Back to School Organizing

Brooke White

Posted on September 06 2019

Everyone is heading out the door, and we've found some back to school tips and tricks to make organizing easy!  Tame that mound of school paperwork, slay the lunch routine, and make mornings stress-free with our tips for back to school success.  Okay, that last one might be impossible, but we can aim for LESS stress at the very least.

Morning Routine

This is where things start to get real, and we realize very quickly that as happy as we are for the kids to go back to school, we are going to miss the lazy slow pace of summer.  Don't worry, there are some easy solutions that streamline morning routines and minimize the inevitable conflict and delays that seem to crop up once sleepy kids realize that they have to move at a new pace when school starts. 

The easiest way to get prepared for the day is to start the night before.  Have a designated bin or spot where kids can put their outfits for the next morning, and don't forget shoes, socks, and accessories.  This will help kids avoid last minute outfit changes, trying to find matching shoes and socks, or a whole-house hunt for the critically necessary panda hair clip.  

It also helps to pack lunches, sports bags and backpacks the night before.  This way notebooks and assignments aren't left behind, and you realize that you need to find the school library book before the moment you need to leave for school.  This includes charging and packing tablets or technology that kids may need to bring to school.  One teacher gave us the great tip of putting the tablet into the backpack with the charger cord plugged into it, and into the wall.  That way the child just has to unplug from the wall and walk out the door, with the tablet always inside the backpack so it can't be forgotten.  We've found that it also helps to have a cute spot with hooks on the walls for coats, backpacks, lunchboxes, etc. so that everyone knows where to put things away when they get home, and we can grab what we need and fly out the door in the mornings.  Pottery Barn has some cute chalkboard hooks that we love, and you can write each child's name on the top.

Backpacks hanging on wall hooks with bulletin boards above them.

How To Organize Your Home

Being organized sets kids up for success, and helps parents feel less stressed.  Let's start with a few ideas to simplify the morning routine.  Some kids really benefit from a visual schedule, which is simply a reminder picture list of what they need to do in what order each morning (or night).  This works especially well for younger children who need help remembering all the parts of their routine, but can also help older children remember things like making their beds, clearing their dishes, etc.  Another way to de-stress the morning is to have organized supplies for the bathrooms so kids can easily access their toothbrushes, face wash, etc. and to have a bathroom schedule if space is tight in your house and kids need to take turns.  This cute bathroom tote is perfect for tweens and can monogrammed so each child has their own supplies.

Technology can help in the morning by providing reminders when it's time to transition from one activity to the next, or to stay on schedule.  Did you know that you can program your smart home device to say things like "five minutes until time to leave," "time to brush teeth," or "eight o'clock reminder to take medication."  For some reason kids think it's more fun to listen to Alexa than mom sometimes, so it works in our house.  You can also use a traditional alarm clock, or a visual timer to keep kids moving on schedule.

Another way to stay organized it to think of your house in zones and designate ways to organize each spot.  For example, you may want to keep a cupboard full of lunch box supplies and containers, plus easy to grab-and go snacks.  A command center to keep school papers and a family calendar is also really handy.  Try getting a colorful file box or sorting folder system to keep papers straight for each child, and keep to-do item separate so you don't forget to re-visit important deadlines or turn in permission slips.  There are also lots of family calendar and organizing apps online to help you keep lists and schedules straight, or you can use an old fashioned paper planner.

Wall with family calendar and organizational bins on it.

You will also want to dedicate a homework zone, or areas where your kids work best with the least distractions.  Remember that you will need lots of school supplies on hand for homework and projects, so stock up on pencils, glue, poster board, etc. and keep them handy for each child in their work spaces.  That way kids don't wander around "looking" for a purple colored pencil and waste 15 minutes of homework time in the afternoon.  Little Skye has adorable backpacks, planners, post-its, pens, pencils, notebooks, and water bottles under our gifts collection tab.

Last but not least, plan ahead for picture day!  You do not want to be looking for last minute outfits the day before pictures are taken.  I've been there, wandering around the store in desperation, making  eye contact with other clearly desperate parents who are hoping you don't keep that last size 6 plaid shirt.  Make picture day shopping fun again by letting kids pick out something they really love, that showcases their unique personalities.  They're only this age once, and you want to remember how they looked and what they were in to at the time, so make sure they are wearing something that represents them well.  We have lots of options at Little Skye in our Fall Preview collection to help get you started!

Girl in a tan dress with brown wheat pattern and brown tights.

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