Kid: Mom, I need…a new ruler…new pair of scissors…a box of tissues for the classroom…cupcakes for my birthday…a science fair display board…
Mom: When do you need this by?
If you were a fly on the wall in my house, you would hear this conversation quite frequently. Different kid. Different item needed. Sometimes for a school project, but not always, as requests for supplies, snacks, and other items can come from the Brownie or Cub Scout leader, the soccer coach, and the dance teacher. Whatever item is needed, the urgency level is still the same: High Priority!!
While I can’t change the procrastination gene pervasive in my family, I can prepare for the constant demands. My strategy for the inevitable last minute requests is to stock up on supplies throughout the year.
I do a major shop for back-to-school shopping before school starts where I purchase whatever each child needs for that grade in school. As much as possible I try to avoid the last minute rushed trips out to the store the night before a project is due by also shopping for school supplies year round. Whether I am shopping at Office Depot, Walmart, or Costco, I always keep an eye out for school and other supplies.
So, what supplies do you need to keep on hand?
Here is a list of school supplies to keep on hand by activity:
- Pencils, pens, post it notes, folders — Keep a stockpile on hand ready for the inevitable teachers’ note on your child’s need for pencil box supplies.
- Binders — No matter how sturdy the binder is in September, some kids will need a new binder come spring.
- Buy tissue boxes in bulk at Costco — The cold and flu season runs for months…elementary school teachers always need tissues. Middle and high schoolers are often asked to bring in a box of tissues for extra credit in their classes.
- Science Fair Display Boards — If you know that one of your kids will do a science fair project this school year, buy a couple of display boards.
Sports and Activities
- Snacks and drinks — Ask any little kid what the best part of soccer is and you will hear a resounding “Snack!” Keep about 20 juice bags and 20 packs of cookies and chips on hand for your family’s assigned day to bring snack.
- Holiday food donations — If your child is enrolled in a religious education class, he may be asked to bring in canned goods for the food pantry, toothbrushes for a care package, or a baby item for a baby shower/diaper drive. While you may need to purchase a bag of diapers, grab a can from your pantry or donate one of the tooth brushes from the dentist to your church or synagogue.
- Birthday Gifts — Keep a stockpile of gifts so that you don’t have to race out to the store. If you are buying a Lego kit for an 8-year-old boy’s birthday, why not buy a couple to have on hand for other birthdays? If your child receives two of the same item, save one…just make sure you don’t give the gift back to the person who gave it to you!
- Birthday parties — Always have on hand…a plastic tablecloth, candles and a lighter, solid color plates and cups. You can jazz up the birthday place settings by buying Princess or Super Hero napkins and cake plates from the party store.
- Birthday parties at school or activities — Always keep boxes of cake mix and frosting on hand. Watch out for grocery store sales. If your child’s birthday occurs during soccer season, pick the snack day closest to your child’s special day and bring cupcakes (without nuts) to the game.
- Halloween — Stock up on candy early in the fall. Buy Halloween costumes early through online sites like amazon.com. For a flat fee, you can buy amazon prime for free shipping on all purchases.
- Teacher Appreciation Week — Celebrated in May, this week is a great time to show your appreciation to your child’s teacher. Send in candy from your pantry. Pick flowers from your garden. Or check your stockpile for an appropriate teacher gift.
Even with planning and organization, you may still need to run out and purchase a supply or gift here and there. By stocking up on school and other supplies throughout the year, you can save yourself a little time and a lotta gas.