When it come to getting ready to start a new school year, we check off things like school supplies and new clothes and lunch boxes, but there’s one more thing to add to the list. And in my opinion, it will make the biggest difference in your day.
That’s where I come in.
I’ve coupled my eighteen years as a teacher with my experience as a professional organizer to bring you 8 helpful back to school organization ideas for your home.
- Back to School Organization Ideas
- Get Your Home Ready for Back to School
- Create a Back to School Checklist
- Set Up a Homework Area
- Organize Your School Supplies at Home
- Designate a Space as a Drop Zone or Mudroom
- Create a System for Organizing School Work at Home
- Organize School Lunch Food and Supplies
- Declutter and Organize Kids Closets
- Get the Bathroom Ready for School Mornings
- How to Get Organized for Back to School
Back to School Organization Ideas
I’m no longer teaching and my daughter is past school age. But, I remember the nerves and stress of getting ready for a new school year like it was yesterday. It all swirls around in your head leaving you frantically wondering how to prepare for back to school. Hopefully, these back to school tips will help you feel more prepared.
Get Your Home Ready for Back to School
First things first, you’ll want to clear out Summer. That means putting away toys, pool bags, beach towels, swimsuits and summer clothes to make room in your home for backpacks, school supplies, new school clothes and a homework station or kids’ study area.
Now, let’s get organized.
Create a Back to School Checklist
I recommend creating a ‘back to school’ checklist. While that checklist will vary based on your school district and your household’s needs, most checklists will include:
- buy/order school supplies
- buy school clothes/uniforms
- get immunizations/physicals
- set up homework area
- designate a drop zone/ mudroom for backpacks and belongings
- create a paper filing system for schoolwork
- stock pantry and fridge for school lunches and afterschool snacks
- tidy/organize kid bathrooms
- tidy/organize kid closets
Click the pink button to download your free Back-to-School Checklist
Now, let’s walk through each step.
Set Up a Homework Area
Keep the homework station simple. All you really need is a surface for them to work on and school supplies.
A few homework area ideas include coffee tables, countertops and kitchen tables. 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 where there are people.
Organize Your School Supplies at Home
It’s a good idea to keep a stock of school supplies for homework and to refill classroom supplies throughout the school year. Dollar Tree is a great place to save money on classroom and 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, cubbies 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.
Designate a Space as a Drop Zone or Mudroom
Having a dedicated space for backpacks, jackets and shoes and any paraphernalia that comes with extra curricular activities will save time in the mornings. 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.
Create a System for Organizing School Work at Home
Setting up a home command center for receiving and organizing incoming school paperwork will save so much time and reduce stress. Your system can be as simple as using a tray for your kids to put papers that need to be signed or returned to school.
For completed school work or projects, keep a file for each child. Keep special records, milestones, awards and sentimental work. The rest can be recycled or tossed. You might have to do that when your child isn’t around. (And hide the evidence to avoid hurt feelings.)
The command center is also a great place to keep a family calendar. 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 member’s schedule. Highlight important dates and put the week at a glance on a physical calendar everyone can see.
Organize School Lunch Food and Supplies
Stock the pantry and refrigerator with everything the kids need for breakfast, lunch and snacks. I suggest 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 getting ready for your day while the kids are getting ready for school.
Declutter and Organize Kids Closets
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 four of us to the store 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 clothes shopping dates with your kids.
Get the Bathroom Ready for School 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.
How to Get Organized for Back to School
With your entire checklist in mind, start with the first day of school, then count back on the calendar to allow time for everything you need to do. 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 help you plan. You can use it to create shopping lists for clothes, school supplies and grocery items, then assign those tasks to a day on the Cozi app’s Back to School Planner. Keep track of your to-dos with the Cozi app calendar which integrates with Google, Apple and Outlook.
More Back to School resources:
- Chaos to Calm: A DIY Organizing Guide for the Biggest Clutter Zones in Your Home
- How to Set Up a Family Command Center
Wishing you a wonderful school year!
p.s. Don’t forget to download your free Back-to-School Checklist.