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When you think of school organization, you don’t have to limit it to sorting supplies or making DIY storage containers. Get your whole family on the same page to make your lives more efficient (and create more time to do the things you love). It can be simple acts like meal prep and closet organization, and sometimes just requires a shift in thinking.
Here are a bunch of school organization tips to try so you can keep up with your new back-to-school schedules. Download the free Krazy Coupon Lady app and get updates on all the best back-to-school deals on supplies and learning tools.
1. Choose outfits for the week and store them in a closet organizer.
As a time-saver, planning outfits the night before is a great way to stay organized. Label each pocket of your closet organizer with a letter for the day of the week, then place outfits inside. If it has more than five pockets, store shoes for the week in the sixth.
Best part is your children can have a hand in choosing what they’ll wear, but not in the rush right before school. No more stressful mornings trying to figure out what to wear. Plus, you’ll know those clothes are clean and not pulled from the dirty hamper.
2. Stock your freezer with family-friendly freezer meals once a month.
Asking “what’s for dinner?” is one of the most stress-inducing questions that parents face daily. Here’s a school organization tip for dinner: Make 10 – 15 freezer meals once or twice per month.
You’ll keep your family fed with healthy, homemade meals without rushing through that pre-dinner hour of doom when everyone needs help, the kids are hangry, and you’re trying to do all the things while figuring out a frantic last-minute dinner plan.
3. Display family dinner ideas so everyone can plan accordingly.
Another way to avoid the “what’s for dinner?” question is to write it all down ahead of time. Find a spot (like the kitchen) to list your scheduled meals for the week. Hang a white board and use Expo markers so that it’s easy to list options and erase them too.
Maybe your teenager hates spaghetti? They can choose that night to make plans with their friends instead of whining about the dinner choice.
4. Make DIY snack packs and skip buying individually packaged snacks.
If you really want to save time on school lunch organization, make your own snack bags in advance. That’s right, buy all of the snacks you need, grab your Ziploc bags, and pre-portion them for grab and go. This is another way to avoid that stress-inducing, before-school rush.
5. Pick a designated spot in your freezer for your ice pack collection.
Stick a container in the freezer (Hint: Dollar Tree has a variety of plastic bins for cheap) and fill it with ice packs. Let your kids help out with the morning lunch routine by grabbing one to stick in their lunchbox before heading out. Be sure to replace them when your kids come home from school, otherwise, they won’t be useful for the next day.
TIP: If you’re in a pinch and the ice packs were never returned to the freezer, make your own. Freeze a wet sponge and stick it in a plastic Ziploc bag to keep moisture contained.
6. Add emergency lunch money to your child’s school lunch account.
Everyone forgets their lunch eventually. Instead of having to rush home to grab it or be stuck without cash to hand to them in the school drop-off line, just add $10 – $20 to their lunch account at the beginning of the school year so they can use it when the inevitable happens.
While you’re in the back-to-school organization mood, check out our backpack deals page to take advantage of sales before school starts.
7. Make early morning routines easier with a bathroom organizer.
Rather than listen to your panicked kids screaming, “Where’s my hairbrush?! Did you see my hairbrush?!,” take school organization to the next level. Put everything into school supply caddies that they can keep in their rooms and grab before heading into the bathroom. No fighting. No panicking. Everything in one place. Boom.
You’re gonna like these storage deals to help with your organization.
8. Master school organization on the go by packing back seat snacks.
Fill a car organizer with everything your child may need on a busy morning. I fill mine with an extra hairbrush, hair gel, baby wipes (for messy faces), hand sanitizer, water bottles, and grab and go breakfast options like protein-filled granola bars. Hang one in front of each child’s seat so they can finish grooming or eating in the car before we get to the drop-off line.
This is especially helpful if you have a long commute to school. Save some morning tasks specifically for the car. My preteen daughter brushes and fixes her hair in the car every morning.
9. Pack sports equipment in a trunk organizer at the start of every week.
Let’s face it, the family vehicle is more like a fully-equipped taxi. Declutter and save yourself from a week’s worth of hunting down sports equipment by packing a trunk organizer every weekend before your busy weekday schedule begins.
With all of the school prep spending and organizing, how about saving money on sports equipment? Dick’s Sporting Goods sales are abundant and often have a variety of selections for boys and girls.
TIP: Designate one slot to yourself and fill it with extra gym clothes to make quick workouts easier to fit into a busy day!
10. Carry school supplies in your car for last-minute homework help.
Be prepared with a glue stick to re-adhere the photo falling off your kiddo’s science project poster board. Or an extra pen to avoid frantically searching for one when your child pulls out that unsigned field trip form while sitting in the drop-off line.
Ideas for items to put in your kit:
- Pencil Sharpener
- Glue Stick
- Hand Wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
- Non-Perishable Snacks
Check out the best back-to-school deals.
11. Create a mudroom drop-off point for backpacks, books, and schoolwork.
Set up a school organization solution that’s easy to maintain from the moment you walk through the door! Establish a space for your kids to put their backpacks, lunch boxes, and other school items. This way, there’s no searching for missing items. Plus, the germs will be contained to one area. You might want to keep a bottle of antibacterial spray handy to hose down their shoes, coats, and bags.
12. Build a homework station divider to prevent distractions.
Kids get distracted easily, so hopefully this will help them finish their homework or computer work. This idea is also great for separating siblings because you know that can be a real nightmare during homework time.
13. Use washi tape to make school organization cheerful.
You and your kids can use washi tape for so many things. They add color and life to dull and boring things.
Here are some washi tape uses to try:
- Reinforce hole punches and prevent pages from tearing out of your kids’ binders by dressing them up at the same time.
- Label your different notebooks for separate subjects with washi tape.
- Make bookmarks with paper clips and washi tape, and use them as bookmarks for textbooks or notebooks.
14. Make a chore list with a sheet protector for a dry-erase board.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who needs some sort of to-do list to remember things. Print out this free chore list template, or make your own, and slip it into a sheet protector. Clip it to a clipboard, and let your kids use a dry-erase marker to check off items once they’ve completed them.
Did you know that you can revive dry-erase markers at home with just a few tools?
15. Use a large dry-erase wall calendar to keep track of family activities.
No matter the size of your family, a calendar is essential for school organization. Even non-school related activities like doctor’s appointments, playdates, and vacations can be documented so everyone’s on the same page. Make your dry-erase wall calendar easier to read with color-code activities for each family member.
TIP: Put your kids on their new sleep schedule a week before school starts. This way, your kids won’t struggle so much waking up early.
16. Create a photo book from arts and crafts creations.
Rather than feeling the need to keep every item, photograph your kids’ artwork to document in a photo book you can design and print at the end of the school year. Or hang them up around the house. You could also give them as gifts.
If you use these Walgreens photo hacks and printing tips, your kids’ artwork can look professional. Maybe one of your kids is a budding entrepreneur who wants to try selling their artwork online? You never know.
Here a couple of photo book savings options:
17. Keep library books in their own designated book box.
Use a bin or tub for this organization tip. Heck, even a wooden crate or storage tote with handles would be pretty cute. If you have space, label separate bins with your kids’ name since different age gaps have different reading levels.
If you’re low on book options, there are ways to get free and cheap children’s books. You could also swap with friends and family members to build your library.
18. Hang a wall file organizer with a slot for each family member.
Use colorful file folders and a wall-mounted file holder to make school organization easier for you and the kids. When you get home from school, go through your child’s take-home folder (or ask them to do that!) and place papers in the right family member’s file.
Permission slips and event flyers go in Mom and Dad’s slot, while homework and projects go into your child’s. Then you can each check your file when you have a quiet moment to focus.
19. Add a homework folder for loose papers to your child’s backpack.
No more crumpled permission slips and homework at the bottom of a backpack! Before the school year starts, stick a simple pocket folder in your child’s backpack. Label it “homework” and tell them to put any loose papers into it instead.
Perhaps you can give your kids an incentive if they remember to add their homework to the folder. After all, this organization suggestion helps you both. Maybe a special ice cream dessert, extra screen time, or their favorite dinner.
20. Download the Photomath app to get your child math homework help.
Apps like Photomath are great tools for students trying to understand math. Just point your smartphone’s camera to scan the math equation. A step-by-step explanation will appear. And, if you’ve forgotten how to solve fourth grade fractions (like me), this app can help you with that too!
21. Put a “Don’t Forget” to-do list on your door so you don’t miss anything.
No matter how thoroughly your wall calendar is filled out, you’ll likely forget something before heading out. Grab a Post-It and stick it on your garage door, front door, or on your purse or wallet. If the reminder is for one of the kids, put a sticky note on their backpack.
You can also get into the habit of stashing your usual to-go items in a container near your exit door. This works for car keys, an extra phone charger, or your kids’ sports equipment bag.
22. Program screen time for kids on devices before the school year starts.
Free apps like Parental Control & Kid Tracker help regulate your kids’ screen time so you don’t have to. This one-and-done organization method is great for after school and for vacation planning.
Just set the controls to allow however many hours of screen time you’d like. Once time is up, the app your child is watching will be blocked. You can also determine periods when screen time isn’t allowed, like dinner time.
23. Buy yourself a $75 Starbucks gift card during back-to-school shopping season.
Sometimes we parents need a little extra motivation to get through the school week. Instead of feeling guilty about hitting the Starbucks drive-thru after an especially crazy morning, just start the school year by buying yourself a $75 gift card to your favorite coffee shop. That’s enough for a guilt-free latte every Friday to celebrate the end of another busy week.
TIP: Refill the card during winter break when gift card promotions are taking place to get through the second semester.