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Back-to-School Organization Tips

Closeup of school girl holding notebooks in hallway

After a year where many of children stayed home utilizing remote or hybrid learning, they're finally going back to the classroom. For most, this is a welcome reprieve. It's a time to renew friendships and get back to some sense of normal. But the new normal isn't quite the same. There are still mask rules, lots of extra hand washing and sanitizers, plus real concerns about safety. A year is a very long time to a child. It may take them a while to get back into the swing of things. But staying organized can help. Use these back-to-school organization tips to help put your kids on the track to a successful school year.

Staying Organized is Key to a Successful School Year

Many children have had quite a long break away from school since the pandemic began. Remote learning was offered, but a lot of kids will still find themselves behind where they would otherwise have been sans pandemic. That means there's probably going to be a lot of catching up to do. Things may get pretty intense in the classroom. Teachers need to make up for lost learning opportunities from last year. There may be extra homework. That's why staying organized is even more important this year. Every family is going to need an organization strategy more than ever before. But it can be done. Use these tips to stay on top of the situation and guarantee your child's success this academic year.

Get started on the track to academic success with these 4 back-to-school organization ideas.

Organize backpacks and school materials with a nook for each child near the door.

The old standby used to be "there's safety in numbers." But not anymore. We want everyone six feet apart with no one touching. It's going to take some getting used to implement this in the classroom. No more sharing pencils, books, or other school supplies. It's just too dangerous. That being said, your child will need an inventory of supplies for the classroom and at home. Make this easy for them by keeping school materials organized. Create an individual nook for each child near their entry area. This nook should have space/hooks for the backpack, jacket, mask, and a drawer or basket for miscellaneous items such as extra pens, pencils, and notebooks. It's a place where they can drop their stuff in an organized manner when they come home in the afternoon. Have your child place their homework assignments into their backpack (stored in their nook) as soon as they complete them. This way, they're ready to grab and go in the next morning and nothing is forgotten. This setup can do wonders when you're trying to rush the kids out the door to meet the bus each morning.

backpacks and jackets organized with mudroom organizers
This family provides a separate nook for each of their children's belongings. The organization system is located in the home's mud room next to the back door where the children enter and exit.

Use a closet organization strategy to simplify the morning routine.

A full back-to-school organization strategy needs to go beyond the backpack. Encompass more aspects of your child's daily routine by organizing the closet. That way, when your bleary-eyed offspring get out of bed in the morning, it will be easy to immediately find what they need and get ready for school. A good system of closet organizers can go a long way towards making this happen. Place the most-used clothing on a clothes rod at the child's eye level. Out-of-season clothes or items they are waiting to grow into can go on upper rods or overhead shelves. Be sure to remove all clothing that is too small. After all, most children continuously get bigger, but rarely do they shrink. You don't want to clog up their bedrooms with clothes that they've outgrown. And look for an adjustable closet system. That way the shelves and clothes rods can be moved around to different heights and positions as the child gets older.

To make mornings even easier, help your children select their clothes the night before. Use a closet valet pole installed at their height to hang the outfit they are supposed to put on in the morning.

Organized closet with teen boy clothing
This reach-in uses a simple laminate closet organizer system to keep their child's clothing and other possessions neat and orderly. The rod with the main clothes to be worn in the current season is positioned at eye level. Out-of-season jackets and other less used gear is stored on higher clothes rods or out-of-reach shelves. This helps with back-to-school organization because this child can get ready independently without having to search for anything.

Create a quiet place to work at home without distractions.

It's just as important to stay organized after school as before and during school hours. Make sure your child has a quiet place to study and complete homework assignments that are away from distractions. If your child has their own bedroom, that could be the ideal place. If your child shares their sleeping space with a sibling, you may need to get a little more creative. This is especially true if there's a big age difference. Older children are usually better off with a desk and storage in their bedrooms. A younger child will do better closer to adult supervision. You can create a homework nook anywhere in your home. A large pull-out or flip down shelf makes a fine work surface for a young child. It can be incorporated into any empty wall or corner. Or use a kitchen desk for your younger child. That way, they can be close to adult supervision while you're preparing dinner, but you don't have to worry about clearing their stuff away from the kitchen table in order to eat dinner. Plus, the kitchen floor is usually easier to clean than bedroom carpeting for a younger student's craft projects.

Teen boy bedroom with custom shelving and desk.
Even though this child's trophy collection could be viewed as a lot of clutter, it's all organized on shelves. This reduces the level of distraction and keeps the awards from becoming a disorganized mess in the closet or bedroom floor. Putting them on display in an organized manner allows to child to view their accomplishments and gain confidence in their ability to succeed. The built-in desk provides a quiet place to complete homework close to this wall of triumph.

Make a schedule and stick to it.

Did you know that one of the most common reasons students struggle academically is an inability to stay organized*? In severe cases, it may even lead to the need for an IEP and Special Ed services. Some children need more help staying on top of their schoolwork than others. But all children respond well and benefit from organized routines. Create one for your family so everyone knows what to expect and when to expect it. Include times for relaxation activities like watching TV, sports and after school clubs, play time with friends, meals, and of course, homework. Include time to review the homework in your own schedule. Write down the schedule for each family member, including yourself, and post it in a place where everyone can reference it. The best spots are usually near the kitchen or back door. Color code the entries so that even children too young to read know who is busy with activities at what times. Use large visuals. Create your family schedule in the form of a wall calendar, family appointment book that everyone has access to, bulletin board, chalkboard, or white board. Use it like a big family Kanban to keep everyone on schedule. It will not only help your children stay on top of their routines, but it will keep you organized as well.

* Gambill, Jill M.; Moss, Lauralee A.; Vescogni, Christie D. (2008-May) "The Impact of Study Skills and Organizational Methods on Student Achievement" ERIC Institute of Education Services https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED501312

large calendar and schedule for all family members posted on kitchen wall
This family keeps a large, color-coded scheduling board near the back door. Each family member is assigned a color that carries through across the schedule plus any post-it notes that may be used. Additional colors are assigned for combo activities and general notifications. That way everyone knows where they must be and what they need to do at which times. Private time and relaxation time are also on the schedule. That way no one becomes overwhelmed.

Back-to-School Organization Strategies and Benefits.

Children who are better organized are generally more successful in school. Use these back-to-school organization ideas to increase your children's chances for an academic win. Remember, four ways to create a more organized environment for your child include:

  1. Create a dedicated nook with storage for backpacks, jackets, and school supplies near the door.
  2. Organize your child's closet to make it easy to get ready for school independently.
  3. Create a place for study and homework that is free from distractions.
  4. Make a schedule for each family member and stick to it.

Good habits last a lifetime and organization is no exception. Why not set up your child up for success with good organization practices? They learn it when they're little and continue into adulthood. You'll see the benefits in their school performance and give them an edge towards future life successes.