It’s the Back to School season for kids and adults alike. College students prepare for a new semester and parents prep their kids for a new year. As grocery store aisles begin to fill with crisp paper and colorful crayon boxes, a palpable anticipation enters the air. A change is coming, and it comes with new pencils!  You gotta love school supplies, but back to school is tough. There’s teacher meetings, supply shopping, schedules to revamp, etc. It’s enough to make a grown woman cry into the box of large fries she’s been forced to stress eat. 

Anyway, enter my bullet journal to the rescue! Here’s how I use my journal to organize all those pesky back to school details and avoid that pesky nervous breakdown.


Back to school planning bullet journal quote

Supplies I used to create these pages:

*For a full run-down on Bullet Journal supplies, click here!

Getting kids back to school is a multi-step process. So I always start with large project page to hold all the info in one place. There are places to go, people to see, MANY things to buy, and MANY forms to fill out. So when I sit down to try and wrangle some organization into this Pandora’s Box, I separate this mounting list of tasks into 4 categories.

1. To Do’s

This is a general catch all list of everything that requires action on my part. This can be actions the school requires, such as filling out forms, or things I require to make things go smoothly like plan out the school lunches. A To Do list is the most basic step of even the most complicated endeavor and no plan is complete with out one. By putting everything school related in one place that I see every day, I make the often stressful transition from summer to school a whole lot easier.

2. To Buy

Unfortunately for today’s parents, ” Back-to-School ” comes with a bill. And depending on how many kids you have, it can be a hefty one. It’s not just pencils and paper. It’s backpacks, lunchboxes, and the infamous first-day outfit…and first week, month, etc. The last thing I need during my groggy 6 am wakeup call is the distressed cry of a child who has prematurely run out of clean shirts.

I handle this issue by going thru each kid’s clothes a few weeks in advance using the Kon-Mari Method from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I jumped on this bandwagon years after it became popular, so if you live under a rock like me and have no idea what Kon-Mari is, here’s a basic rundown. 

  • Decide what to keep, not what to get rid of: “Does it spark joy?” Now a famous Marie Kondo quote, this is how you decide what to keep. This goes especially for clothing. It doesn’t matter how practical it is, if you don’t really like it, you’ll avoid wearing it and it adds clutter to your space.
  • Organize in the right order: Marie Kondo recommends against decluttering by room. She recommends decluttering by category – clothes, books, paper, etc.
  • Everything has a place: Designate a place for everything. If you don’t have the space, get rid of it.

We go thru their drawers and closets piece by piece, and they try everything on. You’d be surprised how much clothing doesn’t fit anymore after just one summer. We gather together for donation what doesn’t fit, or simply isn’t their “style” anymore (girls). I’d argue, but hey, “Does it spark joy?” really is a thing. Then I make a list of what they actually need, which cuts down on the begging at Target. You can’t fool me, kid, I know very well you already have 5 sparkly shirts.

I keep the supply lists separate from my master plan because they would simply take up to much room. The pocket in the back of my journal serves as the perfect home for these lists, and everything is all still in one place.

back to school planning bullet journal

3. Schedule

This is my personal schedule and what I will soon impose upon my unsuspecting children. Few things change the routine of a family more than going back to school and if I don’t prepare for it, 6 AM hits me like a Mack truck. Yes, I’m one of those lazy moms that join my kids in sleeping-in all summer. What can I say, I love to sleep. So a few weeks before school starts I sit down to write how our daily routine will change and adjust myself accordingly. I know I’m going to have to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier and so will my kids. To prep for the tragedy of it all, we practice. For one week we go to bed a half hour earlier than last week. Then the next week, it’s an hour, and so on and so forth.

4. Important Dates

This is the schedule imposed upon me by the school system. Meeting the teacher, deadlines for forms, etc. I add in a couple of my own like the supply and clothes shopping. If I don’t pick a specific date for getting that done, then you’ll find me in Walmart at midnight – the night before school – yawning.

After listing the dates, I put them on a calendar so I have a visual of how much time I really have left to prepare.

I’ve been making these back to school project pages for 2 years now, and so far it’s made a huge difference! My stress is low (relatively)! My productivity is high (for the most part)!

So, my fellow overworked moms, how do you prepare for the Back-to-School frenzy? Let me know in the comments!

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