With so much to do and so little time to do it, the Back to School season can feel really hectic. Especially if you have more than one child. Ain’t nobody got time for that. That’s where my background as a teacher and professional organizer comes in. I’ve curated eight back to school organization ideas to help you ease into the new school year.
Back to School Organization Ideas
Start by Preparing Your Home
Preparation goes a long way in reducing stress and setting you and your children up for a successful school year.
Create a Back to School Checklist
Start with the first day of school, then count back on the calendar and allow time for everything on your list. Leave some margin time so that you’re not busy with preparations up until the last minute. (Everyone in the house will feel that stress)
I highly recommend using the Cozi app to plan. You can use it to create shopping lists for clothes, school supplies and grocery items, then assign those tasks to a day on their Back to School Planner. Keep track of the dates on the Cozi app calendar which integrates with Google, Apple and Outlook.
Create Space in Your Home
Clear out Summer to create space in your home for an at home classroom, homework station or kids study area. That means putting away toys, pool bags, beach towels, swimsuits and summer clothes. (Although if it’s still hot and you plan to keep summering, just make room for school alongside it.)
Now, let’s get organized.
How to Get Organized for Back to School
Easy Home Classroom Setup
Create a space for an at home classroom. If your kids are going to school in person, this space can be the homework station. Keep the home classroom setup simple. All you really need is a surface for them to work on and school supplies.
Coffee tables, countertops and kitchen tables work just fine. You can also use lap desks. Whatever surface you choose, be sure it’s part of a space that suits your child’s learning style. Some prefer quiet while others need to be in a room with others.
Organize School Supplies – Provide each kid a school supply box or caddy filled with the school supplies they need. Store back up school supplies in your family command center.
Use backpacks or a bookshelf to organize textbooks.
One of my favorite back to school organization ideas is to use a rolling cart for school supplies and textbooks. A cart can easily be rolled out of the way when it’s time for dinner or relaxing.
Pro Tip: Dollar Tree is a great place to save money on classroom and school supplies.
Back to School Organizing Ideas for Family Spaces
- Designate a space as a drop zone or mudroom for backpacks, jackets and shoes (when they go back to in person instruction) and any paraphernalia that comes with extra curricular activities if those have resumed. Give each person their own hook, bin, basket or cubby and label them with their names. Better yet, let the kids label them. It gives them a sense of pride and ownership in the organization system.
- Set up a family command center for calendars, work that needs to be checked, notes to be signed, etc.
Add important dates from the school calendar like picture day, testing dates, holidays, parent/teacher conferences, etc. If you’re using the Cozi app, you can color code each family members schedule. Highlight important dates and put the week at a glance on a physical calendar everyone can see.
- Stock the pantry and refrigerator with everything the kids need for breakfast, lunch and snacks. I highly recommend storing items where kids can serve themselves and make their own lunches. Doing this really helps foster independence which is especially helpful if you’re working from home.
Organizing Kids Spaces
Organize kids closets – I recommend having the kids dress for school even if they’re learning from home. Getting dressed helps them mentally prepare for the school day ahead.
Go through clothes to check for:
- clothes that still fit
- any clothing items your kids have outgrown
- what needs to be donated, kept or recycled.
Then make a school clothes shopping list and pick a time to shop.
My mom used to take all of us to the store and try to shop for three girls and one boy at once. My brother would get so bored he would hide in clothes racks. And all of us grew impatient waiting for our turn. She eventually started taking us one by one. So, take a lesson from my mom and plan shopping dates with your kids.
Organize the bathroom for easy mornings – I like to create what I call the daily basket. Each child (and parent) would have a basket for their toothbrush, toothpaste, comb/brush, hair products, deodorant for older kids and adults, styling tools, and anything else each person needs to get ready in the morning.
I personally use and recommend these handled baskets from Dollar Tree. They’re easy to transport and you can assign a different color to each family member.
For more Back to School resources, read:
- Or try Chaos to Calm: Organizing Help for Busy Moms. It’s a self-paced guide where I walk you step-by-step through setting up a family command center, a drop zone/mudroom, organizing paper clutter and establishing household routines. It’s perfect for the DIY organizer.
Wishing you a wonderful school year,