The first day of school is fast approaching. The summer is winding down and parents and children alike are feeling the itch that comes with new routines. Here are some ABC's to make your back to school organization a breeze.
A - Art Projects. Keep one or two art projects on display in a creative way per child. The rest of them can be sorted into keep or toss. Keepers can be saved in tubs as memory keepers.
B - Borrowed/Return Basket. Get organized for back to school with a bin or basket near the door for any items that will need to be returned to school or the library.
C - Calendars. Keep all calendars in one place. Consider getting a large wall calendar that is at least 90 days. Add all events (Family, Community, Work) to a single calendar so that nothing gets missed.
D - Dress Up. Plan out each day's outfits on the weekend. Back to school organization is simplified with a 5 bin storage compartment or hanging shelf to put each outfit including shoes and accessories.
E - Effortless mornings. Create easy grab-and-go breakfast ideas such as rolled up pancakes, cereal bars or yogurt. Prioritize what really needs to be done. Beds made? Can it wait? Breakfast? Absolutely.
F - Fun Time. Create specific games or activities that are good for after school play. Focus on activities that are less messy and stress free.
G - Grab-in-Go. Planning easy-to-grab and healthy snacks and put them in one place makes back to school organization a breeze. These are the snacks the children can choose from when they arrive home from school. You can even use this idea for morning breakfasts.
H - Homework station. Find an area of your home that is dedicated to homework. Make it comfortable and distraction free.
I - Inspire Station. Some children struggle to get motivated to work on their homework and/or chores, especially after a long day in school. Create an inspire station that gives them a break either before getting started or as a reward for a certain amount of focused time.
J - Jars of fun. Another idea for games or snacks is to use mason jars. Mason jars can store puzzles, snacks, art supplies and so much more.
K - Knapsack (aka Backpack) Hooks. Back to school organization often means making sure everything that needs to go to school, gets to school. Locate an area of your home to use as a launch pad each morning. This is where all the items that need to leave the house will be stored. Include Knapsack hooks to keep backpacks off the ground.
L - Lunch Money. Most schools have cards that you can add lunch money to. Figure out if this can be done automatically when the money runs low to take one more worry off your plate.
M - Mobile Caddy. Some students will need to do homework on location (if siblings are involved in extra-curricular activities or just in different locations throughout the house when mom is getting work done). Create a mobile homework caddy that they can bring with them with all the necessary supplies.
N - Notes to Teacher. Create a binder or spiral notebook that can be used to share specific notes about your child back and forth with his or her teacher.
O - Office Supply Store. Create a stash of office supplies and project supplies that may be needed at the last minute to prevent a late night emergency when the markers dry out or the poster board is needed for the next day.
Q - Quiet time. Changes in routine often create challenges for children going back to school and getting them organized. Determine what time will be a quiet time for the house so that children can focus on work. Quiet time means no TV or other distractions. It might be right after school or sometime after dinner depending on your child's ability to focus.
R - Routines. Work with your children to develop a routine that works for them. This includes what time they will get up, go to bed, do homework and have free time. Be flexible as long as the basic requirements are being met.
S - School Supplies List. Most teachers offer a list of basic school supplies. Supplement this with your own needs at home as well as what clothes and other items will need to be purchased. Use the list each year with minor updates to streamline back to school shopping.
T - Turn In Work. Whether it is permission slips or homework assignments that need to be turned in, create a bin that can be checked each day for paperwork that needs to go back to school. Leave the work in the bin until it is time to go and then move it to a folder in the child's backpack. This way you aren't wondering if it is in there and having to scramble at the last minute.
U - Underclothes. Spending precious time looking for the matching sock in the morning? Use binder clips or sock tabs to keep socks together from the laundry to the wash to the drawer. And if you have multiple children, use a mesh laundry bag for each child to save time on sorting.
V - Vacation Days or School Holidays. Plan fun activities that are harder to do during typical school weeks for school holidays. Perhaps it is a family field trip to the science museum or just a messy activity at home.
W - What's For Dinner. Take advantage of weekly planning and have a board letting children know what's for dinner before they have to ask.
X - Xtracurricular Activities. Be sure to add all activities to one family calendar and organize each week around those activities to be sure everything is coordinated appropriately.
Y - Yearbook. Create a personal yearbook of each child's art projects, extracurricular activities and homework. Use a binder or even just a bin for larger projects.
Z - Ziplock. Stock up on ziplock bags for everything from snacks to school supplies.
These 26 tips for making back to school organization a breeze will help you look like that parent that has it all together, even if you are not ready to see the little ones return.
What are your favorite back to school organization tips?