Are your kids going back to school and you’re wondering how to get organized this school year? Make it a stress-free year with these easy Back to School organization ideas & hacks.
Getting ready for school and rushing the kids out the door in the morning can be a stressful dash. Then the afternoons are a rush to get to all the kids’ activities. It feels like it never stops. But you can make this school season calmer with some simple organization hacks.
I got organized by creating checklists with everything they needed to bring to school and after-school activities. Then I set out to plan easy after-school snacks and weeknight dinners so it would be one less thing to worry about during those hectic afternoons.
I’ll also share with you some super easy DIY Homework stations & backpack storage ideas you can start using today.
These little changes have made a huge difference in the stress level in our house and I am hoping they’ll help you, too. Are you ready to learn these simple organizational ideas and grab your freebie printable checklists? Let’s get started!
If your kids are doing e-learning or Homeschooling this year get helpful tips on educational resources, room set up ideas, and supplies on our Homeschool Resource Page. Plus tips on How to Start Homeschooling this year.
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Family Command Center
A great idea to get all your family members organized and on the same page is using a family command center. It’s basically one spot to hold calendars and what needs to get done that week. I find it’s the best way to track what everyone in your family needs to do and easily locate any important papers.
All you need is a bulletin board or whiteboard that’s magnetic and your command center is ready. I suggest finding dedicated space to place it such as your refrigerator or a wall you will walk by a lot so you make sure not to miss it.
Add to your command center a family calendar, checklists for before & after school, flyers you get home from school, permission slips, school schedules, and any important papers you don’t want to lose.
I like to use a whiteboard that’s magnetic so I can easily add and take off papers. I also like the option of being able to write notes on the whiteboard near the paper I put up. For instance the due date in big red letters or just a general to-do list.
Get Organized with Free Printable Checklists
With the chaos of family life, it’s hard to remember everything the kids need to pack in their school bags and for after-school activities. I created these back-to-school organization checklists to make it easier to remember what the kids need to pack.
Each of my kids is responsible for checking the list before they leave to make sure they haven’t forgotten anything. Not having to remember everything in my head has been a game-changer for us.
These free printables checklists are a great way to get you organized. Use the Before School checklist to have less hectic mornings and the after-school checklist to fit in homework time, playtime, and extracurricular activities.
You will also see the free activity printable for all after-school activities. I also left blank lines so you can customize it to your family’s needs. I suggest you hang these up where the kids pack their backpacks or on your family command center.
Click on the picture below for your free download.
Before School Checklist
After School Activity Checklist
Back to School Sign
Capture the memory of your child’s first day back to school with a picture and the First Day of School sign. Use our free printable sign to remember the date and their grade level.
Grab Your Free Printable First Day of School Sign.
Organize Your Pantry for School Lunches & Snacks
The next step in the morning is getting lunches and snacks packed for school. To make this easier, I organized my pantry and refrigerator so the kids could help pack their own school lunch and grab their own school snacks.
The snack station also made it easier for the kids to get their own after-school snacks, too.
Even if your kids don’t do it themselves it will still be quicker for you to grab what you need to make packing lunches faster. So try it out and see if it works for you!
Check out these simple pantry organization ideas as easy ways to encourage your kids to be more self-sufficient. It was a quick change that made a huge difference in our day.
Label Your Kid’s Stuff
Are your kids always losing their things at school? It’s amazing how many lunch bags and water bottles I have had to buy over and over again. It’s so frustrating!
I fixed this by labeling all my kid’s school items with their names but honestly, this can be a pain. So, I found this cool company Mabel’s Labels that prints personalized labels with my child’s name. All the sticker labels are dishwasher and laundry safe so they won’t fall off.
The labels are great for lunch bags, water bottles, gym clothes, sweatshirts, snow gear, school headphones, school materials, and more. Really anything your child takes to school.
It has made getting ready for back to school so much easier when all I need to do is slap on Mabel’s Labels.
Check it out and see if Mabel’s Labels will work for you too!
Create an After-School Routine
When the kids get home from school it can be pretty hectic and chaotic. Take some of the stress out of the afternoons by starting an easy after-school routine.
Think about what you expect your kids to get done after school and use that to help plan your daily routine.
For instance hang up their backpack when they get home, have a snack, play outside, do chores, complete their homework, and eat a family dinner.
Once you start consistently doing your after-school routine kids will know the expectations and will follow the schedule. This means less fighting about putting away their shoes or doing their homework. It will just be part of your daily routine.
Get more ideas in How to Create an After School Routine Kids Will Actually Do.
Then grab our FREE printable After School Checklist to help get you started.
DIY Backpack Station
Create a place for all your kid’s backpacks, coats, and shoes to go. This will make it easier in the morning to find everything when you’re in a rush. It also will cut down on the mess around your house. With is a huge bonus!
You can do something simple & cheap like adding hooks to an open wall by your door. Kids can hang up their coats and make a backpack station with the hooks. Then add a simple shoe tray or door shoe organizer to hold all your kid’s shoes.
This is an easy way to save money and still have a backpack station. It’s worked great at my house. Take a look at our setup below. I also added a checklist above the coats to remember items for after-school sports.
I found the little chalkboard nameplates at Dollar Tree.
If you can spend a little more consider adding lockers or cubbies by the door. This will look a lot nicer and will be permanent however it costs more. Either way, you are adding functionality to your house making school days much easier.
Here’s an example of the cubbies my neighbor created and loves in her house.
Use simple bins at the top to hold gloves, hats, and other small items so you can find them when the kids need them.
DIY Homework Station
Set up space for your kids to do homework assignments in one designated spot this year. The homework area can be a desk in their room or a spot at the kitchen table.
Just designate a location that’s quiet for them to concentrate after school on their work. The spot will remind kids when they sit down in this area it’s school time and they need to focus.
Plus it will help kids get into the routine of getting homework done when there is a specific space in the house to do it.
I would add some bins with paper, pens, pencils, and anything else they use on a regular basis to complete their homework in this area.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create a learning space at home. We use Dollar Tree for cheap Homeschool Organization spaces that work great as homework stations too.
Here’s how we used a bookshelf and dollar tree bins to make a homework station:
If one child has less homework but you still need them to be quiet have some coloring sheets or quiet lego activity they can do while the other kids finish their homework.
Declutter Your Home
Life as a parent can get totally overwhelming with work, kids, home, and activities. Let’s first start with a positive mindset for the new school year. Begin with reading 11 Habits of an Organized Mom You Can Start Today. Quick & simple things to do every day so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Then work on decluttering and organizing rooms in your house so you’ll feel more in control at home. Start decluttering spaces in your house with your kitchen first and then your office space to get you organized and feeling good.
After that move on to the kid’s bedrooms and playroom. Lastly set up a mudroom area for kids to leave backpacks and shoes when they get home. I’ll show you an easy mudroom set up below.
I know it can feel overwhelming to get started but if you take just one room or closet at a time it’s not so bad. You do not need to do it all at once!
Get my tips on How to Declutter Your Home Without Stress and find where to begin. Plus get my free printable Decluttering Checklist included in the article.
Delicious & Quick After School Snacks
When the kids come home starving after school, be ready with these easy and delicious after-school snacks. This will make it less stressful and ensure they’re not just grabbing junk food to eat.
Get some easy snack ideas in our 25 Healthy After School Snacks Kids will Actually Eat.
Here are three of my kid’s favorite no-bake recipes I can whip up the night before and be set for the next day.
No Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls – With Peanut Butter, Honey, Chocolate Chips and Oats
Apple Slice Cookies (not really a cookie!) It’s just sliced apple, peanut butter, and toppings.
Yummy Banana Sushi Rolls – quick to make by rolling up a banana in Nutella or peanut butter and tortillas.
Check them both out and see if your kids will love them, too!
Easy Weeknight Dinners
I have found after school activities make it a lot harder to have a healthy family meal each night. You really have very little time to cook and squeeze in meals between activities. This rushing to get food on the table was stressing me out and I was making way too many frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets.
So, I decided I needed some quick and easy weeknight dinners for when we are in a hurry. Here are some of my go-to meal ideas that I hope will also help you out.
Rotisserie Chicken Dinners
What could be faster than picking up a rotisserie chicken for dinner? The chicken is already cooked which is a huge time saver and there are so many ways to make it into a delicious meal.
Check out these 10 Simple & Quick Rotisserie Chicken Dinners and get inspired for your next meal.
25 Easy Family Dinner Ideas
Are you and your family in a dinner rut? Then use this list of 25 Easy Family Dinner Ideas to keep things fresh each night. You’ll find a variety of quick meals that your kids will actually eat!
Sheet Pan Dinners
I love a good sheet pan dinner! You just throw everything on a sheet pan into the oven and you are free to do other things while your meal cooks. Plus, it’s only one pan to clean at the end of the night.
Our favorite Sheet Pan Dinner has sausage, potatoes, and veggies. Use this recipe as a base and adjust it to the tastes of your family.
Teriyaki Chicken Crockpot Dinner
This dump-and-go crockpot recipe for Teriyaki Chicken couldn’t be easier. Just throw all the ingredients into the crockpot, turn it on, and your meal will be ready for you at dinner time.
Find out two ways to serve this chicken in my Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken Recipe. Bonus, it makes enough leftovers for a second dinner that week.
How Kids Chores Can Help De-Stress Your Afternoons
At the end of the day, there are so many things to get done that it can be overwhelming. Get some help around the house on busy weeknights from your kids with simple chores.
Kids can help set the table, pick up toys, empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, and complete other small tasks around the house. Having them help with simple tasks will teach the kids responsibility and help you out.
Get a list of Fun Age Appropriate Chores and a free printable Chore Chart.
Educational Apps and Homeschool Resources
Continue the learning at home after school with the best educational websites and apps for kids. Easy to use resources perfect for quick after-school lessons.
If you’ve decided to try homeschooling this year or aren’t sure if it’s right for you visit How to Start Homeschooling a Beginners Guide. All the basics on how to get started this year.
Check out our Homeschool Resource page to get more ideas.
Plan a Family Game Night
Connect as a family once a week with a fun family game night. Pull out their favorite games, plan a fun snack or dessert and enjoy some time together. It’s an easy way to fit in the quality time together we miss with our hectic schedules.
You’re going to be amazed how much more you hear about their day when you’re just hanging out as a family and not rushing to the next activity.
Get ideas on how to create an easy family game night with the best games to play, printable monthly themes, snack ideas, and more.
I hope this article inspired you with easy back-to-school organization ideas & hacks. Hopefully, the organization tips will create a stress-free and fun school year for your family.
Don’t forget to use the free printable checklists for calm and easy mornings and to get ready for after-school activities.
Do you have something that helps you get organized for school? Please share it in the comments to help us all learn from each other.
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