On Organizing the Back to School Shopping Trip, Supplies

So here we are again planning for another back to school shopping trip.  The weekends will be busy especially as it gets closer to mid-August when many students will arrive with backpacks and lunch boxes on that first day back.  Below is a list of many items that will be needed as well as some tips
to make your shopping trip a bit easier.

1.  Find out how much money you are willing to spend this year on back to school items by listing your important expenses and then redirecting money that would have spent on less important things into a back to school savings fund.  You can also determine the budget amount by taking a look at what the children presently need (go in closets, drawers, under beds, etc.)  Then researching online the cost of certain things.  For instance, if new pencils is on your list, ask what style might they want as well as the school requirement which is typically Dixon or Ticonderoga pencil brands.  Check for them and then note the cost.  Do the same with other things.

2.  When shopping for clothes, plan in advance what they will need to add to their wardrobe rather than overwhelming yourself with buying a lot of new items all at once.  You can extend the back to school shopping season by taking care to pay attention to what items are currently on sale.  For instance, many summer items will be heavily discounted and they can be paired with other things they might already have like: sweaters, sweatshirts, jeans, and skirts.  Check out my book Black Friday Cyber Monday Strategies to Use Year Round

3.  Don't forget to ask relatives and friends to pitch in when they can.  Rather than, buy gifts that have little to do with what your child needs, encourage them to give things that are beneficial to school.  From a gift card to a favorite clothing store to a brand new pair of shoes, suggest things that not only benefit your child, but your wallet too!

Here are some popular back to school items for any grade:

1.  Folder size backpack (There are schools that recommend not buying the backpacks with wheels).
2.  Pocket folders (various types with brads, plastic, etc.)
3.  Binders
4. Glue sticks and/or bottled glue
5.  Student scissors
6.  Personal pencil sharpeners
7.  Glue sticks
8.  Crayons
9.  Highlighters
10.  Washable markers
11. Flash drives
12. Erasers
13. Colored pencils
14.  Spiral notebooks
15.  Dry erase markers
16.  Rulers
17.  Home or laptop computer with Internet access
18. Pencils
19.  Pencil top erasers
20.  Composition book

Other supplies that parents and others typically donate:

1.  Xerox paper
2. Hand sanitizer
3.  Kleenex
4.  Clorox wipes
5. Zip lock bags

Now organizing all these supplies can be simple if you do the following:

1.  Designate a drawer, shelf or cabinet to your items.
2.  Sort by category.
3.  Label shelves, bins, or containers.
4.  Separate the items that will be going to school and those that will be staying home.  Place items going to school in backpack.
5.  Be sure small items have an easy to find home.
6.  Avoid the clutter, if you already have some items that no longer work, broken, or hasn't been used in years, rid yourself of them.  Make room for the new!
7.  Lastly, self-talk yourself out of buying more than you need.  Do you really need a box of 50 glue sticks or a 100 plus pencils.  If you should buy in bulk, consider sharing with other parents or teachers.  If you should buy a lot of certain items, do consider that over time things like markers will go bad, glue will dry out, and sometimes cheap paper even starts to discolor.  Try not to obtain more than you need. 

Happy shopping!

Nicholl McGuire

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