The dreaded (for kids) and celebratory (for parents) back to school time is upon us. This year, instead of scrambling to get ready, make the time now to get organized. Even if you prefer to throw things together at the last minute, consider taking one afternoon to do some organizing and planning. This will help make the transition from summer to school a little less jarring.

Here are some tips to help inspire you to get started:

Recipe for Success. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of clipping out recipes from magazines, newspapers, websites, etc. I collect them all in a binder and smugly tell myself “I’m going to try out a new recipe each week.”

Then a month passes – or longer – and I still haven’t even bought the ingredients, much less tried to cook the meal. Before the fall months are upon us, take a moment to go through your favorite recipes, organize them and consider adding in a few new ones to mix it up a bit.

Fresh Start.

The new year may not be officially here until January 1st, but there is something about September that always feels like a fresh start. If you’re hoping to exercise more, eat better, or learn a new skill, start by doing research now. Look into class schedules and costs so you can be sure to fit it into your schedule when the kids are in school. Now’s the time to check out that new gym, register for a yoga class, or visit the art studio you drive by everyday.

Schedule and Share.

It can be difficult to keep track of all the activities of your family members when you’re still adapting to a new routine. An easy way to keep everyone aware of who is doing what and when, is to create a family calendar. Whether you prefer to handle it the old school way with a multi-columned calendar hung on the wall in the kitchen – or go high-tech with a shared Google Doc (there are some great templates to get you started), there’s only one rule to follow – make sure everyone has access to it.  It will make planning a breeze.

See? That wasn’t too painful was it? With a little bit of effort, transitioning into fall can go smoothly. Just try not to rub it in to the other parents who didn’t have time to plan ahead. No one likes a know-it-all!