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Back to School Prep (organization & clothes)

This post is sponsored by Walmart. All product selections and opinions are my own!
Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

{fridge organization details and sources}

Back to school! It’s coming! Sooner for some of us than others. Our kids usually go back at the very end of August but this year they start school two weeks earlier. I’m bummed because the day Ad and Kole start school is also the first day El can get into her dorm at college. Kenny and I are going to have to divide and conquer with the kids and I don’t want to miss either event! We’re still working out travel details and who is doing what, but in the meantime I’m in full on back to school prep mode over here. That always includes tackling 4 main hot spots in our home and getting back to school clothes for the kids! I found so many fun things for Kole from Walmart this year! And I rounded up cute things for girls at the end of this post. AND I found some fun things for El for college! But first.. my hot spots. The fridge was a big one and I’m thrilled to have that project checked off my list!

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

I always whip my pantry into shape before school starts too.

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

It feels so good to start a new school year with snacks for the kids’ lunches and after school ready to go!

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

We always clean out closets and I had my girls start today. It’s a process. :)

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

Especially this year with El’s closet. (This is Ad’s above.) I knew it would be emotional for me because we are cleaning and starting to pack some of her stuff so I’m having her start and just do a little each day. I’m in denial that she’s leaving soon!

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

Kole’s closet is clean but I need to go through his clothes because so many don’t fit him anymore. I seriously can’t keep up with him he is growing so quickly these days. The last pair of shoes I bought him lasted 4 months and are now too tight!

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

The last hot spot I always clean with the kids is our mudroom. Lockers and shoe drawers get a good deep clean so they are ready for a new school year too!

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

{surf sunset graphic tee/boys mesh shorts}

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

I always stock up on basics from Walmart for Kole before school starts. Simple tees and athletic shorts are all he lives in! This tee comes in a pack of two (he was wearing the other top vacuuming his shoe locker) and these shorts come in a pack of 6!

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

{surf sunset graphic tee/athletic performance shorts}

If the clothes I’m sharing look a little big/long on him that’s because they are. I’m ordering everything for this child in a 14/16 even though he’s 12! The way things are going they’ll be too small for him by Christmas. Ha.

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

{henley fleece hoodie/slim knit denim pants}

We still need to go shoe shopping and most of what I’ve bought for him so far is for the warm months at the beginning of the year, but I did get a few things for when it gets cooler! These slim knit denim pants are a great fit and come in regular and husky. Of course I love the green henley.. Kole does too because it’s soft and comfortable. If clothes are even the tiniest bit itchy they are a no go for this one! (Laughing at his sisters through the french doors – I gave up trying to get a head on smile!)

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

I work hard to make sure Kole is getting  good mix of friend/outside time, camps/activity time and reading/learning time each summer. He works hard at making sure he gets enough iPad and “relax time” each summer.

Somewhere we meet in the middle. #survival

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

{gamer shirt/boys mesh shorts}

Probably why tees like this are always his favorite. Some things never change!

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

{pack of 4 crewneck tees/boys mesh shorts/willow sage 3 piece set/navy outdoor rug/woven blue outdoor throw pillows}

A lot of the clothes I bought are great for summer and he has been wearing them all the past few weeks. It’s warm here through October so our summer clothes are basically our fall clothes and really can be worn all winter too since by “cooler weather” I mean that we go from 78 degrees to a chilly 70. Brr. ;) We can never have enough tees and shorts! This white tee comes in a pack of 4 – white, black and two shades of blue (there are other color options available too). Great basics and perfect to layer under vests, sweaters and jackets if you have a real winter where you live!

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

Getting leaves out of the pool.. one of Kole’s daily summer jobs. :)

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

{harry potter graphic tee/green retro hawkins graphic tee/black stranger things graphic tee/navy fleece zip up hoodie}

I’m a HUGE fan of graphic tees and I love the selection at Walmart. They have so many fun Stranger Things tees! I don’t even let Kole watch Stranger Things but he knows all about the characters because his sisters and mom are obsessed. Ha. That green retro Hawkins tee is my favorite and would be mine if it came in a women’s size/cut! I still might borrow Kole’s even if it doesn’t fit quite right. :)

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

I asked Kole to try on this outfit for a pic and he wasn’t impressed.. came out in sunglasses and gave me this look when I said “smile” and asked how long this little photo session would last.

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

{gildan long sleeved tee/slim knit denim pants}

So I told him he could earn extra iPad time and we would be done quick if he just smiled already and there you go! One shot and done. Ha.

Back to School Prep (organization & clothes) Sunny Side Up

I guess the same tricks that worked when he was in first grade still apply today. ;)

Below are all of the clothes I bought Kole!

Back To School walmart (

1-  denim skirt   2- boot cut jeans   3- t-shirt

4- jacket   5- pajama sleep set   6- rugby dress

7- long sleeve henley top   8- ruffle skirt

How cute are these fun options for girls!? I so miss shopping for mine. They do all of their clothes shopping on their own now which is so nice, but when I see clothes like this I can’t help miss the days I had my girls in matching rainbow pjs and ruffle skirts! I would have bought them everything above in a heartbeat. :)


Walmart Back to School (

1-unicorn dream backpack set   2- large black backpack   3- toy story backpack

4- shark combo set backpack   5- aqua backpack   6- eastsports black backpack

7- blush backpack   8- sparkle unicorn 3-piece set   9- mirabel backpack

Walmart has so many great backpack options! A lot of the solid color backpacks come in multiple colors too.

So many of you have asked me what I’m buying to get Ellie ready for college because you’re sending one off too! We are just starting to order things for her dorm and I will share everything we buy, but for now I’ve just been doing research! I’m talking to all of my friends with college age kids to see what they are using and loving. Walmart also has this awesome dorm checklist that gave me some good ideas too. Below are a few options I have in my on-line cart, but I feel like I need to see her dorm to make final decisions on a few of them. I’ve heard a clip on fan, noise machine and shower caddy are essentials! Storage bins/shelves are great too depending on what kids’ have room for in their dorms. I’m definitely getting the hanging caddy bed organizer! If you have kids in college let me know! What can’t they live without!?


1- hair tool bin   2- clorox wipes   3- clip fan

4- blanket   5- hanging caddy bed organizer   6- sound machine

7- under bed storage bins   8- shower caddy   9- bookshelf

10- mini fridge   11-storage boxes   12- comforter set

Happy back to school prep everyone! Another fun year ahead and I will be ready! Maybe not emotionally stable, but kids’ closets will be clean.

I’ll take it.


xoxo, Erin
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13 thoughts on “Back to School Prep (organization & clothes)

  1. Hi Erin! Kole looks so grown up! What a trooper to model all his great new clothes. I guess extra Ipad time is a great incentive. :) Love that print (of the oranges) in your pantry and how lovely it looks. So many yummy snacks. Thanks for sharing. Is your daughter going to have a roommate(s) in the dorm. It would be great if they could coordinate together that each brings something so it’s not oll on one person. Here are some ideas/things that worked for us since you asked. If her bed is a bunk that you keep lifted off the ground, it might be a good idea to get a pool noodle to cut for putting along the edge of the bottom in case she has to put her desk under the bunk. Keeps her head from getting clunked too hard. A mattress topper is a good idea-we got a 2 inch thick one from Walmart. A lock for the desk drawer if it has the ability to have one. We also bought our daughter a small portable safe to put important things in you don’t want to “lose.” Shower shoes/flip flops. A laundry basket of some sort, easy to transport. The mesh one we bought last year didn’t last the year, so we found a wire framed one at Bed, Bath and Beyond a few weeks ago. My daughter’s school does not allow command hooks(which was a surprise) on the wall. Painter’s tape is okay. Basic cleaning supplies. A small microwave/coffee maker were acceptable. We brought Ramen noodles for her to heat up and teas that she liked. We almost got her a hot water kettle, but she ended up heating water in the microwave. At my daughter’s school, they can check out things like a vacuum from the dorm. The school should have a list of what to bring. and what is acceptable. We did buy her an oscillating fan and she is leaving it at home since she didn’t feel like they needed it. The dorm is small! So you don’t want to jam pack it with too much. between the two girls last year, they did well. They are rooming together again this year. :) Good luck to you and your daughter! It’s an exciting time. But also bittersweet. I’ve not done much else this summer, but enjoy every moment with my girls. She heads back in just a few weeks already! It really hit me that they won’t be hanging out with mom too much longer. :) But, I’m so happy they are happy so it’s all good!

    1. Thank you so much Jeanne! I’m so happy you are enjoying time with your girls! So many good tips.. thank you! I’m taking notes! xo

  2. OHMYGOSH! that pic of Kole looking over the top of the sunglasses and the pose! Priceless!
    *Dorm list. For me it still feels like just yesterday I did this with the youngest daughter. Shes all graduated, into her career and got married so I am on to a whole NEW ball of wax! I will say that one super important thing for the dorm or student approved apartment is a HALFWAY DECENT (more later on that!) mattress topper! NO matter WHAT school, what dorm-the mattresses usually have very little comfort level and often they are incased in bug proof, bacteria proof, waterproof plastic covers. The standard, old school “egg crate” pads are good b/c *I had one child (IF you are reading this, you know WHO you are! ;-D ) who threw them out at the end of the school year. HA! Probably a reaction/combination of mom keeping too much “extra stuff” and her penchant for always wanting NEW stuff! Get TWIN XL if you can and it can be cut for standard twin. Same with sheets. Twin XL sheets can be tucked in IF the bed size changes to standard twin (which happened to us X2. BOTH daughters!) Also, I used to “stage” all the items in the formal, less used living room for a couple of weeks before leaving while I was doing the buying. Looks a bit like a store but easy to see what you have and identify what you need and see all the colors/styles together. You need a big living room with sofas and chairs to lay things out on. I would tape the receipt to the top of each item for an easy return if needed. This worked like a charm as the living room is first floor and not far from the front door for easy car loading on the final morning, or evening home (Don’t cry Erin, Thanksgiving :) is right around the corner!) Extra bedrooms are usually on the second or third floor (in my house) and would be a nightmare getting everything down 2 staircases!
    SMILE, ERIN :) It’s a NEW CHAPTER and it may be the best yet! “Life chapters” are like decorating. or changing seasons. Things WILL change and some of it will be experimentation and learning curve. Erin, I KNOW you will approach it with your usual SUNNY (no pun intended!) optimism and energy and pull us ALL along on this WONDERFUL ride! as you ALWAYS do!
    PS. IF you stage everything all together in your living room it will be easy to take pictures to show us all the neat stuff together!

    1. Thank you so much Sherri! This is seriously SO helpful! I’m writing all of this down! And looking forward to Thanksgiving! ;) XO

  3. Be careful in buying too many “nice” or expensive things for the college dorm room. Remember everything will end up being shared, or worse STOLEN. I’ve seen this happen way too many times to think it won’t happen to your daughter). People just don’t understand boundaries or have respect for other’s privacy and possessions. Just keep that in mind. You could be financing someone else having very nice things, at the expense of your daughter and you.

  4. Kole is growing up and so handsome! Thanks for sharing these parts of your life, hope to see what you get for the college dorm. It’s definitely a new stage, but exciting as they meet new people and have new experiences. Love your posts!

    1. Thank you so much Holly! Such a kind comment. That means a lot! I’ll definitely share what we end up with for Ellie! :) xo

  5. I feel you with your daughter going to college 🥺 my daughter has graduated and is back home (for now) but it was soooo hard for me, but my Cole is going back in September. Like your Kole, he is my good helper 😊. Luckily he is still in California just Northern so we make the trek to visit, my daughter went to Ohio! Hope Ellie is not going too far from you 💛. And your pantry has been the best idea help for me! Love it. Need to tackle my master closet, hope that post comes in the Fall 🤣.

    1. Oh your sweet comment made my day! Thank you! Sounds like we are living very similar lives! I love that you have a Cole too. :) Huge congrats for your daughter being done. That’s so exciting! No doubt it was hard having her in Ohio! I hope she lands somewhere closer long term. El isn’t quite that far but is in a different state so I’ll definitely be traveling lots to visit! You are totally motivating me to finish my closet. Fingers crossed it happens this fall! I’ll try! Ha.. ;)

  6. I know I am a little late to the party here, but I did want to chime in on my college prep ideas. My oldest has graduated and my twins only have one year left so I have got some college prep experience! lol

    In general: Less is more! Dorm rooms are small and too much stuff is overwhelming to store and clean around.
    Have a set up kit with you, Erin, that you carry in and keep up with yourself. Think moving day items like Clorox wipes, scissors, a couple trash bags, basic tools, etc.
    Command hooks if they are allowed are great, otherwise painter’s tape might do for lighter items. This might be just me, but I like drawer liner for the drawers too.
    My kiddos must haves include: shower shoes, bathroom caddy, bathrobe, slippers, a good umbrella, sturdy hamper, power strip, extra lighting (desk lamp plus something soft and homey: my younger daughter loved her fairy lights!), a rug, and something to sit on that’s not a bed or a desk chair. Don’t overbuy on kitchen items (too much to store and hand wash) and don’t over bring clothes from your wardrobe.
    My last tip: a suitcase AND a weekender bag for long and short travels. However well you prep, trust me, you’ll still have to go shopping there in town. But I’m sure you won’t mind that, Erin!

    Best to El as she makes this transition and to you too, mom!

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