Organizing for Back-to-School

The following post is from Laura of I’m an Organizing Junkie:

back to school

source: Avolore

Even though my kids don’t go back to school until the first of September, I did a quick Facebook poll and quickly learned that many of you have kids going back to school in August.

Yes it’s definitely that time of the year again when the lazy days of summer can quickly turn into an overwhelmed chaotic nightmare if we aren’t prepared for back to school.  And by prepared I mean organized.

Incorporating some simple organized solutions into your day can take you from stressed out to calm and controlled when it comes to getting the kids out the door and off to school each day.

School Clothes:

In preparation of the big day, go through all the kid’s clothes and create an inventory of what they have and what they’ll need. I like my kids to try everything on and since this can often be quite the chore for kids (I can hear my kids groaning as we speak), turn on some fun music and have an “old clothes” fashion show.

Every family’s needs will be different as to how many outfits each child requires.  There are no right or wrong limits as it depends on a number of factors including how often you do laundry, how comfortable you are with your kids repeating clothes in a given week and the amount of storage space you have.

Since I only do laundry once a week, I like my kids to have at least five school outfits, one for each day of the week.  I also don’t feel that it’s necessary to buy new back to school clothes just because.  If there is a need, then yes, otherwise cut yourself some slack and just don’t worry about it.

To assist with this process I found this very cute and handy Back to School Clothes Shopping Checklist provided by Controlling My Chaos.

School Supplies:

The next thing I do is take the school supply list and check off what we already own.  When possible, I re-use what I can from previous years.  I then keep this list stashed in my purse so that I don’t forget it when heading out the door. And to make things easier, I check things off as I go because often I’ll have to hit a couple of different stores to complete the list.

Once I get the school supplies home I immediately sit down, write the names on everything and load it into their backpacks.

school supplies

source: MyTudut

Alternatively, Mabels Labels sell an Ultimate Back-to-School Label Combo which includes some really great thin labels perfect for labeling pencils and pencil crayons.

Backpack Station:

The biggest contributing factor in my house for staying on top of the school craziness is having a designated backpack station by the front door. I’d absolutely be lost without it.

The kids know exactly where their backpacks need to go when they get home from school and the central location allows me the opportunity to check the packs each day to ensure notes are received and homework is done.  Mornings are also a snap because backpacks can quickly be grabbed on the way out the door.

Here is a picture of what a simple backpack station looks like:

backpackstation

source: I'm an Organizing Junkie

Command Central:

As for all the school papers, and boy is there a lot of them, I highly recommend setting up a Command Central to keep important papers and calendars all in one place.

Having a pre-planned system ready to go will ultimately mean less confusion and more order in your home.  Please visit this post of mine for more information if you are interested in learning more.

Establish Evening and Morning Routines:

Nothing will set up your day better than when everyone knows exactly what is expected of them.  No one wants to be a nag so take some time before school starts to figure out what types of steps and regular routines are required to make sure everyone gets out the door on time with everything they need.  Visit The Organized Housewife for more information on how to do this, plus get two terrific free routine printables for kids.

Before you know it the first day of school will be here and we’ll be back in the swing of things trying to keep up with it all.  By implementing a few simple strategies as listed above you’ll be able to navigate through the school year like a pro. Don’t forget to take a moment to celebrate that first day of school with a picture and what better way to do that than with these cute free printable grade signs.

What did I miss?  What are your best back-to-school tips?

Laura is a wife and mother to three great kids, lives in Alberta, Canada and is an addict of all things organizing. You can find her blogging regularly at I’m an Organizing Junkie, and her organizing book, Clutter Rehab: 101 Organizing Tips & Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!, is in bookstores now.