Be Prepared: Shopping for Class Supplies

This new school year, leave the hand-me-down school supplies in the closet where they belong. A great way to help your kid get excited about the new semester is to take him or her shopping for all new class supplies and school accessories. Bring home brand new pencil cases, binders, backpacks, calculators and more to help your kid start off the school year right. Here you'll find tips to make shopping for school supplies easy.

When the school year's starting, it's easy to forget important school supplies on your shopping list in the excitement of the moment. You don't want to put your kid in the school bus or in the car pool without everything he or she needs, so make sure you don't leave anything out when shopping for the semester's supplies.

Classroom supplies for grade school

Younger children can be very forgetful when it comes to personal possessions, so the first item to buy for a grade school-aged child is a good kids' backpack. Look for a model with multiple pockets and closures which provide convenient places for kids to store all their back to school classroom supplies. Letting your kids organize their school supplies in their own way will help them not to lose their stuff in class. For a kids' backpack, padded straps and an ergonomic design are a must to avoid placing stress on growing bodies. Messenger bags may look cool, but they place an uneven load on the shoulders and do not hold as much as backpacks do. They are also easier for other kids to snatch, so stick with the classic backpack for your kids' school supplies.

When it comes to writing supplies like pens and pencils, stick with the basic number two pencil and black and blue ballpoint pens. Giving your kids fancy-looking writing implements will just cause them to play the comparison game with other students, which is a distraction from learning. A plain spiral bound notebook and one pack of looseleaf writing paper is also necessary for taking notes. Don't forget school supplies for specialized classes; you'll need to buy sets of crayons, colored pencils and paints to help your kids expresses themselves artistically. 

School supplies for college kids

If your kids are a little older and you're sending them off to college, they'll need more than just pens and paper. The specialized classroom equipment they'll need will largely depend on their course of study. Don't send an engineering student to university without a scientific calculator, for example, and an architecture student will need drafting supplies like glue, tape and graphic design paper. Carefully read the university's admission materials to make sure you're not leaving anything out before you send your kids off to their school.

In addition to the typical class supplies, make sure your college kids have what they need to live comfortably and study hard. Laundry hampers, bedsheets, toiletry carriers, flip flops and alarm clocks are all essential to college living. To make the most of available space in small dorm rooms, invest in storage boxes, file cabinets and desk trays. College students will also need their own computers; make it a slim laptop and they'll be able to take it to class to take notes.

When you're shopping for school supplies for kids of all ages, the best way to make sure you're not leaving anything out is to make a list at the beginning and to follow it all the way through. Think back to when you were a student and ask yourself what supplies would have made your life easier back then, carefully read any supply lists supplied by the school, then head to Sears to fulfill all your back to school needs. 

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