Tag Archives: back-to-school

Top five back-to-school organizing tips


| ara@queenscourier.com

(ARA) – The start of a new school year is like a fresh box of crayons – full of possibilities.

Ginny Bean, mother of three and publisher of Ginny’s catalog, suggests families take advantage of this clean slate by establishing some new organizing routines.

Think ahead. Mornings are chaotic in most households with school-aged children. Consider handling as many daytime preparations as possible the night before. Lay out clothes. Pack lunches. Set out the breakfast dishes and cereal. Pack backpacks.

Bean suggests making systems kid-friendly, so young helpers can feel involved, and save mom some time in the process.

“Carve out a spot on a lower shelf of the pantry for lunch boxes and lunch-making supplies,” she said. “Then make children responsible for putting away their empty lunch boxes at the end of the school day, or even packing their own lunch.”

Tackle school paperwork. Make a habit of sorting through children’s backpacks with them the same day they come home. Allot time after school, when you arrive home from work, or after dinner, depending on your family’s schedule. Use a tiered letter sorter or filing system with designated slots for each child’s papers, and an “A.S.A.P.” space for teachers’ notes, permission slips and anything else that requires immediate attention.

For schoolwork and artwork you want to keep, try a two-step approach. First, purge unwanted items as soon as they come in the door. Collect the possible keepers in a storage bin or wheeled cart with color-coded drawers that allow for easy separation by child or project type. Go through stored items at regular intervals, perhaps once a month or once a quarter. Keep in mind, the more you accumulate, the easier it will be to pare down, as the best pieces will stand out from the crowd.

Designate a homework spot. Decide on the best spot in your home to set up homework central. Take into consideration how involved you need to be with homework and your child’s style. Does he focus better with people around or in a private setting? Is he better suited to sit at a desk or curled up in a favorite chair with a laptop cart?

Once you have a place picked out, gather together handy homework tools and supplies into a nearby bin, drawer or cabinet. Stock up on age-appropriate supplies such as pens, pencils, erasers, paper, crayons, markers, a ruler, dictionary, calculator and a pencil sharpener.

Create a communication hub. Include the family calendar, a chalk or bulletin board for posting messages and reminders, a binder for key documents, colored markers, pens and pencils. If you’re a visual person, consider color coding your calendar by assigning each family member a different color.

Remember not to forget. Use wall hooks and baskets or bins near the front door to corral the items you need to remember each day: backpacks, books, lunches, gym shoes, sports equipment and musical instruments.

 

Save in style on the hottest supplies for the 2012 back-to-school season


| ara@queenscourier.com

(ARA) – When it’s time to prepare for the start of a new school year, shopping for school supplies is at the top of any family’s to-do list. Students want supplies that are fun and reflect their personality. Parents look for items that are reliable and budget-friendly. The good news is this year’s top trends in school supplies offer all those qualities, making shopping enjoyable for the entire family.

Parents and students have many choices on where to shop for supplies. They should consider destinations that offer a wide assortment and good value.

Here are some of the top school supplies for the new school year:

A locker with personality

A locker is one of the few spaces kids have to express their individuality through fun and fresh decorations. Add instant glitz and much-needed light with new locker chandeliers that illuminate with seven LED lights. Decorating locker walls is simple and easy with magnetic locker wallpaper in fashionable patterns and students can even go retro with shag rugs available in four bright colors designed to fit standard lockers.

Recycle and save

Students require binders each school year and some are not usable after a year of wear and tear. This year, Staples is offering an exciting new program that helps families save money and be friendly to the environment. For every binder students bring in to recycle, they will receive an instant $2 back on a new binder purchased in store.

Flash drives with flash

Flash drives are an academic essential these days, allowing students to carry their work to and from school with a simple, compact tool. Flash drives are not only useful, but the designs can be a lot of fun too. This year, flash drives come in the shapes of students’ favorite characters such as The Simpsons, Family Guy and Angry Birds or even sports cars designs featuring Lamborghini, Mini Cooper and Aston Martin.

Fun and functional core tools

Designs that blend fun and function rule the scene for back-to-school 2012. For examples, students can make school work sweeter with novelty-shaped apple and cupcake tape dispensers and mini memo books in colorful fruit shapes. Kids can even show off their wild side with stylish zebra and cheetah prints found on basic tools like staplers, clipboards and magnetic clips.

Score the discounts

Look for coupons and discount programs to help keep your family on budget.

Chalk up more back-to-school savings by shopping online


| ara@queenscourier.com

(ARA) – As the end of summer nears, the flashing red lights of yellow school buses will caution drivers to stop as students board. College students will pull out of driveways with cars filled to the brim with dorm room supplies. And the school bells will echo across the playground, signaling the start and end of classroom learning.

Of course, before school starts in the fall, parents will tackle the task of back-to-school shopping. The “must-buy” list often doesn’t change much from year to year. Students of all ages and schooling levels will need pencils, notebooks, new clothes, backpacks and folders. As you develop a shopping list for your children this year, consider making the back-to-school shopping experience a bit easier by staying home, shopping online and saving money. Use these tips for better back-to-school savings.

* Regular school supplies like pencils, pens, rulers and notebooks are best found via big box retailers. But often in the stores, the back-to-school aisles look as if a whirlwind trashed the place. Instead, calmly sit at home with your list in front of you and order the supplies your children need via the retailers’ websites. In addition, use cash back sites like Ebates.com, to find extra savings, both on shopping list items and shipping costs. By having all the supplies delivered to your home, you’ll have saved yourself the time and stress of taking the children to the store.

* Shop the back-to-school sales online. Many retailers will designate a day, week or even month promoting their back-to-school discounts, and some states will designate a tax-free shopping day for school items and clothing. Take advantage of these savings, and look for “buy one, get one free” offers (very helpful if you have more than one child heading back to school) or free shipping coupon codes to add even more savings.

* Some online coupon sites offer cash back on your purchases. For example, when shopping for school supplies online, visit your favorite retail stores through Ebates.com, make your purchases and receive cash back rewards based on a percentage of your purchase. Plus, the back-to-school shopping season will bring increased cash back from dozens of popular stores, so take a little time to compare the best cash back rates with each store’s coupon codes and discounts to make the most of any available savings.

* College students often qualify for student discounts when using a valid student ID. Electronics like laptop computers and smartphones are typically the biggest budget items on a college student’s back-to-school shopping list. Search for seasonal discounts and coupon codes at computer and mobile brand online stores, like HP, Dell, AT&T and Verizon, where additional savings can be gleaned with a student ID.

Staying home and accomplishing the entire shopping list for your student’s back-to-school supplies without having to drive all over town will leave everyone in your family a bit happier and better prepared for the first day of school. Plus, the extra savings you can find while shopping online will help your budget.