Heading Back: Back to School Tips for Big Kids

Life is restarting for my family again this fall. My youngest turns twelve this month, which is a BIG milestone this year. She can now get the COVID vaccine, so we’ll finally have a fully vaccinated household. Yay! I’ve been honored that a couple of clients asked me to help them think through when and which vaccine they would get. (I’m not offering medical advice, just a way to help them organize all their personal pros and cons.)

For families with young children or major medical concerns, this pandemic still affects their everyday lives, so it’s up to the rest of us to continue to do our part by wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

Back to School Organizing Tips for Big Kids and Adults

Back to School Organizing Tips for Big Kids and Adults

I sent my kids back to school after eighteen months. Eighteen long months of 24×7 togetherness was enough for me, but one of my children is having withdrawal symptoms and attachment issues…

Back to School Organizing Tips for Big Kids and Adults


Better than standard back to school tips, here are three back to school organizing tips that help our family through this time, and can help you, too, no matter what your age.

Organize Passwords

1. Group your passwords for your school or any organization all together. We have more online systems than ever for our school system, and that means multiple passwords and login links. Instead of using just the name of the service, I’ve grouped them all together by starting with the name of the school system, like this:

  • WSD- Home Access System
  • WSD- Lunch number
  • WSD- Membership Directory
  • WSD- Schoology
  • and so on…

If I just alphabetize passwords by service or app name, they’d be all over my password tracker, so this keeps them all together visually, which is helpful because sometimes I can’t even remember the complete name of an app until I see it. Not just me, I hope?

Record Passwords

2. That brings me to tip number two. You’ve been told for years that you shouldn’t write down your passwords, and that’s completely false. There’s too much to keep it all in our heads. You’ll lose days of your life retrying and re-setting passwords if you don’t record them somewhere. Whether you write down your passwords in a tracker that you keep at your desk, you keep your passwords in a spreadsheet on your desktop, or you use a password app like LastPass or 1Password, you’ve got to record them somewhere. (Don’t carry your written passwords in your purse or put passwords online in an unsecured, unencrypted cloud service!)

If you have kids, get their passwords and school ID access. My teens think giving me their passwords is a security breech, not realizing all that I do for them behind the scenes. Trust me, you’ll need their codes at some point. Group them together in the same way as above, using your kid’s first name in front of the app name to keep them grouped and separated from yours.

Plan on Paper

3. Teach your kid how to use a paper planner for schoolwork. People are terrible at estimating time, and kids are even worse at it. We chronically underestimate how long it takes for fun activities, and we chronically overestimate time needed for chores. Because most kids are dependent on their laptops and devices for school now, they can’t visualize or “feel” time passing! Adding a paper planner to their school pack–and teaching them how to use it– will help them “see” their assignment load for today, this week, and this month.

Paper planners just aren’t top of mind with all the tech at school, but THEY WORK. You can find the awesome student planners that my kids use here (affiliate link). These planners from a NAPO colleague of mine, Leslie Josel from Order Out Of Chaos, have won international awards. They are light enough to add to a backpack. More importantly, my kids requested them again this year, so that’s saying something. Your older kids might use OneNote, Notion, or Evernote to organize, but this paper planner will help you help them.

Academic Planners from Order Out of Chaos 2021


Refresh your Apple Operating System for #BTS

Speaking of technology, did you hear that all Apple devices have been infected with spyware? This is serious, but also very easy to fix. The headline says it all: Apple’s Pegasus security fix: Update your iPhones now! It’ll take about an hour to let the Mac update complete. Your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch should take less than a half hour. The steps are simple, and anyone can do it.

On your phone and iPad (aka iOS) go to Settings (gear app)> General > Software Update, and look for the blue bar at the bottom that will say “Download and Install”.

On Macs, go to the Apple icon in the top left corner > System Preferences > Software Update.

You really need to do this. If you are afraid, please schedule a remote organizing session with me. We can take care of this, and probably a few other things that have been bothering you about your Mac, too.

School Yourself on Photo Management during Save Your Photos Month

This tip is for the family archivists out there, the moms and dads who take pictures and videos. The daughters who inherited buckets of phots when your mom and aunt passed away. The moms of twins with unfinished baby books. You know who you are. If you have backed up your photos three different ways, you can find any picture in under a minute, and you can enjoy all of your old photos, films, slides, and all of your kids (or your) old artwork on your phone, you can skip this next paragraph.

But for everyone else who is wondering where to start with that pile of old photos, disks, and drives, we’ve got you covered. Take 17% off of my most popular class just through September 2021: SaveYour Photos with SORT and Succeed. Why 17%? Because HeartWork Organizing is seventeen years old this year, which might be longer than you’ve been taking photos digitally!

Our photo management experience translates directly to solving one of your biggest problems. You can take this online course anytime. The video lessons are each about five minutes long. If you aren’t sure how to get started organizing your photos, this will teach you HOW to do it, even if you decide to have us do the work for you. If you want to DIY-it, this is your complete roadmap to organize all of your old photos so you can print your first photo book. Get all this at 17% off when you purchase through September 2021. Buy now, and you can take the photo organizing course anytime. Click the image to get your 17% discount now. 

Save Your Photos with SORT and Succeed course

Save Your Photos Month in September

Want to know more about photo organizing? Then check out free mini-courses for Save Your Photos Month. Your pet topic is probably covered in the 40+ free mini-classes, live and recorded, from my colleagues. Just register here for Save Your Photos Month classes. If you love Instagram, you can find my IG tips for Save Your Photos month here.

Save Your Photos Month


That’s all I’ve got for you today, folks. I appreciate you reading and taking advantage of all these resources I send your way, and I appreciate the comments you leave below. I read every. Single. One.