We’re about to enter the non-stop time of year: it’s back to school time. With three boys in two different schools, participating in four different sports this fall, I need some super easy back to school hacks so I can keep the madness down to a reasonable level around here.
No crafting ability, no hours creating these things, or learning curve for using these back to school hacks: just simple tips for busy moms.
Label everything. Whether you’re using fancy customized labels you ordered online or you’re grabbing a sharpie, if it’s going to school and will not always be attached to your child, if there’s any possibility at all that it could be left at school or that another child could have the same exact one, then label it. And if you don’t have a silver sharpie, get one: that’s what I use to write on dark colored materials, like the black back of their backpacks.
Oh, and that black back of the backpack? That’s where you should put your child’s name. They can easily see it but when it’s on their backs, no random person is going to see it and be able to call out to them as if they know them. Stranger danger, y’all.
Everything is right there. Earlier this week, I showed you our entryway bench where we keep backpacks, lunchboxes, and shoes and that has really helped in getting the kids out the door on time for school, as does the 5 shelf hanging clothes organizer where we put their outfits for the week. But another easy organization tip is to have a spot, close to where your kids will unload their backpacks, where you keep all those important reminders and forms. One spot where you go to look for that field trip permission slip or project rubric. I have a cute bin on my kitchen counter where I put these things, right inside the folder I keep in the very front of it. Oh, and beside that bin? Homework and project supplies like paper, pencils, crayons, paper clips, glue, etc.
Makes lunches and snacks easy. We keep the school lunch calendar on the fridge and it’s very colorful. If there’s a green circle around that day’s menu choice, my oldest is buying. If there’s a red circle, my youngest is. It looks a little like Christmas, but we go with their favorite colors so it’s easy to remember. My middle has no designated color because there is no way, no how he will ever eat school lunch.
I often make and freeze sandwiches on the weekends so they’re already made for the week. Those frozen sandwiches make for good ice packs, as do frozen juice boxes and yogurt tubes.
When it comes to the extras in their lunch boxes and their snacks, we have a snack bowl in the pantry that’s designated just for this purpose. I either buy individual sized snacks or, to save money, I’ll buy a bigger bag and then divide it up into small bags. I try to fill it with about the amount of snacks my kids need for the school week, with just a few extras. That way, they might grab a bag of chips one day, but that can’t always be their choice: they have to grab apple chips or an applesauce pouch or yogurt pretzels later in the week.
Do a little more shopping. I know, I know, I sort of want to scream noooooooooo about right now, too. But now is when you can find great deals on things your kids will need later in the school year. Every year, there are requests from our teachers for more glue sticks, pencils, crayons, and paper by about the mid-point of the year. I never mind helping out with that sort of thing, but I tend to stock up now, with all the back to school sales so I have it on hand, but at a fraction of what they’ll cost in January.
Plus, right now, you can visit PayPal.com/backtoschool to see the best ways to save money. These are PayPal’s exclusive offers that can get you even better deals on back to school shopping. Though if that back to school supply list is ridiculously long and overwhelming, you can break up your payments over time using Easy Payments with PayPal Credit, or receive more time to pay with special financing offers like this one: No Payments + No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more.
Give back. While we’re doing so much back to school shopping, I like to remind my kids about giving back. It serves a dual purpose: we’re cleaning and helping at the same time. They sort through clothes to find ones they’ve outgrown that are still in good shape to donate. They recently sorted through their toys to find ones they don’t play with any more that would be perfect for the kindergarten play centers at our school.
During this back-to-school season, PayPal is partnering with select charities dedicated to providing access to education and extracurricular enrichment to children: Let Girls Learn, YMCA, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The YMCA is one we support since the STRIDE running program my oldest participates in is through the Y, as is the overnight camp two of my boys attended this summer.
To learn more about the PayPal Giving Fund and how to donate, go to: PayPal.com/givenow.
Do you have any easy back to school hacks? Share them!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.