Crazy Cool Back to School Gear That Will Get You- And Keep You - Organized!

4:00 am

Every year it seems that school starts earlier and the summer gets shorter.

In truth, school always starts on the first Tuesday of September, but whatever. It still feels like there's never enough time to get everything you need.

Well, that's why you have me, isn't it? Even if you or someone at home isn't going back to school, it's a great excuse to get new supplies and get yourself organized for the upcoming season. I mean, with Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas all within a matter of months, what better time to get on top of everything than right now?

Here are some tools that I think might help.

Good luck!


Stephanie Dickison
Publisher & Editor - the knack


I wrote about the awesomeness of the BusyBodyBook system last year and this year they have expanded their line a little further.

They still have the fantastic Weekly Grid Personal & Family Organizers that come in the Academic Year or Jan-Dec formats with colourful graphic covers. To see how the grid system works, click here. It's really a great way to look at your time, don't you think?

And if you are too scattered to keep a book, how about the 7 Column BBB Weekly Fridge Grid Pad? This way you can keep track of yourself and everyone else in the house or use it to track all of your different classes or interests. I love that you can customize to how you need it and the handy notes column on the right takes care of all those little extras that always need attention too. I also think it is a great way to track goals or things that you want to plan ahead for, using the grid as a step-by-step guide to successfully get you to where you want to be.

And made especially for families with lots of activity (or a house full of roommates or break room
employees), the New 2009 BusyBodyBook Wall Calendar tracks everyone's schedules with no chance of double booking or overscheduling! This ought to keep everyone organized with 7 big columns, a week-to-page layout that can also become a 2-week view, key contacts pages and a 4-inch pocket on the inside back cover for receipts, flyers or anything else that you need to keep on hand.

If you have yet to find a system of scheduling that works for you, I suggest you try a BusyBodyBook system. As long as you write everything down and refer to your schedule often, you'd be surprised at how efficient and organized you suddenly become.


If filing is what you need to get organized, Smead is the go to company for filing solutions.

FasTab are hanging folders with built-in tabs, so you don't have to fiddle with plastic tabs or inserts. The tabs are reinforced and the files stronger than ordinary hanging folders, which means it will stand up to however much paper you have and you won't have to constantly be replacing your files from wear and tear. The large tab leaves lots of room to write or place a label and allows you to print larger fonts, making it easier to read the contents quickly!

I like these a lot because they really do stand up to constant use and you can colour code with either colour labels or files. And now you can hang folders with ease.


And if you don't use a hanging folder system, don't worry. Smead's still got you covered!

SuperTab has a ton of room in which to write (these have 90% more than standard file folders!) on so that you can see your documents quickly and easily. You can write up a bunch of files and set up your own customized filing system in just a few minutes! And feel free to colour code - there's red, yellow, green, blue, manila, lake blue, camel, moss, lavender and pink.

They don't take up any extra space than regular folders, yet you'll be able to access them more quickly, thanks to the big printing.

Let's face it, the older we get, the harder it is to see fine print. Make it as large as you like and make it easy on yourself!

Thanks to Smead, filing just got a whole lot easier.


I still remember my combination from high school. But that's only because I continued to use that lock for the gym, my storage locker and for about 15 years after school.

But nowadays I'm lucky to remember to bring an umbrella and the notebook I need for a meeting.

That's why I think Wordlock is such a great idea - it's so much easier on the brain to remember a word instead of a bunch of random numbers. And you can personalize it, which means you're less likely to forget it.

This is a fantastic idea for your kid's locker or even for you - for your luggage, bike or gym locker.

You create your own combination and with 10,000 possibilities, there's little chance of someone guessing yours is "BEANS."

I'm using the luggage one that allows entry and relocking by Airport Security and no one else (equipped with special ID codes used only by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) when inspecting luggage) for all of my traveling I'm doing in the next couple of years and the padlock for items that we need to keep stowed away safely.

I think numbers just became a thing of the past. Lucky for me, it's all about words now.


I think the Ziszor - the only portable, handheld paper shredder - is a great tool for today's students, as well as those of use who work wherever we happen to be (great for traveling!).

It comes with a bag that attaches to the unit, so you can shred on the go and not leave a mess behind. It comes with batteries and can allow up to 5 pages through at a time.

It's handy because it doesn't take up the space of most shredders and it's small enough that you can pop it into your knapsack or briefcase and have it when you need it most.

My Oilcloth

What you want for school is something sturdy to hold all of your binders and books, but you also want a pretty pencil case that you can clean easily.

That's why I love Pod in Chocolate by My Oilcloth. The oilcloth exterior and lining and gorgeous (wait 'til you see the beautiful interior!) and waterproof! The cotton material is treated with linseed oil, so it will protect whatever you are carrying. So carry your pens - or cosmetics - safely and beautifully with items from the MY Collection. You'll have the most indestructable cases around.

And in this day and age, don't you want something to stand up to the wear and tear of your day?

Tonic Generation

The Luella Bartley LIMITED EDITION Tonic T-Shirts help others.

The Tonic Robin Tee helps children in Haiti.

"Along with Friends of Paradis des Indiens, TONIC is helping provide shoes to 2,500 children in Haiti to help them get to school and learn academic subjects and skills such as carpentry, sewing, weaving, agriculture and reforestation. Each t-shirt is made with soft and supple bamboo fiber and cotton 70/30 blend, and provides 1 pair of shoes to a child in Abricots, Haiti."

So you get a shirt for you and the opportunity to give to someone less fortunate than yourself.

And with the purchase of a Tonic Sun Tee, you'll be protecting 1/4 acre of endangered coral reef near Palau, Micronesia. That means, you'll also be protecting sea turtles, dugongs, giant clams, chambered nautilus ... more than 600 coral and 1400 fish species in all.

This too, is made with soft and supple bamboo fiber and cotton 70/30 blend.

And these tees can be purchased at Aritizia retail stores in the US and Canada. You're going to be going for back-to-school clothes or just new clothes for fall anyway - why not pick up one of this ultra-soft, ultra-comfy and stylish tees and help others while you're at it? All you have to do is shop.

Something tells me that won't be a problem...

Gadget4All & Brando USB Flash Drives

If you want to carry around music, documents and computer files, there's no better way than a USB drive - they are small, portable and incredibly convenient, especially for using as backup.

But there's no reason why you have to use something white and plain and oh-so-boring. So I found you some good ones to step it up a little, either at school, work or on the go.

The Traditional Wishes 8GB USB Flash Drive is pretty (you can hang it up in your locker, office or car) and holds 8 GB of memory (For you technophones out there, that's a heckuva lot!).
It has a USB 2.0 interface and weighs only 15 grams. And of course you don't have to be Asian to have one!

And if this one isn't quite you're thing, don't worry - has every kind of USB item imaginable. I'm sure you'll find one that excites you!

And for me - the restaurant critic and food writer - there was nothing more exciting than the day my USB BBQ Flash Drives arrived from Brando. These incredibly realistic USB drives look and feel like food. So much so that my fella can barely look at them - but I think they are just about the coolest thing ever! I got a chicken wing and drumstick and because they are plug and play with Windows 2000/XP/Vista, I can use them to transfer and print files and pictures wherever I am. I love carrying my chicken wing or drumstick in my purse and with 4GB on each, I can have a bunch of my work with me at all times and not have to worry about burning DVDs or lugging my computer around - fantastic!

And if chicken isn't all that appetizing to you, there's pizza and burgers, BBQ pork, and strawberries and watermelon along with a ton on non-food options.

Just wait until I go to Kinko's this week to print out my book chapters and hand them a chicken wing...


Looking for a great way to get your water or drink to school (or the office, gym, walk, run, shop, etc.)? Then look no further than the Onebottle.

Are you thinking you'll just buy a bottle of water? Think again.

Get the Onebottle, which is reusable and recyclable. It is made of stainless steel (it's non-toxic AND non-leaching), so it is lightweight as well as unbreakable. You can clip it onto your backpack, gym bag or tote and it is more affordable than those fancy bottles at the health food store that by the way, leach!

It is the bottle to get.


Do you ride your bike to school or work? And you wear a helmet, right?

Well, do you want a helmet that actually looks good? That is seriously stylin' and will have your friends brimming of jealousy and thoughts of, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Then you need the YAKKAY helmet.

See, you can select the cover that you like the most and customize your style to your head - all the while being safe about it. How freakin' cool is that?

I got the Paris in Orange Denim, which is so cute I screamed with joy when I tried it on and the Tokyo in Black & White Striped Denim makes me feel uber-sophisticated and tres chic.

And see how each helmet is made to fit your own head, so it won't be wobbling about. Finally, a comfortable helmet that fits AND looks good!

These are by far, the nicest, coolest, most fashionable helmets I have ever seen.

Don't you want to be cool and fashionable all the time - even on your bike?

I thought so.


I think regular notebooks are boring. I think it's time you upped the way you took notes, made lists and doodled while on the phone.

I think it's time you got a Slowtech Notebook from Pinetti.

They are handmade and come in a host of colours. I got one in silver so that I would stand out against the crowd of black-covered books. It's sumptuous, yet not too frou-frou to be used or to be held against for being all about the bling.

Nope. This is a simply gorgeous book that can hold all your dreams, all your secrets and all that you know.

Why you'd want to use 3-ringed paper for that when there is the Slowtech is beyond me.

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