With school starting back up, life can start feeling hectic and overwhelming, with new schedules, activities, and commitments pulling everyone in different directions. At least I know I can feel super stressed during this season!
But we don’t have to get lost in the chaos of this season. There are ways to not only manage the busier schedules but find peace among the madness! And, of course, help save time and money during the new routines.
Here are my top 10 Back-To-School organization tips and ideas to help handle the transition with ease.
1. Create a Family Calendar
Probably one of the most obvious but still incredibly helpful tips is to create a family calendar that everyone can access and is always updated.
School activities, work, homework, sports, doctor appointments, and more can make the family’s schedule more complicated, and things can fall through the cracks.
That’s why keeping track of everyone’s schedules and obligations is essential! Find a way to keep a calendar that works for your family, whether it’s a magnetic one on your fridge, a chalk one on an empty wall, or a digital shared calendar.
For extra organization, develop a code or system for updating the calendar and keeping it simple. Color code family members, include addresses in the digital calendar, and add symbols for different types of appointments (sports, social, medical, etc.).
2. Set up “Drop” Zones
There should be a designated place for all family members to put their stuff when they get home!
Hooks for backpacks, a cubby for shoes, a coat rack, a place to put empty lunch boxes, etc.
The drop zone can be as simple as a basket by the front door or a hall tree organizer in a “mud” room or laundry room.
Having a go-to drop zone can do wonders for clearing clutter in the house!
3. Have Snacks on Hand
Everyone gets hungry throughout the day, and most kids want an after-school snack.
Rather than having everyone in the family dig for whatever they want, which might be something full of sugar, prepare some easy, healthy snacks ready to be snatched up!
Try designating a drawer in the fridge or a bin in the pantry for all the snacks.
And dedicate some time at the beginning of the week to preparing the snacks.
This will save everyone time and energy AND ensure everyone eats healthier foods.
This might not seem like a practical organization tip, but I promise it can make all the difference!
A cluttered and stressed mind is way more likely to create a cluttered and stressful environment. When everything around you feels chaotic and out of your control, that is when you most need to steal a peaceful moment for yourself.
This one goes along with the family calendar, and the two can even be combined, like a checklist next to the chalkboard calendars. It’s important to list all your to-dos, from minor to big, so nothing gets forgotten.
The checklist can include other things on this list, like what will be for dinner every night and breakfast every morning, who will do what chores, what homework each kid needs to complete, etc.
A visual schedule and checklist are especially helpful for those who struggle to stay focused and can help your kids feel more organized and confident. It can also minimize arguments and frustration between members of the family!
8. Create a Homework Station
Similar to a drop station, have a designated place where the kids do their homework.
It doesn’t have to be fancy but make use of tools like rolling carts and old child whiteboards to make the space practical but with some style. Stock it up with necessary supplies like paper, pencils, rulers, erasers, and folders to organize homework by class.
If it helps your family to be more detailed, set aside a specific time every day that each child does their homework and uses the station. Also, if you have space, create a station for each child and personalize it for them.
9. Get Crazy With Labeling
Break out the old label maker or get a stack of sticky notes and just go crazy! Label each kid’s water bottles, lunch boxes, jackets, backpacks, and more. Write out reminders and stick them on your bathroom mirror, on the fridge, or wherever it’s most convenient for you.
And don’t be afraid to use the sticky notes for non-schedule related things, like as little notes telling your kids you love them that you slip in their lunch box or inspirational quotes you put on your spouse’s side of the mirror.
10. Delegate Weekly Tasks
The final tip is to not do everything yourself!
Don’t be afraid to delegate weekly, daily, and monthly tasks. Have a chore wheel or a dry-erase chart that you can use to track everyone’s daily chores.
You can use this to help teach your kids responsibility or give them some autonomy and power over their days.
Let a different kid choose from an approved list of dinners what meals to plan for each day, and assign a day for your older kids to cook some of the meals. (Here are some recipes and tips for cooking with kids!)
Life is a group effort! You don’t have to do it alone.
I know it’s easy to get swept into the messiness and feel stressed all day when life picks up. So, I hope these tips help you avoid that and regain some control over the chaos.