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Back to school shopping list

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Get shopping!

It’s time for back-to-school shopping! You don’t have to wait for a detailed list from the school to get started -- strike now while the sales are hot and the shelves are full. There are some supplies you can pretty much count on getting year after year, so grab those now. Fill in the blanks later when you get the list and find items you may have missed or forgotten about.

back to school supplies

Wardrobe

Back to school means it’s time to fill your closet with new clothes! You definitely want to find great deals on quality clothing, but you need enough clothes to get you through the year and you want them to last. For great prices on quality clothes, visit Old Navy -- everything they have showcases the latest styles and the hottest prices -- and they’re built to last.

6 Ways to personalize a school uniform >>

Do your children wear uniforms? Old Navy has you covered there, too! They’ve got pants, shirts, dresses and more, all designed to fit within the uniform guidelines set by most schools. Fortunately, they sell some uniform items in clothing bundles, so you get an even better deal when you buy them in bulk!

Backpack

Between homework, books, projects, gym clothes and more, kids have a lot of stuff to haul around throughout the school year. Get him a sturdy, durable backpack to make sure everything gets where it needs to be. Look for a bag with adjustable straps for back comfort and several pockets for easy searching. The Superstition backpack (Office Max, $30) is perfect for most students. It has a huge main compartment, adjustable straps, several outside compartments and a back panel for extra support.

Check out these Dos and don'ts for backpacks >>

Try to find a smaller backpack for smaller children; a preschooler really doesn’t need to lug around a full-sized backpack. Also, check with your school for size or style regulations. Many schools don’t allow duffels, rollers and/or messenger bags.

Lunch box

There are about a million choices for lunch boxes out there. While the choice is up to you, there are a few things you should look for to make your life a little easier. Get an insulated lunch box to make sure food is still safe when lunchtime rolls around, and try to find something that cleans up easy, because lunch gets messy from time to time. Old Navy’s got you covered with their soft-side lunch boxes (Old Navy, $8). They have a handle for easy carrying and can be thrown in the washing machine when they get messy. They come in several fashionable patterns, so there’s one for every style and age group.

Check out Lunch box makeovers >>

Pens and paper

You can’t do much reading and writing without pens and paper. Visit your local Office Max to stock up on pens, pencils, notebooks, loose-leaf paper, composition books, printer paper and so much more. Buy just one, or buy in bulk for a better deal.

Art supplies

You name it, they’ll need it. The little ones need crayons, glue sticks and safety scissors. Older kids need permanent markers, colored pencils, highlighters and rulers. They’re all going to need erasers, pencil sharpeners, and a pencil bag or art box to keep everything in.

Organization

Their organization needs vary from year to year, but most kids need folders, binders, subject dividers and book covers. This is where things can start to get expensive if you don’t stick to the basics. Let your kid pick out a fancy binder, but fill it with plain folders, or learn how to make your own book covers instead of splurging on the expensive ones in the stores. Older students with lockers may want you to splurge on locker organization, but most of that is unnecessary. Most lockers come equipped with all of the shelving they need. A mirror and a few magnets may be handy, but there’s no need for a lot of the elaborate contraptions you’ll see on store shelves.

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Back to School Specials

Shopping Tip

Buy extras now, while everything is at its cheapest price point for the year. Stock up on notebooks, crayons, glue and more right now.

More back to school tips from SheKnows

Tips for a stress-free back-to-school season
5 Tips for beating back-to-school blues
Back-to-school tips for moms

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