For many families, back to school time represents the big event of the year in terms of family routines. From the lazy days of summer to the sudden routine of school, parents and kids can get stressed without having a system in place to help stay organized.

Professional organizers to the rescue! Professional organizers offered advice, tips, and systems to help the family stay organized. Getting and staying organized can help keep the family running smoothly.

Ann Anderson, owner of A Plus Organizing, offers these back to school tips:

1. Designate a common area in the home for important notes, papers, and action items. This can be a kitchen counter, desk, or a bulletin board by the entry door. This launching pad is used by parents and kids alike for papers to be signed, reminders notes, projects, and anything needing immediate attention.
2. Allow each child to pick out their school supplies. When students choose their own folders and pencils, they are more likely to keep track of their own supplies. While the sales are on, stock up on extra pencils, glue sticks, and paper.
3. Choose age appropriate items for each child. Back packs for younger children should be smaller, have fewer compartments, and be easy to manipulate. Older students prefer packs with multiple pockets and zippers. Keep in mind the size of school lockers; bigger bags are not necessarily better.
4. Set aside time everyday for studying. Ideally, the same time is best to help with the routine, but the minimum time should stay the same. Even if the student claims to not have homework, study time should be used for reading, reviewing, and re-doing. The rule of thumb for homework is: 10 minutes a day for each grade level. A third grader should study at least 30 minutes daily (10 x 3); a ninth grader should study 90 minutes daily (10 x 9). Use a timer if necessary.
5. Keep a bin or box at home to store all graded and returned papers until the end of the grading period or end of the year. These papers don’t have to be filed or organized other than keeping them in case of an error or for test review.
6. Children and parents should use a planner or calendar to keep track of assignments, field trips, special events, and important phone numbers. A simple assignment book with large spaces for writing is best for younger students.
7. A family binder is a good tool for easy reference. Kept in a common area by the phone, the family binder can keep important information about immunizations, physicals, school calendar events, sporting activities, and carry-out menus.
8. Before school begins, thoroughly clean and organize each child’s closet and dresser with the child. Purge the clothes and shoes that no longer fit, sweep away the remnants of last year’s homework. Find the school supplies that will be needed.
9. Begin the school year with good organizing habits which will help everyone have a great start to the new year.
10. Choose professional organizer to help if necessary. Professional organizers will work side-by-side with the client to find systems that work for each family.

Author's Bio: 

Ann Anderson is the owner of A Plus Organizing in Howell, MI. She is a member of NAPO – National Association of Professional Organizers and the Southeast Michigan Chapter of NAPO. She is an educator who has worked in various capacities for public schools for 34 years. She can be reached at 517.404.7086.