Tips for Back-to-School Success this Fall

Tips for Back-to-School Success this Fall

By: Eric Mees


August 7, 2020

Instead of scrambling to the nearest discount retailer looking for the latest fall fashions, a half-dozen Pee-Chee folders and a cheap box of colored pencils, there is a lot of uncertainty this Back-to-School season. With the start of the fall semester just weeks away and many schools and universities still finalizing their plans, this semester is going to bring with it a whole new set of challenges to parents and students alike.

Earlier this year, many schools turned to online learning to finish the spring semester. And, if you’re like us, your first reactions were, “teachers aren’t paid enough” and “I could never do this full-time.” And we couldn’t agree more!

But with some schools starting the fall semester online (and others setting up online learning as a contingency plan), you may need to do it all over again. This time you have the advantage. Remember the things that worked well and change the things that didn’t. Here are some tips you can use to prepare for the upcoming semester.

Online classes

If you’re like most of us, your home probably seems a lot smaller since stay-at-home orders closed many campuses last spring. The prospect of having your student attending online classes again this fall might seem daunting, but with some planning and preparation, it doesn’t need to be a disaster.

First, make sure you create a good learning environment for your kids, no matter how old they are. Here are a couple of things you can do to help them—and yourself—this fall.

Dedicated workspace: Younger children might benefit from having kid-sized furniture, such as a chair, table or desk. This frees them from sitting at the kitchen table or in front of the television. Or, more importantly, from sitting right next to you. For older students, you might need to convert your guest bedroom or basement into a place they can do their schoolwork.

Minimize distractions: This is the key regardless of the age group. For an elementary school-age child, you might have to hide their toys or electronics. For older kids, don’t let them study in the same room as their gaming system. For college students, give them enough space to stay organized, listen to their own music, and spread out.

Food prep: Make sure to have snack food on hand each day, as well as lunches prepped and ready to go. There’s nothing worse than your teen announcing “I’m hungry” five minutes before your client call. Plus, if you pre-portion snacks, they won’t be grazing all day.

Stay online: With the added computer usage in the house, it might be a good idea to upgrade your wi-fi or even consider adding some wi-fi extenders. This is especially true if you’re prepping a back bedroom or basement area as an ad hoc workspace.

Don’t forget yourself: If you’re working from home, it’s important to think of your work environment, too. Make sure you’re in a place where you can concentrate. Keep your appearance professional, including your background and surroundings. And while most employers and clients will understand if your kids make an accidental guest appearance in your Zoom meeting, it’s still a good idea to have a separate place to go for those uninterrupted, sensitive discussions.


If space is at a premium around your house, self-storage can solve some of your issues. Move that spare armoire and antique headboard out of the back bedroom to make an office for yourself or a dedicated place to study for your high schooler. Or that dormant treadmill in the corner? It might be time to get it out of the way so you can create a mini-classroom for your 3rd grader.

Renting a storage unit is a great option in these situations. Unclutter your house to give everyone a little extra breathing space this fall. And if you are storing anything vintage, consider a climate-controlled storage unit to help mitigate damage from humidity or excessive temperature swings.

On Campus

Colleges and universities are taking many precautions to protect students throughout the semester, including reduced class sizes, limited dorm room occupancy, online classes and more. That said, it’s still important to make sure you’re prepared both at home and on campus.

Be ready to send more things with them than usual. For instance, you’ll want to ensure they have enough clothes to last through the changing seasons. This will be especially true if universities are discouraging parental visits during the semester, as several colleges have announced they are doing.

Some schools are closing campuses around Thanksgiving, with the remainder of the semester and finals switching to online. And of course, there’s no telling if a university might be forced to move all learning online midway through the semester. Either way, a little preparation from the section above can help prevent chaos at home.

And if your students are planning to return home for winter break, consider moving their non-essential belongings to a storage unit. That way you don’t have to hassle with moving everything back home or worry that they’ll be safe in campus housing for an extended period.

Store Space has storage facilities in 15 states ready to answer all your questions and help you find the storage unit that fits your needs—and your budget. We have locations near campuses in Gainesville, FL, St. Petersburg, FL, Philadelphia, PA, Houston, TX, Dallas, TX, Indianapolis, IN, Cincinnati, OH, Rochester, NY, Columbus, GA, St. Louis, MO, Dearborn, MI, and Totowa, NJ. And with month-to-month leases, you can store with us as long as necessary without the worry of a long-term contract.

Eric Mees

Writer who also enjoys cars, guitars and Mars bars.


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