Early-morning alarm clocks, growing paper piles and calendars filling up with sports, activities and events can only mean one thing: it’s back-to-school time. Don’t start the school year off on the wrong foot! Get your house ready for it with these tips.

1. Organize your entry way and your closets to make room for all the extra items your kids will be bringing home.

2. Keep sports gear, instruments, coats, boots and more organized by installing cubbies. Build them with different compartments for large and small items, and don’t forget hooks for jackets.

3. Load your kids’ rooms with shelving; they’re going to need it to help them stay organized. Plus, starting them with basic organization tools will help them kick off the year on the right foot.

4. Designate a paper area and a homework zone. Organize them with folders, shelving and labels. Coffee mugs and small kitchen bowls are nice alternatives for keeping utensils and desk supplies corralled. You can also hang things from peg boards.

5. Organize your week with a calendar. Whether you use smartphones and sync them to computers, paper calendars on the refrigerator or a freestanding chalkboard in the kitchen, make sure everyone has access to it and reads it daily.

6. Clean out and organize the refrigerator. Think about creating a snack bar or snack shelf for after school hunger. Throw out all old food and defrost the freezer. Scrub the barbecue and its tools as well!

7. Get rid of all that summertime dirt and dust that the kids drag in with a deep cleaning.  Power-wash your driveway and outside toys and furniture, all of which probably have taken a beating from extra company, sidewalk chalk, grass and mud.

Goodbye summer and hello fall….I hear those holidays knocking.