5 DIY Lifehacks That Make Back-to-School Way Less Stressful

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Category: Kids & Pets

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Going back to school is a time that is filled with all kinds of emotions. There’s some excitement, some anxiety, some uncertainty and even some relief… especially for the parents. But one emotion that is bound to sneak up on both kids and parents as another school year rolls around is stress!

Back-to-school season can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you and your family have systems in place to stay organized. Today we are diving into 5 simple, yet genius, ideas to make back-to-school season as stress-free as possible. We’re confident that even the kids will be excited about some of these ideas and can even get involved to make them happen.

1. The (Real) Carpool Essentials Kit

For parents, back-to-school actually means they are back to being full-time drivers for their kids. Evenings typically consist of carpooling from school, to practice, to boy scouts, and then back to another activity… all while trying to grab dinner somewhere in between.

To cut down on this never-ending chase, we encourage you to add a carpool kit to your car. All you need is a small Tupperware bin and you can add all of the emergency essentials in there for both you and the kids. Here’s some of the stuff we’ve put in ours:

  • Mini Hairspray
  • Spare glasses
  • Band-Aids
  • Advil
  • Phone charger
  • Coin purse
  • Tampons
  • A fork
  • Hair brush

A little time up front to build one of these will save you a lot of stress down the road!

2. The All-In-One Homework Caddy For Home

You thought you were done with school? Well, prepare for the dreaded pile of nightly homework! Wrangling up the kids to get their homework done is stressful enough, but then trying to chase down all of the supplies they need for that night’s assignment is stressful.

To avoid a meltdown, build a homework caddy before school starts. While at the store picking up your child’s school supplies, go ahead and buy an extra, backup set of at least these things: 

  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • Pencils
  • Tape

Then corral them into a portable caddy for home. That way, all of the supplies are in one place and your child is prepared for any assignment that comes their way. Plus, these simple caddies can easily be packed up and hidden in a cabinet, as opposed to all the individual pieces being strewn around, being an eyesore.

3. Hang A Color-Coded, Dry Erase Calendar (For The Kids)

Staying organized is half the battle to cut down stress, especially with all those meetings, appointments, activities and (way too many) social obligations. We love the idea of getting kids involved to build a DIY paint swatch calendar because it’s extremely inexpensive and the kids can personalize all the colors to give them their own meaning. Plus, it’s erasable for all of those last-minute changes. When the kids have ownership in creating and maintaining the calendar, they are bound to be far more invested in keeping plans.

4. Make “The Pantry Pal”

We hate making lunches, so a simple way to make it better is to create various pantry pals. Organize them in whichever way works best for your family, but we love the idea of compiling all of the snack foods into little baggies at the beginning of the week, then adding the baggies into your pantry pal (or a “refrigerator pal” for items that need refrigeration).

Breakfast pal, lunch pal, snack pal… all you or the kids need to do to pack their own lunch is grab a few items from the pre-made assortment of stuff, maybe add a sandwich, then the lunches are ready! This may take some work on the front end of the week, but once the pantry pals are packed, they should be all set for several weeks of lunches.

5. Host an Awesome Back-to-School Night

Usually, schools host an annual back-to-school night for students and parents to meet the teacher and tour the classroom, but have you ever thought about hosting a back-to-school night at your home? A back-to-school night at home, where you invite all the neighbors and classmates, is actually an amazing idea, despite how it sounds.

Why? It can cut down on the anxiety that comes with not knowing what to expect. Put a fun and exciting spin on the upcoming school year, rather than one focused on unknown factors. The kids can compare schedules and make plans for the year, while the parents discuss their excitement, concerns and swap questions.

Hopefully, these five projects will not only keep the kids busy before they head back-to-school, but will also establish organization systems or traditions that will cut down on stress all year long!

Packing an Oil Painting: Slick Tips

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Category: Pro Packing Guides

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[Synopsis: Packing higher-end art calls for special materials and top-notch techniques.]

We come across large picture frames and mirrors often enough to know how to pack them. Wrap them in newsprint – or better yet, large sheets of kraft paper or that brown paper the big guys always have on hand. Grab a mirror carton or custom-size a box and pack the corners with packing paper and tape it up well.

Nothing to it, right?

But the day may come (if it hasn’t already) when we come face to face with an oil painting. We may use the same brown paper process and come away unscathed, but there are a few tips and tricks we can employ to keep that piece of art in prime shape, maybe even impressing our customer in the process.

Our Weapons of Choice

For the specialized packing we are about to attack upon we’ll need a few things we might not normally have on hand:

  • Bubble wrap
  • A mini roll of plastic wrap (on a handy-dandy dispenser)
  • A locking tape measure
  • Some large sheets of foam board
  • A knife to cut them to size

For that ultimate professional touch, we’ll arm ourselves with a couple of new weapons, namely artist tape and a type of water-resistant, grease-resistant paper called Glassine. And, as the guys in the following two videos prove, the ability to wield a tape gun can really come in handy.

Food For Thought: Video #1

In this first videoour host tackles his oil painting pack job by using foam board and a mini roll of shrink wrap to make what he calls a painting sandwich. Pretty slick, ay? (Start at the 2:35 mark. It goes to about 3:50.)

Note: Our painting sandwich maker uses peanuts for protection – and makes a decent mess of things. We suggest sticking with packing paper.

Mega-Supplies: Video #2

The host of our second video is a real stickler for protection. But so are his customers. First, he breaks out his Glassine at about the 1:23 mark. To keep it in place he uses artist tape rather than packing tape or even masking tape. Watch from the 1:43 mark to hear the (probably obvious) reasons why.

Done with the Glassine, he turns to his massive stash of bubble wrap, keeping the flat side against the surface of the painting. And he uses PLENTY of the stuff, in two different bubble sizes! We may not need to go nearly as crazy – unless our customers want us to. Ask them ahead of time.

For glass frameworks of art, our hero puts strips of artist tape right on the glass, to prevent damage to the art should the glass crack or break in transit.

Finally, at about 14:50 he talks about putting cardboard corners on before the bubble wrap. He also ensures the safety of the piece by placing a piece of cardboard over the front/glass side.

Note: He does admit that not all of us will have mountains of the stuff on hand, and suggests at the 6:25 mark using sheets of Styrofoam. Again, this is an option – but so is our packing paper.

Wrapping Up

We may or may not encounter a customer with fine artwork. But they do exist, and what if those people are looking for someone who knows how to handle their oil paintings or other expensive paintings? If you have that skill on your list of offered services, you may just get the call over someone else.

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