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Back to School (time to get organized!)

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Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

It’s that time again!  Hard to believe isn’t it!?  Another school year has already started for some of us and is fast approaching for others.  My kids are out until the end of August so we are cherishing our last days of summer and made a quick trip to Utah to spend time with family and cousins!

Once I get past the emotional first day of school (always a tear jerker for me coming to terms with my kids being yet another year older!) I usually recover from my funk and get excited for a fresh start.  I actually feel more motivated to set new goals and do ALL the things in September vs. January.  In January I try to set goals, but all I really want to do is live in my pjs and recover from the holidays. :)  September is usually the month I feel the most motivated all year.  It’s so nice to introduce some structure into my days after an unstructured summer.  Last January I created some printables that have been game changers for me in helping me work on my goals and daily habits.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

My Monthly Goals printable helps me stay on track each month and even though I don’t always complete everything on my list, I love having it as a daily reminder of what my priorities are.  It’s so easy to get busy putting out random fires each day and to lose sight of the things I really want to prioritize.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

Same with my Daily Habits page.  LOVE this.  I try to keep the habits on this page simple and easy (so that I’ll do them!) and I love that I have to check them off each day.  I’m always motivated by a check mark.  Ha.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

You might remember that I created this Visual Planning Board at the beginning of the new year.  Mostly to help pull myself out of the post Christmas pj funk I mentioned earlier. :)

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

I put a new monthly goal page and my habit tracker on my chalkboard each month so that I’ll see them every day in my office.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

I wanted to share these printables with you again today for those of you who are feeling motivated to work on your own goals and daily habits now that kids are going back to school!  You can download them HERE.  I’ve slacked a little with these during the summer months but will be ready to get back on track in September!

Here are a few other things we do every summer to get organized and ready for a new school year:  

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

{My Organized Office – PART ONE/PART TWO}

1 – Get the office/homework zone organized.  Now is the time to make sure you have a homework zone organized, stocked and ready to go!  If you don’t have a home office, dedicate a spot in your home for homework and get things organized.  In our previous house my kids did their homework at the kitchen table so I used a kitchen drawer to hold all of their paper and school supplies.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

Stock up on paper, sharpen pencils and buy new crayons and markers if you have little ones!  I also get my kids’ classroom supply lists and buy things early because by the end of August the school supplies get really picked over!

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

Target run with these two a couple of weeks ago to get school supplies!  This is one shopping trip I don’t like to do on-line!  El’s list comes out after her first day of school.  Of course the trip included a new stuffed animal for Kole and Ad’s favorite ICEE’s.  ROWS of new school supplies made my day and I might have picked up a new notepad.  Happy shopping day for all three of us. :)

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

The main thing to remember to do when you’re getting your office/homework zone ready is to establish a place where ALL of the kids’ paperwork will land.  We all know that back to school comes with a massive amount of paperwork!  Having a system set up ahead of time will make for a much smoother transition.  My kids keep signed forms and papers they need to hang on to in the white file folders on our office wall.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

I keep all of my forms and papers organized in these wooden file boxes.  You can read more details about my system in this post.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

2 – Organize a drop zone for backpacks and shoes.  We used to do a massive mudroom clean out right before school started, but now I have my kids do this as soon as school ends so we don’t have to think about it!  They go through their lockers and drawers and we donate old shoes and backpacks and vacuum everything out so that things are clean and ready for a new school year.  They always LOVE this chore.  Ha. ;)

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)


So nice to have the inside of the cabinets looking as clean as the outside!

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

If you don’t have a designated place for shoes and backpacks create one!  I didn’t have a mudroom in my previous home so I created a place on our garage wall to hold shoes and jackets.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

3 – Get back to school haircuts!  I was due to get my hair done a couple weeks ago so I took my girls in for their annual back to school trim.  Yes.. it takes two people to blow dry and curl my hair.. ha.  It’s thick!  So they always double up at my salon to save time.  The cute girls who do my hair were dressed alike this week so I had to snap a pic. :)

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

I passed on my crazy thick hair to my girls.  Getting all of our hair done is a process so it’s nice to have that checked off the list! (You can see why I feel justified splurging on a good hair dryer!  Now the trick is keeping it hidden from my girls..)

4 – Fill out back to school forms.  I hate to be scrambling with forms the few nights before school starts so I always try to get them done early!  Any forms I know I have to have ready (like Ad’s medical forms for her allergies/asthma or El’s forms for her high school dance team) I fill out early.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

{My Organized Pantry}

5 – Get your pantry organized.  I don’t know about all of you but by the end of summer my pantry has usually seen better days!  A few weeks before school starts I always do a quick clean out and get things back under control.  Then a few days before school starts I stock up on all of the snacks my kids like for their lunches.  If your pantry needs an overhaul NOW is the time to do it! You will be so happy to start a new school year with a clean pantry.  I’ve found a clean pantry makes a huge difference in my overall sanity!  You can check out how I organize our pantry in this post and also how I organized our smaller pantry in our previous house in this post for ideas.

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

6 – Organize Kids’ Closets.  I always make my kids go though their closets around this time of year and pull out anything that is too small or that they don’t love and wear.  I told my girls we could do it in two days.  The first day we purged and organized their hanging clothes and the next day we tackled their drawers.  This made it feel a little less overwhelming and it didn’t become an all day project.  After YEARS of doing this they are pretty good at quickly sorting and knowing what to save and what to say good-bye to.  We did this before our trip to Utah so they could bring clothes they aren’t wearing anymore to their cousins.  Win for everyone!

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

{Closet Organization Tips}

Back to school - time to get organized (Sunny Side Up)

{similar stripe rug/similar hello mat here and here/similar planters/backpack/shirt/shorts/shoes – our favorite pair!}

7 – Stock up on tissues.  Because this mom always needs them on that first day back.  And it doesn’t matter if it’s for Kindergarten, Middle School or High School.  Or if it’s my first child or my last or my in-between.  I cry sad/happy tears every single year.  You too?  I wish we could all meet for breakfast after drop-off and cry together.

Happy back to school everyone!  

xoxo, Erin
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16 thoughts on “Back to School (time to get organized!)

  1. I too like to use back to school time as my January with new goals. It feels like it’s easier to make that transition since the kids are going back to school. I’m excited to get back to a routine and see what the school year brings. Mine go back at the end of the month and we’ve done supply shopping for my youngest but my oldest is starting high school (eek!) and I guess we won’t know what she needs until orientation. We’re purging the closets and getting everything in order! Such a fun time of year!

    1. Love that you are the same as I am with back to school goal setting Aria! High school is a big transition.. it’s hard to believe we have kids that old isn’t it!? Enjoy the rest of your summer! xo

  2. Wonderful, uplifting and encouraging post. Grab some tissues for me, too, as I have to go back to work when my only kiddo left in high school starts. And my older daughter gets to stay home because she starts a week after we do. Sob! I love the photo of you having two people work on your hair! You three have long and beautiful hair. Enjoy your family in Utah! Big hugs!

    1. Jeanne! Tissues for both of us! SOB for sure! I’m so happy you’ve had a nice low key break. The best. Thank you so much for your sweet words about my post! xo

  3. Love all this organization. When you used your garage as your mudroom space, how did you keep all those shoes from getting dirty with cobwebs??

    1. Thank you Diana! Most of the shoes in our garage we were wearing and rotating enough that they didn’t get dirty out there. Plus I used to clean my garage out at least once a month because it was a small space and I’m kind of a neat freak. ;)

  4. Berkley and Jeremy started on Monday. Seems like we blinked and summer was gone. Elle wasn’t ready but she too was ready for routine again.. Erin, I remember when Kole started kinder. Where does the time go. I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your summer. xo

    1. Me to Cathy.. like it was yesterday. Summer was absolutely a blink and I’m so happy we still have a couple of weeks left. I feel the same way as Elle though.. routine is nice! And I’m always excited for Fall. :) Thank you! You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers this week sweet friend. xo

  5. Such a great post, Erin!! Thank you. The picture of you and your daughters’ long locks is so sweet. Beautiful ladies! This is my oldest son’s first year of preschool and I have very mixed feelings! I am so excited about what is ahead for him, yet sad about the reality that he is inching closer to being a school-aged kid (insert me crying here!). Haha but thankful for encouraging words like yours as we keep working on establishing routines and walking through all of it together! Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thank you so much sweet Genelle! Preschool is a big step! I feel like each stage is a little tough because it’s the end of an era, but you have so much to look forward to with him in school! They are so ready by that age and you will love seeing him adjust and learn and grow and make new friends. The best. :) Take tissues the first day! Sending big hugs! xo

  6. I love reading your blog! So inspiring! What am I doing wrong? I wanted to print your organizing printables and clicked on the links but it won’t go anywhere for me!😩 please help! I love checking boxes, too!

    1. Janet! Oh no! I wonder what’s going on! Did you put your name and e-mail address in the sign up box? And then you should have received a follow up e-mail. Did you get that? Or is your problem once you’re in the printable library? Try signing up again and if you’re still having issues send me an e-mail and I’ll get it figured out for you!

  7. Erin, thank you! Even though I am a grandma now, watching my grandchildren and all the neighborhood children go back to school, I still love the feeling of getting back into a more structured mode! I think September is my New Year! And I absolutely love the fall season!!!! Thanks again! P.S., Don’t need the tissues any more!

    1. Laureen! I love hearing that you still feel the same way as a grandma. I think I’ll be the same way! September is absolutely my New Year. So fun hearing from you! And yea for Fall and no more tissues! :) xo

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