My Favorite Organization Products for Back to School

The backpacks are being dusted off. The pencils are freshly sharpened. Excitement (and maybe a touch of nervousness…?) is in the air. That’s right, it’s back-to-school season! Are you ready?

This year I’ve got kids in middle school, high school, and college (not to mention my English-teacher husband!) – and one thing they all have in common is the need for some good organization to stay productive.

Below I’ve put together a handpicked collection of my absolute favorite organization products to add to your school supply list. You’ll find something for students (and educators) of all ages! From clever storage solutions to nifty gadgets and everything in between, these goodies are sure to bring a smile to your face and some order to your backpack. Together, we’ll make this school year the most organized and stress-free one yet.

Note: Shop these products directly from the blog by clicking on the photo.


School organization for elementary-age students, especially the youngest of the group, begins at home. Establishing solid routines from the start is easy with the right tools.

Bentgo Backpack
Chore List Pegboard
Kraft Paper Holder
Magnetic To-Do List

I love this backpack/lunch box combo from Target; it will keep forgotten lunches to a minimum and is one less thing for little hands to carry!

The pegboard, paper roll, and customizable to-do list are all ways to start your kids following a schedule that they can visually see and check off. The pegboard is a good option for older kids to keep in their room; it has reminder blocks for each day of the week. We use the paper roll in our kitchen for meal planning, but you can also use it to track major family events or school events each week. The simple to-do list can go on the fridge. It comes with multiple sheets, so you can have a list for morning, after school, and evening. I love that it doesn’t require any extra parts (like markers or stickers) for kids to use.

Kids’ Alarm Clock
Hanging File
Outfit Organizer

Both the alarm clock and the timer are fantastic tools for getting kids used to monitoring time for themselves. Kids as young as 7 can wake to an alarm and get started on their routine independently, especially with the help of a checklist! The timer can be used to give chores (like homework…ha!) a more concrete time frame, so kids don’t get mental blocks about things taking “for-ever!”

For your own sanity, I highly suggest a hanging file sorter (or two) to keep track of school paperwork. Keep it near the door you use in the mornings so you don’t forget to put action items back in backpacks.

Finally, to further encourage independence in the mornings, have a system for preselecting outfits on the weekends. Sorters like this one are great, or you can use simple bins/baskets on the floor in the closet. By making the decisions all at once on the weekend, you’ll save time and probably a few arguments!

Middle & High School

Magnetic Hooks
Magnetic Bin
Magnetic Schedule
Academic Planner
Locker Shelf
Mesh Bags
Project Action Plans
Phone Lock

Independence lessons really kick into high gear in middle and high school. So, along with some fun locker and backpack accessories, I’ve included in this collection a planner and a notepad of Project Action Plans. Kids who aren’t using cell phones yet (or those who just prefer an analog system) can use both of these tools to track school work, and social and extra-curricular activities. The action plans I especially love for teaching the skill of breaking down daunting tasks into smaller, more digestible action items. This is a technique we use frequently in organization, and one that will serve kiddos their entire lives.

For kids who are using a cell phone but need some encouragement to unplug during homework, family time, and bed time, a cell phone lock might be just the ticket! It has an emergency override that can be used twice, but otherwise will keep distractions to a minimum and help your learner focus on the task at hand.


Desk Organizer
File Box
Fridge/Printer Cart
Shower Caddy
Drawer Organizers
Office Supplies
File Folders
Stackable Drawers
Cord Keeper
Over-the-Door Organizer
Drying Rack
Under-the-Bed Drawers

It’s no surprise that this is the longest list (and honestly it could be even longer!). College kids are really starting over and need a whole host of things to function in their new dorm/apartment.

I chose to focus on small-space basics that just about everyone can use. Creating space by taking advantage of every nook and cranny (and door) is possible with smart solutions like the Elfa drawers that double as a place to put a mini-fridge or printer, under-bed drawers, and the over-the-door organizer. You’ll be amazed at how much you can store in just these three items!

The entire middle row is from The Home Edit line at Walmart – it’s cute, it’s inexpensive, and still very high quality. One new skill a lot of college kids have to learn is basic file management. These star-themed hanging files fit in the acrylic file box (top row) and can be used to manage paperwork associated with clubs, class assignments, syllabi, rental agreements, medical records, and personal finances. These days most file keeping is done on a computer, so this small setup should be just enough!


Teacher Planner
Chair Organizer
Purse/Tote Organizer
Supply Caddy
Our favorite labeler!
File Stand
Rolling Cart
Locking Bins

For teachers, portability and convenience are the name of the game. Some of my favorite organizing basics like the file stand, three-tiered rolling cart, supply caddy, and locking bins work so well in classrooms. The file stand keeps the most important papers at-hand, while the caddy and rolling cart provide portability as groups work on projects around the room. Bring the supplies to them!

The locking bins come in many color options, and are the perfect size for storing folders, books, and so much more! We used them in a project we did for an elementary school a couple of years ago, and they were both a cost-effective and flexible solution for storing classroom materials.

The planner is a teacher-specific edition from one of my favorite follows, Emily Ley of Simplified fame. Not only is it gorgeous, but it is designed with lesson planning and student data-management in mind. I think teachers will find it really helpful for keeping track of both daily schedules and overall progress throughout the school year.

Finally, I may be biased, but I feel like every classroom needs a good label maker! An organized classroom helps kids help themselves, which takes so much pressure off of teachers. (P.s. The same is true for parents at home, so if you don’t have a good label maker, make the investment today!)

With these helpful tools by your side, I know you’ll be prepared to tackle any academic challenge that comes your way. If you have any other favorite items or tips for staying organized during the school year, feel free to share them in the comments below. I love to learn from you, too!


5-Day Back-to-School Challenge

Keeping Kids Organized at School

Tips & Tricks: Dorm Room Organization

Remember, staying organized isn’t just about having a picture-perfect desk or color-coded notes. Make sure to keep the organizational momentum going. Embrace habits that keep you working towards your academic goals, try out new systems, and don’t be afraid to mix and match – after all, organization is all about finding what works for you. (And be sure to stop back by the blog in a couple of weeks, when I’ll be talking about tips for transitioning from summer to school. Habit building that starts early will make getting back into a routine so much easier!)

I’m wishing you a fantastic school year filled with joy, discovery, and plenty of ‘Aha!’ moments. You’ve got this!

Happy Organizing!




Each of my career choices-wedding coordinator, event planner, and teacher — gave me the creative freedom to organize everyone and everything. I have always thrived on to-do lists, planners, and systems! Now, I lead a team of organizers to help me on my mission. Read more…

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