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Back to School Organizing Basics

The Back-to-School season has kicked-off! While some are thrilled, most are stressed. Before you pull your hair out, consider these 5 easy tips for starting off the season stress-free and organized.

1. Out with the Old, In with the New – Fall is the season for new trends, colors, and fashion. All of which mean your kids want or need new clothes. Before you buy new hangers for all their new fashionable outfits, remember the general rule: “Out with the old and in with the new.” For every new shirt you add to the closet, one must be removed. Following this simple rule will keep your closet clutter-free, and clutter-free equals stress-free.

2. “Grab & Go” Lunches – Do you not have enough time to make the kids’ lunches in the morning? Spending an extra 30 minutes in the kitchen after grocery shopping will ease the stress. After putting away the groceries pull out all of the lunch food that needs preparation (i.e., washing, cutting, peeling, etc) and put single portion sizes in sandwich bags. This works perfectly for cut-up fruits and vegetables, crackers and cookies, and snack foods. For sandwiches, wash and cut all toppings (i.e. – lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc) in advance and store in food saver containers. When you are rushing to get the kids to school with a lunch in hand, simply “grab and go.”

3. School Supplies – Back to school season is the perfect time to stock up on school supplies. You may not need sticky notes in every color or multiple permanent markers right now but buying them on sale early in the season will save time and money in the winter when you are scavenging for replacements. Do you need ideas for where to store the extra supplies? Designate an area in the house for kids to keep all of their school supplies and papers. Organize supplies by type and paper by color and size. Consider using recycled cans and jars to separate supplies. For example, an old jelly jar works great for paper clips or an old coffee can be decorated on the outside and hold rubber bands on the inside. Let the kids use their creativity to decorate the area with lots of bright colors and personal artwork. Consider painting a small area of the space with chalkboard paint for extra fun for your kids.

4. Document Center – Is your countertop overloaded with mail? Creating your own Document Center will solve this problem. First, purchase three paper trays or a paper sorter with at least three sections. Label each tray or section with incoming, outgoing, and processing. Place the trays or sorter in the area where mail is generally kept. Use “Incoming” for incoming mail, “Outgoing” for mail being sent, and “Processing” for mail that needs follow-up action. Empty the contents of the “Incoming” section as often as needed but not longer than one week. Get creative and add additional trays or sections including; bills, coupons, receipts, or files. Are your kids’ school papers getting lost? Add another tray for permission slips, important school documents, or records.

5. Survival Bags – School has started which means running around to the kids’ sports games or taking turns in the carpool. While out and about make sure you never leave home without anything you or your kids might need. These necessities are broken down into three categories and stored in three separate colored cosmetic bags: “Health,” “Supplies,” and “Personal.” The “Health” bag should contain sample sizes of pain relievers, digestive medicine, and cold medicine (for both children and adults) organized in a small child-protected pill organizer. Likewise, the following should be contained in the same bag: bandages, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues, etc. The “Supplies” bag should contain a notepad, pencil with eraser, pen, permanent marker, scissors, tape, paper clips, mini-stapler, safety pins, etc. Lastly, the “Personal” bag contains items of your choice and needs including: make-up, nail file, etc. When selecting cosmetic bags, look for water-resistant material with a high quality zipper. Select a different color bag for each category. This will allow you to easily locate the bag amongst your other belongings in your purse. Suggested bags: Baggallini Trio Bags

The beginning of a new school year is usually chaotic. However, by using these five easy tactics, you can ensure your family stays organized so you can focus on more important things like homework and family time.


    Alejandra Costello
  • About Alejandra

  • Since 2008, organizing expert & certified life coach, Alejandra Costello has taught thousands of students in 132 countries how to get organized through her video-based training programs. Her YouTube videos have been viewed 100+ million times. Named 1 of the 5 most organized people in America by HGTV and "The Decluttering Queen" by Good Morning America, Alejandra's expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah.com, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Woman's Day, Parents Magazine, and CBS. You can read more about Alejandra here or see our Press page here.


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