5 Genius Organization Tips to Keep You Sane This School Year

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Image via Missy Stevens

I can hardly believe it’s already time for back-to-school thoughts! You know the ones. They start with: Are all of your backpacks, school forms, and lunch boxes ready? And end with: This is the year I’m going to have it all organized … maybe!

I personally start every Monday morning with the first thought, and Friday with the second. Juggling everything is hard. But it’s also important.

Nikki Wallace Wilson is a life coach for moms and she loves empowering women to find their ideal life and career. She explains why back-to-school organization is so very important … for you! She says, “You’ve probably heard that being organized is good for your overall well being. But what you might not know is that NOT being organized can spill over to other areas of your life such as your health, marriage, family, friends, finances, career, decisions, and your happiness. How many times have you struggled to find your car keys to take your kids to school? Or ran out of time to make your child a healthy breakfast or lunch? Don’t let it happen to you this school year! By being organized, you will eliminate stress for yourself and your family. By reducing time spent on repetitive tasks, you will have more time to do the things that you WANT to do. This will give you a sense of calm and allow you to be more present and in control of your life. This is a great gift to give yourself and your family this school year.”

Sold? Me, too! Five savvy moms share their best tips for how they stay organized so we can all find the presence, calm, and happiness that Nikki describes, and we all deserve!

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Image via Elaine

Elaine writes about being a mother of three and the miscellany that comes with it and shares her photography of perfectly captured moments on her personal blog, The Miss Elaine-ous Life. She also co-directs Listen to Your Mother, Southeast Texas. 

{ MORE: How To Rock Motherhood With Confidence This Year }

About her best organization tip, Elaine says, “Create a 3-ring binder with a tab for each child, hole-punch papers, and gather some plastic pockets to store art, etc. Keeps school papers organized by kid!”

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Image via Greta Funk

Greta Funk is a writer, mother of four, and the clever voice behind Today’s Work At Home Mom, a website for busy work and stay at home moms where you can find quick, easy dinner recipes, information on direct sales and online businesses, tips on how to work productively at home and how to get — and stay — organized.

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About her best organization tip, Greta says, “I make the week’s lunches for my three school kids on Sundays, but they’re all slightly different. So, I designate specific colors to each child. Every day I grab one of each lunch and put it in the correct lunchbox without even having to look at it.”

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Image via Deborah Gilboa, MD

Deborah Gilboa, MD is the author of the brand new book, Get the Behavior You Want … Without Being the Parent You Hate!

About her best organization tip, Deborah says, “Make mornings easier with numbers! Big, shiny number stickers help preschoolers and elementary school kids find their way through a morning routine with surprisingly little fuss. Number 1 is lunchbox, number 2 for a backpack […] We label shoes, tooth brushing, gym shoes and so forth.” 

{ MORE: Add This Family Resort to Your Bucket List ASAP }

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Image via Missy Stevens

Missy Stevens blogs at Wonder, Friend, where she writes about a life that fills her with wonder.

About her best organization tip, Missy says, “Consistency! As much as possible, keep your routine the same every day, including where things go and when you do certain activities. We use a laminated checklist from iMom called, Check, Check, Done to help the kids get ready in the morning, as well as through afternoon and bedtime activities. Everyone knows where to put their backpacks, papers, lunch boxes, laundry, etc. They check off activities as they go, eliminating the middleman (aka, nagging parents!). Granted, some prompting is still needed, but I do a lot less repeating, making me a happier, less crazy, mom. I have my own command center in the kitchen, too, where I put all of the gazillion school forms and papers I need to deal with every day.”

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Image via Tamara McCleary

Tamara McCleary is a national speaker and creator of RelationShift® for business and individuals; she lives in Colorado on an organic family farm with her husband, Mike, and their four children.

About her best organization tip, Tamara says, “My favorite tip for back-to-school time is to get our kids organized with a week-at-a-glance planner and some kind of file box or cabinet. The planner is a great way to get your kids taking note of when school projects and tests are due (or that all important field trip permission slip!). By sharing with you all the due dates it can hopefully keep you informed of what is needed when (thus less surprises) and begin to teach your kids critical organizational skills as they mature and grow older.

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In preparing for back-to-school I use a separate file drawer for each child. A file box or drawer of your file cabinet is a perfect place to unload all of those tests, notes, permission slips, and more. (You can find great deals on used file cabinets through Craigslist). I create a folder(s) for each child’s classes and this is how we keep track of what has been done and what needs to be done. An extra folder or two with spare supplies (construction paper, tape, stickers, pictures, etc.) for that last minute project is also handy to keep in place. It’s nice to never be caught off-guard again for that last-minute poster project or creative assignment.

I have one child who struggles with executive functioning skills; as do many children with ADHD, or who are on the Autistic Spectrum. I’ve been helping him to learn to organize himself through the use of files clearly marked and labeled in the file cabinet and we’ve created a habit of unloading his backpack every day after school and placing papers from school into the appropriate files. This is also a nice way to connect in with him about his school day as we organize together, as well as to help him to stay on-top of homework and due dates.”

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What’s your best sanity-saving organization tip?

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5 Genius Organization Tips to Keep You Sane This School Year

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development and was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. In 2009, she launched a career as a freelance writer entrenched in social media. Since then, her work has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. Breen lives in Minnesota with her h ... More

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