Favorite Finds for Back-to-School

September 2, 2011 | By | Comments (5)

Today is a very big day. It’s “Meet the Teacher Day” at the elementary school. We mothers often refer to this as “Get School Supplies Out of Your Dining Room Day.” As I pack up the folders of every color, already sharpened pencils, wide-ruled one-subject notebooks and hand sanitizer, I’m thinking about the systems and tools that I’ve come to rely on over the years to keep this household running smoothly.

Already sharpened pencils and colored folders are out. Dry eraser markers and wall pockets are in!

There’s something about the start of the school year that just makes me want to get reorganized. Maybe it’s because I have to clear out the dresser drawers and get rid of all the pants that no longer fit. Or maybe it’s because the evenings are so hectic with soccer and baseball practice, music lessons, tutoring and dare I even speak it…scouts, that I need to see everything spelled out and color coded on a wall-sized dry erase board.

And the paper.  The paper that is generated by one elementary school never ceases to amaze me. Yes, we have electronic newsletters from the principal and text alerts for school cancellations, but we have not yet advanced to electronic signatures on permission slips. Then there are math worksheets, notices from the PTA and health forms from the nurse’s office. Keeping up with the paper that comes in and must be returned is an elementary school parent’s greatest challenge (I never did find the suggested summer reading list sent home with last year’s final report cards.)

Here are some of my favorite back-to-school supplies for parents:

Wall pockets: Assign one to each child. Another idea is to have an “in” box and an “out” box for the house. I love these wire pockets from Ballard Designs.

Dry erase boards: Instead of a board that hangs on the wall, try dry-erase paint or repositionable wall decals. There’s nothing better on the mudroom wall or door to the garage. Many Etsy shops will create a custom decal sized just for you.

Reusable lunch containers: Never run out of plastic bags again. I have a soft spot for the handmade, and these sacks by Nate’s Mommy are so adorable. Also consider bento boxes as a way to break free from the same old sandwich routine.

I Heart Organizing: Every now and again I come across a blogger that makes me feel like a complete and total fraud. I blog, but then there are some women who take content creation to a whole new level. Check out Jennifer Jones’ Etsy shop where you will find all kinds of check lists, schedule templates and meal planning sheets in PDF format for endless printing.

Here’s hoping this is a great school year for the kids and an easy year for the moms.