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Ah, the back-to-school season—it’s like the New Year of academics, isn’t it? A fresh start, a clean slate, and a bounty of opportunities to make this year even better than the last. In our household, with three teenage sons and an eager pre-teen, back-to-school season is a mix of emotions and a flurry of activity.

Over the years, I’ve found that a little preparation and the right products can make all the difference. Let’s dig into my top recommendations for a smooth, organized, and joyful back-to-school experience for everyone— kids and adults alike!

Keeping track of multiple school schedules, extracurriculars, and work commitments can become chaotic. A centralized wall calendar or Catch-All planner makes it easier.
The Catch-All planner has worked wonders for us. It has space for everyone’s activities (school & otherwise) and even allows for meal planning and daily/weekly/monthly cleaning schedules.

A close up of a planner and extra sheets.

For the Home (inside and outside):

Beddley – This duvet cover is fantastic. It is beautiful, luxurious, and feels so soft. It is high-quality, and the best part is that it makes life convenient! Beddley is the 3-sided zipper duvet cover, so bedmaking becomes easy and hassle-free… instead of frustrating. A Beddley duvet cover opens on three sides. All you do is open it, lay the duvet on top, and zip it back up. There are also ties on each corner to keep the duvet in place. No wonder they were a hit on Shark Tank! It makes bedmaking easy.

The UTTy – UTTy is the world’s most versatile vertical hanger. UTTy excels at managing sports/recreation equipment and organizing all your adventure clothing and gear. Perfect for traveling athletes & recreation enthusiasts of all kinds. Because UTTy is portable, weighs next to nothing, and is uniquely designed to accommodate both heavy and light items, this product is the perfect companion for all your adventures and the gear required to be at your best. I love how the idea came about, too: “The Ah-ha moment for The UTTy came during an out-of-town hockey tournament. Cramped in a small hotel room, we were faced with a dilemma; “how do we store and maintain (air out post-game) wet, bulky hockey gear?”

Honeydew Body Pillow – Body by Honeydew is the ultimate sleep companion. Not only does it have an incredibly luxurious and huggable feel, it delivers immeasurable health benefits like comfort, support, deeper relaxation and sounder sleep. This body pillow also relieves pain (sleeping with a pillow between your knees dramatically improves spinal alignment and reduces strain on your knees and hips.)

Bougie Beach Candle – Bring peace and tranquility of the beach into your everyday life with Bougie Beach. Their candles and sprays smell wonderful! Don’t let the end of summer bring the end of that summer feeling. Keep it all year long with Bougie Beach! They have you covered with luxuriously scented, clean-burning, all-natural candles, room sprays, reed diffusers, gemstone bracelets, household accessories, & more!

Sugoi Chair – DOD has been making Quality Japanese Camping Gear since 1997, in efforts to help you spend better time outdoors with friends and family. The Sugoi Chair is a Cotton Canvas Portable Camping and Backpacking Chair Adjustable to the Ideal Height and Seating Angle for Any Outdoor Activity. Other camping chairs have one seating position: low or high, reclined or straight up. And whichever chair you bring along on your trip, that’s how you’ll sit for the whole trip. The Sugoi Chair solves that problem by adjusting to all seating positions. 

Peach Sheets Comforter –  Original PeachSkinSheets®, the affordable, high quality, moisture-wicking bedding brand known for keeping warm sleepers cool and cool sleepers cozy, today announces the launch of their new Caribbean Collection. Mix and match the new bright shades with PeachSkinSheets’ best-selling neutrals, or add a pop of color. With sheetsoversized comforters, duvet cover setspillowcases, and 32 total colors to choose from in the PeachSkinSheets line, the options are endless to create the eye-catching, individualized bedroom of your dreams.

Dreamroo – Their Over-the-Sink Colander is a handy basket that can be used for straining, draining, thawing, and more. Crafted from 100% food grade silicone that’s freezer, dishwasher, and microwave safe – it is BPA, PVC, and Phthalates free.

FluffCo Down & Feather Pillows – These Down & Feather Pillows are the softest hotel-quality down feather pillows – perfect for your bed at home. With the same construction as the pillows you’ll find in 5-star hotels and resorts, our pillow-in pillow design creates an incredible sleeping experience. An outer layer of soft, airy down cradles the head until it comes to rest upon a supportive inner core of feathers.  FluffCo was Voted Best Luxury Pillow 2023 by Sleepiverse, Best Soft Pillow 2022 by Architectural Digest,  Good Housekeeping 2022 Bedding Awards, Editor’s Pick Pillow 2021 by Healthline, and 95/100 Rating by PureWow.

For You:

Blithe Cosmetic: An absolute must-have for summer? SPF! BLITHE offers two types of sunscreens depending on your skin type – it also doubles as a moisturizer! Vegan, Cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, hypoallergenic, and more. Perfect for sensitive skin and reducing the risk of irritation and redness.

Sweet Protection Sunglasses– Striking the perfect balance between sport and fashion, the Heat Sunglasses thrives equally well in action as in the best coffee bars in town. A timeless design with a unisex size and sleek temples that fit neatly, these sunglasses can follow you anywhere. A solid high quality frame with subtle detailing and a distinct silhouette creates a modern and sporty look.

Belt Bag– Our Belt Bag is perfectly designed for busy parents. This compact and convenient bag can carry everything you need for a quick trip to the store or playdate at the park. The Belt Bag also compliments our diaper backpacks, making the ultimate duo for travel – keeping your essentials easily accessible. Spacious interior pocket with mesh compartments that can fit everything from diapers & wipes to a phone, headphones, snacks, a wallet & more. The adjustable strap with easy snap around your waist or over your shoulder.

Gemini Beauty Moisturizer – Keep that dewy, fresh look of summer all year long with Daily Brightening Moisturizer by Gemini Beauty! Crafted with fruits & teas, it gives your skin a cooling sensation to keep feeling hydrated even on the hottest of days!

VitapodVitapod Hydra+ blends health with hydration like never before. These blends have a comprehensive range of essential vitamins, nutrients, polyphenols, and antioxidants without sugar or artificial sweeteners (and only eight calories). It is extensively certified by a board of doctors and expertly formulated to support hydration, beauty, immunity, sports performance, and more.

PJ’s Soaps & Bombs – This adorable little Ocean Shore Spa Kit will turn any bathroom into a spa for the day.  Enjoy a relaxing bath after you light the candle, draw a bath, step in, and add the bath bomb. The scent of each of these beautiful items will take you to a beach in the Pacific Northwest. It starts with notes of green apple, lily, fresh rain, and airy green flowers. Base notes of oakmoss, musk, and violet leaf add depth.  Their Goat’s Milk & Oatmeal Bath products are lovely, as well, leaving your skin feeling soft and moisturized. 

back to school gift ideas

For the Family

Eli & Elm Cooling Side-Sleeper Pillow– The Eli & Elm pillow is specially designed to support side sleepers while conforming to the precise contours of the. I love this pillow because it can be adjusted. You can remove the latex & polyester filling to match your desired height & support. It has helped my neck pain & it is perfect for the entire family!

Buddha Board– Buddha Board is inspired by the Zen idea of living in the moment. Simply ‘paint’ on the surface with water and your creation will come to life in bold design. Then, as the water slowly evaporates, your art will magically disappear, leaving you with a clean slate and a clear mind, ready to create a whole new masterpiece. Buddha Board is environmentally friendly as it only uses water – no ink, no paint, no chemicals. The Buddha Board will last for years with proper care.

Big Dill Pickle Ball Company – These paddles are anything but boring! They offer fresh, unique designs in fun colors to add excitement to your game. Each paddle is tested for quality and durability. The paddles are constructed to high standards with premium components. While these paddles may make you smile, they are also made for ALL pickleball players, from beginners and beyond!

Chef’s Life Trio Gift Pack: Avocado, Olive, Sunflower, Grapeseed Oil: Three essential cooking oils packed perfectly in a gifting box. It is the perfect gift for the host, your best friend, the amateur chef, or a kind neighbor. From drizzling to sizzling and everything in between, the Trio Gift Pack includes our Cooking Oil for high-heat cooking, frying, sautéing, or baking, Blending Oil for marinades, dressings, aioli, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil for finishing dishes. 

QuietOn 3.1: The world’s smallest active noise-canceling earbuds designed for sleep. Designed by Finnish tech innovator QuietOn, QuietOn 3.1 significantly reduces low-frequency noises to help create a perfect sleeping environment, regardless of what’s happening around you. Perfect for anyone having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep. QuietOn 3.1 helps reduce sounds that keep you awake. Thanks to its unique design, it is the first ANC earbud that fits entirely in the ear to ensure comfort throughout the night – even for side sleepers.

Parker Baby Birch Bag Diaper Bag (backpack)- This diaper backpack is functional, stylish, and neutral for any busy parent’s lifestyle. With high-quality materials like vegan leather and a tasteful modern design, we’ve created a mom or dad diaper backpack that’s perfect for everyone in the family (and doesn’t break the bank). This backpack has over ten pockets (perfect for anyone!)

Prairie Floral Quilt– Every child deserves a special blanket they can love and cherish for years. You want the perfect one: durable for years of loving, soft for snuggles before bedtime, and customized to your child’s personality. This is the perfect baby blanket for your little one. These baby quilts are designed to grow with your baby – oversized and snuggly for your infant, cozy and easy to carry for your toddler, neutral and durable for years to come.

Pedroc Air Shoe: New to Salewa’s Speed Hiking category comes the Pedroc Air shoe. This sporty, versatile, and hard-wearing shoe is perfect for a wide range of scenarios, including more urban contexts. Thanks to its Speed Hiker outsole from Pomoca and Salewa’s one-of-a-kind Ankle Protection system, this shoe is agile, technical, and engineered to provide everyday safety and comfort. The rockered sole profile ensures a perfect transition from heel to toe and increased breaking performance from the downhill. Whether you’re rushing to drop off the kids, attending school events, or running errands, this shoe has you covered.

back to school gift ideas

Rab – Edge 18: Lowe Alpine: The Edge 18 is the perfect day pack for carrying your essentials for a day at school and perhaps for a quick hike afterward. The Edge 18 is a lightweight pack with a padded laptop sleeve along with features to help keep your stuff organized.

Sweet Protection – Commuter MIPS: The Commuter Mips helmet is for everyone in on the secret that a bike is the best way to get around. Stylish, modern, minimalist design is just the beginning. Featuring Mips to protect against rotational forces (the cause of most concussions), this helmet is packed with technology designed around protection and comfort for the modern cyclist – whether splitting lanes on a single-speed or throttling an e-bike. Be the epitome of urban cool while prioritizing your safety at the same time!

VistaPrint – VistaPrint is here to make easing back into your family’s school routine simple through an assortment of organizational products for both home and school, along with personalized supplies you/your kids can create with a variety of themes and designs to choose from. Whether your child needs stickers for their belongings, stationerynotebooks for every subject, or water bottles, VistaPrint’s personalized products will have students standing out and staying organized this school year. 

Get Rael– If you have a pre-teen or teenage daughter, Rael’s First Period Gift Set is a must-have. Adolescents usually get their first period between the ages of nine and fifteen. At this age, they are spending lots of time at school, doing activities, and maybe even having sleepovers. Celebrate this special milestone with a first-period start kit to help ease their anxieties and create a positive attitude toward menstruation. This gift set consists of Organic Cotton Cover Pads, Organic Cotton Panty Liners, Organic Cotton Cover Disposable Period Underwear, a Heating Patch, Natural Feminine Wipes, Tea Tree Sheet Masks, and Invisible Spot Covers. They make Reusable Period Underwear, too, which I’ve heard work wonders & are perfect for teens!

Grow & Make Kits – Give the gift that keeps on giving with these kits. There are different kits for everyone, including a Hot sauce Kit, Garden Kit, Mixologist Kits, Soap Kits, Lotion Kits and more! These kits provide everything you need & they are accessible to all skill levels of cooking & crafting. With a variety of recipes, scents, and flavor profiles, you can easily level up your DIY game!

MORE GIFT IDEAS: Gifts for Parents

Gifts for parents - Meaningful Christmas gifts for parents and gifts for grandparents Gifts for Kids:

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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