You know, our 2019 Back to School Guide may feature the coolest new gear, but it’s also got lots of helpful tips for you, parents! Like the best school year planners to keep you organized. And today, time-saving hacks that we all could use.
After all, back to school season can be crazy busy, with all the parent info nights, open houses, and extracurriculars starting up. So finding even a few new time-saving hacks and tricks that you can use can really be a lifesaver.
Here are 7 that are working for my household, and we hope they work for you too!
Top: clothing organization system via Kelly Leigh Creates
Time-Saver: Set up a lunch packing station
To help your kids pack a nutritious lunch that they still want to eat — while saving you time each morning — organize a lunch packing station like this one at Fabulously Frugal. This one helps kids see how many of each type of item they should grab to put in their lunch boxes, and they still get to choose what those items are. Brilliant! Plus, it takes packing lunches off our to-do list, which saves us time.
You also might want to read our tips for packing kids’ lunches for an entire week in under 30 minutes, to make your school mornings go even faster — I do it for my own four kids and I know you can make it work for yours, too.
Time-Saver: Set aside outfits for the whole week at once
If deciding what to wear in the morning is a time-consuming affair, then set time aside on the weekend to choose outfits for the whole week at once. It works so well for you and can be so great for your kids. Use a sweater rack to keep each outfit neat and organized, like this one seen at Kelly Leigh Creates. This way kids can take all the time they want Sunday nights to pick out outfits, but once they’re set…they’re set. Unless you know, there’s a surprise rainstorm or blizzard that requires some adjustments. Obviously, don’t feel like you have to stick to those t-shirts and shorts should the temperature suddenly drop below freezing one week in October.
Related: Don’t miss a special limited time offer to save on personalized labels for your kids. Ends 8/31/19.
Time-Saver: Use multiple alarms to stay on schedule in the morning
If you or your kids tend to move slower in the morning, this minute-by-minute schedule of alarms that Olivia Wyles created might help get you out the door on time. Liz uses something similar in her household in the mornings, and it works perfectly for her younger daughter in particular who really needs the nudge of the alarm. It’s not for all parents, but it just might be the structure you need to keep your family on schedule, without wasting precious extra minutes putting on shoes when it’s time to get out the door.
(Why does it take kids 12 minutes just to put on shoes some days, anyway?)
Time-Saver: Create a morning routine basket
Having everything you need in one place makes any process easier and faster, and yet we’ve never thought to do this for our kids’ morning hygiene routines. Set up a “morning routine” basket, like this one at First Home Love Life, means we don’t have to go through the list of Did you…brush? Floss? Use deodorant? Use mouthwash? Comb your hair? Put away the comb”every morning. Instead, everything is where the kids need it and they can quickly run through the checklist on their own.
Time-Saver: Print out an after-school checklist
Time-saving hacks for back to school aren’t just for mornings! Before the kids run off with neighbors or get on their video games after school, they can make sure they’ve done their chores and homework — and any other family activities you want them to do — thanks to this helpful printable after-school routine checklist I found at Sunny Day Family.
I love that this is part of a full school binder you can download and attach to the fridge door or a corkboard in the kitchen to keep your kids organized. Or, you can print out a single page and frame it behind glass, so your kids can check off what they’ve done using a dry erase marker each day.
Hey, a time-saving hack like this could keep you from staying up until midnight doing that homework assignment your kid suddenly forgot until right until bedtime.
Time-Saver: Turn bins into accessible files for each child
Instead of sitting down with a mound of school papers to sort through and organize every couple months, go ahead and create a storage bin for your children’s important papers before the school year even starts. In fact, create one for each child. This time-saving hack has a full tutorial at Simple as That. and even includes printable labels.
The idea is that each day, after your kids come home, you can trash or file their papers, saving yourself time and a headache later. So smart! (And uh, older kids can even do some of it themselves.) I especially love that a transparent bin makes everything so much more accessible than a traditional file case, where important items are hidden behind drawers and easily forgotten