Getting Into Good Habits: Back-to-School Organization Secrets

There’s always a little magic in the air at the start of a new school year: one loop around the store, and the smell of crisp paper and rainbow-colored school supplies transports me back to those exciting first few days when everything felt so shiny and new.

As a parent, it takes on a whole new meaning: the excitement can quickly fade with the onset of homework assignments, permission slips, birthday invitations, PTA duties, and the list goes on and on…

Whether you have littles just beginning school, or seasoned teenagers who may or may not be as excited about their upcoming early wake-up calls, it’s a wonderful and important time of year to simplify and streamline those routines in order to get and stay organized for the busy weeks and months ahead.

Here Are Five Ways to Prep You for a Successful School Year With Organization Tips:

1. Refresh the Entry:

With summer quietly exiting, take a few minutes to assess what is living by the front door. Bubbles & beach toys should be cleaned and stored, making way for backpacks and seasonally appropriate shoes and accessories. Separate anything your child has outgrown to be donated, and anything that could delay or distract from your morning routine (hint: toys & electronics) should have a home someplace else. Your entryway should function like a well-oiled assembly line: hooks for coats and backpacks, and bins or cubbies for shoes and accessories. With space permitting, each child should have one designated (and labeled) area to utilize themselves. That’s right, no more trailing and picking up after them, unless they are under 3 years old, or have other circumstances that would require your additional help.

To stop paper clutter in its tracks (or a missed permission slip), get your kids in the routine of emptying out their bags as soon as they walk in the door. Decluttering on the daily drastically reduces the amount of paper clutter that can accrue over the weekend, which means less paper needing processing and attention from you. Introducing small habits shift while promoting independence and engages your kids and manages what’s expected of them from the start. They may not always hang their coat without being told, but the new system will make nag-free mornings the norm, and not the exception.

For small spaces, try installing a customizable door rack to get those easy-to-lose items off of the floor and at their eye level and reach.

2. DIY Homework Caddy:

Even in our tech-filled days, kids will inevitably need writing tools (like a pencil or pen) when sitting down to do homework, as well as other supplies depending on their age (i.e. a scissor or calculator.) Creating a homework caddy simplifies the overall process of homework, as everything is already at their fingertips, which means zero time wasted searching for that number two pencil, or requesting one from you. Having a portable supply station makes homework achievable anywhere (your little one may prefer to sit at the kitchen table but your teen may prefer the quiet of another space), and clean up is a total dream.

This caddy has plenty of sections to divide each category, and is also a blank canvas for those younger kiddos who may enjoy personalizing them with their name or stickers before school begins!

3. Create a Snack Station:

Growing minds need to stay focused and fueled, and there’s no reason why kids can’t help themselves in this department! Stock pantry containers like these with parent-approved snacks (think string cheese, apple sauce, veggie sticks, etc.) for easy retrieval in the fridge or lower cupboard. Kids can snack on the path to self-sufficiency, while you save yourself from becoming a short-order cook!

4. Restock Your Wellness Cabinet:

Any parent knows that school harbors a lot of germs (especially if you have pre-schoolers), and germs eventually lead to sick kiddos.

To be prepared for those less-than-pleasant days, take note of what is in your wellness or medicine cabinet. Check expirations, and restock items you know you’ll need for the flu season. Having Tylenol on the ready for those 2 am fever spikes, or bacitracin for the aftermath of physical activities are lifesavers for those unexpected, but inevitable moments.

5. Sync Up Those Calendars

With the onset of parent teacher conferences, and numerous after- school activities, it’s important to establish how your family will communicate to keep everyone’s schedules afloat. Whether you abide by a paper or electronic calendar; decide what method works best for your family, and stick with it! For older kids with cell phones, Google Calendar easy to use and can tackle even the craziest of schedules with family sharing, especially with color-coding and more. If you’re a paper calendar family (or have little ones who can’t quite read or don’t have a phone), hang the school calendar in the kitchen or in an area where everyone can see. Having that visual reminder of weekly engagements is a fool proof way to keep track of important dates so nothing gets overbooked or overlooked. My 3-year-old daughter (who is a pre-reader) absolutely loves looking at the calendar every morning on the fridge. Even though she doesn’t quite know what it says, I feel confident as a parent knowing she’s learning to build self-discipline and basic time management skills.

There you have it! Get your kiddos on board and you’ll be equipped for a successful school year. Happy OrgaNYzing!

For more tips from Urban OrganNYze, check out Decluttering and Spring Cleaning in New York City: Tips from Organizing Expert, Laura Kinsella