Stock Up on School Supplies – The Organized Way


Liz Jenkins

organized school supplies

One of my favorite things to do when the school year starts is to stock up on school supplies when everything goes on sale. Usually right after you’ve spent a bundle filling the school supply list, every place drops the prices on all of that stuff sometimes up to 75%!

So by stocking up (in an organized way) at this time of year can be awesome because:

  • You save money – sometimes quite a lot!
  • You’ve got supplies for all of those times throughout the year when backpacks need to be restocked or the teacher asks you to send in items they need
  • When your kid needs a 1″ binder for a project and doesn’t tell you until the night before – you are all set
  • You’ve got a ready supply for household needs
  • If you do this right, you’ll be halfway supplied the following year!

But all too often I see families stock up, then the bags get dumped in a living room or kitchen (where they get picked over and distributed around the house by everyone) or stashed in a closet and forgotten until we come along and pull everything out! So stocking up actually isn’t a good thing when things aren’t organized.

What I recommend for stocking up:

  1. Have a Clear Idea of What You Need
    In our house, it tends to be:

    • Writing utensils (pens, pencils, highlighters)
    • Tape & glue sticks
    • Composition notebooks
    • Binders and folders
    • Notebook paper
    • Sheet protectors
  2. Watch for the Sales
    Keeping in mind your needs.
  3. Purchase a Reasonable Volume
    Especially the pricier supplies that can eat up a budget. This is a great time to get an extra lunchbox or backpack for when your kids stuff self destructs halfway through the school year, or they leave it on the bus never to be seen again.
  4. Designate One Place in the Home Where These Supplies Live
    I recommend a shelf, cabinet or closet in an office or a cabinet in a kitchen study/office area or a storage closet shelf. A place that isn’t readily accessible to kids so it doesn’t get ransacked, but where everything can fit and you remember where it is. Personally I use a small hall closet where I added shelves to use as storage.
  5. Store Supplies in Labeled, Clear Plastic Bins
    Everything can go in one large bin if you like but that can get a bit chaotic.
    I generally group mine by:

    • Binders/folders/notebook paper/sheet protectors – those 8 1/2 x 11 items that can stand up. A portable file bin is often a good choice for this.
    • Writing supplies including pencils and erasers.
    • General supplies such as tape, staples, glue, scissors, etc.
    • Larger general supplies such as extra backpacks or lunch boxes.

The nice thing is that as kids get older, you can send them to retrieve their own supplies as needed. My 13 year old knows to go grab items and let me know when she has so I can replenish if needed.

Other items I keep in this closet are:

  • Batteries (all sizes)
  • Extra chargers and power cords
  • Clorox wipes and Ziploc bags
  • Shoe boxes (there’s always one diorama that will need to be made every year)
  • Poster board
  • Markers

Creating a specific zone for school supplies can be a lifesaver. No more scrambling at the last minute or having to go out of your way to find just the right kind of pencil requested by the school. And, if maintained properly, a fantastic way to save money and be organized!