Best School Year Yet! 9 Organizational Tips and Tools for School Year Survival

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by: Lindsay Hutton
Between waking the kids up, fighting over outfits, making lunches, finding shoes, getting everyone to school and then to their after-school activities, supervising homework, and making dinner, a regular school day can leave parents feeling overwhelmed and frazzled. Start the school year on an organized note, and hit the ground running with these time- and space-saving tips and tools for your whole family. You'll start each day organized and ready to take on whatever comes your busy way.
Family routine eating breakfast in kitchen
Get Into a Routine Early
Going from the laid-back days of summer to the busy school days of fall can be a rude awakening. Print off this morning routine checklist to hang on your fridge to help streamline your mornings. This after-school routine checklist will also help keep your child on track with homework and other commitments in the afternoons.
Sandwich and healthy brown bag lunch
Create Weekly School Lunch and Dinner Menus
It takes a little planning ahead of time, but creating a meal plan at the beginning of the week will make grocery shopping and lunch-making a breeze. Use a dry-erase menu board at the beginning of each week to write down your meal ideas and plan your grocery trip around that. You'll be amazed at how much time (and stress!) this saves you.

Speaking of grocery shopping, we love this "All Out Of" magnetic grocery pad. It has everyday grocery needs listed, so all you need to do is check them off when you need more. Each section also has blank lines, so you can fill in any foods or specialty items that are specific to your family's needs. When it's time to head to the store, tear the sheet of paper off and you're ready to go!

Buy a Dry Erase Menu Board on Amazon

Buy "All Out Of" Magnetic Pad on Amazon

School supplies and homework station
Make a Homework Station
Having everything your child needs for his schoolwork will help make homework time in your household less chaotic. To create your station, gather the supplies your child uses on a regular basis (this may vary from grade to grade, but pencils, highlighters, homework flags, labels, paper clips, and math supplies are a good place to start.) Use a tray or box to neatly store your supplies, and keep it on your kitchen table or your child's desk for easy use. Having everything neatly stored also makes it easy put your supplies away when they aren't needed.

If you need a little help getting started, try these Pinterest-inspired homework station ideas.

Young girl standing in front of closet looking for something to wear
Organize Closets and Dresser Drawers
Does your child dilly-dally when it comes to choosing an outfit for the day? This simple DIY closet project will make getting dressed every morning a snap. Create a hanger for each day of the school week, and have your child decide at the beginning of each week which outfits she'd like to wear to school. Hang each one on the corresponding day, and she'll know exactly what to put on when she wakes up in the morning.

While you're organizing your closets, take the time to switch out your summer clothes and make some extra room by weeding out and donating any clothes or shoes that no longer fit.

Bulletin board and thumb tacks
Set Up a Family Bulletin Board and Vertical Space
Create a bulletin board and use it to keep important papers in view, display artwork, and post schedules. Divide it into sections for each member of your family, so you can easily keep track of each of your child's needs. A vertical wall organizer with folders for each family member will also help save space while storing important school forms, homework assignments, and anything else you might need during the week.

Try creating your own Pinterest-inspired bulletin board, or use self-adhesive cork tiles for a quick and easy DIY project.

Buy Cork Tiles on Amazon

Buy Cascading Vertical Wall Organizer on Amazon

Daily planner and pen
Keep a Family Calendar
Don't underestimate the importance of a daily planner! Whether you like the old-school pen-and-paper variety, or more tech-advanced apps and mobile calendars, choose one place to record all of your personal appointments, kids' activities, events, and reminders.It's also a great idea to have a calendar the whole family can access, so everyone is aware of others' schedules and can add their own entries. Several mobile apps can help keep everyone in sync: Planner Plus for iPhones can sync with iOS calendars on other devices, allows you to keep a running list of tasks and subtasks, and allows for unlimited notes. Check out these other must-have apps for busy moms for more easy ways to manage your day.

For a more visual off-screen solution, keep track of family schedules with a reversible wall calendar that has the upcoming school year (July 2014 - June 2015) on one side, and the 2015 calendar year on the other.

Buy 18-Month Wall Planner on Amazon

Buy a Daily Planner on Amazon

To do lists and post its on bulletin board
Manage Your To-Do Lists
It can be hard to keep track of all your to-do lists — especially if you write them down on the fly on little scraps of paper! Free apps and websites like cozi.com sync your family's to-do lists together, making it easy to share grocery lists, keep track of chores, and manage responsibilities from anyone's device or computer.

We know that sometimes the only time a busy mom has time to think is in the shower, which is why we love to keep a waterproof notepad in the bathroom to jot down ideas and reminders. This Aqua Notes Waterproof Pad has 40 sheets of waterproof paper, water-resistant cedar wood pencil, and comes with suction cups for hanging. (We wouldn't blame you for leaving a "honey-do list" for your spouse in the shower!)

Buy Aqua Notes Waterproof Pad on Amazon

Smiling boy with backpack standing in mudroom
Designate a "Mudroom"
Whether you have an actual mudroom or just a spot by the front door or in the garage, create an organized space for your kids to keep shoes, backpacks, outerwear and sports gear. Simple hooks and baskets can do the trick and save you from scrambling each morning (and staring at clutter each night)! Try one of these Pinterest-inspired mudrooms for any sized space!
Kids and mother washing dishing and doing chores
Create a Chore Chart
With the busy start of the school year, chores are tough to squeeze in! Print off this chore chart to hang on your fridge to keep your children on task. Mobile apps such as Chore Pad are also a great way to keep track of what needs to be done, and help to motivate kids by offering little rewards for each completed chore.