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It’s back to school time and life gets hectic again. Want to do things differently this year to cut out some of the time wasters and stress? Here are five back to school organization ideas that will help you keep your home organized and running smoothly.

1. Create a functional entry space to store (and hide) gear

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Provide a place for everyone’s stuff as soon as they walk in the door. Image: .

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Take control of clutter and chaos right at the entrance of your home, by creating an entry that catches everyone (and everything) before they get inside too far. Designate an area with a bench or seat for removing dirty shoes and other outdoor gear such as rain boots, jackets and umbrellas.

Add plenty of hooks to hang backpacks and jackets. Place labeled or color-coded baskets under the bench for each family member’s smaller items. Getting everyone in the habit of leaving all their stuff in their assigned spot will make leaving the house the next morning a little smoother.

Here are more entryway organization ideas:

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Plenty of storage on the walls and below the sitting area keep these homes’ entries organized. Images: and .

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Contemporary benches house baskets and bins. Images:  and

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2. Create a designated kid’s breakfast and snack station

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These cereal and breakfast bars create an area that’s easy to access and low enough for kids to grab their own breakfast. Images: and

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So you’ve managed to get the kids to be tidier by putting their things away somewhere they can find them again. But now they’re starving and the chaos moves to the kitchen. Why not designate a spot in the kitchen for their after-school snacks, morning breakfast and lunches?

Depending on the size of your kitchen, it can be as simple as the lower drawer of a cabinet to a full-on pantry or cabinet section complete with a mini fridge for drinks. If possible, choose a spot that isn’t in the way when you’re cooking or washing up. Keep bowls, utensils and lunch boxes in a lower area that’s easy for younger kids to reach. And keep it stocked with their favorite healthy cereals, snacks and drinks.

Here are some other ideas on how you can organize a kid-friendly snack zone:

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placed in a shelf make it easy for kids to see and access after-school snacks. Image:

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Drinks and snack stations, complete with a mini refrigerator, are placed in a less-busy section of the kitchen. Images: and

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3. Set up a kitchen homework spot

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A small, unused corner of a kitchen next to the pantry was converted into a small homework and office space. Image:

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For the ultimate homework space, check out devils-den’s 30 back to school homework spaces. But the kitchen is the heart of the home and also a great area to set up a small homework spot. And you can make sure homework is getting done while you prepare dinner!

Here are some other ideas on how to convert a kitchen corner into a homework spot:

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These kitchen cabinets were converted into a small homework area that can hide behind closed doors when not in use. Images: and

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Open wall shelving that can house homework, plates and cookbooks, paired with a barstool can function as a useful homework spot. Images: and

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4. Get your laundry room sorted

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A luxuriously spacious laundry room features plenty of work space and storage options. Image:

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School clothes, towels and sports uniforms pile up fast throughout the week. Organize your laundry space with dirty laundry baskets labeled into darks, colors, lights and an emergency basket for items that are extra dirty and need immediate attention.

Ask everyone to throw their dirty laundry into baskets to save you time having to search under the bed or in gym bags for items that need washing. Save yourself even more time by placing clean items in designated baskets that each child can take back to their room and put away.

Here are more laundry organization ideas:

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Dirty laundry basket ideas that make laundry sorting quick and easy for the whole family. Images: and

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Add labels to your bins to keep laundry and other items organized. Images: and

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5. Set up an operations command center

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A gallery wall collection featuring chalk boards, magnetic boards, a calendar and magazine rack keep important events top of mind. Image:

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Keep your family running like a well-oiled machine by organizing a command center complete with a calendar, bulletin board, chalk or dry erase board for to-do lists and a place to catch paperwork or mail.

Here are other home organization ideas to keep on schedule and organized:

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Take an unused narrow wall and convert it into an organized command center for the school year. Images: and

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A little chalkboard paint or some cork sheeting are inexpensive ways to create a back to school schedule. Images: and

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Create an organized schedule and household command center in the heart of the home — the kitchen. Image:

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Share with us your back to school organization ideas and tips!