23 Tips For Your Most Organized Back To School Ever (& Free Printables)
I know you are still enjoying summer and the very last thing you want to think about is back to school. I get it. But, if you start doing a little planning for back to school now, I promise it will save you from rushing around the last few weeks of summer and leave more time to actually enjoy it. To help, I put together a timeline with 23 tips to help make this your most organized back to school ever. To make it even easier, at the end of the post you will find a link to the printable I prepared that includes a one-page checklist of these tips for quick reference AND back to school shopping lists. So, let’s get to it!
1 Month Before School Starts:
1) Schedule doctor and dentist visits.
2) Go through children’s clothes to determine what still fits and make a list of what is needed for the new school year.
3) Go through office/school supplies and make a list of what needs to be re-stocked.
TIP: You can often find back to school supply lists online in advance of the start of school. But if you can’t, there are some safe supply bets to stock up on like pencils, glue sticks, Kleenex, and pencil crayons. It’s also not a bad idea to pick up some Bristol board while shopping to save you from the inevitable “the project is due tomorrow” mad dash to the store.
4) Pull out backpacks, lunchboxes, lunch containers, thermoses and water bottles and make a list of what needs to be replaced.
TIP: If space permits, create a lunch packing zone where you keep lunchboxes, containers, utensils, water bottles and thermoses. It makes packing lunches much easier when everything is in one central location. Even better is if you can create the space close to where you keep the non-perishable items you pack on lunches. Mine is in the cupboard closest to the fridge and pantry, and right beside the bread cupboard. It’s a nice little triangle work station that streamlines making lunches.
5) To save even more time when making lunches, arrange your cupboard or pantry so that all lunch items are close together and easily accessible.
TIP: Store lunch snacks in a location where children can reach them and involve them in making their own lunches. If they choose what is going in their lunch they are less likely to complain and more likely to eat it.
6) Asses your label situation and order more if running low.
TIP: Many popular label makers such as Mabel’s Labels and Oliver’s Labels run fundraising programs through schools where the school gets a certain portion of funding for every order placed. When you order online, there is an option usually at the top right, to “Support a Fundraiser”. When you click it, you will be taken to a screen and asked to search for your school, organization or camp. Just enter the name and your order will automatically support the fundraiser.
7) Start planning some easy make-ahead freezer dinners that will make the first week back to school a little less hectic while everyone adjusts to the school routine again.
2-3 Weeks Before School Starts:
8) Purchase wardrobe, school supplies and any office or organization supplies you need for the home also.
TIP: Back to school time is the best time to get deals on organizing products; everything is on sale! It is also the time that stores like Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls have the most stock of these items. So, if you’re in need of some new organizing products, keep your eye out for them during your back to school shopping.
9) Make a “paper drop off” location, one central location where children can put all school and extracurricular activity forms, notices, permission slips, newsletters, fundraising etc. for you to review.
TIP: This can be as simple as a basket or magazine holder on the counter. It just has to be one place where children know to put papers that need to get to you. This will help stop paper clutter from taking over and papers being misplaced.
10) Create a homework caddy, or if your child does not yet have homework, a craft caddy. Having all the supplies they need in one place minimizes distractions and hopefully the number of interruptions you encounter to get a pencil, eraser or glue stick while trying to make dinner!
11) Make hair appointments for the week before school.
1 Week Before School Starts:
12) Get hair cuts.
13) Stock up on snacks/non-perishables for lunches.
14) If doing first day of school pictures, decide where you are going to do the picture and make sure you have all props, boards, signs etc.
15) Add labels to everythying. EVERYTHING.
16) Ease kids back into school morning and evening routines. For example, if bedtimes were a little later during the summer, start moving bedtime up 10 minutes every couple of nights to get them back to their normal school bedtime.
TIP: If the summer meant a little more screen time, this is also a good time to let children know what screen time access will be once they are back to school.
A Few Days Before School Starts:
17) Have your children decide what they want to wear on the first day of school (to hopefully avoid having to wash it at 9 p.m. the night before).
18) Make sure your camera is charged and has an SD card in it ready to go.
1 Day Before School Starts:
19) Have camera and any picture props together and in the location where you’ll be taking the picture.
20) Pack backpack the night before.
21) Pack lunch (or atleast non-perishable parts of lunch) night before.
22) Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you think you need to.
TIP: While following the above tips will have you organized and ready for the first day of school, you can’t plan for how kids will react or how quickly (or not) they will move. Some will be nervous or scared and need some extra reassurance and cuddles, some will be so excited and spill their breakfast on the floor which will have to be cleaned up, and some, despite picking their outfit out days ago, will change their minds and need time to pick out something else. You get the idea. Setting the alarm 15 minutes early on the first day gives you a cushion to deal with these “variables” and still get out the door on time without frantically rushing around.
1st Day of School
23) Get the kids up, fed and dressed. Take their picture, give them a hig and send them on their way!
And there you have it, 23 tips for your most organized back to school ever. Do you have any back to school tips you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below. For a printable one-page checklist of these tips and shopping lists, click here. If you found this post helpful, please share it!