Whether your kid can’t wait to get their hands on a fresh pack of colored pencils or they’re dreading getting out of bed before noon, back-to-school is a big transition! A little advance preparation can make school days smoother for everyone. Here are my go-to tips for making the first day of school—and all the days after—easier for the whole family. Overwhelmed? I’m always here to help!
1. Closet Cleanout
Stop school-morning meltdowns in their tracks by making sure everyone has the clothes they need:
Spend 15-20 minutes in each kid’s closet to weed out clothes and shoes that don’t fit or are worn beyond use. If your child is interested, enlist their help. Unwanted items can be sorted into:
After you’ve cleared out unusable items, make a list of the things your child needs for fall.
To smooth the morning routine, lay out your child’s clothes the night before school or encourage them to do it themselves.
2. Get in the Zone
Prevent clutter before it begins by creating a Drop Zone inside your entry, beside the front door, or a nearby space that can accommodate a hook and a bin or basket.
Put up hooks for hats, coats, backpacks. Command hooks can be raised to new heights as children grow older, are removable, and are rated by weight.
Use baskets for shoes, sports equipment, and lunch boxes.
When kids know where their school stuff belongs, it's less likely to end up on the floor.
3. Take Lunch & Snacktime Simple
What does your kid like to eat? Start there to simplify lunch and snack planning and to prevent food waste:
Ask your child to help make a list of the things they like to eat.
Consider creating a weekly menu to take the guesswork out of planning what goes into the lunchbox each day. A weekly food wheel can keep it interesting.
Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy, easy-to-grab snacks, including fruits and vegetables, pretzels, nuts, yogurt, cheese, and granola bars.
Make sure your lunchbox storage containers have matching lids. Replace broken containers and leaky water bottles and put all of your storage containers in easy reach of your lunchbox prep station.
Does your school have a lunch program? Take time each week to review the menu with your child to decide on which days they won’t need a packed lunch. If necessary, place lunch orders in advance.
4. Set up a Homework Station
Where does your kid like to settle down after school? Kitchen table, dining table, living room, bedroom? Set up a space right there:
Stock up paper, pens, pencils, and other school supplies.
Use a small basket to store phones and tablets to keep work time distraction free.
Give each child their own “in” and “out” magazine file, tray or basket to help keep track of papers.
Make sure that homework gets returned to the backpack before bedtime.
When your child is working, this is their space—which means they’re also responsible for keeping it clutter-free!
5. Prevent Paper Pileups
Between schoolwork, homework, artwork, and notices from teachers, paper can pile up fast. Make paper control a daily habit and you won’t have to worry about getting snowed under:
Recycle worksheets, doodles, quizzes and other things that don’t need to be saved.
Put important parent forms directly into your personal action basket, folder, or bulletin board.
When art comes home, ask your child to decide which projects to keep and which to digitize. ArtKive or Plumprint will turn your young artist’s collection—including multimedia creations and sculptures—into a beautiful, coffee table art book. Prize pieces can also be hung on the wall or placed in an art binder or bin.
Helping your kids get into the habit of keeping their spaces clean and clutter-free is a gift that lasts a lifetime!
I'm here to help,