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30 Back-to-School Tips to Keep You Organized All Year Long

There's the shopping list the school sends you (and the cute supplies your kids have to have), plus the morning routines, lunches, paperwork, and help, is it summer yet?


By Caroline Picard and Caroline Utz, Good Housekeeping

There's the shopping list the school sends you (and the cute supplies your kids have to have), plus the morning routines, lunches, paperwork, and help, is it summer yet?! Study up on these easy-to-follow organizing tips to pass this year with flying colors. Here's how to master that first day back - and keep things organized for the entire school year. A+ to you!


Pack a bag.


Keep pre-made kits in your car, so you always have what you need. Fill one with tech needs like spare chargers and batteries, one with first aid necessities, and another with homework helpers like a calculator and extra pens and pencils.


DIY a mudroom.


Keep everything you need to fly out the door by the door, so you can avoid running around the house when it's time to go. Hang coats and backpacks on hooks and keep shoes (and clean socks!) below.


Streamline the bathroom.


Keep mornings running smoothly with an organized bathroom. Store hair tools on the cabinet door, and go-to products on a turntable. When everything's in it's place, you can grab what you need in a flash and know when the toothpaste is running low.


Stay connected.


Download a family calendar app (like the Cozi Family Organizer) to keep everyone's schedules straight and color-coded. Plus it allows for shared reminders and editable shopping lists, so you'll never forget when it's your turn to bring snacks to soccer practice again.


Label, label, label!


ThoughtfulColors

$4.50


Between the bus ride, the long days at school, and extracurricular activities, it's easy for things to get misplaced. But skip the label maker and go with one of these more durable bands.


Plan dinners in advance.


Meal prep isn't just for bodybuilders. Busy families can save major time and money by preparing their dinners on Sundays instead of resorting to takeout.


Always use sticky notes.


Post-it

$15.00


For reminders you just can't forget, write it on a sticky note and place it where it's most helpful. Keep a list of college application to-dos on a Post-It stuck to your teenager's laptop or place a sticky note on the door to remember sneakers for the class field trip.


Keep your car clean.


Tossits

$15.99


Acting as your family's chauffeur means your car is seeing some serious mileage and probably some major messes. Tackle trash as soon as it happens with these handy garbage bags that easily fit over the back of the seat. No more water bottles rolling around as you make a turn!


Try a smart home device.


Amazon

$34.99


Even little kids can start to develop morning routines thanks to the Echo Dot Kid's Edition. It can tell them the weather and set alarms for waking up, brushing teeth, and getting dressed. Plus you can call them to dinner with the Echo in your kitchen!


Create a coffee cart.


Turn a bar cart into your local coffeehouse with your coffee maker and mugs within easy reach. Add breakfast bars and dry cereal to the shelves so kids can grab and go.


Get kids out the door faster.


Peakeep

$13.99


Late on the first day? Not a good look. Keep stragglers in line by setting an alarm clock or timer to ring at strategic intervals, like 10 minutes before the bus comes.


Ditch bulky binders.


Snap up notebooks with tear-out pages and accordion file folders with tabs for each subject instead. Your student takes notes in class, then slips the pages and any handouts into the designated slot. At the week's end, she empties all the materials into a color-coded filing system at home for safekeeping.


File everything.


Create a "home file" for the year with a file box or a cabinet drawer. Each class gets it's own color-coded file for easy searching. Not only does this system give kids a place to unload past assignments, but it also helps them organize reference materials (e.g., a periodic table of elements) as the semester changes.


Start a supply stash.


You know the feeling - it's 9 p.m. and you're out of posterboard for your son's project that's due at 8 a.m. Prevent future late-night freak-outs by refreshing the store pile: markers, index cards, and so on. You can also save cash by buying products in bulk.


Prepare for the photo ops.


GrowandCompany

$31.55


They might groan and grumble now, but you know that these are the moments you won't want to miss. Get kids to pose with a cute chalkboard sign for even more adorable pics. Future you is already feeling so nostalgic!


Organize the backseat.


High Road Organizers

$10.95


Breezing through the drop-off line is easy when kids can grab tissues or (let's face it) on-the-go breakfast from a stash in the car.


Own the after school snack game.


Pull this rabbit wrap out of your hat for a healthy afternoon treat. For a super cute side, fill a paper cup with hummus and baby carrots (we used parsley sprigs for tops). Serve in a mini terracotta pot.


Plan ahead.


Blue Sky

$9.99


Teach older children time management through "week-at-a-glance planners." Before starting homework, have kids check their planner, assess their work, and unpack accordingly. As each to-do is done, it goes back into the bag - so nothing gets left at home.


Play keep vs. toss.


Toss worn-out clothes, and donate the ones that no longer fit. If your kids need a little extra persuasion, ask them to try on all of their clothes while listening to favorite music or watching a movie.


Post the daily routine.


Help little ones establish a morning and bedtime schedule with an illustrated checklist that gets displayed proudly on the wall.


Designate a command center.


Create your own to-do list - with car keys and permission slips at the ready - to keep your morning just as hassle-free. A hanging file and dry erase board are all you need to get started.


Create a lunchbox cupboard.


Conquer those reusable plastic containers once and for all. Store them alongside lunch boxes, thermoses, and other pantry snacks for easy access and label where everything goes to keep them straight.


Stash sandwich essentials together.


Whip up the kids' sammies in a flash by storing deli meats, cheeses, and spreads in a special fridge spot. Add pre-portioned fruits and veggies (divvied up on the weekend or the night before) for a faster grab-and-go station.


Delegate the drinks.


Forget science experiments. Now this is what we call an excellent use of magnets. Instead of pestering you for a drink, kids can help themselves to water with their own dedicated cups.


Store backpacks and shoes in a cubby.


Hide kids' gear in designated cupboards versus cluttering the hallway or mudroom.


Dedicate a homework area.


MyGift

$18.99


Make study time simple by stocking a caddy with the essentials, like pencils, markers, and glue sticks.


Make weeknight dinners easy.


JennyGems

$19.99


Post upcoming meals - including dinners out or a designated family night - so teens can make plans accordingly. Let kids write suggestions, or jot a note to your spouse for a last-minute missing ingredient.


Lay out clothes for the week.


Delk

$9.99


Let kids choose what to wear ahead of time to avoid last-minute indecision - just don't forget to check the weather!


Put them bed on time.


Young kids need 10 to 12 hours a night to feel energized the following day. That means a 10-year-old waking up at 7 a.m. for school needs to hit the pillow no later than 9 p.m.

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Lifestyle Magazine: 30 Back-to-School Tips to Keep You Organized All Year Long
30 Back-to-School Tips to Keep You Organized All Year Long
There's the shopping list the school sends you (and the cute supplies your kids have to have), plus the morning routines, lunches, paperwork, and help, is it summer yet?
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