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Back To School Organization Tips Every Busy Family Needs To Know

Back to school time! Here is a quick post on back to school organization ideas for the busy family.

back to school supplies

If there’s one thing, we all struggle with is time to do everything in twenty-four hours. It's hard, I know, I commute, work full time, and try to balance family life with three kids.

To help keep me sane, I try to incorporate organizational systems into my everyday life. However, when it comes to back to school time, my heart starts to slightly increase in heart palpitations because I know the whirlwind that's about to hit full force.

From back to school shopping for clothes, shoes, school supplies, schedules, and activities. It can be a lot to deal with.

So after years of getting prepped for the kids returning to school, I've created these back to school organization tips that have helped get my family through some crazy years and I know it will help you too.

Of course, it can get overwhelming to figure out everything you need to make sure the start of the school year is off to a great start.

So, I thought I’d share with you my top 14 back to school organization tips which will help keep things running smoothly.

Quick note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I'm referring you to some of my favorite brands and places to shop and by shopping through my links I may collect a small commission with no additional cost to you.

Back To School Organization Tips

1. Clean Out Time

I'm happy if you've been enjoying your summer but now is the time to get down and dirty and clean items out that are no longer useful.

Now you don't need to Marie Kondo the whole house but I recommend going through closets, drawers, and cabinets and purging anything that is cluttering the space and that the kids have outgrown.

Before you get organized you have to declutter. I think most people want to jump right into buying new organizer bins and fancy things at Home Goods (I'm guilty too), but you really should declutter and donate first. Then you'll have a great grasp of what you truly need to organize before the kids head back to school.

2. Donate

Donate any items that no longer fit or no longer serve a purpose in your house. It's great to help the community too.

3. Calendar/Schedule System

Everybody needs to be in sync about when school starts, after-school activities, appointments, etc. Even if you think your kids are too young, they're not.

When my kids were in kindergarten, they would still ask questions like, "When is the first day of school? When is the next break?". I found myself on repeat since each child asked the same question.

So do yourself a favor and get a schedule/calendar system in place. My family uses the iCloud calendar but if you have little kids, then you might want to use a dry-erase board with the calendar on it. These are really cool acrylic calendars that have strong magnets for your fridge.

4. School Supply Area For The Home

Have an area where you keep all of the school supplies for the house. You know you will have those crazy poster board projects sometime this school year, so go ahead and do yourself a favor. Grab some supplies to keep at home so you're not in total shock when you find out a project is due the next day. I have these organizing bins for our drawers to keep markers, scissors, and glue.

5. Homework System

I suggest creating a system for when kids have schoolwork. Have a designated area in the home for homework and grab a bin for each child to put their work in. You don't have to spend a lot of money. The Dollar Store (excuse me $1.25 store) has several kinds of plastic bins. Amazon has these cute colored bins too.

6. School Paperwork Area

The first week of school is a crazy time for school paperwork. I'm talking A LOT of paper and flyers come home the first week, it's hard to keep track of who needs what signed, who needs what filled out, what I need to save for Fall Festival, etc.

So last year, I created this system where each kid has their own colored zippered pouch that I keep in a large bin.

This is where I keep their classroom flyers, schedules, and class awards throughout the whole school year.

It's great because I'll tell them to clean out their class folders and put anything they want to save in their own zippered pouch. It takes up little space and we're definitely going to carry on with this system this school year.

7. Backpack and Shoe Area

If you are lucky enough to have a mudroom of some kind where the kids can keep their backpacks hung up and shoes in their shoe bin then you are rocking and rolling.

For other people that do not have a mudroom, grab a cute basket or hanging hooks of some sort and create a space for backpacks and shoes.

Because as soon as the kids get home from school, they will dump their bags and shoes anywhere. So do yourself a favor and give these items a designated home.

8. Charging Station

Having a charging station helps keep electronic devices organized and charged. We have a charging station set up which helps keep laptops, iPads, and other devices out of the way and off the kitchen counter.

9. Snacks

Create a space for after school snacks. This is a must since kids love snacks! We have a snack cabinet with these plastic bins that have been useful over the years. The kids know they can grab a snack out of these bins or out of their snack bin in the refrigerator.

10. Meal Prep/ Menu Plan

I know this sounds like a lot of work but it doesn't have to be. I create a menu once a week (usually on Sunday) and have groceries delivered for most of our items. I already have my favorites set up on my online so it's easy to add items to my cart quickly.

This is my menu plan system:

I had a little sign that I didn't use anymore. I hot glued clothespins with the days of the week written on them on the left side of the frame.

Next, I cut up pieces of paper and wrote the meals that my family likes to eat. On the backside of the paper, I wrote the meal ingredients.

Then I have my kids help pick out the meals for the week by placing the piece of paper on a clothespin. It's a double win for me because they are more likely to eat their dinner (since they helped pick out the meals) and then I can quickly jump on the computer and add the ingredients to my shopping cart.

I'm less likely to overspend and my kids helped me meal plan. It's a win win!

This is my DIY menu board and recipe cards.

11. Lunchboxes

If your kids take their lunch to school then you can get organized for back to school by having a lunch box area with all of the bento box supplies.

My daughter loves this bento box and it's going on its second year of use. We also have smaller containers to keep dressings in small pieces of fruit.

Sometimes I don't feel like washing small containers so I cheat and buy these disposable plastic containers with lids.

12. Organize Closet

We implemented this system last year and it worked beautifully! My daughter is a little older now and she enjoys picking out her own outfits. My boys didn't really mind what they wear but I need to make sure they were matching outfits.

So we implemented this hanging closet organizer system where they would pick out their weeks outfit.

It saved so much time in the mornings and I wasn't scrambling midweek to wash everything.

13. Morning Routine Checklist

I'm big on checklists so I have created many for my kids throughout the years. Try to get them independent by making sure their computer is charged and packed in their backpack, have their water bottle and school lunch (if bringing them to school), teeth and hair brushed.

14. Evening Routine Checklist

Have a list where the kids know to have their binder signed, homework completed, computer charging, etc.

Additional back to school organization ideas:

  • If you are concerned about time when leaving the house, this is a great visual timer that I've used to help keep everyone on time.

  • Morning or nighttime routine visual schedule for your child. Children love visuals and this is an easy schedule to understand.


Back to school is almost here (or you might be knee-deep in back to school paperwork now) but I hope these back to school organization tips give you some ideas on how to keep things running smoothing with your family as you navigate a new school year.

If you enjoyed this post I would really appreciate it if you shared it:)

Happy getting organized back to school! We got this!

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Hello! I'm Tiffany, a creative travel writer, mother to three awesome kids, and Floridian. We like to visit beautiful Florida resorts and beaches, Florida State Parks, and explore destinations by boat. I like to write about our travel adventures and provide Florida lifestyle tips to other families traveling or living in the Sunshine State.


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