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!

What You Should Bring, Could Bring and DON’T Bring When Moving Into a Dorm

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Category: College Moves

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‘Tis the season for college dorm room shopping! If you’ve been to any of the big box stores lately, we’re confident you have seen all the colorful storage things just screaming “take me to college!”.

Some college students are eager to start prepping for their new “home away from home”, while others aren’t too interested in putting in much extra time. Whichever you are, we aren’t judging. We’re just here to make sure everyone is prepared for the excitement!

With that in mind, here’s an in depth synopsis about what you should bring, what you could bring, and what you don’t bring to college come fall. Be independent and avoid having mom and dad come visit (with the essentials you forgot) less than a week after moving into your new digs.

What You Should Bring

Towel, Toiletries and Laundry Detergent

Whether your dorm is equipped with private bathrooms or community bathrooms, this is the number one must: multiple towels, toiletries and shower shoes. Most college students opt for a shower caddy, which is a handy way to corral all of their shower essentials when traveling to and from the shower. Be sure to choose a shower caddy that can drain any water from the shower, because you don’t want it to become moldy from sitting water.

Unfortunately, college life also comes with learning to do your own laundry, and usually, the laundry facilities aren’t anything to get excited about. Stock up on plenty of laundry detergent, softener and dryer sheets to keep your clothing looking its best (and your parents at bay) all semester long.

A Microwave and Mini Fridge with Snacks

Tried and true for a reason: make sure you pack a microwave with some snacks! Healthy or unhealthy, we’re definitely not judging, just reminding you that having your own stash of food is important. You don’t want to find yourself starving and the cafeteria is closed, nor do you want to pay cafeteria prices. You probably don’t want to buy food in bulk because you won’t have a ton of places to store it, but having some snacks stashed away to hold you over until the cafe opens is essential.

Speaking of snacks, most dorms also allow you to bring your own microwave and mini fridge. You can always cut down on the costs of these items by arranging with your roommate to each bring one of the two, that way you only have to invest in one, not both.

Plenty of Power Strips and Extension Cords

Laptop, printer, phone charger, microwave, mini fridge, blow dryer, iron, string lights, coffee maker…. all these things hog outlets. Dorms only have a few outlets though, and you’ll likely be sharing them with your roomie on top of it. What can we say, the struggle is real! Along with all of these everyday essentials, be sure to pack at least one power strip and possible extension cord so you never get caught with a dead cell phone or no coffee! That could be bad.

A Secure Box for Very Important Papers

Focusing on the basic must-have stuff makes it easy to forget about this essential. Make sure you bring your driver’s license, insurance card, social security number (or card as long as you can keep it safe), emergency contact and medical info, paperwork for refillable prescriptions, and any other documents you may need while you’re away. We hope you never have to use some of these, but having them with you just in case is necessary.

What You Could Bring

Carpet Squares or a Cool Rug

Some dorm rooms come with commercial grade carpets, but most of these carpets have seen high traffic for several years (at least!). Packing an additional rug or carpet squares to add to your dorm will not only make your room look a lot cuter, but it will make the whole space feel a lot more warm and cozy. Consider a cool rug because this tiny upgrade will make such a difference… and may even keep your room a bit warmer in the winter if it experiences any kind of drafts like our dorms rooms did.

A Bunch of Cleaning Supplies

No matter your lifestyle, living in these cramped quarters all day every day means that your dorm room is bound to get a little messy! And since mom or dad isn’t tagging along to clean up after you, it’s important to pack some cleaning supplies so you can keep the place clean… especially during flu season.

Here’s a list of some basic items you should consider buying a few or all of, especially if you have a closet space:

  • Vaccum
  • Disinfectant
  • Duster
  • Swiffer mop
  • Windex
  • Bleach wipes
  • Dish soap

A Printer

Before going out and splurging on a new printer or lugging your large printer into your dorm room, be sure you actually need this piece.

Although having a personal printer is a huge perk when it comes time to last second papers, most schools offer a free printing lab that can do the same job. Plus printers are large and take up some valuable space in your room. Not to mention they can be costly with ink refills and necessary repairs, so be sure it’s a definite must (or a fancy luxury) before you add it to your shopping list!

What You Don’t Bring

Twin Bed Sheets

Although it may appear as though you will have a twin bed in your dorm room, most dorms actually have XL twins instead of the traditional twin sized bed. So packing twin-sized bedding will be a big mistake since you’ll find out pretty quickly that these new sheets won’t fit on your new bed! We speak from experience. If you want to double check, try social media to get some inside intel.

An Office Chair

Almost every dorm these days provides their own chairs. Coupled with how much space these things take up in a car, you absolutely do not want to make the mistake of doubling up. And if you’re really attached to your chair at home? Considering how big dorm rooms are, now’s the perfect time to start learning to love other seats!

Your Pet

Do we even have to say this? Apparently, we do. We know, we know… it’s hard to leave home, and even harder to leave home when you’re leaving your beloved pet at home. But unfortunately, dorm rooms do not allow pets of any kind. So sadly you can’t sneak in your pooch, kitty or even turtle into the halls of your new home.

Any Luggage at All

We urge you to skip the bulky luggage. Unless you need it for frequent flights back home, luggage is an item that will take up so much valuable space in your tiny new digs. Instead, try packing everything you have in oversized duffle bags (or even trash bags) that can be broken down and stored under your bed or somewhere else less invasive. The duffle bag will still allow you to pack up and travel, yet won’t waste valuable space like large luggage would.

Communicate and Consolidate! Whatever Your Roommate Is Bringing

It’s important to touch base with your roommate before the move-in day so you can coordinate what you are both bringing so you don’t double up! Space is very limited and sometimes so are funds, so splitting these items up will not only ensure your room isn’t overflowing with doubles of everything, but will also help cut down on costs for both of you.

The countdown to college is officially on. Hopefully, now you are fully prepared for what you should bring, could bring, and should NEVER bring to move-in day!

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