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Organizing your car for back-to-school

Seems like when the school year starts, we spent more time in the car. Even though we’re doing home preschool with our boys, September’s arrival means we start going to our local MOPS group and taking the boys to various homeschool activities and classes.

Last year it seemed like every time we got in the car, I’d realize we’d forgotten something when I was a few miles down the road. So I thought I’d create a short list of items I’d like to keep in the car this year!

Diono over seat organizer

Items for organizing the car for back to school

1. Diono Car Organizers – Beyond keeping maps and flashlights, what about a snack bar? Or an art supply caddy (see below!)? Perhaps an in-car diapering station with changes of clothes for older children (I still remember being sent home from kindergarten after getting sick in class and not having a backup dress!).

The Diono Travel Pal organizer is perfect for between children’s seats; it has lots of pockets to hold maps or papers for the kids, and two insulated cup holders for keeping drinks cool! The Stow N Go back-of-seat hanging caddy (see above) is great for stashing snacks and school supplies close at hand, or I can tuck my cell phone in the pocket to be close but not a temptation!Back to School Car Supplies

2. Art supplies – Sometimes we end up stuck somewhere longer than I’d like. Or stuck in traffic. Keeping a collection of art supplies in the car is a great option for passing the time. Or perhaps you’ll find your child suddenly needs some supplies on the morning they’re due! No problem, just grab some from your stash!

Crayola’s line of coloring products fits every student (and parent!). From 64 crayon sets, to washable markers and watercolor paint sets. Okay, so maybe you can’t paint in the car, but you get the idea! I personally, love giving my son a mini whiteboard to color with a dry erase marker (of course, instruct kids on not getting marker on the car seats!). Storing extra craft supplies in the car is a good idea (as long as it’s not too hot!), because you’ll be prepared for delays after school, or when your child suddenly says, “Oh I was supposed to bring some markers today!). I like putting our boxes of crayons and markers into the car caddy to take with us for visits to Grandma’s house or overnight travel – it’s a ready made art station!

Doodle Sketch is another great art product to have in the car, especially for the younger kids. It makes no mess, can be used over and over, and comes with an attached stylus (won’t roll under the seats!), and two magnets for additional doodling options. I love that kids can entertain themselves in the car without me worrying about them dropping a crayon or needing more paper! Plus it’s another great open-ended toy to foster creativity (from Ohio Art, makers of nanoblock!)

3. Snacks. Remember that snack bar I suggested? Here’s some great ideas:

Back to School Car Supplies

bare Coconut Chips – Does a long day at school have you craving a little crunch? or maybe a little sweet? Well, now you can have a sweet crunch for an after-school snack on the ride home. These Simply Toasted coconut bits come in plain, touch of honey, and Sweet n Heat (spicy!), plus chocolate and sea salt/caramel! Plus these snacks are gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher and vegan (except the honey flavored one!) and all natural! Perfect for keeping kids happy while not loading them up with sugar!

KIND Snacks – Our family can hardly keep these bars in our snack bin, we love snacking on them so much! I love to stash a handful in our car for days when we’re out longer than expected, or I forget to pack a snack for class in my son’s backpack. Full of good protein from nuts they’re tasty and filling! Now KIND also loose granola for breakfast or topping yogurt! I think we probably all know the feeling of running behind schedule and scrambling for breakfast – why not just have a KIND bar in the car and everyone will be a little kinder for it!

Third Street Tea – These crisp-flavored teas are so refreshing and not overly sweet (some are even unsweetened!). The glass bottles keeps them fresher, I think. Or maybe it’s the non-GMO tea leaves they’re made from! The ingredients are Fair Trade and organic. I loved reading the company story about how they visit their farmers each year to make sure they have good relationships with their suppliers. Choose from regular black teas, green tea, fruit-flavored, and even lemonades! Find Third Street Tea at Whole Foods!Back to School Car Supplies

4. Epson Desktop Label Printer – App Enabled! Okay, you may find it strange that I want to keep a label maker in the car. And certainly, I could keep this on the desktop as well. But… think about this: you’re just about to send the kids into school when you see another child run past with the same backpack, or jacket, or lunchbox. Now you just KNOW that your child’s items will get mixed up with theirs! Not a problem. Pull out your smartphone, open the Epson app, and turn on your Epson wireless label printer (with batteries installed). In about 30 seconds, you can have a custom label printed and stickered onto your child’s things! Print a few and slap them on everything! See, handy to keep in the car, don’t you think? The Epson label printer can also print on ribbon, iron-on transfer labels, reflective labels, and more!

Tons of icons, fonts, and customization options will make your child’s labels stand out! From your car, classroom, soccer field, or, yes, at home, you can print names, initials, food allergy info, and more onto clothing, backpacks, or other fabric and materials. My boys loved picking out their own icons to customize their name labels!

We’ve just cleaned out our car this fall and restocked it with school-ready items! I’m feeling more prepared than ever to be an on-the-go mom this school year! Will I still forget things? Sure, but I’m working on it!

What are your must-have accessories for keeping in the car to make the school year more organized?

Thanks to all my sponsors for providing samples for this post. All opinions are my own.