Life Simplifiers: Back To School Edition

3 Versatile Fall Jackets You Need in Your Closet

Whether you have children in school or not, parenthood is BUSY. And back to school time means even more busyness gets added into the day, specifically the morning.

This fall David, my oldest, will be in Kindergarten, Luke will be in his final year of preschool, and Emily will be in a very short Mother’s Morning Out program twice a week. We’ve done preschool for the boys for the past few years but this upcoming school year will be the first time I’ll have all 3 kids at some kind of education/program during a few days of the week.

I’m excited for the return of structure and schedules but with that can come stress and forgetfulness. I’ve learned that about myself, so in an effort to simplify the upcoming school year, I wanted to share a few things I’m doing in case it may also help you!

First, I label everything that needs labeling. I love the dishwasher & washing machine-safe labels from Minted. I’ve had these for years and reorder new ones anytime I get low on my previous stock. Each child’s drink cup needs a label, as well as their reusable lunch box, lunch bag, backpack, and even their jacket. I use the stickers on a lot of the kids’ jackets, gloves, and really anything that could be easily mixed up with other children’s things.

The boys have been using reusable lunch boxes (these exact ones and I love them so much), and I’ve only had to replace the stickers on them one time. We run those lunchboxes through the dishwasher every single evening so that speaks to how great of quality these stickers are.

I also got each of my kids some personalized stationery that says “thank you”. Between thank you cards for birthday gifts and any other time a thank you card may be prompted, I thought it would be nice to have some personalized ones ready to go.

Along those lines, I have a very small stock of gender-neutral toys for a variety of ages that I keep hidden away so in case we ever forget to buy a gift for a child’s birthday party, I know we have at least one option at home!

The last back to school simplifier idea is to keep socks in a basket near shoes. This certainly is an every-single-day simplifier but it’s been such a helpful concept for our family that I wanted to encourage you to do it for busy school mornings.

In our family, Luke loves socks, and David is more likely to go barefoot. I got tired of asking the boys to run back upstairs to grab socks before we run out the door, and after hearing this idea from the Young House Love Podcast I decided to designate a basket of socks right near where the shoes live. It has profoundly impacted how much easier it is to get out the door!

You can read another “life simplifier” post about kid’s clothes here, and also read my trick to meal planning that made that daunting task much more enjoyable!


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Michele says · 08.22.19

I love thank you notes all the time, but don’t feel like having personalized stationary when something even more personal can be done instead. I always have tons of blank note cards to use for myself, but for my daughter (who’s 4), I bought totally blank, all white cards in bulk so that she could decorate the front herself before adding a message. This could also be done with folded card stock. It’s cheaper, super personal, and gives kids something to keep themselves busy while I’m making dinner or getting something done! I’ll do the same for my son, who’s 2 right now, when he’s out of his “I’ll just throw these crayons, thanks!” Stage.

I’m definitely going to implement the sock and shoe basket here! I think I’m going to have to add my husband’s socks to the basket, along with the kids! Enjoy some quiet time with all three kids in a program at once…you need to do one of those “mom’s first day of school” pictures!

Kaitlyn B says · 08.22.19

Those stickers are so cute and such a good idea! Thanks for sharing!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 08.22.19

I love your ideas! Personalised stationery was my favourite growing up, so fun to DIY with the kids too! ❤️✨

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Anita says · 08.22.19

The year I had 3 kids in 3 different programs was a tough one. Good idea to get organized!
Mabel’s labels do stickers for inside shoes which work so well. I find it’s outerwear and shoes that get lost the most so make sure those are labeled.

Shannon says · 08.22.19

Can you show a picture of your sock/shoe basket area? I have older kids, but wanted to have an organized area for shoes and sports gear. Even if it’s inside the garage.

Hilary says · 08.22.19


Not Kate, but check out Pinterest for ideas on a “drop zone.” We just made one with an ikea TV stand, an Ikea hat rack/hanging organizer, a Target mirror, and a toddler chair for our little one. There are lots of iterations, but we love having our work bags/purses/shoes/jackets/keys/etc. all in one spot by the door. It makes it so much easier for all of us to get ready to go out the door!

Shannon says · 08.28.19

Thank you Hilary!

Erin Kratky says · 08.22.19

Have you tried the TYME IRON?

Heidi says · 08.22.19

Once we started keeping socks with shoes it was a total game changer! Shortly after I started keeping my kids underwear & pjs in our master bathroom since that’s where they shower at night. No more running around just for clothes.

Nina Simon says · 08.23.19

I’ve never used stickers ever before. I think it’s time I start to use them. Thank you for sharing!

Katie Davis says · 08.24.19

The sock idea is genius! Thank you for sharing. It’s amazing how a small change like this can be a game changer.

Gretta says · 08.24.19

Recommendations for foot cleaner?

Ashley R says · 08.26.19

Are the labels removable from clothing? I like the idea of labels for coats and jackets, but with 3 girls each 2 years apart we’re going to be handing everything down and I would need to swap the labels as it gets passed to each one.

Natalie Ann Redman says · 03.26.20

Love this!