AFTER months of homeschooling and the long summer holidays, it’s time to get ready to return to school.
But as parents gear up for the new school year, they're desperately trying to restore order at home – which for many means making mornings as stress-free as possible.
In an attempt to speed up busy and hectic mornings, savvy mums have created impressive back-to-school stations, which help the kids get ready for school and busy parents too.
And the best part is that they don't cost a lot to do, with many opting for cheap storage solutions and budget labels.
From labelled tubs with perfectly organised school uniforms to efficient breakfast stations, here are some of the most organised set-ups helping busy mums.
Busy mum-of-four Shannon Doherty went viral when she shared a video of her self-serve breakfast station on TikTok.
The mum, 36, who is a content creator from Connecticut, United States, said she’s always looking for ways to make her mornings and getting ready for school easier.
In the video caption, she wrote: “Self Serve BREAKFAST STATION!! Best Mom Hack!”
Shannon’s self serve breakfast station is a cart that is reachable for her four kids, stocked up with cereal dispensers, fruit, juice boxes, and more.
As a busy mum of four, I’m always looking for ways to make mornings and getting ready for school easier so I had those cool cereal containers and made up the idea.
The mum, who frequently shares life hacks and home ideas with her more than 600,000 followers, said: “As a busy mum of four, I’m always looking for ways to make mornings and getting ready for school easier so I had those cool cereal containers and made up the idea.
“It only took 10 minutes to set up as we already had all the stuff. It helps my kids get up and go downstairs independently and get ready faster.
“It makes my morning easier and my children love the independence it gives them, they really love it.”
Shannon, who is mum to Lala, seven, Coco, five, Peaches, four, and Hunter, two, also shared another useful mum hack which speeds up her busy mornings.
Her weekly kids clothes organisers means she no longer spends her mornings helping her kids pick out their outfits for school.
In the video, she grabs two storage containers and stacks them.
Then, she labels each box with the days of the week and fills them with each daily outfit – including underwear, clothes, shoes, socks and accessories.
She captioned the video: “This made our mornings SO MUCH EASIER!!!! BEST MOM HACK!”
Then, the final clip sees writing across the screen appear, reading: “Mornings just became so much easier!”
Shannon admitted she couldn’t describe how much the organisers help her daily routine.
She said: “It helps SO much! We don't spend mornings debating what to wear anymore and my kids can now get themselves dressed too.
“It’s super simple and every Sunday, we pick out outfits for the week and fill it up.”
Elsewhere mum-of-two Emma Roberts, from Birmingham, also has clever back-to-school stations to help make her busy mornings run smoother.
The PR manager, 34, started TikTok in January and went viral after she shared a video of her birthday card folder hack – which makes sure she doesn’t miss any birthdays in the year.
Her clip went ‘crazy’ as she received over half a million views in less than a week; so from there, she has continued to share her mum hacks and organisational skills.
She said: “It just went from there. I love organising and having a system for things in the house. It definitely makes life easier, especially having two little ones to look after.”
Emma, who is mum to Harley, six, and Ada, three, recently shared a clip of her breakfast station – which is perfect for speeding up busy school mornings.
In the clip, Emma uses B&M canisters, and fills them with cereals, before using the Brother label maker to label which type of cereal it is on the front.
She wrote in the caption: “Time for a cereal refill!”
The mum said her cereal refill jar station definitely makes her mornings easier.
She said: “It’s much easier to find what I’m looking for in the cupboard and I don’t need to keep messing about with the boxes.
“It also helps me keep an eye on what I need to reorder in the shopping.”
Emma also shared a video of her school uniform station which is perfect for the back-to-school prep.
In the uniform storage hack video, Emma writes: “I needed a system for my six-year-old’s school uniform so I got this hanging SKUBB from Ikea.
“I labelled each compartment by days of the week…
“And I've put everything he needs for the day so he can get himself ready for school.”
Emma explained: “ I knew that I needed some kind of system because my son’s school uniform was taking up lots of space in his wardrobe and he couldn’t reach it himself.
“I wanted something that had space for all five days worth of uniform so when I saw the hanging SKUBB from IKEA I knew that would be the best thing to use.
It also helps motivate me to get everything washed and ironed all at once at the weekend and not run around before school trying to find everything!
“I used my label maker to label each shelf by day. Every Sunday I refill the SKUBB with his uniform and underwear and socks for each day, that way he can help himself every morning.”
The savvy mum-of-two said the back-to-school uniform setup is perfect – and her little boy loves it too.
It encourages him to read the labels and means he can get himself ready independently.
She said: “He can independently go and get his uniform for that day (it also encourages him to read the labels) and get himself ready whilst I get his younger sister ready.
“It also helps motivate me to get everything washed and ironed all at once at the weekend and not run around before school trying to find everything!
“He loves it and enjoys the independence of going to get his own uniform and get ready alone every morning.
“It’s just part of his routine now that he goes into his bedroom and gets himself ready for school.
“It takes very little time to prepare on a Sunday. Once I’ve ironed his uniform I just put it into the correct days and then add pants and socks.”
And that’s not the only back-to-school set-up station Emma uses, she also gets her son’s packed lunches ready in the evening with the items that don’t need to be refrigerated.
She packs away his crisps, biscuit and raisins – and makes sure that everything she can get ready the night before, is ready to go.
Emma added: “I fill out his reading record book and have his bag and shoes ready by the front door.
“Obviously we’ve had to do a lot of homeschooling over the last 18 months so I created a crafting station using a trolley that I brought from Argos.
“This is where I store all of our crayons, pens, paper and crafting supplies. It can easily wheel around the house and the kids love it!”
Meanwhile Jessica Mason, from South Yorkshire, also created a self-serve breakfast station for her daughter – and it has the benefit of speeding up crazy mornings.
The mum-of-one, 31, said the breakfast station makes mornings more convenient for her and her nine-year-old daughter Summer Grace.
Jessica, who works in a children’s home, said: “Summer loves being away on holiday, and loves a self-service breakfast and to be able to independently go up and get what she wants.
“Due to Covid we aren’t allowed to go away, so I thought I could make things a little bit more fun at home for her. I put a selection of breakfast treats, and try to mix it up each week.
“It was so quick and easy to set-up; I just got a cereal dispenser from Amazon, a basket from B&M and filled it with two different cereal choices.
“In the basket at the side, I filled with cereal bars, a small selection of fruit and raisins.”
She captioned the video, writing: “I made a grab and go breakfast station for my daughter.”
The mum explained how the grab and go breakfast station means her daughter Summer is able to independently make her own breakfast with ease, and has fun doing so.
She added: “If we are in a rush, it allows me to do other things like check to see if her PE kit is in her bag and that she has her reading book!”
Jessica said her daughter Summer ‘loves’ the breakfast station as it’s fun, quick and easy – plus, she enjoys the element of surprise when it’s filled with different things each week.
The mum refills the breakfast station every Sunday to make sure it’s ready for the week ahead.
She said: “It’s also great because it doesn’t have to cost the earth, most things can be picked up from Aldi!
“I find that getting prepared the night before is the key. I fill up Summer’s water bottle the night before and put it in the fridge along with her lunch.
“I get her up at 7am to make sure she’s up dressed and breakfast is done, then she has 45 minutes free time before we set off to school.
“Parents should always make things feel like it’s a game or fun for children. Summer likes to feel like she has been part of the plan and then things always move more smoothly.
“We even have competitions on who can get dressed the quickest on a morning – it’s all about having fun!”
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