Tips for Organizing School Mornings

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overhead view of pink folder and purple folder with names and bag of cut out box tops


Now that we’re two months into the school year, it’s the perfect time to evaluate how our morning routine is working. It’s important to me that we do everything we can to keep our mornings organized and peaceful and still get everything accomplished. I want to support my children in their school work and school responsibilities while fostering their independence.  These tips for organizing school mornings help my family get organized each morning while remaining calm and productive.

It’s always been important to me that we not have to scramble in the mornings before school. I don’t want to send my children off to school after a stressful morning. Making decisions in the fog of just having woken up and on a tight time schedule in the morning is a recipe for stress and delay, which is why I plan and organize as many tasks as I can ahead of time. My morning goal is no yelling, no breakdowns and everyone off to school and work on time with what they need. The only way to accomplish my goal is to plan for each morning and be organized. I’ve been sending children to school for a combined total of 38 years (yikes!), so I can tell you that these tips have been battle-tested in our family.

overhead view of neatly folded clothes in drawer with labels "field trip" and gym"

Choose Clothes the Day Before   Indecision, emotions, battles, yelling and scrambling out the door at the last minute can all result from the single act of getting dressed in the morning (and that’s just for me).  Simply laying complete outfits out for each family member the night before makes the school morning run so much more smoothly.  When my children were younger, I found it easiest to organize clothes for back-to-school  for the entire week.  Now that they’re teens, I encourage them to select the clothing for the next day each night before they go to sleep.  Either weekly or daily, choosing your clothes ahead of time is both a stress saver and time saver for your morning routine.

Set Breakfast Out the Night Before  To encourage independence in your children and save time, set any non-perishable breakfast items out on the table the night before. Just like setting clothing out the night before, setting breakfast items out reduces morning stress. Choose breakfast items that are easy and quick to prepare. Save the more complicated breakfast menus for the weekend or holidays.

colorful lunch boxes, with bins of neatly organized water bottles and plastic forks

Have an Organized Lunchbox Station   Set up an organized lunchbox drawer or station to make lunch prep easier on busy school day mornings. Just like with breakfast, you should also set out nonperishable items the night before. With a few minutes of prep the night before, putting lunches together is a much easier task in the morning, which means less stress and less time spent.

overhead view of pink folder and purple folder with names andhomework papers and bag of cut out box tops

Have a School Folder for Each Child –  Create a school folder for each child. Any forms, checks or supplies that need to be taken into school can be kept in the folder. Each morning (or the night before), you can simply pull out the items your child needs to take to school. No more forgetting important papers at home. As your child gets older, they can be responsible for checking their own folder each day. You may notice that these tips not only save time and stress, but also teach your child responsibility. My goal, in addition to planning and organizing each morning, is to teach my children to be responsible for themselves and their schoolwork.

red and blue box of trash bags next to envelope with cut out box tops scattered

I also want to teach them to take responsibility for their school and its success. An easy way to support our schools is with the Box Tops for Education program. You already know I can’t throw anything out that can be repurposed, so you know I absolutely can’t throw out those Box Tops on the items I’ve purchased. Whaa-aat?! Throw them out? Oh, yeah, our school doesn’t need anything. #SaidNoSchoolEver  Each Box Top is worth 10 cents and our school can earn up to $20,000 every year simply by clipping Box Tops from hundreds of participating products. Over the years, I’ve trained my parents to clip Box Tops for us (thanks, Mom and Dad). I’ve also been known to clip them from friends’ items if they just going to them away (thank you, my friends). Why would I just throw 10 cents away when I know our school could use it to purchase much needed items? I pay attention to every product that comes into our home, looking for Box Tops for Education. Did you know that Hefty is the only trash bag that supports Box Tops for Education? I was able to collect four Box Tops from this one box of Hefty trash bags. I’m sure your school has nothing that needs to be updated, though, right? #SaidNoSchoolEver. Check out this fun #SaidNoSchoolEver video from Hefty that drives that point home. 

Give Yourself an Extra Five Minutes  Give yourself a cushion of five extra minutes in the morning, either by getting up five minutes early or by setting your clocks ahead five minutes. Teach your children to get ready five minutes early. Choose whatever trick will work best for your family, but make sure you build that five minute cushion into your schedule. You have to plan for the unexpected and you never know when you’ll need those extra five minutes.

overhead view of pink folder and purple folder with names and bag of cut out box tops

What are your best tips for organizing school mornings?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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11 Comments

  1. What great tips. I used many of these tips when my daughter was growing up. She was homeschooled, but we still had a routine to get ready in the morning. My daughter still sets her clothes out for her work week.

  2. I am totally with you on all of these routines! I’m at 48 combined years and 6 more to go of getting kids out the door and me to work all on time. Being organized is the only way – and your tips are tops!

  3. This is really helpful. I have the girls stay overnight on school days and it’s so important to keep them on their routine and to be organized. Love the folders!

  4. Oye, mornings around my house can be rough! I am impressed that you’re able to achieve productive and peaceful mornings – you are what I aspire to create! Thank you for these wonderful tips. I am going to try a few this coming week and see if our mornings run a little smoother 🙂

    1. Just remember it’s a journey, not a destination. Don’t give up on working towards productive and peaceful, Andrea.

  5. Since my kids all leave at different times in the morning, being organized is critical. We use a lot of the tips you’ve suggested here. Staging areas for everything (lunch, backpacks, shoes) is a big one for us. The single most important facet of our busy mornings though is having a routine. I have set times that we target to have certain things done so I call out at those times to make sure everyone is on track.

    I love the Box Tops program! I’m so thankful to Hefty for supporting it.

  6. These are all excellent ideas. As a mom who raised 4 kids born within a year (including triplets) I have a very good idea of that morning chaos so many of us are challenged with. I particulary like your ideas of setting out clothes the night before as well as giving yourself an extra 5 minutes.

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