Hooray for back to school time. It’s the season for meeting new friends, seeing old friends daily, school supplies shopping, organizing all of your fun new school essentials. But, don’t forget about one of the most used items you’ll touch multiple times each school day: Your catch all, portal to all learning things, personal organizer...AKA your locker
Really, it’s THE school tool kit. High school students across the United States have used this device for centuries to hide gum, store an extra phone charger, keep a master schedule, check your teeth for remnants of your lunch salad, to find an emergency umbrella and so much more.
You may have some burning questions like: What do you need to stash in your locker? What are the things I need for my locker? Are there different items you should consider including this year? How long have school lockers existed? Why do high school lockers have vents? We’ll get to the last two locker-mystery questions later, but first....
17 Locker Must Haves
Here are your 2020 locker must haves. Including a few weird -- but brilliant-- things for your locker:
- Collapsible locker shelf Odds are you’ll need more space than you thought. Consider purchasing an inexpensive and collapsible shelf for your locker. This will give you an extra place to put hard to organize items. Customize it by picking a color that matches your personality.
- Magnetic dry erase sheets Use this to quickly write yourself reminders, lists or even a new motivational quote each week. The heavier, bulkier dry erase boards are a thing of the past. The sheets are slim and easy to remove. Plus, you’ll have four extra sheets to give to your locker neighbor or friends. Just remember to get your locker measurements before purchasing to be sure they fit your locker space.
- Extra phone or tablet charger How many times have you left the house without your charger? Too many to count. Purchase an extra charger for your phone or tablet and keep it in your locker. This way you’ll never be out of power.
- Power bank You thought you had more cell phone battery than you do and it’s only fourth hour. Keep a source of power in your locker to keep your important items charged when you cannot get to an electrical outlet.
- Shatter-proof locker mirror Teeth check. Need we say more? Male or female, every locker needs a mirror to keep the embarrassing moments at bay.
And we all know you this is the place you tend to rediscover lost items, and think “how did I get all of this junk in here?” while cleaning your locker out at the end of the year.
- Dryer Sheets Yes. Place a dryer sheet or two at the bottom of your locker. It’s the most cost effective, easy-to-store and disguise way to keep things in that tiny space smelling nice. Bonus: You have these at home. If it’s okay with mom, grab a few to put in your locker to keep things fresh.
- Small-portioned hand sanitizer A lot can be associated with the year 2020, hand sanitizer is no exception. Rather than the bulky sanitizers you’ll see in your classrooms, opt for a smaller hand sanitizer option.
- Removable hooks Installing a removable hook will give you space to hang your jacket or cardigan so it’s out of your way and off the bottom of your locker (a common catch all). You’ll also want to hang any lanyards to keep them from getting lost.
- Extra tissues With Coronavirus concerns, you’ll want to have access to tissues should you need them. This year is not a good year to have the sniffles – avoid the awkwardness and have a few tissues in your locker just in case.
- Backup Face Mask It’s easy to lose a face mask; just look around the floors at your local shopping center or busy city sidewalks (kinda gross, really). Lost face masks will join the world of the lost socks—wherever that may be.
Keep a backup mask in your locker and consider hanging it on the removable hook you purchased for safe keeping. If you haven’t checked out Redbubble’s face mask selection you really should! These are fun masks you won’t want to misplace.
- Comfy shoes For cases when those cute shoes you put on this morning are now giving you a monster blister, or when your tennis shoes got soaked in a massive downpour, you’ll want a quick solution. Store a pair of flats or flip flop in your locker for times when you really could use an extra pair of shoes.
- Sweatshirt or cardigan We’ve all been there—the forecast falsely claims the day will be warm when you leave the house, or your homeroom location feels like it’s smack-dab in the Arctic tundra. When your warm-wear outfit is not keeping out the cold, whatever the situation, keep your temp comfortable with that extra warmth when you need it!
- Mini makeup kit Keep a small bag of makeup essentials in your locker for times when you need to cover up a blemish quickly or have an eyeliner mishap. Consider using a fun Ziploc bag to keep items like concealer, makeup remover cloths, eyeliner and travel powder.
- Deodorant Maybe your public speaking presentation has you nervous or you simply forgot to put on deodorant before you ran out of the house. You (and your classmates) will be happy you had that travel sized deodorant in your locker!
- Pictures that make you smile It’s so nice to open your locker to be greeted by a picture of your sweet kitten, Salvador Dali. Or, a family photo of you and your brother or sister. Gather a few photos that give you all the feels and use a magnetic photo sleeve place to them in your locker. You’ll get a quick pick-me-up in between each class.
- Hair ties Having a few extra hair ties on hand may be helpful too. Test taking seems easier when your hair is out of your face. Hair is up—time to conquer this test! Or times you may need to get crafty in art class and want to avoid the annoying hair-in-your way situation.
- Dry shampoo
Freshen up your hair after gym class with a mini bottle of dry shampoo.
What are your must-have locker accessories? Please share your tips with the “class” by commenting on this article!
Virtual Student Needs
While some schools are opening up this August or September with an in-person format, be prepared to suddenly switch to a virtual classroom. Below are four virtual-student considerations.
- Have access to a quite place or a room where you can close the door. In an at-home environment you'll need to focus.
- Blend comfy seating options into your study space. Sometimes it's helpful to change up your seating arrangement. Try reading your assignment in a bean bag or using a yoga ball seat to boost your focus during a math lesson.
- Be sure your set up is healthy. Too much work in front of a computer screen is hard on the eyes. Schedule in breaks to help you regain your focus. It's also important to be sure your computer is at eye-level, your back is straight and your wrist placement is correct when typing. Not having these elements correct for an extended period of time can lead to exhaustion, headaches or back pain.
- Basic school supplies Have paper and pens to take notes as well as any sticky notes to help you stay organized. Organization is KEY as a virtual student. Use a calendar to schedule in breaks and a time schedule for specific subjects so you don't lose track of time.
While you’re at it, prepping for the school year, set yourself a scholarship goal. While college may seem forever away, it’s not. And, your future self will thank you when you’re graduating with less student debt and fewer student loans. Start by applying for two scholarships a month. Once you’re more comfortable with the process, apply for a college scholarship weekly.
Here are two lists to get you started:
Scholarships for the Class of 2022
Scholarships for the Class of 2021
BONUS: Locker Mysteries
By locker mysteries we don’t mean lost but found food-storage containers filled with mystery food, or guess how old this pack of gum is. Earlier in the article we posed a few locker questions and we feel like they're too good to pass up. Here are the answers to these two, burning questions.
How long have school lockers existed?
According to Ideal Lockers, a large U.S. locker manufacture, the metal school locker as we know it today got its Midwestern start in the 1920s.
Why do high school lockers have vents?
While lockers are more commonly associated as a storage device used to hold and organize student textbooks, they’re also used in the gym world too. The purpose of the vents was, and is, to air out sweaty gym clothes and shoes. Who knew?!