3 Organizing Staples I Always Buy During Back to School Sales

updated Aug 20, 2021
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Credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion

Before my kids were in school, I used to try and stay away from stores in August and September — specifically in order to avoid back-to-school shoppers (especially since we also live in a college town).

But now, since picking up school supplies is a family tradition (my kids love going to the store and checking off their lists), I take the opportunity to stock up on organizing staples for our home. The sales and the ability to see and handle items that are ordinarily available only online make back-to-school an ideal time to stock up on certain home items — whether you have school-aged kids or not.

As always, it’s rarely a budget-friendly move to buy items just because they’re discounted, but if store sales intersect your list of need-to-buy items, here are some finds you may want to look for during back-to-school season.

Planners and Journaling Supplies

If you’re thinking of switching from exclusively digital to a paper planner system or you need a fresh start, back-to-school time is the perfect time to spread your wings. Not only will you find academic year planners (these start in July or August rather than January), but colorful pens and markers are also readily available and often on sale.

This year, I also bought a large dry-erase calendar for the family. Because of the time of year, there was a large selection of sizes and styles at Home Goods, which, at other times of the year, wouldn’t have such a variety available.

Here are some planners and journaling supplies you may want to check out:

  • Planners
  • Dry erase calendar or blank boards
  • Sharpies
  • Pens
  • Dry-erase markers
  • Notebooks

Storage Bins

Shoebox-sized plastic bins are one of my favorite organizing staples. I use them in our clothes closets, for toy storage, and to corral craft supplies. They stack well, are interchangeable, and can be unobtrusively labeled with a white Sharpie marker. (If you want to change the label, the Sharpie wipes off easily with a Magic Eraser.)

Back-to-school time is also the perfect opportunity to grab some larger plastic storage bins, if you need them. Having bought colorful storage bins in the past and regretting it, I now only choose clear bins with white lids. Uniformity breeds serenity when it comes to containing clutter.

Storage bin-like items you may want to pick up:

Bed, Bath, and Desk Necessities

College students need home basics to stock their dorms, so back-to-school time means sales on towels, sheets, and other bed and bath linens. You’ll also find a good selection of budget-conscious items like hanging shelves, drawer inserts, shower caddies (I use them to corral cleaning supplies under the sink), garbage cans, hangers, and office supplies.

Here are some bed, bath, and desk items you may be able to scoop up for less:

Happy shopping!