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Smart Back to School Organization Ideas & Hacks for Busy Moms

Smart Back to School Organization Ideas & Hacks for Busy Moms

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 back-to-school organization tips.

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. Plus simple after-school routine ideas. 

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.

Simple Tips to Get Organized for Back to School. Make it a stress free year with free printable before & after school checklists. How to organized snacks & lunches to make a calm morning. Plus quick meals and decluttering tips. Make it a fun year! #backtoschool #organization #freeprintables #kids #school #organizationtips #schoollunch #schoolsnack
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Family Command Center

Set up a family command center to get organized for back to school.

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 a designated place such as your refrigerator, laundry room, 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, to-do lists, 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 & has dry erase markers 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. It’s an easy way to create a before and after-school routine.

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

Get those busy mornings under control with an easy-to-follow checklist for kids to create a morning routine 

Stop those hectic back to school mornings with an easy to follow Before School Checklist. Use it to create an easy morning routine for kids and parents.

Use one of these backpack checklists to remember everything kids need to pack from a water bottle to homework. This is especially helpful at the beginning of the year when you’re not in the routine of going back to school yet. No more forgetting their lunch at home!

Easy school backpack checklist to get organized for back to school. No more forgetting items at home.
How to Get Organized for School - Before School Freebie Printable Checklist

After School Activity Checklist

End the after-school chaos with an After school checklist & activity checklist to create a routine for your kids.  

Free Printable After School Checklist PDF
How to be Organized for School - Freebie Printable Kids Activity Checklist

Make the checklist a better fit for your family with Editable Before & After School Checklists. The 11-page printable templates include pre-done checklists you can alter & blank checklists to create a totally customized routine for your family. Includes an Editable Chore Chart too! 

Help make your mornings & afternoons less hectic with this editable Before & after School Checklist you can customize to fit your family's needs.

To-Do Lists

​Back to school is a crazy time of year. Keep track of everything your whole family needs to get done with free printable to-do lists

21 Free printable daily to do list to keep track of all the things to get done at the begining of the school year.

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.

Free Printable Back to School Sign for your pictures. Take a picture of your kids holding their First Day of School Sign.

Organize Your Pantry for School Lunches & Snacks 

How to Organize Kids Snacks in the refrigerator for after school snacks. Quick dollar tree organization hacks to help kids get their own snacks or pack lunches for school.

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 lunches and grab their own school snacks.

Pantry Organization Ideas for kids lunches & 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.  

Tip: Brighten your kid’s day by putting a funny lunch box joke in their lunch box. They’ll love reading it to the kids at their lunch table and laughing. A cute way to make them feel special.

120 Printable jokes for your kids lunch boxes.

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

Grab Your Free Printable After School Checklist & Schedule. It will help you create an easy daily schedule for kids after school.

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.

Free Printable After School Checklist to Create an After School Routine. Get organized after school with this easy to follow checklist. It will make your day so much easier!

Or Grab our Editable Before & After School Checklist to customize the list for your family.

DIY Backpack Station

Create a place for all your kid’s backpacks, coats, and shoes to go.  I like to call it the drop zone. Having a designated space 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 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.

Back to School Backpack Stations for Mudrooms for kids. Get Organized for Back to School this year with a spot for your kids coats, shoes and backpacks.

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.

Backpack Station in your Mudroom. Get Organized for Back to School with spaces for all your kids backpacks, shoes and coats.

Use simple bins at the top to hold gloves, hats, and other small items so you can find them when the kids need them.

44 Fun things to do this Fall in a Fall Bucket List for kids & families. The free printable Fall Ideas will help you plan a unforgettable autumn season with your kids this year. Plus Halloween activities you won't want to forget to try.

DIY Homework Station

DIY Homework Station set up at the dining room table

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.

Create a DIY Homework station for kids at a desk space in their room.

Just designate a location that’s quiet for them to concentrate after school on their school 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 homework supplies like 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:

Make homework assignments less chaotic at home with a simple DIY Homework station. Use a book shelf and bins to organize all the school work your child will need in once place.

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.

At the beginning of the school year print out these free printable Back to School Coloring Pages for your kids. Find even more free activities on our Printables page.

Back to School Coloring Pages & All About Me worksheets for kids. Great for preschool, kindergarten and early elementary school age kids. Print them out and us on the first day of school.

Try & Limit Their Screen Time

With all the electronics the kids are using at school nowadays try and find fun ways for kids to play after school and get a break from electronics. Don’t feel you can let them use electronics at all just give them an alternative for part of the time.

Put up an “I’m Bored” sheet you can hang on your fridge or bulletin board to give kids ideas without you having to tell them. Try these cute Are You Bored flyers I made for my kids. It has Indoor activities, outdoor activities, activities to try all day, and local community activity ideas. I use these all year round.

140 I'm Bored Jar activity ideas to hang on your fridge to entertain your kids. Say goodby to boredom with indoor activities, outdoor activities, and things to do in your local community. A fun way to entertain kids at home this summer and all year long.

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.

Free Printable Weekly Cleaning Schedule to get you organized at home. Clean every room in your house without getting overwhelmed.
Free Printable to create your Cleaning Schedule

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.

Peanut Butter Energy Balls - Easy after school Snack for Kids

No Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls – With Peanut Butter, Honey, Chocolate Chips and Oats

Apple Slice cookies are a healthy After School Snack Idea for Kids. Easy to make at home and they taste delicous!

Apple Slice Cookies (not really a cookie!) It’s just sliced apple, peanut butter, and toppings.

Banana Sushi is a fun After School Snack for Kids. This easy snack ideas uses bananas, tortilla and Nutella or peanut butter. Simply spread Nutella or peanut butter on tortilla, wrap up the banana and cut into sushi pieces. It's sure to become a favorite snack.

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

You Bought a Rotisserie Chicken Now What? Turn that leftover Rotisserie Chicken into one of these 10 easy family meals. Learn how to make these quick recipes for your next busy weeknight dinner. Your kids will love them!

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

How to organize you back to school meals with 25 Easy Family Dinner Ideas kids and moms will love. #easymeals #dinnerideas #mealplan #quickmeals

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

Sheet Pan Dinners are a quick weeknight meal. Try this Suasage and Potatoes meal this week.

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

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe. An Easy Dump and Go recipe your whole family will love! Find out how to make two dinners from one batch. #crockpot #easymeals #familydinner #chicken #teriyakichicken

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

Easy Chore Charts for Kids. Get Free printable Chore charts by age. Find tips on how to get your kids to do chores without whining! #chorecharts #kids #parentingtips #chores

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

Best School Apps & Educational Websites for Elementary School and High School Students. Free and easy to use websites for kids you can use to teach your kids at home. #schoolapps #educationalwebsites #educationalresources #websitesforkids

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.

We love playing cooperative board gamesdetective games, and printable Escape room games on our family game nights.

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.

Family Game Night Planner a 30 Pages Printable. Everything you need to plan a family game night every month for a year. 12 cool game nights kids and parents will love. Print it out and have the best family night at home.

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.

If you enjoyed this article and want more ways to make a mom’s life easier, join the Happy Mom Hacks community e-newsletter. You’ll never miss a new household tip, new kids’ activity, quick weeknight meal, or fun family travel adventure again.

As a bonus, you’ll get our hilarious Would You Rather Questions for kids. Fun to read at dinner time, family game nights, or kids’ parties.

Hilarious Would You Rather Questions for Kids. A fun party game for kids to play at classroom parties, birthday parties & virtual parties. How to play the game and free printable pdf cards. #wouldyourather #kidsparty #partyforkids #gamesforkids #kidsgames #pdf

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Back to School Organization Ideas for Moms and kids. How to plan your morning routine, quick after school snacks, kids lunches & dinner ideas. Free Printable morning routine checklist. Plus how to organize your kitchen to have the kids help pack their lunch and school snack.  All the ideas you need for an easy school year! #backtoschool #organization #organizationformoms #organizationaltips #morningroutine #backtoschoolorganization
Stress-Free Back to School Organization for Kids. Free Printable Before School Checklist and After school Activity checklist. Plus how to organize school lunch & snack so kids can grab items on their own. Be ready for a stress free school year with these easy organizational tips for Back to School. #backtoschool #organization #freeprintable  #kids #school #organizationtips

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Amy @ AmyandRose

Wednesday 25th of September 2019

I printed the school checklist. It’s very helpful. I’m a working mom, with a day job. Some of the recipes really helped me improve my “cooking-fast” skills.


Tuesday 12th of November 2019

That's wonderful! So glad I could help.


Saturday 24th of August 2019

Great tips! We’re going to print out the check list. I always think it’s easier to stay organized when you’ve got a list you can check off together.

Ella @ Typical Mummy

Friday 23rd of August 2019

My kids will love these printable! My son loves to be organised and my daughter likes to do anything Mummy does (I write LOTS of lists!!!) I will definitely be trying some of the recipes too – thank you!