scattered colorful school supplies on white desktop

Back to School Organizing Tips

The Back to School season is a rough time, especially for parents, no matter the age of the kids.

You’re dealing with changing schedules, implementing new routines and increased obligations, all at the same time. 

You’re faced with a set-in-stone calendar and maybe even kids who are not quite as cooperative as they could be. 

It can be a stressful time for sure. 

One of the ways I combat all of this back to school induced stress is through planning and organization! 

This post will explain my very best back to school organizing tips:

School Supplies

First, let’s talk school supplies.

Before you rush out and order everything you think you need, let’s get a handle on how to approach this methodically.

Get the List Early

Don’t wait for the school to send home the school supply list.

Chances are it’s posted on the school website. So snag a copy and use it for reference.

I usually look at a few grades ahead of where my kids are in case I happen upon a a good sale where I can stock up on supplies.

It only makes sense to stock up if the items will be used, so limit this strategies to basics like pens, pencils, erasers, etc.

Organize your School Supply Stash

At the end of the school year when my kids bring home all of their stuff, I take the time to go through it with them.

We set aside what’s salvageable and pitch the rest.

Whatever we save goes into the school supply stash.

Come back to school time, we grab the school supply lists and head to shop our stash before heading out to Target.

And chances are you already have a ton of supplies in your home to build a stash of your own.

Get them all together, then organize them by type.

Figure out a good place to store them that’s accessible, but not in the way.

The bottom drawer of a filing cabinet may work or a low shelf in your home office might be perfect, depending on your space!

When supplies are organized like this, you’re making it possible for your kids to get what they need without your help.

Which will save you time!

Plus teach your kids to not ask you for help with everything along with a little self-sufficiency.

One final bonus to organizing extra school supplies in a designated area is that it’s easy to put away any purchases so they’ll be ready when needed!

Real Life Example of a School Supply Stash

I helped one of my clients establish a defined school supply stash in a basement cabinet.

See the stacks of paper and notebooks?

And the small boxes of pens and small basket of post it notes?

So perfectly positioned to optimize this small space!

Before we spent some time creating zones in the cabinet, all of these supplies were tucked every which where, not only in this cabinet but also in the client’s kitchen.

And her kids never would’ve been able to find what they needed.

Now, no problem since everything is pulled together in one place.

Beyond being organized, a school supply stash will save you money since you won’t be begin items you already have.

The Final School Supply Stash Organizing Step

Once you’ve pulled everything together, the next step I’d recommend for making your school supply stash even more organized is to add labels.

This will make it clear where everything is, especially if you’re relying on multiple containers to store the supplies.

When I reorganized this client’s cabinet, I hadn’t yet thought to make companion labels for one of my most popular products ever, printable toy organizing labels.

So I relied on hand written sticky labels.

But I’ve since come up with a better solution than just hand written labels!

The School and Art Supply Organizing Labels make seeing what’s in your stash easy.

Print onto Avery shipping labels (or another similar label)

The Best Time to Buy New Supplies

If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have a school supply stash to use up, then start keeping an eye out for deals on basic supplies, year round.

I try to do most of my Back to School shopping for school supplies in early July and then again in September/October (for the upcoming year).  Why those seemingly random months?  Stores have the best deals then.

In July they’re tempting you to buy early.

In the Fall months, they’re clearing out space for the upcoming holidays.

So it only makes sense that these months are the times when you can score the best deals!


The bulkiest school supply you’ll need for back to school time is a backpack.

And you can start using it for back to school organizing before school even starts!

As the start of school draws near, my kids and I shop our school supply stash and then pack those items in their backpacks so they’ll be all set.

This helps ensure the first day of school won’t be spent rushing around to make sure they have everything!

When you’re looking for a new backpack, invest in a good one that’ll last longer than a year.

And when I think of high quality backpacks, L.L.Bean is first on the list!

They’re not paying me to share this accolade with you, but their products are top notch.

And if the backpack gets grubby, simply toss it into the washing machine for quick wash, and let it air dry.

It’ll come out looking almost new and ready for a new year.

School Lunches

Up until 6th grade or so, both of my boys packed their lunch every day.

And it was a chore to come up with something they didn’t get tired of eating.

And that’s why I created this Lunch Planning Kit.

It takes so many of the headaches of planning daily school lunches and overall simplifies the process.

Lunch Box

Save yourself some more time by investing in a nice lunch box that will last at least one year.

L.L. Bean lunch boxes also get high marks from me for overall quality, durability, washability and size.

I only have experience with the lunch boxes designed for kids, but we purchased new lunch boxes about every 2-3 years, so the L.L.Bean boxes lasted plenty long.

Get one and you won’t be disappointed!


Since kids are always growing, back to school time is a good time to assess their clothing situation.

In the weeks before school and the chaos of new schedules starts, take time to go through and organize your kids’ clothes.

If you have hand-me-down-clothes, the time to pull out the appropriate sizes is before you purchase anything new.

Make note of what you have on hand and what is needed to complete outfits or the seasonal wardrobe.

Doing a little homework in advance can eliminate duplicate purchases and allows you to make full use of the hand-me-downs!

If your hand-me-downs aren’t organized, then now is the time to get them into order.

The whole point of keeping hand-me-down clothes is to get some wear out of clothing and avoid having to buy new clothes.

But you can’t do that if you don’t know what you have.

The Kids Hand Me Down Clothing Storage Kit makes organizing kids clothing easy.

Never again will disorganized hand-me-downs be an issue!

Over to you!

Now you have the basics ( and perhaps a little more!) of back to school organizing:

  • School supplies
  • School Clothes
  • Daily lunch plans

Use the organizing tips to help keep the hectic back to school season just a little more balanced.

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