Getting Organized for the School Year Ahead

Schools across the country are reopening their doors this month, and no matter where you live, it will be back-to-school time in a matter of weeks. Parents know that organization is often the key to effectiveness at school, at home and in the career world, and there’s no better time to encourage your kids to develop good organizational skills.

Young children are bound to be a bit scattered, but you can inspire them to stay organized by making it fun to put things in their proper places. Populate your home with interactive chore boards, chalkboard bins, colorful clocks and other accessories to help kids manage time and clutter, says. Designated reading nooks and homework “organizers” can also make learning more fun.

Middle school may be a bigger challenge. “Middle school often comes as a shock to the system, and it’s the wise parent who is prepared and ready to guide their kid through the transition from the relative stability and security of grade school to the somewhat chaotic environment found in many of our middle schools,” Ruth A. Peters, Ph.D. wrote on the Today blog.

A daily assignment sheet will help provide a framework for keeping track of academic activities, she says; the middle-schooler should record homework assignments and test dates in a day planner or notebook in every class. Establish set study times to encourage good habits, and load backpacks the night before to prevent morning headaches.

Maintaining order in the home helps, says GreatSchools; bins, folders and filing cabinets aren’t just for adult offices. Use a bulletin board and sticky notes to furnish reminders of the most pressing projects, and install a shelf, bin or cabinet dedicated to each kid’s school day near the front door for grab-and-go convenience.

By the time children get to high school, they’ll even have more books, sports equipment, musical instruments and junk to keep track of — and if they can’t yet manage their stuff and schedules themselves, the Spruce says, it’s time for them to start. Day planners, binders, weekly meetings, whiteboards and clear expectations are a few of the tools you can use to help your child conquer the chaos.

As you get ready for the school year, don’t forget to check out the local thrift store. Many are supplied by donations to, and can help you save money on clothing and supplies while helping fund veterans’ programs. And if you happen to be cleaning out the things your kids haven’t worn or used lately as you send them back to school, schedule a pickup or find a dropoff location for your used goods.

With a little planning and organization, you and your kids can reduce the stress of the back-to-school season. And that, hopefully, will help them succeed in school!