Nine home hacks to beat back-to-school stress
Best in Class: Colour-coded towels, bulk food storage, and designs for decluttering
Outer hall design by Barker Associates Architecture
1. Hall of fame
It may still be August but the utterance of those three little words “back to school” kills the summer buzz stone dead. However some pre-term home planning will help dial stress levels down as your household makes the adjustment to the rhythm of the return. Start by investing in coat and schoolbag storage that gets these items off the hall floor. There are all sorts of clever built-in cabinetry options but if you’re lucky enough to have an outer porch this Crown Heights brownstone demonstrates a very stylish and easy-to-execute solution. Designed by Brooklyn-based Barker Associates Architecture office its entry vestibule has been lined in orange-yellow tiles from Brothers Cement Tile with the original inner door rehung and painted a deep gray. In Dublin try Best Tile for an affordable selection. baaostudio.com; cementtilecorp.com; besttile.ie
2. Give clutter the boot
In an ideal world every home would have a boot room. This simple render by Newcastle Design incorporates hanging space for coats, hats and scarves, a bench where you cans store schoolbags and sports equipment, and cubbyholes for footwear, especially helpful if you are one of the increasing number of households where you take off outer footwear and pad around the home in slippers of slip-free socks. It declutters the floor and helps to minimize potential trip hazards. Expect to pay around €9,500 for something similar.
3. Step up the storage
The space under a stairs can provide valuable extra storage, either free-standing or built in. Smart Storage’s deep roller drawers remain one of the best investment options. Its fitted units start from about €450 upwards and most under stairs will require more than one. If you want a more immediate solution then The Organised Store sell smart deep drawer systems that can accommodate large bulky items such as school bags and sports gear. Its Elfa mesh gliding drawer system includes a drawer 28.5cm deep that costs €76.99. Get one for every member of the household – including the dog so you can corral leads, balls and throw sticks. smartstorage.ie; organisedstore.ie
4. Be prepared
In bedrooms where floor space is tight the Pico bed from Argos (catalogue number 9340077) nails the storage conundrum. It features drawers and shelves within its base and foot end, as well as a neat hanging rail behind the headboard where kids can hang their uniform or clothing for the next day and learn how to plan ahead – that’s the theory at least. There’s also shelving space for an alarm clock, book and reading lamp. The light oak, two-tone design comes in two sizes; single, €310 and double €370, excluding mattress, and can be delivered to your home within five days or reserved online.
5. Get hooked
Depending on the number of washrooms you have in your home the bathroom in the morning is another congestion point. The drama of one household member hogging the space and indulging in long showers can cause ructions which goes some way to explaining it as a sit-com staple. While a heated towel rail is a delightful luxury it may not be able to accommodate all the household towels so invest in a simple hook system. This one pictured, €9.66, will arrive in Sostrene Grene stores on September 19th as will the stools, €34 each. Give every person living under your roof their own colour-coded towel, so you can tell at a glance which member of the family keeps leaving theirs on the floor.
6. Hydration station
You need a decent-looking bottle to install in plain sight to help remind you or your loved one to hydrate regularly. This stainless steel design by George Sowden for Hay, will gain you brownie points from both eco and in-the-know crowds for he was one of the founding members of the Memphis movement. It has a plastic screw lid and can be used for hot or cold drinks. It comes in two sizes and all the colours pictured and costs from about €31.50 for the 0.35 litre and €38 for the half-litre sizes. You can buy online from UK-based Made in Design or order from Industry & Co or Inreda Design.
madeindesign.co.uk; inreda.ie; industryandco.com
7. A good batch
Banish the lunchtime woes by batch cooking meals that you can then put in the freezer. Yes this kind of organisation eats into family time but if you rope the kids into helping you can teach them how to cook their own favourites like lasagna and shepherd’s pie into the bargain. These meals can then be stored in the Black + Blum stainless steel containers that multi-task as lunch boxes. These are reusable, oven safe, dishwasher friendly but not for use in a microwave. Each costs about €40 and you can buy from Avoca stores, Stock Design and Arnotts.
8. Ditch the digital
Ban devices from all bedrooms during the school week. Practise what you preach by including your own. Read a book or this paper instead and invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake you. This mid-century modern Widebody design has a silent tick and a digital bleep alarm. It comes with black or white face options and costs €50 from Harvey Norman stores.
9. Noise control
Noise levels go through the roof once school returns, especially when family congregates in the open-plan parts of a home. Each member is probably listening to music or playing games on his or her own device so gift each a set of Bluetooth headphones, €19.99, arriving at Aldi stores next Tuesday, August 22nd.