and Hank is slowly learning that Ada isn’t going away and from now on he’ll have to share his mommy & daddy. : )

And just like that, summer came and my kids were home from school and I was steering the HYD ship by myself. Or trying. It wasn’t going so well.

In the 5+ years that HYD has been serving clients, none of us have ever done it alone. Caroline and I had each other from day one, so I had no practice in making decisions without a partner. I have no doubt that “it takes a village.” But here I was flying solo and our lovely clients still needed us and all my incredible organizers and packers still were eager to get into homes and work their magic.

By the time July rolled around, I knew something had to change. I had some big conversations with God at this point about how to best care for HYD and for myself. With the counsel of dear friends and family, we decided to rest. HYD took a short and sweet break from taking on new clients, from marketing, social media, presenting, blogging, and just reflected.

We chose our absence, as Emily P. Freeman, so eloquently talks about in her book, The Next Right Thing. She articulated exactly what I knew to be true as we pulled back the reins and chose to be absent for a bit.

Choose your absence so that your presence will have more impact.
— Emily P. Freeman

These last few weeks of stepping back from HYD have been a gift. Personally, I’ve been much more present with my own life in lots of ways, but what has been such a wonderful surprise is that I’ve also been able to see how much more HYD has to offer. Help You Dwell is its own entity. Caroline and I have always felt that the company was given to us to steward and share with others. That’s one reason we’ve had over 20 folks work for us over the last 5 years. It’s a service to share, share with employees and share with clients. It was never meant for just us.

I’m not sure I would have come to this realization had we not chosen our “absence.” This season of rest has created a great joy and excitement in me to continue growing HYD in a way that allows more people to find order and peace in their homes, their workspaces, during the moving process, or through a transition of losing a loved one or an estate transition. HYD’s current team of organizers and packers is incredible. The life experience and creativity paired with the work ethic and servant hearts of these ladies still blows me away. There is work to do and HYD is ready to do it.

So here we go, again. It’s a reset for HYD. Thanks to so many of you who have been here all along and to those of you who just discovered HYD. We look forward to helping you dwell.


Much love —

Creating an ongoing wish list

I often find that when my birthday, Christmas, or Mother’s Day comes around, I have such a hard time thinking of things that I would like to receive as a gift. I’m not alone when it comes to having a hard time thinking of gift ideas on the spot— enter the ongoing wish list. Whether you create a Pinterest board, a registry, or simply a list on your phone, having a specific place to keep track of items that you would like at a variety of price ranges can come in super handy. In the same spirit—- we’ve found that keeping a running list of things to gift to others makes birthdays and holidays much easier. If you hear a loved one mention off hand that they would love to have something or if you have an idea for someone when it’s not close to a gift giving time, jot it down in a note so that you have quick ideas when the time comes. Pay attention when you are out with friends and family and notice what they consider buying or linger over in various stores. Keeping these ongoing lists will reduce the stress and scramble when you remember 3 days before a birthday that you need to get a present for someone you love.

What about you? Do you keep an ongoing wish list? Here are a few things on ours if you want to see…

  1. These Linen and Cotton Bowl covers from Food 52. Double win— they are beautiful and help reduce single use plastic at the same time!


2. These awesome one of a kind wind chimes <3<3<3


3. Personalized address labels


5. These lovely watering cans from Terrain.