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Our Top Back to School Picks to Stay Organized

Office and school supplies laid out on a wooden table.

After a long hot summer, kids are ready to head indoors to classrooms all over the country. Before they can settle in with friends and teachers at school, there’s a lot of prep work to do at home. From organizing wardrobes to setting up study areas, families have to adapt their houses to be home base for a bustle of academic and athletic activity all year long. Whether the morning wake up or the messy pile of clothes in the front hall annoys you most, our must-have items reduce the stress of the back-to-school grind and help parents and kids stay organized all school year long.


Wooden desk in a bright office with a red wall clock, green desk lamp, and red cane chair.

1. The Academic Big Picture Calendar

The school year comes with a flurry of other non-classroom activities, like birthday parties, sports games, and days off. Don’t forget the major milestones - like homecoming, prom, and pajama day - that can easily be missed or mixed up for each of the kids in your household. While much of classroom scheduling has gone digital, there’s nothing like hanging the Academic Big Picture Calendar in a visible place to make sure that everyone remembers the most important dates. If you’re looking for a full year calendar, rather than an academic calendar, try the Big Picture Calendar instead.


A black desktop pencil sharpener by the window with a pencil next to it.

2. A Pencil Sharpener

Chances are you’ve stock up on school supplies and have more pens, pencils, and colored erasers than their book bags can stand. But the one Achilles heel you can count on is that there will come a time when they have a fist full of pencils - all with no point. The small plastic sharpener is never around when you need it, so prepare for the inevitable with a desktop pencil sharpener that they can’t misplace. To reduce plastics, plan to sharpen colored pencils and traditional No 2s, rather than replace them with mechanical ones.


Red task lamp on a kid's desk with a bold wall calendar hanging.

3. A Bright Light

Evening studying is a predictable part of the academic year, so prepare for nighttime studying with a cool table or desk lamp. This functional feature comes in a range of youthful styles and colors. Let kids get in on the action by tasking them with choosing and placing their favorite one. Decorating their own study spot is likely to make the entire learning experience more enjoyable.

Mix and match fun table lamps, like the Ion for a nightstand, and the angled Studio Lamp for the desk. If tabletop space is scarce, mount a plug-in wall sconce beside the bed as a reading lamp. Finding a kid-friendly light source for reading and studying has never been easier.


Wall hook in an office with a hat and bag hanging on it.

4. Extra Shelves + Hooks

Peek into any hallway and linen closet and it is easy to tell if class is in session. During the school year, coats, backpacks, and uniforms take over all available hooks and shelf space. Keeping everything neat and tidy can be hard without putting the walls to work. Mount the multi-pronged Mollie Hook to the front foyer for bulky coats, sweaters, and outdoor gear. For bulkier items, choose the Swedish Utility Hook Rail. And for little ones, try the Maple Peg Rail, to ensure that no one hurts themselves with metal hooks or sharp edges.


Academic wall calendar above a work from home office desk.

5. Alarm and Wall Clocks

Half the battle of getting to class on time is waking up on time. Many families have ditched wall clocks for cell phones and smart home panels, but too much screen time can spell trouble. To avoid playing bad cop every morning, go old school with a bedside alarm clock. For young learners, setting it can be a great way to teach them numbers and the concept of time. For middle and high schoolers, a set it and forget it approach can make early mornings much less fraught. It seems overly simple, but helping your kids stay organized with a stand alone clock can be much easier than triple checking their phone alarms. 


Studio turned office with wall mounted paper holder and inspiration images pinned up on the wall.

6. A Trash Can

School is full of trial and error. There will be lots of first drafts tossed in the trash, sketches to be discarded, and a series of miscellaneous broken things – burst pens, broken rubber bands, and whatever that is stuck in the grooves of their shoes. A step waste bin is a must have for every kids room, bathroom, and play area. Don’t be afraid to go big with an 8 Gallon Trash Can for high frequency areas like the kitchen, garage, and art spaces, where a few days of rubbish can pile up fast. Parents and kids can easily keep living spaces tidy when handsfree waste baskets are always within sight.


Office desk with a black wall sconce, art print, and analog wall clock.

Shop Back to School Picks


Written by Nafeesah Allen  


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