Here's What a Real-Life Mom Buys to Survive Back-to-School Season

Time for teachers, time for books, time for moms to get kids (and themselves) ready for school. We've gathered our top ideas and what to buy so that you can handle back-to-school with ease.

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July 25, 2019

Get and Stay Organized

Moms know smart planning saves you major stress. Opt for an academic planner rather than a calendar year so that you can plot out every school semester. This weekly edition divides each day in half so that you can manage everyone's activities on one side and your to-do list on the other.

Buy It: Target, $14.99

Charting Your Dates

You have your trusty planner to keep up with the nitty gritty details, but the rest of the family needs to be kept in the loop as well. Use a dry-erase calendar, like this magnetic one on your refrigerator, to outline the top-level activities and needs for the whole family.

Buy It: Amazon, $12.85

Be the Early Bird

Take the stress out of back-to-school shopping by tackling it before everyone else does. Pull the school supply list as early as you possibly can and grab all the notebooks, pencils, highlighters and glue your kid will need to survive the school year. One of our smart hacks: buy the jumbo pack or doubles of things on their list so that you can resupply them after the holiday break. (Because they will lose every single pencil you bought at the beginning of the year.)

Buy It: Amazon, $8.38

Label Everything

And we mean, everything — lunchboxes, backpacks, pencil boxes, water bottles and especially jackets. They will leave them on the playground, in the lunchroom and on the bus. With labels, there's at least some chance those items will make it back to you one day.

Buy It: Amazon, $11.79

Keeping Track

Speaking of labeling, these no-iron fabric ones are designed to withstand multiple washer and dryer cycles. Stick them in jackets, hats, gym clothes, backpacks — anything you're sending off to school.

Buy It: Amazon, $7.41

Germs at Bay

No one wants to get sick the first week back at school. Boost your kiddos' immune systems with daily elderberry gummies. Go ahead and make your life easier by having this item on your monthly delivery subscription.

Buy It: Amazon, $11.99

Never Enough Snacks

Fend off the after-school hangry as soon as they get in the car or off the bus. Dry snacks, like pretzels or crackers, stay fresh for a long time and don't have to be stored in a cooler. You can leave them in the car and never have to worry about not having snacks on hand.

Buy It: Amazon, $15.52

Car-Ready Storage

Keep the chaos of school and extra-curricular activities under control with this modular hauler. The handy tote hangs out in your trunk with color-coded cubes. Assign each kid a hue to maintain all their gear in one place or create your own system, such as red for snacks, blue for sports equipment and green for extra clothes.

Buy It: Amazon, $86.71

Prep in the Evening

How to achieve a not-so-stressful morning routine? Do as much as possible the night before. Bento boxes, like this Yumbox, separate all the foods so you can pack everything before you head off to bed. Its leakproof design ensures their lunches stay fresh and in-place with no spills or cross-contamination.

Buy It: Amazon, $29.99

Think Ahead

Surviving back to school also means setting yourself up for success for the entire year — and taking into account all the things that will be asked of us moms. While shopping for kids' supply lists, stock up on items teachers usually request later in the year: tissues, antibacterial gel, soap or wipes. Now is also a good time to grab gift cards for Teacher Appreciation Week, Christmas and other give-back-to-teacher moments. No more frantically running to the store at the last minute.

Buy It: Target, $5.00-$1,000.00

Create a Drop-Off Zone

In a convenient place for you and your kids, create a drop-off zone. Have a bin per kid where they can store their backpacks, shoes, lunchboxes and jackets. Not only does it make organization easier for your kids, but it also keeps everything they need in one spot so you can head out the door (relatively) stress-free.

Buy It: Target, $34.99

Preserving Cherished Memories

From day one, kids come home with ALL the paper and art. There's no way to save everything, but have a portfolio ready to store the truly precious pieces. This portfolio has 10 pockets and is designed to handle oversized artwork — perfect for younger elementary years.

Buy It: Target, $24.97