It’s that time of year again! Summer has flown by and suddenly you see school supplies for sale everywhere you look. You realize it’s just weeks before school starts. Last school year was unlike any other, so you may be feeling unsure of how to get organized and feel ready for school this year. Don’t worry, I’ve got some easy tips for an organized school year that will help you feel like you’ve got everything under control!
Start with supplies
Before you purchase any school supplies for this year, look around your home. Gather all the supplies that you already have before buying more. You probably have a ton of pencils, empty notebooks, and folders that could go to good use. There are always things laying around the house that have been barely used or haven’t even been touched. This is the perfect time to find them and start a spot for gathering your school supplies for the year. Even items like backpacks or lunchboxes could be re-used if they are still in good condition. If last year’s backpack or lunchbox didn’t get much use, remember to give it a good wash as you get it ready for use this school year.
Once you’ve purchased everything else your kids need, grab your label maker or a sharpie. Be sure to label everything from notebooks to lunchboxes with your kid’s name. If you’re going for a super-fancy organized school year, you can order customized name labels from Mabel’s Labels.
Think about your routine
The transition from summer to school won’t seem like such a shock if you plan out some routines ahead of time. I have a morning checklist and a nighttime checklist that I have used to help me and my family create an organized school year. I print out our checklists and keep them on the side of the fridge. On my morning checklist, I have all the things that must be done to get everyone out the door. It includes putting water bottles in backpacks, putting my lunch in my cooler, and having the kids brush their teeth. I try to do as much as possible the night before because we always seem to be rushing in the morning and my kids tend to drag their feet (can you relate?).
For the nighttime checklist, think about what you can get done ahead of time so you aren’t rushing so much in the morning. If your child is taking a packed lunch to school the next day, get it ready the night before and put it in the fridge — same with a water bottle. Get any homework, projects, or supplies packed into your kid’s backpack the night before. Does your child have after-school activities? Make sure any gear for practice or lessons is ready to go. Lay out clothes the night before so there aren’t so many decisions that need to be made the next morning as everyone is waking up. If your nighttime routine handles all the larger tasks, it makes the morning routine easier.
A place for mementos
Of course, your kids will come home with papers, reports, and art projects that are worthy of gold stars, so you’ll want a place to keep them. Create a spot to show off the most recent paintings or drawings that your children bring home. You can hang these masterpieces on the fridge or use a Li’l Davinci art frame to hang on the wall. It can hold up to 50 items in the frame so you can easily add new artwork.
For other papers or reports that you want to hang on to, create a hanging file for each child that you can keep easily accessible. When the file gets full or your child brings home large art projects or 3-D items, get a larger bin and label it with their name. One other thing that I use is a school keepsake book. This book is where I keep my kid’s school pictures and record facts like their teacher’s name and how tall they were on the first day of school. Even if your child is a little older, you can start using this book and record the facts from past years. I’ve found it very helpful to have one place to keep those extra school pictures.
If you prefer to scan saved papers and artwork, make sure that you designate a temporary home for special items before you get them scanned to your computer or cloud storage. Check out my blog post Home Organizing: Summer is the Best Time for Organizing School Papers for more detail on setting up an organization system for school papers.
Keeping track of important information
Your child’s school is going to throw a bunch of information your way at the beginning of the school year. Finding some time to get it organized and in a place that’s useful for you will help you feel less stressed. After you find out what class your child will be in, put the contact information for their teacher on your phone. Make a new contact with their name, phone number, email address, and any other information that you might need so you can access it quickly.
You’re going to get a ton of calendars at the beginning of the year. Lunch menus, school calendars, and after-school activities. Start off your organized school year right by keeping these in a central location like on the fridge or on the inside of a cabinet door. If you have multiple kiddos, use color-coding to keep track of who is buying school lunch, has a soccer game, or piano lessons. In our home, I use highlighters to mark on the calendar when my kids are buying school lunch so I can easily see when it’s time to pack a lunch for the next day.
Find a way to keep track of your kid’s lunch account balance. If your school has online access to lunch accounts, bookmark the site or make sure the app is on your phone. If you don’t have online access, keep a running ledger written on the lunch menu of what their balance is so you know when to send more money to school.
The start of school doesn’t have to make you feel like a big ball of stress! I hope these tips help you feel ready for sending your kids back. A little planning and routine will help you get back in the groove of school days. Do you have any tricks or tips that help your family create an organized start to the school year? I’d love to hear them!
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