Maybe last year, you got a little tired of books and papers all over the place. And perhaps the kids weren’t getting their homework done before bedtime. Was studying getting done? Did everyone make their appointments and scheduled extracurricular activities? Were your kids prepared for the first day of school last year?

Chances are, you can see room for improvement in your preparation and organization for the school year…and your kids probably agree. Here are some tips for preparing and organizing for back to school that may help.

Get Ahead of the Game

Staying ahead of the game can help a lot in preparing and organizing for the upcoming year. Look out for school supplies when you are out doing your regular shopping – pencils, pens, notebooks, etc. often go on sale as stores clean out their inventories in preparation for the upcoming year. Go ahead and buy them at the discounted price and keep a school supply stockpile.

While you are getting ahead, think about clothes. Grab good deals for out-of-season clothes as you are running your regular errands. A lot of getting ahead is a mindset – just always be on the lookout for back to school stuff, even when you’re not in the mood!

Take Inventory

Like the stores, now is an appropriate time to take inventory of what you have. It can be quite an eye-opener when you realize how many school supplies are already around your home. Pens, pencils, paper, and notebooks are often hiding in various places in your house. Pull them all out and throw out what can’t be used, and reuse what is still in good condition.

You can do the same thing for back to school clothes. Take inventory of your kids’ clothing and see if anyone can wear hand-me-downs, for instance, or if you can mix and match clothes. This helps avoid paying for clothes you don’t need, and helps you focus on what you actually do need.

Change of Schedule

Going back to school is often a schedule jolt – sleeping late and staying up to midnight (or after) has to give way to the school year’s early mornings and earlier bedtimes. Try to ease into this schedule before school starts to help everyone prepare for the upcoming change. Go to bed and get up a bit earlier as the school year approaches.

Before it gets too close to the first day of school, try and get back into a normal schedule. Laying out clothes the night before, getting to bed by a certain time and, of course, getting up and ready for the day before 9 AM.

Clean and Declutter

This might seem like the type of thing you would do for spring cleaning, but trust me, it’s just as important during back-to-school season. If you can purge a lot of your unneeded and unused things from around the house, you and your family will feel so much more organized and mentally prepared for the school year ahead. It’s kind of like New Year’s Day. You could even have your kids create resolutions for the new school year!

Make the school year a little easier and less stressful this year by preparing and organizing your home. Taking inventory and helping your kids get on a routine for school will get rid of the hassle of a morning rush and help your home maintain its order.

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