Inside: These back-to-school organization tips will help take some of the anxiety out of back-to-school season. Learn our best hacks for getting organized for a (relatively) stress-free start to the school year.
What mom doesn’t want to be more organized?
Feels sort of like a trick question…
We ALL want to be more organized, that’s why we’re all on Pinterest, right? 😉
And the more kids, activities, school, sports, etc. you add into your life – the more organized you need to be.
I’m not just talking about running to Target and spending $150 on bins and baskets and calling it organized – I mean establishing actual systems for your home.
Systems that will help your home operate like a well-oiled machine.
How can I organize myself as a mother?
This is the million dollar question, and the answer is perhaps not exactly what you would think!
Being an organized mom doesn’t happen by accident. It’s something you have to plan and execute every single day.
Of course when you have systems in place (like where kids keep their shoes, a backpack station, snack bins, etc.) keeping your organization systems on track is that much easier.
The back-to-school organization tips shared in this post will help you accomplish that very goal.
If you struggle with planning and getting yourself organized, you need my Ultimate Stay at Home Mom Course.
This course (with videos, text, and printables), will teach you exactly how to manage your home so you can actually enjoy being a stay at home mom.
How can I get organized for back to school?
Once you are able to get yourself organized as a mom, you’ll find that being ready for big transitions such as back-to-school or holiday seasons feels much less stressful!
Now, let’s chat about some back to school prep for parents:
- Meal/Snack Prep
- Lunchbox Ideas Rotation
- Car Bin Hack
- Backpack Station
- Shoes & Socks Organizer
These will be our 5 main areas of “prep” as far as back-to-school organization tips.
Inside this post, we’ll go in-depth with each topic so that you can confidently set up these organization systems in your own home.
As with any new system or routine, it may take time for your family and kids to “catch on” and to participate in the new system, such as where to keep shoes or backpacks.
That being said, once something becomes a part of your daily routine and is practiced every day, it becomes that much easier!
Free Printable Back-to-School Planner
Now, if you’re ready to get organized for back-to-school season but feeling overwhelmed on where to start, often it really helps to actually write things down.
I created a printable planning sheet that helps you “brain dump” and map out some systems that will help you kick off the school year right.
There are two sheets included, one blank and one pre-filled with ideas. You don’t need to subscribe or anything – just click to download below!
Do you struggle with establishing a routine for yourself or your kids? Here are two posts that will help get you on track:
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read our full disclosure policy, here.
Genius Back-to-School Organization Tips for Moms
Now we’re going to dive into each of our 5 organization systems.
For some of these (like the backpacks and shoes) I would set this up a week or two prior to school starting to give little ones time to practice.
1. Meal & Snack Prep
Busy school mornings are decidedly not the time to be flipping pancakes made from scratch. It’s also not the time to suddenly realize you have nothing prepared in advance for breakfast, no after school snacks on hand and no idea where to start.
A week or two before the school year starts I sit down with my planner and write down a list of foods I can prep in advance that will help make getting a meal on the table (on a busy school night) that much easier.
These are all foods that are easy to make in batches and freeze, then reheat as needed.
Last year I also shared a free printable back-to-school grocery list which is a great way to get started.
As far as snacks, during the school year, I buy a lot of pre-packaged snacks from Costco and Target. They’re easy to have on hand for after school activities or throwing in the lunchbox.
Here’s my roundup of 40+ favorite ideas:
- Healthy Store-Bought Preschool Snack Ideas (great for elementary school as well)
2. Lunchbox Ideas Rotation
When it comes to packing lunches for my kids, would you believe I also have a system?
Rather than reinventing the wheel on lunches, or drowning in Pinterest posts with 50+ various lunch ideas, I stick to about 5-6 ideas I know my girls will like and I rotate them every week.
You may find it helpful to use a “cheat sheet” method and pick an idea from each category (main, fruit, veg, snack, treat, etc.)
Their current favorite “mains” are:
- Turkey & Cheese roll-ups
- Refried Bean & Cheese Taquitos or Quesadillas
- Cheese & Crackers
- DIY Pizza Lunchable
Surprisingly they don’t get tired of these lunches and actually look forward to seeing their favorites every day.
Need more help with packing lunches for back-to-school?
- Favorite Preschool Lunchbox Gear (+ reviews!)
- Healthy Lunchbox Ideas for Picky Eaters
- Easy Preschool Lunchbox Ideas (thermos & Bento Box)
- Store-bought Snack Ideas to Pack for School
- Ultimate Guide to Toddler Lunchboxes (ebook download)
3. Car Bin Hack
When I shared this “hack” on my Instagram, you guys were all about the car bin life. This $5 bin from Target has made my life so much easier since my girls started school.
It helps keep my car organized and also gives me a dedicated place to put things. I even started using it for after school dance class last year as well!
How it Works:
- Grab a clear bin big enough to hold backpacks
- Place in a spot near your front door or garage door (mine is on a chair near the door)
- Fill the bin throughout the day with things you want to remember to bring in the car later (extra diapers, dance/sports bags equipment, water bottles, important papers, etc.)
- Take it in the car with you and place on the passenger seat or on the floor of the passenger side
- Unload whatever you brought for the car, and then reload the bin with backpacks & lunchboxes from school
- Use the car bin to help you transport things to and from practices or activities if needed
- When you get home, bring the car bin back inside and place back in its spot by the door
4. Backpack Station
Since backpacks are used every day throughout the school year, it’s helpful to keep them in an accessible, central location.
You don’t need an elaborate mudroom situation to accomplish this (although wouldn’t that be nice?) – Command Hooks will do!
Ideas for a Back-to-School Backpack Station:
- Ideally near the front door or the garage
- Use Command Hooks on the inside of a hall closet or near the door
- Keep backpacks close to shoes/socks (see more below)
- Store your backpacks right in your car bin if that works best!
5. Shoes & Socks Organizer
Now to me, the shoes and socks organizer kind of goes hand-in-hand with the backpack station as these are typically the last few elements necessary before heading out the door for school.
I like to keep 2 bins for shoes (one for my 5 year old and one for my 7 year old) right by the stairs. This way, they can sit down while they put their shoes on. If you don’t have stairs, a little step stool or a chair by the door works great!
I’ve also learned to just keep pairs of socks rolled up in the shoe bin as well so they’re not constantly running back to their rooms to get socks.
Keeping everything they need in a central location makes things much easier for everyone.
More Back-to-School Organization Tips
Back to school tips for preschool parents
- Follow a simple routine
- Use visual routine cards for toddlers & preschoolers
- Have a rough idea of breakfasts for the week (pancakes, scrambled eggs, bagels, muffins, etc.)
- Attend open house / visit your new preschool and meet the teacher in advance if possible
- Read books about starting preschool
back to school tips for elementary parents
- Have your child pick out their clothes every night as part of your bedtime routine
- Do a “dry run” practice of what mornings will be like when starting elementary school
- Visit their new school, meet the teacher and practice walking to their new classroom
- Get your lunchbox supplies organized and decide on a plan for packing lunches or buying lunches