Now that kids are back to school, it's important to provide a homework area so that the after-school ritual gets done. Kids don't have to have a desk in their rooms – in fact parents and kids can share a work space. What's most important is that all the essential tools are there, and that everyone helps keep the space tidy.

Location:  Set up a work space in an area that provides good lighting and few or no distractions. Being close to mom or dad in the house (so close to the kitchen or living room) means kids can ask for help when they need it and parents can keep an eye on their progress.

Furniture: A proper desk is important and the chair should be adjustable in height so both parents and children can use it. There should be plenty of drawers and storage containers so everyone can keep their work and other items such as books and laptops, separate. Remember that kids often work sprawled on the floor, so equip the area with a rug or large floor cushions.

Supplies: Basic supplies include paper, markers, pens, pencils and pencil sharpener, calculator, stapler, paper clips and rubber bands. Keep these supplies contained in a drawer or basket. An ice cube tray works as a great drawer organizer for those smaller supplies.

Keep Surfaces Tidy: Put both a garbage container and a blue box nearby and make the work area a meal-free zone – spills can cause permanent damage especially where electronics are concerned.  

Regular Cleaning: On cleaning day, use the thorough cleaning formula used by the professional house cleaners at MOLLY MAID; top to bottom, left to right. Dust the ceiling and corners of the room, behind doors, in cupboards and closets. Then, gently dust equipment on the desk including the computer screen, mouse, printer and cables. Wipe surfaces with a damp cloth (don't forget the phone!) Clean windowsills and frames, doors and switch plates too. Wash windows, then vacuum or wash the floor.

Compressed Air: The MOLLY MAID Cleaning Handbook suggests using compressed air to clean some of the electronics in the office. Compressed air is pressurized air in a can with a very long nozzle. Simply aim the nozzle between computer keys, for example, and use the air to blow away all the dust and debris that has gathered there.