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With Labor Day just around the corner, the unofficial end of summer is just a few weeks away. That means we're all preparing to ease into our fall routines, return to the office or likely have someone in our lives that is going back to school.
To make your seasonal shopping less of a task, Shop All Day contributor Jenn Falik stopped by TODAY to share some of her favorite products that have helped make her life easier. So while actual school supplies might be facing a bit of a shortage right now, Falik has all of the items outside of pencils and pens you'll be glad you got the scoop on.
Shop All Day contributor Chassie Post also stopped by the 3rd hour of TODAY to share some of the wardrobe and beauty essentials to help you get ready for the changing of the seasons in style, including a chic blazer and gold eye masks with more than 6,000 five-star reviews.
From concentration cubes to help you stay on task to a chic sweatsuit, read on for all of the picks that make up what we're calling the ultimate back-to-routine shopping guide.
Back-to-school Amazon favorites for parents on the 3rd hour of TODAY
Even lunch can be high fashion with this lunch bag. It looks just like your favorite stylish handbag but is an insulated cooler that can hold your entire lunch, plus a water bottle, and keep it cold (or hot) for hours, according to the brand. Post says she loves that not only are fashion and function joining forces "to give us something we didn’t know we needed," with this 4.7 star–rated lunch bag, but also it comes in several different "sophisticated patterns" that might make you want to ditch your old tote.
Blazers aren't just for the office anymore, so we love that this one can work for nearly any occasion. Whether you're running out the door and want to look pulled-together or simply need the finishing touch on an outfit for work, this bestseller won't let you down. Post says it crosses off all of the boxes: The loosely tailored fit is on-trend for fall, the fabric has a little give, it's well crafted and is simply a stylish and versatile piece. It's also machine washable, so you'll never need to rush to the dry cleaners before Monday rolls around.
While the rise of workleisure might signify that it's time to ditch your favorite sweatpants, Post says we don't have to kiss comfort goodbye so fast. Matching sets have been on trend for some time and comfort certainly isn't going anywhere — so this sweatsuit combines the best of both worlds. Even if you don't want to go for a monochromatic look, you can wear the pieces as separates with existing pieces in your wardrobe to mix it up.
Trends dating back to the '80s are popping up everywhere in fashion, but big hair is making a comeback, too. Post knows that effortless waves are not always effortless — but says these heatless rollers make it easy to achieve. The foam rollers can be used on hair that is almost dry overnight or before you leave the house, which helps save time when it comes to heat-free styling.
Eight hours of sleep each night is always the goal, but if you can't achieve it, you can at least fake it with these eye masks, Post says. They have over 6,000 verified five-star reviews and are like an "energy drink" for your eyes, since they help reduce puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles; brighten; and hydrate. Since they're made with real gold, they not only look like luxury, but also feel like it.
Dry shampoo can not only help extend the life of your hair between washes, but also it can give it some volume when styling. This top-rated version from the brand behind the bestselling Moroccanoil treatment helps balance brassiness in blonde hair, in addition to cleansing and providing UV-protective benefits.
For those with darker undertones in their hair, this version of Moroccanoil's dry shampoo breaks down just as easily, so you don't have to worry about visible residue or white patches in your hair.
Back-to-school Amazon favorites for parents on TODAY
Eyeglass lenses tend to get dirty throughout the day, and in this era of mask-wearing they might seem to fog up and collect dirt faster than ever. This handy tool makes keeping lenses clean an easy task without the hassle of carrying around a cloth wherever you go. It features two carbon microfiber cloths on each end that can wipe your lenses up to 500 times without damaging them — a technology that is also used by NASA to clean glass, according to the brand.
These simple cubes can change your life in a big way, Falik says. With these innovative battery-operated blocks, you don't need to use your phone as a distracting timer. Simply toss the cube like a die and let it decide for how long you'll need to focus on a task, read a few pages of a book or take a screen break for before returning to work.
If grocery shopping isn't time-consuming enough, cooking the actual meal might feel like even more of a chore. Falik recommends these tray dividers for anyone looking to cut down on time spent in the kitchen, since they can help streamline the process. The food-grade silicone dividers can be used in a half-sheet pan or any pan you likely already have in your cabinet and feature rimmed handles for easy removal, so you don't have to worry about overcooking any item on the tray. Falik also says it's great for families with picky eaters or those with dietary restrictions, too.
Editor's note: Our pick is sold out, but we found similar top-rated options below.
- Zip Standing Silicone Sheet Pan Set ($14.99)
- Xomoo Silicone Sheet Pan Set ($14.99)
- Prepd Cheat Sheet Pan Dividers ($24.99)
Whether you want to make breakfast prep easier or keep snacks easily accessible throughout the day, these nifty food dispensers can help make it happen. Not only are they functional (they can keep food fresh for up to 34 days at a time), but also they can instantly make any pantry look organized and Instagram worthy. Falik loves that it helps portion control and can also help kids be more self-sufficient in the mornings.
The trunk of your car might be a catch-all space during the school year, but with this bestselling solution, it can at least be an organized one. With three main compartments for storage plus multiple mesh pockets, there's more than enough room to keep all of your essentials. It also features reinforced base plates to keep it upright and the compartments are water resistant and leakproof, so you don't have to worry about spills.
A first aid kit is an essential that you can compile on your own, but it's easy to forget a few important components along the way. This kit from Welly has over 2,000 verified five-star ratings and is loved by shoppers that say it has "everything you need" and is perfect for keeping "in your car." It includes a total of 93 bandaids, a roll of tape, five non-stick pads, 10 wound prep pads, nine butterfly strips, five triple-antibiotic packets, five hydrocortisone packets and 16 ibuprofen pills.
More back-to-school Amazon favorites for parents
After you finish chopping, all it takes is the squeeze of the handle to transform this cutting board into a chute. For the home cook, it is a simple tool that can make at least one step of the meal prep process just slightly easier. This green version is perfect for small pots and pans and is also dishwasher safe for easy care.
"What's for dinner?" will no longer be a question with this convenient notepad. You can easily stick it on the fridge so that everyone in your home knows exactly what will be on the "menu" that day, no questions asked. It also features a slot for a grocery list, so you can add what you need throughout the week to it.
For stubborn stains, a little extra elbow grease might be needed to restore your favorite shirt or pair of pants to pristine condition. This gentle silicone brush can be used to scrub everything from shirts and sneakers to pans, without damaging your belongings.
Anyone headed back to the gym or to extracurricular activities might need a padlock, but might not always remember a number combination or to bring the key along with them. Luckily, this bestseller uses a word combination, which makes it easier to remember the code.
If you'll be working from home this fall or have a student who will be learning from home, this nifty drawer can help maximize storage in the workspace. It can support up to 15 pounds and is deep enough to hold everything from pencils to headphones without falling.
Blue light from your phone, laptop and other devices can not only wreak havoc on your skin, but also is believed to keep you awake for longer at night. These affordable screen protectors are designed for all kinds of devices (even gaming systems) and can help reduce the strain on your eyes from screens throughout the day.
This ergonomic cup holder is designed to prevent spills as you recline and unwind, but it can also be used to hold your phone, TV remote and more. Though it works best on armrests, you can also place it between seat cushions or over the backrest on couches or chairs to hold your belongings too.
Hand sanitizer is a daily essential, but carrying around a bulky bottle can get annoying (and you might not always remember that you have it on you). These wristbands make it easy to keep hand sanitizer within reach and ready to use at all times — especially for younger kids — and can easily be refilled using the included bottle and applicator tip.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 12 must-have back-to-school supplies — starting at $7
- This teacher went viral for discovering this face mask accessory — here’s what experts think
- Millie Bobby Brown released a new skin care line — and everything’s under $20