Back-To-School Shopping-Classroom Supplies

August is always nostalgic for me. When I was an elementary teacher, fall meant a return to the classroom. I loved getting my room ready for a new bunch of kiddos, the look of polished floors, desks with name tags taped to the top, even the smell of newly sharpened pencils.

Now as a parent, this time of year means back to school shopping. Although my role is much different, there is always a certain amount of comfort to be found in a well-planned start of the school year. Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve learned. I hope you are able to find a thing or two that might help you get this school year off to a great start!

Ahhhh, that giant list of classroom supplies…

It always seems a bit overwhelming to juggle back-to-school lists (we have three school-aged children) while at the store. I’ve ended up crossing off the wrong items, getting too many of one thing (not such a bad thing), and not enough of another. This system seems to work to solve those issues.

First, I get out our school supply bin. Over the years, I have learned to keep a small container in our storage room of overflow school supplies. I always buy a few extra items at the start of the year, and I buy stuff on sale whenever I can. When the kids empty their backpacks at the start of summer, any items that are reusable for the following year get put in, also.

Then, I get a paper copy of each of my children’s school supply lists, call in the kids, hand them their lists, and have them “shop.” As they find items they need, they check them off and set them in their pile. I always double check their lists, and am pleasantly surprised at how many items have already been checked off.

Next, I start creating a master list with a few broad categories, like “paper,” ‘utensils,” and “classroom disposables.” Pulling from all three kids’ lists, I start writing down items and tallying how many of each that I need. By the time I’m done, I have a very detailed list of every item I will need to buy, and am able to do the shopping all at once.

Generally, I do not enjoy shopping, and neither do my kids, so I buy all my supplies at one store. In the past, I have saved newspaper flyers, marking the best prices of the items I need, then brought them to the one store where I shop where they price match. If I haven’t had time to do this, I don’t sweat it too much. The savings are sometimes negligible, and I value my time far more than this amount of money.

This time of year, the school supply aisles are often crowded, people are stressed, and kids are excited, so to make this task even easier, I try to pick a time of day when there won’t be many people shopping, and I go alone. I am usually able to get into the store, the items purchased, and out in about 20 minutes.

When I return home with bags full of supplies, I call the kids in with their lists and have them “shop” from the bags until their lists are all checked off. If all goes well, I am not short any supplies, and have a few extras to add to our school supply bin for the duration of the school year.

The kids label their items and store them in their backpacks, and we are one step closer to that first day of school, stress-free!

I hope you’ve picked up a trick or two…please let me know if you have, and share any tips you’ve have that work for you. I’d love to know!

Join me next week for: Back to School Shopping-Clothes!