Where to Get School Supplies

Back-to-school season is the second most profitable time of year for retailers. (Behind Christmas, of course.) Advertisements, “special deals,” and in-store displays are designed to lure you off course, tempt you to spend more money, and specifically prey on your desire to “finally get organized!”

But, “back-to-school” organization is much more about systems than it is about stuff, so it does not matter *where* you go to buy school supplies. What matters is that you do not get tempted by the “loaded” new binder or “pretty” new notebooks. There is usually a very high correlation among school and paper-management supplies: the more features something has, the more expensive AND ineffective it tends to be. Below, you will find a list of supplies, broken down into three categories of systems: Time Management, Supply Management, and Paper Management.

All of the items below are inexpensive and available from most retail and on-line locations.

**Time Management**

Time Management is an issue for students AND for their families; it is very difficult for a student to manage his time well in a family that does not. Ten minutes a week can resolve this issue. Grab the family calendar and have an informal “Sunday Summit.” Coordinate schedules for the week: upcoming sports practices, after-school activities, scheduled appointments, test and project due-dates. Have your children make notes in their planners.

The key to an effective Sunday Summit is to make it a conversation, not an interrogation. This means you must share your schedule, too. Do you have a big deadline at work? Are you planning to finally get to the gym to do a workout? Share you deadlines and your goals with your kids. You may be surprised how receptive they will be! At the very least, you will all start your week on the “same page.”

Supplies Needed


  • Family calendar (basic monthly calendar)
  • One academic planner for each child (The best planners are slender -not bulky- spiral books with a monthly calendar and space for daily assignment entries. Planners are often supplied by schools.)


**Supply Management**

Most households have a “silverware sorter.” This is a tray with London Acana Supplies slots that are designated for spoons, forks, knives, and server ware. In just about any home, you can quickly determine where to put the spoons based on the organization of the silverware tray.

This common house-hold item inspired what I have called the “Silverware Sorter Theory.” This theory states that items will remain organized if there is a designated location to place them and they are easily accessible.

How Does the Silverware Sorter Theory Apply to School Supplies?

Supplies should have a specific storage location in the bookbag and a designated place at home.

In the bookbag, students can use a front pocket of the bag or a supply case to store pens and pencils. If students cannot carry a bookbag during the school day, they can snap a 3-ring pencil case into their binder (see Paper Management).


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