Show the kids your own A+ smarts this year with clever hacks for saving money, staying organized, and being prepared for anything school days might throw their way.
1. Create a Portable Homework Caddy
If your kids find any excuse to jump up from homework—”Mom, I need a highlighter…or scissors…or to sharpen my pencil”—assemble a portable homework caddy that can go on the table during study time. In a cleaning supply tote, include a pencil sharpener, pens, crayons, markers, scissors, sticky notes, a ruler, or whatever the kids might need. Tuck it away in a closet when study time is over.
2. Squeeze in a “Drop Zone”
Even if you don’t have space for an HGTV-worthy mudroom, you can still keep school paraphernalia organized. Pick a space on a wall near the door and hang one hook per kid within easy reach. Double hooks allow the backpack and coat to hang together. Put a pretty basket below each hook for shoes, mittens, and other loose items.
3. Don’t Buy it, Swap it!
Before you head to the store for new school clothes, host a clothing swap with friends. Invite other parents to bring clothes their children have outgrown or barely worn—in good shape only, please. Lay out the items for everyone to browse. Take only what you think you will truly use. Make it a celebration by serving a special beer, wine, or themed cocktail, and a platter of small bites.
4. Assemble a Locker Emergency Kit
Reduce school-day stress of little emergencies by assembling an emergency kit kids can keep in their locker or backpack. Depending on the age and needs of your child, you could include mints, bandages, a granola bar, feminine hygiene products, lip balm, contact lens solution, tissue, and deodorant.