I love spending summer with my kids but I always breath a huge sigh of relief when school starts back up again! I love my kids but I also love having time to work, time to workout and time to take a shower (all you moms know what I mean)!
However when they get home from school, unload their stuff all over the place, then it’s back to chaos. Today I’m going to share some helpful organization tips, that we use in our household, to keep the back to school clutter at bay.
#1 Backpack organization
In our laundry room I have hooks that I hung up just for backpacks, and my daughter’s after school activities. As soon as she walk in the door from school she hangs her backpack on the hook, and she is responsible for taking her lunchbox, water bottle and homework into the kitchen.
Before I installed the hooks I used to find backpacks on the floor in her room, the kitchen, the living room, you name it, I found it there! As soon as I designated a place for the backpacks, and after school activity bags, it drastically cut down the clutter.
#2 Homework station
It is important to have a designated homework station, and time when your kids do their homework, so they know what to expect each day when they get home from school. My youngest knows that as soon as she gets home from school she needs to hang up her backpack, take her things into the kitchen and sit down at the counter to do her homework. I like her to do homework at the counter so I can prep dinner, and help her at the same time. I keep a “junk” drawer in the kitchen that holds pencils, pens, rulers, etc. in it.
If your kids are older, and need a computer for their homework, set up a family computer station, where all the kids can easily access it, and have room to do their homework next to it. Doing homework out in the open will keep them on task because there are less distractions than in their bedrooms, with the door closed.
#3 Planning for lunches
Whether your kids are younger, and you pack their lunches, or they are older, and they pack their lunches, it’s helpful to have a designated area for “lunch approved” items. Set “dry” items near each other in the pantry, and “cold” items near each other in the fridge to make it easy for you to grab things when you’re half asleep in the mornings.
When you make your trips to the grocery store always double check these items to make sure you have enough of everything, otherwise you’ll end up doing what I did last year and run out of bread, and then be scrambling to figure out what the equivalent to a sandwich is, for a 2nd graders lunch! #momfail
#4 Snacks and easy meals for on-the-go sports families
I have a lot of friends that are moms-on-the-go, they pick their kids up from school and then the rest of the day is a flurry of dropping off and picking kids up at various after school activities. I know it’s easy to lose track of time and eat out a lot of the time, but I have a couple quick tips, and ideas, to save you time and money.
- Purchase a large canvas ice chest (like this one) that fits in the car, near where the kids sit, and some ice/heat packs (like these).
- Purchase Bento box lunch containers (like these ones), one for each of the kids, and you. Also keep a stash of plastic forks and spoons in the car/side of the ice chest.
- Have items on hand that are easy to make before hand and take with you in the car, here are a few ideas that are all healthy and rich in protein for active kids:
- Bean burritos (wrap them in foil and use a heat pack to keep them warm)
- Meat ravioli (cook it before hand and use the heat packs to keep it warm)
- Meat sandwiches, or tuna sandwiches
- When you get home from grocery shopping chop veggies and keep them in large bags so they are quick and easy to throw into the Bento boxes. I recommend sweet bell peppers, grape tomatoes, carrots, etc. Throw in something sweet too, like fruit, or even a little dessert.
Thinking ahead, and doing a little prep work at the beginning of each week, will make it easy to take dinner on-the-go, your family will be eating healthy meals and you’ll save tons of money by not eating out! I call that a win-win-win!
#5 Organizing school clothes
I have found that with daughters there can be a lot of drama when it comes to picking out their school clothes. So, to avoid the drama, my kids pick out their school clothes for each week, on the weekends. We use these weekday Organizables to pick out everything needed from Monday to Friday.
Once all the clothes are picked out for the week, we hang the Organizables in the closet and every night we pull out the one for the next day. Once the clothes go in the bag there is no arguing about the outfit and there is no changing their minds because they got to pick it out – what they are wearing and which day they want to wear it. My youngest thinks long and hard about her decisions because she knows once it’s in the bag, that’s what she’s wearing, but it has also taken all the drama out of picking out outfits!
We also pack activity bags and make sure we have everything we need for piano, gymnastics, etc. for the week, and they get placed on the hooks with the backpacks.
I hope that these back to school tips will help you keep your school year more organized and take all the drama out of homework, making lunches, eating on the go and picking out clothes. These tips have been a game changer for us and have helped me keep my sanity throughout the busy school years. Have a great year!