While we’re talking fun school supplies, we have to discuss a few smart school supply organization hacks, tips and tricks Because while we love sharing the coolest backpacks of 2019 and other gear throughout our Back to School Shopping Guide, what do we do with all that new stuff that enters the house? And how do we keep it from becoming “one more thing” we’re constantly keeping track of.

And then, what about homework? And permission slips? And and and…

(Cue “scream” emoji.)

Fear not, we’re here to help with these great organizational hacks we love, to help you manage at least some of the back to school chaos.

We’re so pleased that our 2019 Back to School Guide is brought to you by our sponsor Stuck On You, makers of custom labels for kids¬†plus personalized gear of all kinds.


Stuck on You makes cute bentos, lunch boxes, and of course, name labels for all your kids' back to school needs (sponsor)

For more than two decades, they’ve helped ensure that all the fun goodies you send your kids to school with, actually make it home — and parents need all the help we can get with that!

Special offer:
Cool Mom Picks readers save $5 on all Stuck on You purchases (except value packs)
Use promo code CMP19 through 8/31/19. 


1. An over-the-door shoe organizer can organize tons of basic school supplies

School supply organization hacks: Use an over-the-door shoe holder for supplies | A Bowl Full of Lemons

If your afternoon routine includes answering questions like, “where are the highlighters?” a million times, then this over-the-door shoe bag school supply hack from A Bowl Full of Lemons might be a huge help. Granted, you’re seeing a lot¬†of pens for your average household. But you could tweak her categories to be anything your kids will need after school — from pens and pencils to post-it notes, calculators, phone charger, protractors, or hey, even snacks!

But if you have little artists who like to separate the six different kinds of markers? This organization hack works great as-is.

2 Store pencils, pens and markers in a single shower caddy

School supply organization tips: Store school supplies in a shower caddy | A Pumpkin and a Princess

We stand by Marie Kondo’s tip to make sure everything is kept in one single place, to make everything easy to find, and easy to put away. If you don’t need a whole over-door shoe bag, store markers, crayons, and other art supplies in a shower caddy like this one we spotted at A Pumpkin and a Princess.

It’s easy for your kids to grab off the shelf and take to the table to do their worksheets, fill in coloring pages, create those amazing science projects, or fill in those “all about me” pages that come home at the beginning of the school year.

3. Use this hack to color-code notebooks

School supply organization: Use duck tape to identify notebooks at Cleverly Inspired

Kids in upper elementary or middle school grades may use separate composition notebooks for each subject, and that can make it hard to grab the one you need quickly. We love this clever idea of using small pieces of colored duck tape to identify notebooks, as seen at Cleverly Inspired. Store them in a magazine holder at your homework station to find them even more quickly. And hey, it’s way cheaper and easier than looking for composition books in multiple colors.

Related: The best 2019-20 school year planners for every type of parent | Back to School Guide 2019

4. Use your under-desk space to keep the desktop clutter-free

Jelly jar under-desk storage for school supplies: School supply organization hack from Lifehacks

We are flipping out over this clever hack at Lifehack (of course) for using jelly jars under a desk to store school supplies. Just glue-gun the lid underneath the desk, so the jar itself can be unscrewed. We’d use this for stuff kids don’t have to access too often — spare pushpins, erasers, washi tape — and consider doing it on the sides of the desk or a the very back where it will be out of the way.

5. Set up a “papers to sign” station where your kids do their work

School supply organization: Set up a space for papers that need to be signed | The Krazy Coupon Lady

Set up a space near the kids’ backpacks and they will know this is where they need to drop any papers you need to sign. Love this example from The Krazy Coupon Lady, and the wire basket means you can easily see if the boxes are empty or not.

Check them after the kids go to bed each night, then return permission slips and so on right to their backpacks. It’s a no-excuses method to help them learn to be responsible for their own papers, and will keep you from making an emergency run to the school so they can board the bus for their next field trip.

6. If kids don’t have a desk, set up a portable homework hub

How to create a portable homework hub for kids: Small space organization tips | mompicksprod.wpengine.com

When Kristen + Liz spoke with a professional organizer on Spawned about back to school organization tips, there’s one we keep coming back to: a portable homework hub. For¬†kids in smaller homes without dedicated desks (perhaps they work at a parents’ desk, kitchen table, or in the living room) it’s a fabulous space-saving organization idea. You can see the result of Liz’s own mobile homework station here — it really just requires a tray!

Related: Amiyrah Martin on the most genius time-saving hack for busy moms



About our Sponsor

Stuck on You makes cute bentos, lunch boxes, and of course, name labels for all your kids' back to school needs (sponsor)


No parent wants to invest in back to school clothing and gear only to have it disappear the first week of school. That’s where Stuck On You ¬†comes in. While they’re best known for their adorable custom name labels and clothing for kids in tons of colors, shapes and themes, visit their site for so much more.

New Mini-Me personalized labels from Stuck On You can be customized to look like your child! | sponsor

The new Stuck On You Mini-Me labels can be customized to look like your own kid.

Personalized gear at Stuck On You includes bento boxes and lunch bags totally customized with names, designs and colors. Personalized water bottles to help you go more eco-friendly. Allergy labels to help keep kids safe when they’re out of your hands. Custom book bags and backpacks. ¬†Even journals and planners with more sophisticated designs for teens or hey —¬† for you.

Basically it’s a one-stop shop for so much of the stuff we all need each school year. And with a sweet discount for our readers, too.

Special Offer:
Cool Mom Picks readers save $5 on all Stuck on You purchases
(except value packs)
Use promo code CMP19 through 8/31/19. 


7. Use a cookbook holder to prop up textbooks and save room on small desks

School supply organization tips: Use a cookbook holder for textbooks

If your older kids need more space (or are struggling to keep their homework stations organized), hand down your old cookbook holder. It can be used to prop up textbooks, leaving more room for laptops, notebooks and other desktop items. It’s a great hack for kids who are trying to juggle multiple schoolbooks at once. (We only wish we could find the source for this idea! Please let us know if it’s yours!)

8. Wrangle cord nests with…paper towel tubes

Easy household hacks: Paper Towel Tube Cord Organizer by Our Thrifty Ideas

School supplies include cords for charging devices these days, and it’s always one of our toughest organization problems. A while back, we shared 10 of our favorite household hacks of all time, and this one still among them! Check out the tips at Our Thrifty Ideas for using paper towel tubes to organize laptop and other charging cords.¬†Check out her site for tips on how she gets them looking so pretty too.

9. Create a rotating gallery of kids’ artwork with clothespins

Creative ways to display kids' artwork: Clothesline photo display | Fresh Crush

What’s the result of all those pretty markers and colored pencils and crayons you’ve purchased for the school year? Artwork!

If you’re wondering how to wrangle all the masterpieces, we’ve offered tons of tips for displaying kids’ artwork. A great idea is rotating clothesline display of kids’ artwork seen at Fresh Crush. It’s designed to hold current faves which can easily be swapped out — and gets them out of all those drawers and bookshelves.

Once you’ve replaced one round of art with another, consider digitizing the old pictures or turning them into a keepsake photo book¬†— more on that below.

10. Designate a return library book basket and avoid those overdue fines!

School supply organization hacks: Designate a library bin at home via Blue i Style

Put an end to those frantic saarches for your return library books on library day, and set up this library books bin organization hack that we saw at Blue i Style instead. She offers steps to DIY your own cool leather label from an old belt, but you could also just tell your kids , “hey, this is where the library books go.”¬† It’ll work just the same same!

11. For God’s sake, label EVERYTHING. Especially if you have more than one kid

School supply organization tips: Label everything | these labels: Stuck on You (sponsor)

If you want to avoid the THOSE ARE MY SCISSORS HEY THAT’S MY YELLOW MARKER GET OFF OF MY STAPLER fights (not just us, right?) label each child’s school supplies or home office supplies with their own name, or with their favorite colors or an icon they love. (These, from our sponsor Stuck on You.) Even if everything all ends up in one shoebox or one drawer, everyone will still know just whose what belongs to which kid. And that’s worth a lot in our books.


Special Offer:
Cool Mom Picks readers save $5 on all Stuck on You purchases (except value packs)

Use promo code CMP19 through this link, through 8/31/19.