By Mandy Wicker

The long, carefree days of summer are almost over, and that means getting back into the groove of demanding routines, early mornings, and activity-packed afternoons. Trust us, we know heading back to school can be a hectic time for the entire household, so that’s why we’ve rounded up our best back to school organization tips and tricks to help you and your crew make it out the door on time!

Tip 1: Designate a Homework Hub

Creating a designated homework station will centralize all the necessary tools needed to ensure completing homework goes as smoothly as possible.

Creating a designated homework station like this fun space in our Laureate Park model home in Orlando, FL will centralize all the necessary tools needed to ensure completing homework goes as smoothly as possible.

It can be as simple as filling a caddy shack with rulers, pencils, markers, and glue sticks and placing the caddy shack on your central homework hub location when it is study time. Whether it be the kitchen table, bonus room, etc., this will make study time simple and a breeze!

Tip 2: Plan Ahead for Kid’s Outfits

Take 10-15 minutes the night before the start of each week to let your kids pick out their clothes for each day of the upcoming week. (You may want to double check their fashion selections!) Create labels with each weekday printed on them and place these labels on a foldable hanging organizer, along with each of their outfit selections for each day and you are good to go! This will save you valuable time in the morning and eliminate the “Mom! I’m out of clean . . .” conversations that slow things down before heading out the door.

P.S: Make sure you look at the weather for the week to coordinate each day’s outfit with the corresponding forecast!

A command center is essentially a central hub in a home where all of those stray (but important!) items can call home like this space in our Leyden Rock model home.

Tip 3: Establish a Command Center

You may be wondering, “What is a command center?” A command center is essentially a central hub in a home where all of those stray (but important!) items can call home like this space in our Leyden Rock model home in Arvada, CO. Items such as keys, backpacks, family chores list, school permission slips, lunchboxes, family calendar, etc. usually live here.  Place important dates (such as sport practices, field trips, vacations, etc.) on the family calendar to stay organized and ensure no important events or deadlines get missed!

Tip 4: Cut Kitchen Time in Half by Creating a Weekly Dinner Menu Plan

The heart of the home, AKA the kitchen, is the place where family bonding and catching up on each other’s days usually takes place. Unfortunately, the kitchen can also be a place where headaches are created while trying to decide what’s for dinner after a long day. You can overcome this struggle by creating a weekly menu plan and shopping over the weekend for all of the ingredients. This will not only cut down on your list of worries after work, it will also keep the family healthier by ditching all those fast-food and processed meals!

Tip 5: Create a School Supply Stash

We’ve all been there. It seems that those pesky school supplies always go missing at the most inopportune time. Whether it’s the night before a big school project is due and poster board is nowhere to be found, or if you’re struggling to even find a simple pen or highlighter, keeping a school supply stash is a great way to make sure you have back-up supplies ready to avoid a crisis! Utilize an over the door shoe holder to place it on the back of the pantry door, so your stash is discreetly hidden but still accessible!

Tip 6: Conquer the Paper Pile-Up

By setting up a few file containers for each child, you can have a designated for back to school supplies.

As kids bring home past assignments and school newsletters in their “take-home folders”, the paper can really start to add up and clutter your countertops. By setting up a few file containers for each child, you can have a designated space to store school papers, volunteer activities, household planning papers, etc.

Pro tip: Place a decorative letter for each child’s first initial to designate whose box is whose!

Tip 7: Create an Organized Lunch Prep Station

It is easy to get stuck in the rut of packing the kids the same PB&J sandwich and cheese stick and calling it a day when it comes to weekday lunches. However, by creating an organized lunch prep station, you can effortlessly sort and stash all of like items for the lunches so you can grab an item from each different category to keep their lunches exciting without adding any extra prep time!

Pro trip: Make snacks easily accessible by storing them in a bottom drawer for the kids to grab for their after-school snacks as well!

Organization is the key to success for both the kids and adults. With all of these tips and tricks under your belt, we hope gearing up for this back to school season is easier than ever before!  We would love to hear how these organization ideas helped your family conquer the back to school craziness, so leave us a comment below!