Back to school usually means getting back to a routine for most. Summer fun is great, but the more families stray from a schedule, the harder it can be to get back to one once school starts. Therefore, it can be smart to start back to a routine a couple of weeks before the school bell rings so the change isn’t so jarring for kids and parents. Home organization in your crucial spaces will promote routines that ease the transition from the end of summer break to the start of school.

First, create a command center. This is simply an area that is visible to everyone in the family where information can be posted. Ours is a chalkboard for daily/weekly reminders and a push board for the monthly calendars. I like both because I can see the big picture and map out future plans on the calendar, but I can then break it down into the weekly events, so I don’t forget anything. This is also a great visual reminder for the entire family. If your kids are younger, you might want to use a picture checklist if you are hoping to create more independence for them.

Another great way to help prepare everyone for the day is having a dedicated space for backpacks, coats, shoes, etc. Many people are lucky enough to have a closet, entryway space, or even lockers for this purpose. You can use baskets, trays, etc. to define and organize spaces. We have a dedicated locker for each of us and it is very helpful in creating the habit of consistently putting items in the same place. You can also have kids find shoes the night before and have them ready to go. Every parent knows that feeling when you are about to lose it over a “missing” pair of shoes. It is much easier to get out of the door in the morning if this space is maintained and habits are practiced.

Also having a dedicated space for school supplies helps transition from carefree summer nights back to homework. I also recommend organizing everything to see what you can use for the start of the school year versus buying all new. But, once the school lists come out, you can purchase school items and have them ready to go. I like to plan and have things ready in plenty of time so I would buy a couple of weeks before the start of school. Once you have supplies, make a dedicated space for homework. Consistently using that space will help create the mindset that homework happens in that area.

Clothes can also be a big issue for many kids. Any parent knows, laundry is a constant. Systematically working on laundry is key. Plan ahead and have certain outfits or uniforms washed and ready to go. I currently use our old dress up racks for laying out our five outfits for the week. Our kids are old enough to dress themselves but might now always pick out a cohesive outfit. I let them make choices with my help and then they can independently dress themselves and go through their morning routine too. For older kids, have them organize their closet so they can easily find their morning outfits.

Speaking of independence, it is also a good idea to take stock of their bathrooms. Having the essentials in order and ready for them makes hygiene much easier. If you strayed from a consistent night and morning routine during the summer months, it is the prime time to get back to those consistent and healthy habits. Bathing, brushing teeth, fixing hair, etc. will make kids feel and look better throughout the day. Having everything ready for them also ensures there are no excuses not to care for themselves.

Finally, food. Food is so key from a great start with breakfast to lunches to after school snack and dinner. Having quick breakfasts ease a chaotic morning. Pre-packing any portions of lunch and having kids help make their lunches also cuts down on your responsibilities. Have snacks ready to grab after school and plan dinners for the week. Keeping the refrigerator and pantry organized is also beneficial with giving options and building independence. We have all seen the TikTok organization videos, but it doesn’t have to be that extreme. Find a process that works for you that your family can stick with. It isn’t about being perfect, it is about creating lasting habits.

Establishing a routine will really help families find success to the start of the school year. Organization and planning are essential in helping make back to school successful and less stressful for all involved. Think about the key areas on your home and make sure those spaces are ready to go and they stay maintained. Remember that it isn’t about perfection, it is just the simple fact that you are trying, and you continue to try. Transitions can be difficult but having designated and organized spaces supports everyone in creating healthy and lasting habits.