{organizing with style} Get Ready for Back to School With These Kitchen Organizing Tips

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The school year is right around the corner, which means the end of those long, relaxed summer days, but it also provides a great opportunity for a fresh start. Creating some simple organizing systems for back to school can help you get back into a good routine, and can keep you on track throughout the year. 

The kitchen is certainly the heart of the home, and, in our home, it is also school command central! In addition to packing lunches, we have a lot of “school stuff” to keep track of week in and week out, and almost all of it happens in the kitchen! Here are some easy ways to organize the kitchen to make your mornings run smoother.

Organized Kitchen for Back to School

At the end of this post, below my organizing tips, you'll find links to more back to school posts from some great bloggers, and you can enter to win a fun prize package to help you and the kids get creative this school year!

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something that I recommend, you pay the same price, but I may receive a small commission.


I use an acrylic file sorter on our kitchen counter to organize all of the mail and paper that comes into our house on a daily basis, including school paperwork. 

Sort school paperwork on kitchen counter

Within this file sorter I have numerous labeled folders – including one with each boy’s name and another labeled “Take Action.” The files with the boys’ names I use for general school paperwork, including school newsletters and the like, while the “Take Action” folder is where we place school documents that need to be signed or other papers that require some action on our part. 

This action folder is not used exclusively for school items. Right now it holds a couple of RSVP cards that I need to mail and a magazine subscription renewal reminder. Once or twice a week I pull everything out of this folder and take the necessary actions all at once. {The "Take Action" folder is not used for bills – those have a folder of their own.}

You can read all about our kitchen counter filing system here.

For paper work that we want to keep front and center {like a list of school holidays and closures} we use the bulletin board on the inside of the pantry door. The bulletin board also provides a place for us to hang birthday party invitations from classmates.

Bulletin board on pantry door for school paperwork and invitations

Click for the details of our pantry door bulletin board.


We also needed of a place to write down quick day to day notes and reminders. I affixed some of my boys’ artwork to small clipboards, and covered them in a chalkboard finish. We can now jot down the daily reminders on these DIY clipboards, and then wipe them away to start again.

DIY Chalkbaord Clipboards Kids Art

Each day that my sons’ attend preschool we receive a full written report, which occasionally includes notes "like running low on sunscreen" or "bring cardboard toilet paper rolls for next weeks craft project." These are the types of notes that we now use the chalkboard to jot down.

The clipboard element is also very useful! It gives us a place to clip up papers that need to be sent to school, such as signed permission slips and class photo order forms. 

Everything my boys take to school is required to be labeled with their full name. I am not a big fan of writing on their things with a permanent black Sharpie, so I order waterproof/washable name labels from Label Daddy. It seems like nearly every day something new needs to be labeled, so I always keep a few clipped to clipboards for easy access before we rush out the door.

DIY Chalkboard Clipboards Kids Art

The clipboards hang on a narrow wall inside the pantry, right between the boys’ lunch bags. This placement ensures that we see them each school day.


As I mentioned, my boys’ lunch bags hang from hooks right inside the pantry. 

Lunch boxes hanging on wall of pantry

We also have a drawers in the bottom of the pantry where we keep foods that we often pack in school lunches and snacks, such as applesauce pouches, cheese and crackers, and granola bars. Of all the drawers I have organized with over the years, these Like-It Stacking Drawers are my favorite!

Drawers for packing school lunches

By putting these drawers in the bottom of the pantry, the boys can reach mom-approved snacks and can help with packing lunches in the morning.

Drawers for packing school lunches

To make lunch packing quick and easy, I keep all the small tupperware that we use for school contained in one drawer. Since everything we send to school has to be labeled with our boys’ names, it saves time to keep our labeled lunch packing tupperware separate from our day to day tupperware.

Drawer of tupperware for packing school lunches

You can read more about our pantry, including my top five tips that have kept our pantry organized for more than two years. 


My boys each take a small water bottle to preschool each day, but those dang bottles are top heavy and so tipsy when you sit them on a shelf. It seemed like every time I reached in for one, I'd knock all the others over. I finally came up with a hassle free solution by placing all of the kids' water bottles in a plastic bin on one of our cabinet shelves.

Storing water bottles

Read more about how we've stored bottles and sippy cups in the past, as well as adult water bottles in this post.


We have a detached garage and have to cross through our backyard when we come and go from the house. Since we don’t have a dedicated mudroom, this means wet shoes and jackets end up in the kitchen. We didn’t want our kids to have to drag their wet gear all the way through the kitchen to get to the coat closet in the front entry, so we added a bench with flip-out coat hooks to the formerly unused corner of the kitchen just inside the back door. 

Now we have a place to hang the kids jackets and backpacks, and a place for remove their shoes as soon as they enter the house. {You can read all about our kitchen “mudroom” addition here.}

Kitchen mudroom bunch

Even if you don’t have a mudroom, consider where you might be able to add a bench with baskets or hooks. Providing a dedicated place for the kids’ gear keeps the kitchen organized and makes it easy to find things on your way back out the door the next morning.

The boys' backpacks typically stay on the hooks in the mudroom during the school week, but on weekends and during school breaks {or when I just don't want to look at backpacks anymore}, I hang them on hooks that we installed on the sidewall of our newly organized coat closet.

Backpack hooks in the coat closet


My boys bring home artwork from school nearly every week. I don't keep every single piece, but I would like to turn some of them into a keepsake book eventually, so for now, I collect them in archival safe storage boxes that I keep in one of the mudroom cabinets.

Organize and store kids' artwork

You can read more about how I store the kids' art, as well as some two different DIY art display boards in this post and this one.

My boys aren’t yet old enough for homework, so once they reach that age that will add an entirely new element to our back to school organizing challenge. But the systems we have put in place in our kitchen are working well for us now, and we will adapt them as our needs change.

Back to School Kitchen Organizing Tips

Once you've got the kitchen prepped for back to school, here are two more of my favorite back to school organizing tips:

Ready for some more school year inspiration?! Take a look at these great posts... but only after you've entered to win our back to school prize package!

Personalized Clipboards @ Happy Go Lucky
The Best School Lunch Boxes @ Nap-Time Creations
Salad Containers Review @ Andrea's Notebook
Back to School Kitchen Organization @ Blue i Style {you are here}


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