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Keep your school children organized

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

4 Truly effective home message centers

These excellent message centers will make sure your family doesn’t miss a single appointment, homework assignment or after-school practice.

If scores were awarded for organization, what grade would your household receive? Keeping the kids on task and on time can be challenging for busy families. Put one of these practical message centers to work for you... and earn that A for family organization!

Customizable message center

4 Truly effective home message centers

Moms who are guilty of stacking know how easy it is to misplace (or simply forget about) important school papers, permission slips and appointment cards. Avoid those dreaded paper stacks by keeping everything out in the open and at eye level.

The modular Daily System (Pottery Barn, $10-$44) will keep your household hub neatly organized and on task. Pottery Barn’s Daily System Tool enables you to customize your message center with a wide array of components, including magnetic white boards, chalkboards, corkboards, linen pin boards, mail bins and office organizers.

Simple ways to organize your children's homework area >>

Color-coded stacks

4 Truly effective home message centers

If — no matter how hard you try — your attempt to paper organization always turns to stacking, then don’t fight it. Instead, find a smarter way to stack.

The multi-color Double-Wide Storage Cart (Joann Fabric and Craft Stores, $66) uses colors to help your family stay organized. Use one color for each member of the family or each day of the week plus Saturday. The drawers are deep enough to store papers, books and even show-and-tell toys!

How to teach your kids to be organized >>

Old-fashioned mail sorter

4 Truly effective home message centers

Hang a sleek mail sorter on the wall to keep those incoming and outgoing papers front and center. Every morning, check the slots to see what's due today.

The Wall Mount 3-Tier File Holder by Spectrum® (, $20) hangs anywhere to offer prominent storage of your kids’ (and your) daily documents. Get one for each member of the family and use one tier for Things to Do Now, one for Things to Review Later and one for Things to File. Check it daily to keep all of your paperwork up to date.

Help your kids put their lives in order >>

Kid-friendly organizer

4 Truly effective home message centers

Your child cannot master study skills unless he know what his assignments are and when they’re due and which papers stay home versus which are returned to school. While organized moms want to keep an eye on these things, they also want to help their children become self-sufficient.

The Clip-A-Zip organizer (Wayfair, $56) is used in many classrooms to help students neatly stay on task. Color-coded clips hold clear zip-close bags that enable children to easily identify their books, papers and belongings. And Clip-A-Zip clips promote fine motor skills, too! Use one color for each child or assign colors by day of the week.

Get organized for back-to-school >>

More helpful tips for effective household organization

How to find a place for (almost) everything
Mommy-tasking: Kitchen storage and organization
Create a cottage home office

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