"We clean out the kids' closets so we know what to buy—and what not to." —Karoline
More great advice: While it's wise to get rid of too-small sweaters, don't feel pressured to replenish all the fall clothing right away. Summery weather will linger for weeks in many regions, providing a perfect opportunity for rockbottom deals on shorts and T-shirts. You can always stock up on fall items next month, when retailers start slashing prices.
"I set up the kids' annual physicals early, before the doctor is completely booked." —Angie
More great advice: In advance of your child's checkup, find out if the school requires a doctor's signature on any paperwork beyond the standard immunization record. For instance, many sports programs require a special clearance form, and the nurse might need a doctor's OK to give your child medication. Bring the forms to the appointment in one neat stack.
"I clean off the family computer desk and make sure everything is running." —Kristi
More great advice: In addition to organizing the desk, free up space on the machine by archiving or deleting old files (your son probably doesn't need to retain an electronic copy of last year's Jumanji book report). Help your child start the year on an organized note by creating a designated e-folder for his schoolwork, with subfolders for every subject.
"I buy more school supplies than I need: a set for each kid to use now, and another for halfway through the year." —Sarah
More great advice: Even if the official school supply list isn't available yet, you can take advantage of summer bargains on notebooks, folders, printer paper, pencils, and glue sticks—supplies that will always be put to good use. Before you head to the store, take an inventory of what you have on hand. Using last year's leftovers is an easy way to save a bundle.
"I make meals ahead for the first month of school to help the transition go smoothly." —Chandra
More great advice: If you don't have the time or energy to prepare and freeze dishes in advance, simply creating a monthly menu can make weekday meals less chaotic. Use a lazy afternoon to browse recipes online and jot down ideas for September.
"I start putting the kids to bed early. That way, when school starts, the wake-up time won't be a shock." —Ginger
More great advice: Once the kids are out of bed, don't let them lounge in their PJs. Scheduling fun activities in the morning can motivate them to eat breakfast and dress quickly—a nice rehearsal for the first days back.