9 Back-to-School Tips from a Professional Organizer

Updated: Aug 6



It's that time of the year again and Easy Life Organizing is here to help you and your children stay organized this school year! We have 9 back-to-school tips designed for parents, kids, and teachers.


{Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.}


 

Parents

Back-to-School can be such a stressful time for everyone, especially parents. There are so many things to juggle once the kids are back to their daily grind; homework, lunches, sports, the list is endless. Luckily, we have you covered with our top 3 tips to help make back-to-school a little more smooth of a transition.

Create a "Drop Zone"

  • Our number one back-to-school tip for parents is to create a drop zone. A dedicated drop zone is a great way to take the stress out of the daily barrage of backpack paperwork. The best way we find to create this area is to utilize a 3 section paper organizer. This will be a great place to put the graded worksheets, art, and other paperwork that comes home with your child. If you have more than one child, give each kid a section in the organizer. The important thing is to remember to empty this at the end of every week so it doesn't get too overwhelming. Throw away what you don't want to keep and save the pieces you want to hold on to.

  • But where do I put the things I want to save you may be asking. We have a solution for that as well! Create a filing system for each of your children's school work by using a plastic filing tote. Each school year will have its own hanging file folder in the filing box. If you have something that doesn't fit in the file, such as a larger art project, utilize a plastic tote bin to store those pieces. Halfway through the school year, make it a point to go through what you've put in the file with your child to see what you both want to save and what you can put in the trash.


Use Google Calendar
  • Utilize Google Calendars to keep track of all of the moving parts of your life. Create a calendar for each family member and color code them, that way it's easier to see who belongs with which event.

  • The key to making this work is to make sure that everyone shares their calendars with each other. That way everyone will know what everyone is doing! You also want to make sure that parents can update their children's calendars.

  • Examples of things to put on the kid's calendars include but are not limited to sports schedules, school calendars, special school events, etc.


Incorporate Buffer Time
  • Buffer time is additional time you've planned for in your day for things that may take longer than expected. A great example is that meeting that you allotted an hour for but it went over by 15 minutes. The rule of thumb is to add approximately 25-30% of additional time to create a buffer. If your GPS says it's going to take you 30 minutes to get to a place, add an additional 10 minutes of buffer time in case you hit traffic or are running late.


 

Kids

Teaching our kids how to get organized at an early age can help them not only throughout their school days but also into their adult lives as well.


Use Magnetic Organizers for Lockers
  • For our older kids who get a locker throughout the school year, we like to think of lockers as a child's bedroom at school. Having a place for everything in their lockers is just as important as having a place for everything in their bedrooms. We love magnetic organizers for school lockers to help your child stay organized. We also recommend a small trash can for the locker. This can help make dreaded locker clean-out day a little less stressful because let's be honest, are our children more inclined to throw something away when the trash can is down the hall or right in front of their eyes?


Empty Bookbags out Weekly
  • Bookbags collect so much throughout the week; homework, books, pencils, miscellaneous papers, dirty clothing, and even food. No one wants Monday's sandwich rotting in their backpack Saturday morning. Making it a habit every week to clear out the old and refresh the good ol' backpack will not only build a great habit but also help you avoid a stinky mess.


Plan the Week
  • This is a great way to keep all the important things top of mind, teach children how to prioritize, and empower them to take control of their week. A great way to do this is to get a student planner if the school doesn't already provide one. The planner will be a great place for your kids to write down homework, upcoming tests, school events, etc so there are no surprises. They'll be able to plan when they're going to study for that test on Thursday and what days they're going to buy their lunch instead of packing it.

  • For the elementary kids, we recommend using a weekly printout calendar. We have one for free below! It's a great way to make sure your child isn't the only one in regular clothes on pajama day and help them form a great habit of planning ahead and preparedness.

Freebie Elementary Students Weekly Snapshot
.pdf
Download PDF • 7.68MB

Teachers

Our teachers are such great assets, and while they are super organized already (you'd have to be in order to manage 30+ kids at once) we thought we'd share some tips for them to help make their lives a little bit easier throughout the school year.


Clearly Label Where Things Go
  • We recommend investing in a small label maker that you can easily store and use at a moment's notice in the classroom. You can also use a Cricut if you have one. This would be great for mass label making but would take a little longer and be slightly less convenient.

  • Make sure you have a place for everything whether that's a container or even a ziplock bag (see our product recommendations below). Next, make sure all the bins are labeled. When labeling you will want to make sure you are super specific. For example, label the bin for spare pens, pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, glue bottles, glue sticks, colored paper, white paper, etc. Having everything clearly labeled will ensure that your students will know or can find where everything is. As we well know, if kids can't "see" it, it doesn't exist.


Use Colors and Photos
  • How do you label everything if you're an elementary teacher and your students are just learning to read? Label with photos instead of words! Print out photos of scissors or glue, laminate them, and stick them onto the bins for easy-to-find supplies.

  • We also recommend color-coding in a couple of different ways. Kids know their colors pretty early on, so a great way to make sure they have some form of independence is to color code their subject folders. For example, for math, make all of the kid's folders blue. You'll also have a blue folder or binder for your end of things. You can even take it a step further and use blue dry erase markers when writing on the board and grade all the math papers in blue pen! If you teach older kids, you can make each class period a different color. The first period can be blue, second, red, and so on.


Product Recommendations
  • These are great pieces we use when we organize homes and offices every week that will help keep your classroom organized as well.

  • First up is clear everything! Choosing clear containers for all of your organizing needs will be a great way to make things easier for you and your students. The rule of thumb is when it comes to organizing, you want to organize for the least organized person. With clean bins and the labeling techniques we discussed earlier, you're sure to have a smooth school year.

  • Another item to keep your classroom organized is a paper organizer. We recommend an open, shelf organizer for easy access and visibility. Also, a 5 section lazy susan can come in handy for organizing scissors, markers, pens, rulers, etc.


We hope this list of back-to-school tips has helped ease some anxiety about the upcoming school year or given you some ideas to start the new school year off with a bang! Here's to a great year!

We'd love to hear your feedback and your back-to-school tips in the comments below!





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