Your child's locker is his or her personal space, stocked with all of the essentials for schooling, personal care and extracurricular activity supplies. Just as a home functions better when it's organized and when needed items are in reach, a student's well-stocked locker can make life easier and more efficient.
In addition, the student's locker is a place of personal expression. Decorating and personalizing this space, no matter how small or narrow, gives the child a sense of ownership, creativity and control of this little corner of the school environment. And many students say that because friends -- and, yes, their crushes -- gather at their lockers, they want their lockers to be visually impressive.
Here are some locker essentials to add to your back-to-school shopping list:
--Shelves. "Students need to have a locker shelf that helps divide their books from their notebooks and spiral pads. This helps students quickly access their textbooks and binders/notebooks for classes," says Eileen Roth, author of "Organizing For Dummies" and a consultant for Everything in its Place. The Locker Ladder, for example, can be hung in a locker to hold books, folders, notebooks and more.
--Mirror. Students care very much about their appearance, and a well-stocked locker features a small mirror that can be hung for checking hair and makeup. At Calendars.com, you'll find a mirror with a few special features. The magnetic-backed mirror is paired with a calendar and mini-clothesline with three mini-clothespins, which securely hold favorite photos, notes and important reminders.
--Card organizer. "These days, students have a lot of cards that they are responsible for -- school ID card, library card, lunch card, bus pass, insurance card, gift cards, frequent punch cards and more," says Stephanie Navarro, CEO of MaMa Change. "Keeping track of them and/or losing them -- what a hassle! The Card Cache cable wallet keeps all of these cards in one organized place with a personalized charm on the clip. There are four caches to choose from -- star, heart, flower and diamond scroll -- all starting at $13. We also have a host of attachable accessories, including mini tab dividers, pens, calendars, purse/backpack hooks, hole punches, photo sleeves and an array of charms that can be changed to match whatever your mood is."
--Eco-friendly tote bags. Reusable totes in eco-friendly materials are now chic and stylish, featuring fashion-inspired patterns and colors. Envirosax's tote bags roll up into tiny sizes, so they don't take up space when unused. When you need them to bring home wet shoes or project supplies, they're right on hand.
--Scented hangers. An enclosed space can get musty and odorous, especially if a student stores athletic items in it. A hanging scent strip or stick-on air freshener keeps a locker smelling fresh.
--Office supplies. For handing in papers and projects, a student needs a stapler, paper clips and more. So create a pouch filled with office essentials and your student can put a last-minute organizing touch on schoolwork.
--Beauty supplies. A small zipped tote can hold lipstick and lip gloss, pressed powder, eyeliner, a brush and other cosmetic supplies, providing easy access; it sure beats rummaging through a handbag or backpack to find a small item.
--D?cor. Students are decorating their lockers with vibrant color "wallpaper," magnetic signs and stick-ons, even battery-operated chandeliers to add extra light to their spaces. One new collection is from LockerLookz, with fashion-inspired magnetics in zebra stripes, dots and more. Cute themed magnets let the student display photos, magazine pages, notes and more.
--A better lock. According to the National Middle School Association, the biggest fear of new students is forgetting their locker combinations. Eliminate locker combination anxiety with a new lock, such as one from Wordlock, whose locks allow you to make the combinations out of letters. Your student can program the lock with an unforgettable word as the combo, and it opens every time. These locks can be found at OfficeMax, True Value, Dick's Sporting Goods and other retailers for less than $6 apiece, ideal for a student's main locker and gym locker.