Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
It’s that time of year. The days are growing shorter, the weather is cooling (some places), and the anticipation (or dread) for the first day of school is in the air.
My daughter loves school, and loves preparing for school. I learned some significant lessons this year for simplifying back to school shopping that I thought I would share with you.
- Have a list. Never go shopping for school supplies without a list. And make sure it is THE list. Our local schools put out generic lists for needed supplies and most stores have them, but my daughter’s school supplies needed change teacher by teacher. I make sure that I type the list into my iPod so I have it with me when it come times for shopping. That saves me having to go out and look for poly folders with brads when I mistakenly purchased poly folders without brads.
- Buy extra. School supplies get used up. Take advantage of the low pricing and stock up on things you know will get used during the year. I always buy extra pencils, paper, note cards and glue sticks.
- Don’t go during peak times. This was the big mistake for me this year. I forgot it was tax-free weekend when I ventured into the stores. The first store looked like the school supply truck had vomited the supplies in the aisles. The second store I had people crawling over my cart to get to displays of items as others rammed carts into the poor teenaged stock person. Go before the hordes and save yourself the aggravation (and bruised shins).
- Go for durable. If your school doesn’t specify, go for the more durable of the product. Sure, paper folders may be 25 cents a piece, but if you need eight of them to get you through the school year, it would be better to buy one poly folder. Same with pencil sharpeners, pencils and other items. Go for quality and durability whenever possibly.
- Buy early. I learned last year that if you wait too much after the school clothes hit the stores, you will have almost nothing to pick from. I try to hit the sale that starts the week of the tax free weekend, but not the actual tax free weekend. I have the best selection to pick from that way.
- Go for mix-and-match. One mother I know (and I used to do this), picks clothes in outfits. This is great to make sure you don’t end up with some clothes that go with nothing else, but limits the child in what to wear. I try to stay with some neutral bottoms and tops mixed in with the other stuff, so there are plenty of combinations that can be tried.
- Buy for the next season. We have two seasons here: hot and not so hot. The first two months of school require clothes for 80-90 degree weather. Yet the stores sell jeans and long-sleeved shirts right now. I buy hot weather school clothes in mid-summer so that we have appropriate clothing, and stock up on the longer clothing in August and October. (It was really hard the year my daughter had a growth spurt in November and December. I could not find long pants in the stores.)
- Check the dress code before shopping. Almost every school district has a dress code, even if they don’t have uniforms. My daughter’s includes length on shorts and skirts, even for grade school ages, and specifies a minimum sleeve length. Knowing these limits before hand made it very easy to say no to the tank top my daughter picked out.
- Avoid anything that has to be ironed. If your child is not of the age to iron, don’t buy clothes you will have to iron. Unless they are school uniforms. Which I could totally support at this point.
These are my suggestions for simplifying back-to-school shopping. Do you have any? Share below.
Photo by Merelymel13