SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Special Report

July 23, 2012

As kids return to school, find ways to restore order at home

From bedrooms that resemble combat zones to dining rooms turned into impromptu playgrounds, the kids sure have made a mess of things over the summer. But their return to school is an opportunity to reclaim your home, plus add a few new décor touches for restoring the house -- and your lifestyle -- to sanity.

The Child's Bedroom

1) "Once the kids are back in school, it's a perfect time to re-design their bedrooms," says Sarah Barnard, interior designer and LEED AP in Los Angeles. "Completing the major painting, furniture moving and window treatment installations while the kids are away during the day is always preferable to having them home and adding to the already stressful renovating process. Also imagine the delight and surprise of your children when they return home from school to find their new décor ready and waiting for them!"

2) Before redesigning, though, deal with the mess they left behind first. "Do yourself a favor: roll up your sleeves, hold your nose and clean it now," says Debbie Wiener, owner of Designing Solutions in Silver Spring, Md. and author of "Slob Proof! Real-Life Home Decorating Solutions" (Alpha 2008). "I myself found an entire colony of ants under my son's desk, where he had thrown a barely recognizable banana peel and missed the garbage can. Remember, half the kitchen is somewhere in there, so if you're low on dishes, glasses and spoons, lift the comforter and take a look under the bed," she says.

Change and wash the sheets now, Wiener adds, and do not forget the closets. Get a sticky room freshener or cedar shavings and hang them on the inside wall or clothes rod to freshen up the otherwise closed space. "The goal is not necessarily to clean up after your young adult- just to prevent any disasters- like ants or mold- that you will ultimately pay for later," Wiener says.

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