I know, I know, it’s only July. It’s far too early to begin thinking about back to school. Right? Well, not exactly. Around here school starts in just four short weeks! Even if the school year starts later where you live, now is a great time to lay the foundation for an organized school year (or fall for those of you without school-aged kids.) Here are five ideas to whet your organizing appetite!

Back to School Tips from simplify101.com

1. Clean out the mudroom or coat closet.

Declutter shoes, coats and outerwear that are worn out or no longer fit. While you’re at it, say goodbye to gloves and mittens without mates. Make a quick list of items you need for the upcoming year ahead so you can take advantage of pre-season sales. (Aren’t you smart for organizing in July!)

organizing your kids rooms2. Declutter and organize the kids’ rooms.

If you have kids home for the summer, now is a great time to declutter and organize together. Go through clothing, books, toys, stuffed animals and let go of anything your child no longer needs. As before, make a list of needed items for back-to-school shopping.

3. Set up a paper incubator.

When my kids were younger, one of the things I most dreaded about the school year was the onslaught of paper! The trickiest items to deal with were completed art projects and schoolwork. It didn’t feel right to say “nice job” and then swiftly toss the item into the recycle bin. My solution was to give each child a bin that served as their paper incubator. We collected papers throughout the school year, and then, made choices about which items to keep permanently. (These choices are much easier to make after time passes.)

4. Set up a school paper / artwork archive.

My permanent storage system for school papers and artwork is a 3-ring binder. (Here’s how to create an artwork binder.) You could use a file folder, pizza box or plastic storage bin instead of a binder, if you prefer. The important thing is to set up a spot for these long term “keepers” now. It will save you time and avoid paper clutter when the school year begins.

5. Set up a homework area.

Homework…it’s on the horizon! Decide now where your child will do homework this school year. For elementary aged kids, the kitchen table may be the ideal spot. You’ll be close at hand to answer questions and help your child create good homework habits. Older children may be ready to set up a homework area in their bedroom or another quiet spot in the home, with a little less action. Have a quick chat with your child about what he or she feels will work best, then use this checklist to equip the homework zone with all the essentials. (Check out this blog post for more info about how to set up a homework station.)

Home Organizing Idea: Set up a craft and homework supply cabinet

All of these projects can be done a little bit at a time, with the help of your kids and they’ll help get the school year off to an organized start!

What projects do you have on your to-do list before school begins? Thanks for sharing your back-to-school tips and ideas in the comments! 

Happy organizing!


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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