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Neat Tricks for Back to School

For some of us, saying goodbye to summer is not easy. No more lazy, non-scheduled days, lounging in our PJs all morning or spending the afternoon at the beach building sandcastles. While some of us look forward to having a routine again, mornings before school can get hectic. Getting the kids out of bed, dressed, fed and packed up and out the door on time can be stressful. Take a look at a few organizational tips to help you and your family avoid the back-to-school frenzy.

Don’t forget to buy a few back-up items for later in the year. Designate a spot in your home, accessible to the kids, for storing these supplies. Label everything! Backpack, books, clothing and lunch bags need to be labelled with your child’s name or a special symbol. For something a little fancier, check out local companies such as Mabel’s Labels, who design specialty labels.

Dreading the daily arguments over what your five-year-old can and can’t wear to school? Invest in a five-compartment organizer, using each cubby to store clothes for each day of the week. Choose a time on Sunday to have your child choose their outfits for the week, right down to the socks and underwear. This will help avoid those morning wardrobe meltdowns.

Get ready the night before! Have backpacks, lunches, outer wear and shoes ready at the door so that you don’t have to rush around in the morning looking for these items. For little ones, even preset their toothbrushes, combs and breakfast items so that they can get ready quickly in the morning without your help. You could even have their dry cereal on the table the night before and pour a cup of milk in the fridge, ready for them to pour into the bowl.

As for the daily lunch-making grind,try preparing lunches directly after dinner when you are already into putting leftovers away and have the food out. Create a ‘lunch zone’ in your pantry. Use the bottom shelf for storing Ziploc bags, lunch bins, plastic containers, water bottles, drinks and snacks. Older children can prepare their own lunches, if the supplies are easily accessible.

During the school year, there will be many occasions in which you will be sending lunch or book order money, notes to the teacher and returning permission slips. Save yourself some time now and pre-mark envelopes with your child’s name and Grade on them. Use a rubber stamp or personalized address labels, if you wish.

Permission slips and other forms will frequent your child’s backpack as well. Keep a copy of emergency contact numbers, health records and other important family information. Store these records in a file close at hand, so that you don’t have to waste valuable time looking up the information for every form that comes through the door.

Create a filing system for school papers. Have your kids get into the habit of unloading their backpacks when they get home. Designate a spot in the kitchen as the ‘Inbox’ for their agendas and any other papers they take out. This will give you the opportunity to sign forms, read teacher notes and check out homework while dinner is cooking. Transfer any important information to your calendar or information binder where everyone can see it. You could assign each family member a different color to record their events.

Now that the kids are ready to go, you can enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning! You may even get a chance to sit down and eat a healthy breakfast, too.


Sylvia is the founder of Sort It Out, a home and business organizing company helping customers tackle one space at a time. She is a proud member of the Professional Organizers in Canada, acting as the PR/Marketing coordinator for the Calgary Chapter. Check out for a list of package options, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to learn how an organizing consultant can help you! Coming soon: workshops and “home party” organizing services.

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