Housekeeping Organization

The Best Back-to-School Items (Even If You’re Not Going Back To School)

From dorm decor to office essentials, these items will make you actually want to get back to work.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

As much as we hate to admit it, we’re more than halfway through August, which means summer is winding down and it’s officially back-to-school season. Yes, we’ll miss rosé Sundays and soaking up the sun, but before we ceremoniously say goodbye to summer Fridays and deflate our pool floats, we’re going to utilize our last bit of summer to get ready for the year ahead. So, whether or not you’re going to back to school this year, it’s the perfect time to start anew and re-up on organizational knick-knacks, office essentials, or dorm decor. If there’s one way to transition into the shorter days and sweater weather ahead, it’s by getting yourself organized and spiffing up your back-to-school (or work!) essentials. Click through our picks ahead so you can get prepared without lifting anything but your finger.

Whether you’re decorating a dorm room, or want to upgrade your office (or even your home office!), a good-looking wall clock will keep you on track with your deadlines and look the part, too. This wall clock is choice because it can easily play off other gold accents in a room, making it a functional decor piece.

A decorative pillow that can also support your lumbar vertebrae is a must. Most of us are constantly hunched over our laptops for hours at a time while we work or study. If you place a small pillow between your lower back and your desk chair, you just might forget how many hours you’ve just put in once you’re done. Plus, if you aren’t at your desk, this pillow will add an accent that totally upgrades your workspace.

Turns out a cork board is the perfect place for inspirational images, quotes, and other items you want in your line of vision every single day. A cork board is a great addition to a workspace, especially for those who like to change things up, or are scared to commit to a single, particular decor element.

This coming season, never underestimate the power of an area rug, especially in your workspace. Whether you work in your dorm, office, or home office, the right area rug can help make a room feel much more put-together and comfortable.

This desktop storage rack display is not-your-average desk organizer. It’s thoughtfully designed and can be perfect for storing the books you use on a day-to-day basis, while still maintaining room for a succulent or two. If you can achieve both organization and aesthetics in one piece, you’ve found yourself a winner.

Never underestimate the power of binder clips. They are a true essential when it comes to keeping important paperwork tidy and organized. These binder clips are a cut above the rest with their modern, graphic designs.

Nothing says back-to-school quite like a new backpack. While transparent bags like this one can be polarizing, they’re very on trend. Plus, you’ll never have to dig around for that pen that may or may not be in the bottom of your bag ever again. If you’re uncomfortable with strangers seeing the things you’re carrying, pop all your items into organized pouches.

Okay, okay, we know lava lamps aren’t the most productive back-to-school buy on the market, but we have a feeling the oft-forgotten piece will be making a comeback soon. Get ahead of the trend now and bring some whimsy and light into your workspace.

When we think “back-to-school,” we often think organization. There are plenty of organizational items out there that can majorly help streamline your workflow, like this charging station. Keep all your electronic devices, from your celly to your laptop, in one clean place, which also keeps the batteries fully charged. An added benefit is that keeping your phone somewhere other than your hand could be better for your health as you go about your day, or even while you sleep.

If you have a small workspace and still want to invest in a few products that will help you stay organized, acrylic pieces such as this double letter tray are your new best friend. The translucent material means your deskspace won’t look any smaller, but you’re still reaping all the organizational benefits. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Free up your deskspace and take advantage of the walls with magnetic containers that can hold anything from plants, to notebooks, to toothpaste.

Everyone needs a good desk lamp for when you’re studying or working well past dark. Since there’s a high chance you and your desk lamp will spend a lot of late nights together, find one you actually like looking at, like this contemporary option that will complement nearly any decor.  

Have a message to your coworkers or roommate? Work alone and want to send an inspirational message to yourself? This bulletin board comes with 290 letters and is an ideal way to remind others to seize the day! Or, any other message you’d like.

If you’re setting up shop in a home office, a dorm, or a college apartment, chances are you’ll need a great desk chair. This stylish desk chair will add clean lines to your workspace and the transparent back will help make the room feel open.

Even though we’re in a predominately digital world, there’s no avoiding important paperwork both in school and at work. To that point, file cabinets are still a necessity that can oftentimes be an eyesore. This season give yourself the gift of organization with a file cabinet that won’t stand out in a bad way.

While some of the best magazine covers can contend with coffee table books for real estate space on our desks and coffee tables, we need a beautiful place for the overflow. Enter the dotted magazine rack. All the magazines you want to hold onto can have a home that won’t interrupt your workflow.

To prevent all those random miscellaneous items from taking over your desk and distracting you, try utilizing these chic baskets as a catch-all. The baskets will help keep items out of sight and out of mind. When you have time, you can carefully go through the basket to decide what you want to keep.

A storage basket is perfect for larger items that you want left out, like a pair of sneakers and a fresh set of workout clothes if you’re in an office, or your shower shoes and the outfit you’ve picked out for tomorrow if you’re in a dorm.

Getting ready to go back to school isn’t just about efficiency. It’s also about giving yourself everything you need to find success. Sometimes, that comes in the form of an easy-to-care-for succulent. Bring a little of the outdoors inside with a small succulent plant that can be a study buddy who surely won’t distract you.

Sometimes, it’s the symbolic items that can put the most pep in your step in the back-to-school season. To that point, a brand new microwaveable mug can be the pick-me-up you’ll need when you move from iced coffee to hot coffee as the days get colder and shorter. Even if the days get colder, your coffee never will.

Pencil and pen cases are underrated. Without them, your writing utensils go awry and you can start to feel unorganized. Instead of constantly asking your neighbor whether or not you can borrow a pen, always know the whereabouts of your writing utensils with cases you’ll actually want sitting out on your desk at school and at home.