Entryway Ease: You may have a perfectly organized coat closet, but if it’s not near the door your child enters, chances are he or she is not going to take the time to use it. Instead, set up a simple station at the door your child does use, and encourage them to get in the habit stashing their stuff as soon as they get home. Some must-haves: hooks for jackets and coats, a basket or bin for shoes, a hook or cubby for book bags, and an inbox for any papers you’re supposed to see or sign. Once or twice a week, make it your child’s job to put away any extra coats, shoes, etc. that have piled up during the week.
Focus on Food: Between packing lunches and after-school snacks, it’s easy for the fridge and pantry to fill up quickly this time of year. Do a thorough cleaning before school starts to rid yourself of the spoils of summer (nothing says farewell to fun like freezer-burned ice pops and cruddy ketchup bottles), then designate a space or a shelf for kid-food supplies. It will help you get out the door more quickly in the mornings, and it may even inspire them to prepare their own lunches.
Art Preservation: Every parent knows how quickly the precious artwork of younger children can pile up. To keep it from overtaking your refrigerator, ask your child to select one to be featured at any given time. Some parents designate a bin (big enough for multi-dimensional projects) and limit the storage to 10 per child: one in, one out.
Home Office Overhaul: This area can be the catch-all for paperwork and files, and often a low priority for cleaning. Make back-to-school time about back-to-home office organization by clearing your bulletin board of anything dated and getting rid of old paperwork in your family files. Make sure each family member has a folder with their important documentation (birth certificate, social security card, passport, important medical records, including vaccinations, etc.). Bonus points for storing these in a fireproof safe.
Wardrobe Essentials: Before school begins, make sure closets and dressers are well-organized and updated with any new sizes or things your child might need for fall (e.g. warmer pajamas and socks).