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An Easy, Practical Guide to Getting Organized for School

Simple, practical tips for getting organized for school as the new year begins.

Back to school organization tips

With a kindergartner, first grader, and third grader in addition to a toddler this fall, getting organized for school is an important part of staying sane, as well as maximizing free time for the entire family! You will love these simple and practical tips whether you homeschool or send your children to a public or private school.

An Easy, Practical Guide to Getting Organized for School

Give Everything a Place

Create a dedicated space where your family stores backpacks, shoes, coats, school papers, and lunch boxes. We invested in this (affiliate link) Jonticraft take home center because it has plenty of space for our family of six (the middle bins hold homework papers, and the top ones are papers I need to look at for each child). IKEA Expedit cases can also work, and a friend transformed an old entertainment center into a beautiful cubby for her kids by adding wood dividers and hooks!

Keep a Family Calendar

Our family calendar is digital. We use Google Calendar. Google Calendar is free and easy to use, and you can view multiple user’s calendars at one time. Mike and I share our calendars with one another. This way we always have some idea of what the other is doing. For family activities, whoever is creating the activity invites the other. We will create accounts for our kids as they grow older. If you prefer a paper system, there are some great family wall calendars you can use. I have several friends who use dry-erase wall calendars. You can write on a white board with overhead pens to prevent accidental erasing.

Create a Paper Routine

If you send your children to a  public or private school, they probably bring home a lot of papers. Schedule a dedicated time of day when you will go through papers your kids bring home from school – we do this right after school. The kids have dedicated bins for their homework papers, and also bins for newsletters and papers I need to read and sign.

Help Kids Organize Tasks

This is especially important if you have kids who struggle with executive function, but I think any child benefits from the predictability of organization as they ease into a new school year! This can be a simple list for kids to read through or something more formal, such as this Melissa and Doug chore chart or Accountable Kids.

Schedule Free Time and Family Time

Going back to school can be a challenging time for kids – there are a lot of changes and new experiences! Be sure to schedule both free time and family time to reduce stress and to create opportunities to connect with your kids.

How do you create organization for a new school year?

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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

22 thoughts on “An Easy, Practical Guide to Getting Organized for School”

  1. MaryAnne, you provided SO MANY great tips! I truly hope I can put them to use. Leading up to the new school year I felt so unorganized, all the supplies, parent night, meet the teacher, etc. It was overwhelming! Thanks for sharing your insight. You’ve given me hope that I can turn it around!

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! My oldest is starting kindergarten so we are diving into school stuff! Trying to get myself and our routines organized!

  3. Great tips! We are starting first grade this year and I’m sure these ideas will come in handy. Thank you!

  4. Wonderful tips. I am not ready to lose the time with my kids, but they are ready and that’s what counts. THANKS!

  5. I haven’t even thought about back to school yet. Such an exciting time. I will definitely be back with a related post to link up once I have one! Love your ideas around organizing papers.

  6. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    Great advice! I really need to follow on dedicated time for papers. I have missed something important a few times too many!

  7. Your tips are great! We use Google Calendar too; it was a mess before my husband and I synched up! I like the cubbies with a paper tray too. We have a mudroom but the papers stay in the backpacks until I sort them with the kids which is not a great system.

    My latest thing to do with my middle school and entering high school is to have THEM schedule their own stuff into the Google Calendar which they are synched up too. Also for them to check the schedule to know what I am doing. ie I can’t drive them to their friends’ house if I am driving a soccer car pool so don’t even call me to ask.

  8. I’m not ready for this! It means that summer is ending and some of my buddies will be going off to kindergarten! :( Great ideas & what a collection of resources, though!

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