In this post, I share a look back at some of our back to school preparations over the years as well as a free back to school printable checklist!
We were working on our back-to-school preparations this year and I came across this post with this back to school printable checklist that I put together several years ago. Upon reading over the list I realized that – hey! – this was actually a pretty great list I had put together and it’s still totally relevant to all of the things that we need to be totally prepared for back to school all these school years later. I thought I’d better re-share it for anyone else who might be trying to get themselves organized for the school year ahead right now. We went through the original checklist and updated the formatting a little bit to match the style of organizing printables we’ve been sharing recently, so here it is in its new updated form!
This post was originally sponsored by Staples a few years ago and I decided to leave everything just as it was because that’s honestly where we do most of our back to school shopping every year, still to this day. The printable list can of course be used at any store though. 🙂
Here’s the original blog post from a few years ago along with the new updated printable checklist.
Preparing for Back to School
I love this time of year.
I love back to school shopping.
The idea of getting back into a routine and starting fresh with shiny new supplies and a world full of possibility is so exciting for me! That being said, once the sheen has worn off of the first few days of school, there are bound to be more than a few chaotic events that come up throughout the school year. You know the ones. Things involving homework, late projects, last-minute fund-raising rushes, busy schedules, all the usual things. I often find myself thinking “Why wasn’t I ready for this?!” So this year I’ve compiled all my experiences into my mind and put together a list of things that I (or you!) will probably need at some point this year, as well as all the usual, basic things that kids need for back to school time.
And then I went shopping at Staples! And I bought. All. The. Things. All of them! It was great. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say how much they love looking at office supplies in Staples and just want to buy everything when they go there. Well, this is absolutely the best time of year to go there and stock up because, of course, this is when you’ll find so many great deals on all the things you need.
We also really had fun with how they had the store set up with mini aisles of bins right at the front of the store. Everything we were looking for was right there and we would have been in and out in no time flat if I hadn’t wanted to look at absolutely everything else in the store first. You know what I’m talking about.
I’ve created a back to school printable checklist that you can take with you on your back to school shopping adventures if you’re like me and love the idea of being prepared for absolutely everything this year. But first, some of my favorite tips, just because!
Back to School Stock Up Tips
Start off by stocking up on basics and then figure out which items you’ll need to double or triple-up on.
Do not underestimate the power of adding in a few fun supplies too!
A kid who’s excited about going back to school and wants to help get everything ready for the big day is worth their weight in gold. Or more if they’re a skinny mini like my Kennedy! That yellow goofy-looking thing is a pencil sharpener that stands up on a desk and holds two pencils! I can’t tell you how many times she’s played with that thing already! And that penguin calculator? I think I need one for the house.
Grab a pack of washi tape too and let your kid’s decorate their supplies a bit more too. Bonus: It’s also a fun keep-them-happy-and-busy-during-these-last-boring-days-of-Summer activity! Plus all your kid’s friends will be jealous. Super Bonus: Mom points! 🙂 Don’t forget your “techy” supplies too!
USB drives for projects, lots of ink for your printer, extra label maker labels, stuff like that. By the way, who under the age of 77 says “get with the times” anymore? Me, I guess. That’s who. You know what I mean though!
My kids aren’t big sandwich eaters and instead prefers little bits of different snacky type items in their lunches. I always have a hard time because I either end up putting a million little containers in their lunch pails or everything has to go together in one large sized container and neither are really ideal. I was so excited to find lots of great lunch box option at Staples that will actually work for us this year! Hooray! No, seriously, hooray!
Wait for your school’s exact supply list that’s often sent home on the first day of school before you buy too many binders or packs of loose-leaf paper. It’s tempting to buy hundreds because of the deals right now, but your house can quickly become the place where half-crumpled packs of paper go to die if you end up with too many.
Back-Up School Supplies to Keep On Hand
Duotang folders are a great thing to stock up on though. Kids always need different colors for different subjects and the extras are great for helping corral household papers or for making your kid’s projects look extra polished throughout the year. You’ll also want to have lots of back up supplies on hand for when the ones you sent to school get lost or broken.
- Pencils. You’ll need one million at least.
- Pencil sharpeners. They also break or get dull or lost and they’re just not something you can usually find at your grocery store at 8pm on a Tuesday during the school year. Ask me how I know.
- Glue Sticks.
- Pairs of Scissors.
- Extra Cash. There always seems to be some little thing going on where kids need to bring exactly two or five dollars to school the next day for some little thing and of course those are the days when I only have my debit card on me. Put aside a little jar of cash at the beginning of the year for these times.
*Update* Our local school haves switched over to an online payment system for most things, but there are still quite a few things that pop up last-minute like “bring in one dollar tomorrow for popcorn to support (insert fundraising initiative of your choice here)” so it’s still important for us to keep some cash in the house for things like this. We usually need smaller bills and coins now though, rather than twenties and fifties.
Organizing School Supplies at Home
So once you’ve got all the stuff sent to school, and you’ve got your extras at home, now it’s time to lose track of where exactly you put everything. Right? Which drawer did I put the extra erasers in again? I took a few minutes this year to put together a little “extra supply” station in one of the cupboards in my master bedroom back hall so I won’t have to worry about that this year. I picked up a few simple desktop organizers from the Martha Stewart section at Staples and now I’m ready to re-supply in style!
This little station doesn’t take up much room, but oh wow do I ever feel prepared every time I peak in here! This is just the cupboard where I keep manuals from appliances, boxes of little keepsakes, and binders (that need to be better organized! oops!) of Kennedy’s special worksheets from past school years.
These stacking trays are a great way to separate different types of paper so the whole pile never ends up on the ground when someone gets the urge to draw a picture and needs the blank paper at the bottom of the pile!
If you want to feel super-prepared and totally at peace with back to school season this year, print off this checklist and get yourself to Staples for all your back to school shopping! This list will of course work for other stores, but where else are you going to find a penguin calculator?
Happy Back to School! May your homework be light and may your last-minute school supply dramas be few!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.