Back to School Hacks


The start of the new school year is an exciting time, but it’s also an overwhelming one. Every back-to-school season, you have to figure out a new schedule and settle into a new routine. So, every bit of time-saving, life-smoothing advice can be a huge help. Whether it’s keeping all those supplies organized, having your child help you with the routine, avoiding morning outfit mayhem, or heading out the door on time, these parent-approved back-to-school hacks make re-entry much easier.

1. Homework Caddy  


This organizational hack is a must-have for any family of school aged children. It is basically a “center” where you keep all the supplies a child could need when they are completing a school assignment. Ours is located in the kitchen because our girls complete muck-through their homework at the kitchen counter. But you could create a little rolling cart or mobile container so it can be moved from room to room.

Items that we keep in our homework caddy:

  • paper (plain and graph)
  • pencils
  • pencil sharpener
  • erasers
  • crayons
  • markers
  • colored pencils
  • pens
  • a sharpie
  • highlighters
  • glue stick
  • scissors  

2. Backpack Hooks

We have a little mudroom downstairs in our basement, but in our current situation that is just too far away for us. So we put in this simple backpack hook to hang their school backpacks right in the HEART and center of our house. When they come home they know the ROUTINE of emptying out the contents of their bag, homework folder, lunchboxes, 1,267 pictures they drew, and more. The hook is located right next to the kitchen so we don’t lose anything in the process. This is also really helpful to us in the morning when we are putting iced up water bottles and lunch boxes into their backpacks. It also allows the girls to be more independent with placing their own library books, sneakers, homework folders, and treasured sharing items in their backpack. 

Note from the TEACHER: Please help empty your child’s backpack and by child I mean any person in your house that is under the age of 18. Seriously, as a teacher I have seen some nasty things LIVING in the bottom of backpacks. YES, your child SHOULD empty their bag independently, BUT it doesn’t hurt to double check for moldy sandwiches, mouth guards, and banana peels. 

3. Capsule Clothing Area

We are all well aware of the capsule wardrobe craze, but this very popular method of curating key pieces of clothing works wonderfully for school aged children as well. See every child’s closets contains a plethora of outfit options ranging from swimsuits to dragon costumes to special occasion ensembles, if left to their own devices it is difficult for children to pick the seasonal appropriate outfit for school. We discovered that if we make a little section of their closet JUST for school outfits, it makes the morning rush much smoother. We streamline the process even more and have the girls bring down their “chosen” outfits the night before. And that means ALL pieces, underwear and socks included. Therefore after breakfast they don’t have to wander upstairs and can get dressed without losing focus. 

4. Calendars in Many Forms 

As a teacher and a parent, I LOVE a good organized calendar. However, I have learned that we need more than our shared digital google calendar to keep us on the same page (pun intended). With 85 back to school events and a plethora of other fall themed activities, the beginning of the school year is like trying organize a precise lunar landing. We have found the visual and simplistic nature of a printed calendar on the refrigerator truly helps us stay coordinated. We still do the google thing, but this old school hack just offers more of a gestalt of the month. We also use this calendar and the magnet below to meal plan. 

How are you transition back to school? What are your Back to School Hacks? 

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Nikki has called wonderful Fairfield County her home, her entire life. Growing up on a campus of a private school in Greenwich, CT Nikki swore to her educator parents that she would never be a teacher. Well life has a way of repeating itself and now Nikki and her amazingly supportive husband are happily working at a different independent school in Greenwich. A recovering “type a” perfectionist she is learning to let go of her color coding, alphabetizing ways and embrace the mess. Helping her enjoy life’s everyday messes are her two precocious girls Sofie (11/15/11) and Keira (9/7/13). Nikki loves all things mommy cliché including but not limited to walks on the beach, running, reality TV, organizing closets, wine, chocolate and having her kids help her out in the kitchen.


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