When it comes to ‘Back to School’, I slump into sadness at another summer gone. In a way, though, September can be a time of rebirth and renewal, and a great opportunity to get the family organized. This year we have a few tricks up our sleeve to transition seamlessly into school and work life. Here are a few ideas we are implementing this year in order to streamline and succeed!

2018 Macbook Pro Touch Bar2018 MacBook Pro with touch bar

This machine is faster, brighter, and more powerful than ever. It’s available in 13 and 15-inch models and is also super thin and light. The touch bar is a strip of glass built into the keyboard that lets you access tools fast and boosts productivity, including accessing the machine using your fingerprint. It also prompts you with intuitive typing and allows immediate access to Siri. We tested a unit and my kids loved the touch bar so much they are begging to get the MacBook Pro.

last minute car homeworkLast-Minute Car homework kit

We’ve all been there. Driving to school and one of their their faces becomes ashen. “Mom… do you have a stapler/pencil/sharpener/paper? I forgot to do my homework!” This year we’ve assembled everything you need for last-minute homework or to get a head start on the way home. Even better is that this kit doesn’t have to be expensive. I found every imaginable emergency school supply at Walmart for under $1. They are truly making education more affordable and accessible, and it’s also a great one-stop shop. In their back to school section you can find bins of great items for 97 cents, $1.97, and $2.97, but every big brand name item pictured here was under a buck.

Hilroy Fashion Coil 3-Hole Notebook – $0.88
Papermate Paper Mate Speederase Easer Refills – $0.97
Dixon Universal Correction Fluid (White-Out) – $0.99
BIC Clic Stic Ball Pen Retractable Blue Medium Point Dozen Box – $0.85
Washable Glue Stick – $0.97

While you’re there you may want to add a ‘car deodorant’ and ‘car emergency toothbrush’ to your stationery shopping list. (Because I needed both of these things on the first day of school when the kids missed those steps at home.)

Things 3 for MacThings 3

This award-winning task manager app is simple but robust. It’s the first one I’ve used where personal and business can be easily organized altogether so you don’t have paper lists floating around. Things 3 also allows for ‘Areas’ of life, so you can set goals for finance, health or friends and family. The great feature is that to start, you can do a mind dump into the ‘inbox’ section without it looking like today’s list is overwhelming. Then you parcel items out for different projects and the only thing you look at is today’s list, and each item can include lists, notes, links and reminders. When you aren’t working on a specific task, the rest of the ‘noise’ disappears so that you can better focus. When you check off tasks they go into the archive but you can always look back to see all you’ve accomplished. Simple keyboard inputs trigger the app find the items that contain those words and you can also use it across your suite of Apple devices.

Best Buy Jabra Elite 65tJabra Elite Active 65t In-Ear Noise Cancelling Truly Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

I love tech that will improve my life and can spend hours sourcing the most innovative gadgets. Like lots of kids and students, I can lose focus and get unproductive. This invariably makes me thoroughly stressed out, so I was really excited to find these Jabra 65T wireless, noise canceling headphones, exclusive to Best Buy. You can use them for listening to music, lectures, podcasts or making phone calls – there is a microphone on each side. Many kids require headphones for school and because these ones come with three different earpiece sizes – there’s a snug fit for everyone. Bluetooth 5.0 means you don’t have to have your cell phone up to your ear or have wires running every which way. There is a long lasting battery (5 hours plus another 10 hours from charging in the case) and a 2-year warranty against sweat and dust. I get giddy whenever Best Buy sources special products like these. Even if you’re not super tech-savvy, Best Buy  always seems to streamline and simplify life. The Geek Squad is my secret weapon – setting up everything from computers to home entertainment so that there are no glitches when the kids need a project done on time.

Day of the Week Wardrobe OrganizerDay of the Week Wardrobe Organizer

If your kids are like mine, they aren’t the quickest at morning decisions. Eliminating as many variables as possible helps the routine. Even Steve Jobs and Barack Obama increased efficiency by duplicating outfits and taking the guesswork out of the morning slog. On Sunday, have the kids (and you!) plan outfits for each day of the week. You can use hanger tags or an inexpensive hanging closet organizer. It can help small kids dress themselves as well. This idea also works in the hall closet for sports gear, library books and permission slips as a daily reminder to put everything into their school bag!

Disclosure: Components of this article have been sponsored and as always, all opinions are my own.