Back-to-School Tips to Save Parents’ Sanity

Back-to-School Tips to Save Parents’ Sanity

Home Organization for Back to School

Do you remember that commercial where parents danced down the school supply aisle to the tune of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”? Bet a lot of parents feel that way when they think about their kids going back to school. But the euphoria is short-lived once they remember the hassle of getting kids back into a routine. Don’t let the stress of morning drop-offs, lunch prep, and extracurricular activities make you question your sanity — try these back-to-school strategies and organization tips from mDesign for a smooth transition to a new school year.


Think about it: you’re not just Mom or Dad, you’re the captain of the team, the leader of the troops, the C.E.O. of Your Amazing Family, Inc. Your decisions and values determine everything from field trips to fashion choices for your school-aged children. That’s a lot to stay on top of — and when you add your own career responsibilities and personal commitments, it can be overwhelming.

You need a command center — a designated area of the house dedicated to keeping your family organized. Establish your command center in a central location; you want it to be somewhere in your home that the whole family frequents, like the kitchen or entryway, so everyone gets in the habit of checking schedules and deadlines. Here’s a list of command center must-haves:

  • Calendar – Smart phones are great for keeping track of personal obligations, but a large, physical calendar is best for tracking your shared family schedule. It gives everyone a visual overview of the busiest times of the semester. A dry-erase board calendar lets you make quick schedule changes, like adding last minute appointments or dropping cancelled events.
  • In-n-Out Bins — Have you seen that popular meme of the boy who wore SpongeBob pajamas for his class portrait? His poor mom mixed up Pajama Day and Class Picture Day and the internet won’t let her forget it. Don’t let that happen to you! Set up clearly labelled “in” and “out” bins for dropping off and picking up things like permission slips and teacher/parent communications. Try mDesign’s Clear Organizer Bins. They come with self-adhesive backing, so they’re super easy to install.
  • Email — Consolidate online correspondence with your children’s teachers, coaches, and tutors by creating an email address expressly for school matters. You’ll save time by not having to search through a million emails.
  • Files and Folders — Consider starting a folder for each of your children to store things like medical information or application deadlines. Keep folders organized with file storage bins from mDesign. They come in a variety of colors, so you can color-code each child’s bin.


Creating a Homework Zone isn’t about spending a lot of money on expensive children’s furniture. It’s really about creating an area for focused learning at home. Here are some tips for designing a successful homework station:

  • Location, Location, Location – Find a place in your home that’s free from distractions and interruptions. Make sure the space has sufficient light, supportive chairs, and a strong wi-fi signal.
  • Supplies — Stock up on pens, pencils, sticky notes and keep them organized with mDesign’s 2 Drawer Desk Organizer. A clutter-free desk helps your child concentrate. Plus, by organizing supplies, you can easily see what needs replenishing. Or try this modular hanging grid for vertical storage options.
  • Watch Out for Clutter — It’s a known fact: where there are kids there is clutter. Keep homework stations tidy with these seagrass storage baskets. When homework’s done, your child can toss notebooks, tablets, and markers into the basket. And this side table with bookshelf is great for holding after-school snacks on top and textbooks on the lower tier.


Retailers estimate back-to-school shopping will cost parents $268 per child, with most of that going toward new clothes. But before you hit the mall, try organizing your kids’ closets:

  • Purge – Go through each child’s closest (with your children, of course!) and ditch whatever they’ve outgrown or worn out. Then, sort those clothes into three piles: hand-me-downs, charity donations, and trash. Do the same thing with shoes. Not only does this process help you see what you need to buy, it gives you room to hang it up, too.
  • Plan — It takes a while to get into a morning routine. One way to save time while you work out the kinks in your schedule? Have your kids plan their outfits for the first week of school. They can snap photos of different clothes combinations with their phones or put sticky notes on outfits and accessories. Knowing what they’re wearing in advance — and that it’s clean and pressed — will help your kids get ready faster.
  • Prep — Use hanging closet organizers to keep uniforms and equipment for extracurricular activities organized. No more looking for leotards and jerseys, cleats and toe shoes — everything is neatly stored and ready to go.

male adolescent child playing American football in white jersey


There are parents who can plan a month of meals, set up rows of matching plastic food containers, and assemble lunches like a fine-tuned machine. We salute those parents. For the rest of us, lunch prep is just another obstacle to getting out of the house on time. Here are some tips to make packing lunches less stressful and steer your kids toward healthy choices:

  • Get Your Kids Involved – Since they’re the ones eating the lunch, why not give them some say in packing it? Keep healthy foods where your kids can see them. These clear bins are great for organizing your fridge so that fruits, veggies, juice boxes, and yogurt cups are easy to find.
  • Delegate Responsibility — Put each child in charge of one aspect of assembling lunches. Older kids can help with making the main entrée (yes, PB&J counts as an entrée), and younger children can add the sides and snacks. Fill these open front bins with health bars and snack packs and place them on lower pantry shelves so little hands can reach them.

Check out these mDesign blog posts on healthy school lunches and lunch packing hacks for more school lunch tips.

Clear plastic fridge bin containing apples with fruit label on white reflective table Clear plastic front dip bin on pantry shelf containing drinkable pear sauce packets


The entryway. The portal to the outside world. This is what all the planning and prep has been for: the moment your children walk out the door and leave for school. Here are some ideas that will make your entryway an efficient launch and re-entry zone for your kids:

  • Shoe Chaos – Kids like to kick off their shoes at the door…and leave them there. Organize the family’s footwear with a shoe rack. You’ll cut down on after-school clutter and, in the morning, shoes will be easier to locate.
  • Personalization — Give each child their own hook and bin. Use a sturdy, wall-mounted hook for jackets and backpacks, and a storage bench with drawers for mittens, hats, and scarves. mDesign’s Coat Rack and Bench Organizer gives you hooks and bin storage in one unit.

Hope this helps school mornings feel a little more organized and a lot less stressful.

young blonde boy leaning out of yellow school bus door smiling

Check out our Back to School mBlog series for more inspiration for the new year.

Lisa Langford is a Senior Copywriter at mDesign

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Posted: Jul 28, 2021