Time flies. One minute the summer holidays are just starting and the next thing you know, it’s back to school and you’re frantically fitting shoes and searching for sports uniforms. Save your sanity, as well as time and money, by getting organised early for the new school year. This guide is full of life-changing – and wallet-friendly – tips and tricks.       

Use the Officeworks School List Service

Back-to-school shopping for school supplies doesn’t have to burn a hole in your hip pocket. In good news, Officeworks has enhanced its School List Service to make it more efficient, with full transparency of your savings. Right now, you can utilise this amazing service and outsource your back-to-school shopping to a team of clever experts who will gather everything on your list, or substitute with budget-friendly finds, before packaging it up ready for you to click and collect. 

It's easy: jump online and upload your list. You’ll receive an estimate highlighting your savings and giving you an opportunity to edit and add to the basket before placing your order – or print it out and shop instore. Get in early and save and you'll have peace of mind that the kids’ school stuff is all sorted before Santa comes to town.              

Get Smart About Storage

Back to school tips to help you save money on school lists and get your kids organised

Nip mess and stress in the bud before the school year starts. The secret is setting up smart storage options and making sure your children know exactly where to place their hats, bags and library books as soon as they walk in the door. A cube bookshelf makes for a pretty great school station – use labels to show them where to stow their stuff, and install hooks for hanging up backpacks. If you’re short on space, a wire basket or plastic tub at the foot of the bed is fine; all you really need is a designated spot for keeping their school supplies sorted. Train your kids to stash their stuff neatly at the end of each day and you’ll also save yourself a packet – no more buying replacement school hats and jumpers because they’ve lost them yet again.               

Sort out Your Diaries & Planners

Nothing beats an old-fashioned paper planner for keeping track of birthdays, school assignments and music lessons. The act of writing things down actually helps you remember them better, plus a physical diary doesn’t rely on battery power or a WiFi connection to keep you up to date. 

For ease of use and portability, go for a small diary that’s A5 or A6. Get one for you and one for each kid while you’re at it, and stock up on coloured pens and tiny stickers so they can decorate and colour-code while they’re jotting down their homework and assignments. Purchase your 2021 planners now so you can be ultra-organised come 1 January. Be an admin superstar, and keep everyone in the loop, with a weekly or monthly wall planner – a magnetic whiteboard style is super handy.                

What To Try

SEE ALSO: 20 Expert Homework Help Tips to Improve Study Skills

Plan the Perfect Lunch Box

Back to school organisation tips for parents: the easy way to pack kids lunch boxes

Streamline the dreaded process of packing lunch boxes as best you can. Chop fruit and veggies the night before and store them in the fridge. Sort packaged snacks into pantry baskets according to type (eg. “Crackers” or “Dried Fruit”) and delegate snack selection to the kids. 

With shelf-safe snacks such as pretzels or muesli bars, buy in bulk to cut costs. Shop the supermarket sales each week for fresh ingredients and batch cook things such as pasta, quiches and muffins, which freeze well. To ensure everything gets eaten, aim for a varied menu and invest in ice bricks to keep things cool and fresh. 

A bento-style lunch box with small compartments or containers is an excellent idea for helping you pack a balanced and healthy lunch. Plus, there’s something to the whole “kids eat with their eyes” thing – they’ll literally gobble up whatever’s in front of them if it’s neatly chopped and arranged into a little tub or cubicle.

What To Try

Create a Desk Set-up Kids Will Love

Win the homework battle before the school year starts by setting up a dedicated study nook at home. Every student needs a sturdy desk and comfortable chair away from distractions like the TV, and if you’re short on room there are plenty of compact desk solutions available.

Aim to make the space as inviting as possible to ensure kids actually want to sit there – buy a lamp and fill cups or caddies with pencils and pens. Other essentials include notebooks, sticky notes and folders. If you have multiple children working in the one area, invest in some noise-cancelling headphones – particularly useful if you have Zoom sessions on the go, too.              

What To Try

Stock up on Great Stationery

Top of the list for back to school chores? Assembling the right stationery supplies. The essentials include a pencil case packed with writing tools and practical extras like scissors, a ruler, a glue stick, an eraser and a pencil sharpener. Stock up on notepads or exercise books for keeping study notes tidy and together. Coloured files and folders can also help them stay organised and on top of all their handouts and homework.                    

What To Try

Prep for the First Day

How to prepare your kids for going back to school and what to do on their first day

Don’t leave everything to the night before – you’ll give yourself a panic attack. Instead, break down back-to-school tasks into small, achievable goals and tick off one or two that you can tackle in the months, weeks and days leading up to term time. Make all of your necessary purchases ahead of time and space out big purchases like laptops or desks so your bank account isn’t hit with several large expenses all at once. 

Spend the last week of the school holidays getting the kids back into a good morning routine: waking up early, getting dressed and eating their breakfast at a brisk pace. Kids can get anxious if they don’t feel organised, so try to be prepared and you’ll have a peaceful transition into the new school year.