School’s (Almost) In Session – Is Your Home Ready?

 

We’re not quite sure where the summer went here at Cobos Insurance Center, but, if you haven’t noticed, it’s already time for the new school year in Lorain County. I have 4 grandchildren who are excited about returning to classes to reunite with their school friends.

 

Here are a few tips which might help you as you think about how to get your kids organized and ready for the coming school year. Consider doing the same thing for your home. It won’t just be good for you. In many instances, removing clutter also means removing distractions, which can help your kids focus.

 

Getting started

You can start wherever you like, but it might be best to organize your activities before you start in on the daunting task of tackling all of your stuff. With sports and other activities, the school year can be a blur for parents. A family calendar — whether it’s a dry-erase board or a printout on the fridge — will ensure everyone knows where they’re going, and when.
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Reducing your stuff

Eliminate as much clutter from the house as you can, perhaps by following the classic 80/20 theory: 80% of the time, most people use only 20% of their stuff. If the item you’re looking at isn’t in that 20%, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Donate stuff that doesn’t fit or that your kids simply don’t like and won’t wear anymore. You’ll free up space and help someone else by making the donation.  Looking for a good place to donate?  Check out these great non for profits http://familypromiselorainco.org/ ,http://www.myneighborhoodalliance.org/,http://aalcrs.org/.

 

Buying new stuff

Now that you’ve de-cluttered, don’t head out for back-to-school shopping just yet. First, do an inventory of school supplies, clothes and shoes so you aren’t buying things you don’t need. If you’re going through a closet and you’re not sure what fits, have kids try on pants until you find a good pair. Then use that pair to compare the length of all the other pants. Remember, there is an Ohio tax holiday this year. The Ohio state sales tax rate ranges anywhere from 5.75 percent to 8.75 percent depending on where you live. That means the tax holiday will offer significant savings for shoppers. S.B. 243 enacted a one-time sales tax holiday to occur only in 2015. The holiday starts on Friday, August 7, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. and ends on Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.

During the holiday, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax:

·         Clothing priced at $75 per item or less;

·         School supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and 

·         School instructional material priced at $20 per item or less.

This tax holiday should result in saving everyone who is purchasing school supplies and clothing some money this year.

 

Doing homework

Everyone has different learning styles. Designate a study space where your kids have the tools and the quiet they need for success. It should be well-lit and free of distractions if possible. Pay attention to what works well and what doesn’t, and adjust as needed.

 

Staying on top of things

You’re off to a good start in the battle against clutter — so keep things rolling! Each week, set aside time to go on a “search and destroy” mission. And make sure the kids are involved, too.
Everything — homework, school forms, backpacks — should have a home. Remember to keep applying the 80/20  rule.     And when everything has a home, you’ll be happier in yours!

 

I hope that you have all have a memorable school year.

 

Bob Cobos

 

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