8 Back To School Organization Tips – For MOM (i.e. Her SANITY)

Back To School.

Three words. Three words that involve A LOT.

A lot of time. A lot of money. A lot of planning.

8 10 Back To School Organization Tips – For MOM

So Back to School organization TIPS are in order, friends.

*Though this post is not a sponsored post, it is inspired by my friends at Balance Bar. You can read my #balanceisinthebag tips here!

From shopping for supplies such as books, pens and Custom Crayons to school clothes creating a homework space and making sure you have the supplies you need at home for homework success and even lunch packing success… THERE IS JUST SO MUCH PACKED INTO THOSE 3 LITTLE WORDS!!!

In this post, I am going to share with you a few things I have prepared around the house (and in the car) to help make the school days (and mornings) (and nights) a little more manageable.

As much as I hate to say it, preparation is key. It just is. There is no way around it. So let’s start with the hottest iron in the fire… those back to school supplies.

1) First day of school supplies strategy. A staging system, if you will…

Back To School Suplly Staging SystemIt’s not fancy but has worked for me for a solid 3 years. I grab those paper grocery bags and put the kids’ name on their bag. This year, each kid has 2 bags (WHAT?!). We put each child’s supplies in their designated bag and I keep the supply list in the assigned bag in case there is a stray something we need to add. There always is. On the first day of school (or on the day of the teacher meet and greet) we just grab the bag(s), and head to school prepared and happy.

2) Labeling.

Back to school success Not all things need labels (like boxes of tissue or the box of pencils that goes into the class drawer), but if your child has never lost a jacket or headband or lunch box or water bottle or special pen or even shoe, I demand a recount! I love my Mabel’s Labels.

Another fun way method of “labeling” is through the art of washi tape. And that’s a task you can outsource (read: child labor, except they have no idea they are laboring)…

Washi tape to label school supplies - back to school

3) A bag of THINGS for the car.

Back To School bag of THINGS! Sanity for the children, which means - sanity for MOM!By THINGS I mean, a clipboard for doing homework in the car, pencils, pens, snacks, wipes, hair ties, a brush and comb, etc. It the bag that saves the day and makes mom feel successful. It doesn’t matter what bag, but I think a cute bag makes things more exciting.


Back to school success tip: A place for everything and everything in its place... even if it eventually moves from its place.

In this pic you see my BAG OF THINGS, but there is also water. I need to add a towel or two to my bucket. I have never regretted keeping a few extra water bottles in the car, nor a towel or two. I like keeping them in the bucket/basket because have you ever had to listen to things rolling around in the back of your car? Plus it’s a great catch-all.

5) First-Aid Kit. I keep this in my Bag of THINGS, but it’s worth noting…

Back to School First Aid Kit for the carYou can find pre-made first aid kit at almost any store these days. but I found this cute bag recently and made it my first aid kit for my car… from bandages to ointment to ibuprofen to Benadryl … this little guy has great potential to save the day. I found this bag at cute little shop in Coeur d’Alene, but you can find it online here.

6) Grab and go SNACKS!!!

Easy snacks on the go! Protein bars are always a great grab-n-go snack (these are the Balance Bare bars – non-GMO, soy, gluten, & dairy free). But I’ll also baggy-up nuts or crackers or blueberries if I know they’ll be eaten right away. Itzy Ritzy makes SUPER CUTE bags for this very purpose! I like having good snacks on hand, so we are not tempted to make a stop for french fries. It’s easy to do.

7) Assorted portable water bottles and cups. Maybe I’ll call this, “Water Station”…

Back To School Water Station... make taking water an easy choice

I keep lots of cups because it’s amazing how easy they are to lose (I blame Target and their supply of the cutest BPA Free Aladdin cups). We keep all shapes and sizes. I have purchased an assortment of extra straws and keep them in a mason jar. And lids floating around drawers and cabinets make me crazy, so I grabbed a storage container and put them in there. A big issue on busy mornings or evenings is being able to grab what you need in a jiffy. It’s hard to grab things that are lost. Having enough and keeping our lids in straws in a specific spot has helped us a lot.

Though I do give my kids a drink preference in their lunch, I prefer and they prefer water. Especially if they have a cool thing to drink it from. Speaking of choices…

8) Lunch prep!

Back To School Lunch Prep Station - choose one from each drawer!

I have a small, plastic drawer set in my pantry. I usually make the kids’ sandwich (or other main part of their lunch meal) (because I just like to) (I don’t LIKE making sandwiches, but I there just something about showing love through making a yummy sandwich or warm soup) (besides sandwiches always taste better when someone else makes them)(my mom STILL makes the best sandwiches) (I digress…)

The drawers have designated items in them. The kids know they can take one from each, plus veggies and/or fruit in the fridge. Or they know which drawer they are NOT ALLOWED to choose from (sometimes some children do not eat their protein and only eat the fun stuff and that means we don’t get to choose from the fun drawers…)

9) Homework station.

Back To School Homework Station - no excuses here!The kids do their homework at the kitchen table or counter, but all their supplies are stocked and ready for all the homework they can handle! A lot of people have said how wonderful it is to have a home office that the children can readily use. It might be worth checking out some modern office furniture that might just create the perfect working space for the whole family. I am fortunate to have a laundry room big enough to store a skinny bookshelf the holds all the tools we need for homework success. This tip is so important because homework is crucial. It’s always good to set up some time each day for some form of learning, even if they have no homework to do. For example, you could help them to master a new language online, by using the lessons published on AJ Hoge.

  • • Pencils, erasers, pens, glue sticks, scissors, etc…
  • • Crayons, fancy scissors, colored pencils, rulers…
  • • Construction paper, lined paper, graph paper…
  • • Storage for each child’s to-keep school work…

10) Last but not least… Le dreaded CALENDAR.

My calendar sytem - digital and paper - and COLOR CODING!I have been told it seems like a lot of work to keep 2 calendars. But I have my iCal on my phone where I can plan on the fly and look into the future as planning questions arise when I am not near my paper calendar.

I keep a paper calendar because it helps my brain to write things down. It is when I write in my paper calendar that my to-do list become complete.And I color code both of them. It’s a quick-glance gift to myself.

I like colors. I guess it someways I am tricking myself into liking a busy schedule – OOH RAINBOW!

I know many people like to use apps. Cozi is a popular app and it seems lots of great things are being said about Timeful. I have only used the latter a handful of times. It seems the paper calendar (I have used both the Day Designer & *Erin Condren) and calendar on my phone (iCal) are my most efficient options right now.

Regardless of what works for you, there is no argument that a calendar must be kept. These are the things I do. I’d love to hear what you do!

Disclosure: The photos featured here were taken BEFORE school started. These spaces do not look this organized and awesome at all times. And sometimes I forget we ate all the snacks and have no snacks left in the car and have to swing by the closest drive-through for fries. It just happens. And it’s OK. The smallest deed is better than the grandest intention.

(Originally published August 2014)

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One Response to “8 Back To School Organization Tips – For MOM (i.e. Her SANITY)”

  1. Andrea says:

    Brilliant!!!! Just brilliant!!!

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