Hot Moms Club founder Jessica Denay joined me recently to chat about the essentials every student from elementary school to college needs to thrive, and great tips to keep your family safe and organized this school year!
Candace Rose: What are the biggest must haves for back to school?
Jessica Denay: “I have some great essentials for college kids. As you know they go back to school first, and their dorm rooms are very small so you want to maximize that space. Bed risers are great, you take them and put them under each post. It lifts the bed up so you can fit storage units and little caddies like this. So it’s really great, and again maximizing that space in any way you can. Another essential for college students is a shower caddy. You put all of their toiletries there where they have to walk down to the bathroom and everything is neat and organized and all in one place, so this is a must have and these are very affordable.
So whether you have a college student who’s decorating their dorm room or you have a high school student who wants to personalize their locker or maybe you’re just a busy mom like me that needs to manage the family’s schedule or get organized, I have a tool for you- it’s new, it’s Command Clear Hooks. I love these because it has transparent adhesive strips that blend with walls and surfaces, so now your kids can hang their backpacks and your family calendar or their sweatshirts and what not, and the best part about it is that it doesn’t damage the walls. It’s great. When it’s time to remove, you just hold the top of the hook, and slowly pull straight down the adhesive tab. They also have clear fridge clips, which are great if you have a stainless steel refrigerator like I do because magnets don’t stick. Now you can clip your kids pictures, if they have the class schedule or just those great art projects that they come home with. You can put them right there on the refrigerator, and again damage free. So you can go to Command.com to get more information on these great products.”
Candace Rose: How can we separate academic must haves from useless distractions?
Jessica Denay: “Well, with the teachers nowadays, a lot of times you can go online and they give you a list of all the things that they have to have for their class. And a great way that kids can infuse their personal style with that is if say they need a stapler and maybe a little bling, so they can really make it their own and have fun with it. It still feels fun and fresh, and really funky book covers and what not. It makes it fresh and fun, but you’re still getting the essentials that your teacher needs and wants you to have.”
Candace Rose: Are you seeing any trends in back to school?
Jessica Denay: “Well, one of the trends this year is patches on the backpack. It’s a great way to personalize your backpack. They have lots of funky unique little patches, and also doing stickers. I always recommend for parents of little kids- never put the child’s name on the backpack. Don’t get it embroidered. You can do initials, but never embroider the name or write the name on the backpack. Let them personalize it this way instead. With a little kid somebody can call out their name, they may think they know them when actually they’re just reading it off their backpack. It’s safer and just personalize it with stickers and what not. It’s fun for kids, and that’s a great trend.”
Candace Rose: That’s great advice. What are some of the biggest school essentials that everyone must have?
Jessica Denay: “Well, obviously I love the Command hooks because it keeps everything organized, but this is a great tip (and a little off what you just said) I want every mom out there to know something that my mom did for me, and it’s a tradition I use with my son- make sure you have your batteries ready, and your camera all set- you have to take that back to school first day of school photo every year. And try to do it in the same place so you have great context. You can see how much you really grew and how much you’ve changed if you’re taking it in the same place every year. My mom used to do this for me and my siblings. I treasure those photos now, and every year it’s so neat to see how much everything has changed. That’s so important”
Candace Rose: That brings back so many memories!
Jessica Denay: “I know, doesn’t it? Every year I host a back to school clean out your closet party for all my mom friends. We trade clothes, and what our kids have outgrown so it’s a great way to recycle the clothes, so whatever is leftover we donate. We have a little wine, a little cheese and crackers. It’s a fun excuse to get together, so it’s fun, but it’s also really functional. You’re getting rid of the stuff you don’t need and somebody else is getting good use out of it, so what’s better than that?
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips to share with us today?
Jessica Denay: “A great thing to do is wean the kids. A week or two before school send them to bed 10 minutes earlier each night and waking them up 10 minutes earlier each morning so that first day of school it isn’t shell shock after sleeping in and going to bed late during the summer. Also, good for mom too.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?