Class is Now in Session: Merry Maids Shares Six Strategies to Help Kids and Parents Have a More Stress-Free School Year
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Class is Now in Session: Merry Maids Shares Six Strategies to Help Kids and Parents Have a More Stress-Free School Year

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - August 15, 2017 - (BUSINESS WIRE) - A recent survey from Merry Maids, one of the nation’s largest home cleaning services and a ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) company, found that nearly nine-in-10 moms feel stressed when their homes are messy. Along with stress, studies have also shown that a messy environment can affect productivity and focus, making it an important issue for parents with children and teens who are heading back to school.

For those preparing for another school season packed with homework, field trips, sports, and more, Merry Maids home cleaning expert Debra Johnson shares six simple strategies to help make this a more stress-free, successful school year for parents and kids.

1. Organize, organize, organize. Johnson says she can’t stress this point enough! “Organization is key year-round, but at the start of the school season it’s even more important for parents and kids. Take the time to plan in advance and let the kids play a part in staying organized this school year.”

  • Use plastic bins or baskets with labels on the front to divide the games from the books, and create a special shelf where extra pens, paper and other school supplies can be kept handy throughout the year.
  • Create a family calendar to keep track of everyone’s schedules, and place a whiteboard by the door to remind you - and your kids - of important things to take with you before heading out the door.
  • Dedicate a place for children to leave their backpacks when they come in the door. You’ll save time and stress by knowing exactly where they are when it’s time to run out the door.

2. Create a homework station. It’s safe to say most kids dread homework and it can be a daily battle for parents. Between technology and limited outdoor time, kids are itching to do anything but homework. Get them involved in setting up a special area that will help them focus and do their best - and cut down on daily clutter and stress for you.

  • Take empty cans or plastic bins and decorate them to hold school supplies. This is a great way to spend time together and let them make the space their own.
  • If you don’t have the space for each child to have their own station, make colorful space dividers they can use at the kitchen table.

3. Prep the kiddos and yourself the night before. Don’t wait until the morning to rush around, frantically trying to get out the door with everything you and the kids need.

  • Have the kids help pack their lunches each night, write names on the bags and let them have a dedicated space in the refrigerator. Make sure they get in the habit of wiping off countertops and putting utensils in the dishwasher when they’re done. No one likes waking up to a messy kitchen.
  • Every Sunday, pick out outfits for the week. Lay them out on a dresser or purchase a hanging organizer to put in the closet - make sure it has at least five spaces. If a week is too much, then pick out outfits every night. “If your kids are anything like mine, especially at a young age, then this greatly reduces the battles in the morning when you’re trying to get everyone out the door,” says Johnson.
  • Have files or containers for each child’s school paper needs, and make sure they’re signed each night and put back in the backpack.
  • Set aside 10 minutes for each child to tidy up their room before turning in for the night. Not only will this routine do wonders to help keep bedrooms neat, but when everything is put away, it will help make rushed mornings a little less stressful for everyone.

4. Plan your meals for the week. This allows you to make your grocery visits efficient and budget-friendly. Make your list and knock it out in no time. “If you’re anything like me, if you don’t have a list when grocery shopping, you tend to buy more than you need,” Johnson adds. Also, make use of that trusty slow cooker, as there are lots of easy recipes that cook while you’re away, and consider meal prepping for the week. Both are great time and mess-savers in the kitchen.

5. Create a chore chart. With all the homework and after-school activities, kids often lose sight of their chores. Set a weekly schedule and create a fun chart that kids can check off during the week as they complete each task. Consider giving extra points if they get up a few minutes early and mark things off the list before school - like taking out the trash or unloading the dishwasher. If they complete all the items each week, reward them with a fun family activity come the weekend - this is a great way to get in that much needed family time that may take the back burner due to a flood of other activities (sports, projects, work trips, etc.).

6. Know when to toss it. “As a parent, it’s hard to know what to keep and what to toss. And you most likely feel a lot of guilt even thinking about tossing your precious child’s work,” says Johnson. Instead of keeping boxes full of papers in the attic, take pictures of their work and create a digital album. This can be easily stored and shared with other family members. When they’re older, you can share with them to reminisce on their younger days.

Feeling overwhelmed with everything? Let a trustworthy Merry Maids team take the cleaning stress off your to-do list so you can focus on adjusting to the new school year.

To find the nearest Merry Maids location, visit Stay up-to-date on the latest Merry Maids news and tips by visiting the company’s Facebook page.

About Merry Maids

Merry Maids is the largest home cleaning franchise network in the United States. Merry Maids provides services in 48 states and the District of Columbia through approximately 360 franchises. The company also provides home cleaning services in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom and has licensing arrangements whereby licensees provide these services in Hong Kong, Japan, South America, South Korea, Southeast Asia and Australia. Through its company-owned and franchise locations, Merry Maids employs more than 8,000 home cleaning professionals who service homes on four continents, including more than 200,000 homes in North America every month. Merry Maids is a business unit of Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV), a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. Go to for more information about Merry Maids or follow us at and Merry Maids is the Official Home Cleaning Provider of Minor League Baseball™.

About ServiceMaster

ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) solves the homeowner’s dilemma. Every day, we visit more than 75,000 homes and businesses through our extensive service network of expert professionals. Technology powers our trusted experts to engage with customers so they can order, buy and receive services when, where and how they want them. Our well-recognized brands includes American Home Shield (home warranties), AmeriSpec (home inspections), Furniture Medic (furniture repair), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial and residential floor cleaning), ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) and Terminix (termite and pest control). Like, follow or visit us at,,, or ServiceMaster is the Official Home Services Provider of Minor League Baseball™.

Survey Methodology

The 2017 Merry Maids Cleaning Survey presents the findings of an online survey conducted by Toluna from April 18-20, 2017 among a sample of 2,126 Americans 18 years of age and older. The margin of error for a sample of this size is ± 2% at a 95% level of confidence. Some numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding.


Alison Bishop
For Merry Maids

SOURCE ServiceMaster



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