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I am sure a lot of us can agree, it feels like school just let out as we start to prepare to get the kiddos back to school again.
Back to school time is full of mixed emotions. I guess if I had to sum up the feelings in a letter it would look like this…
Dear Back To School Time,
While I enjoy our times together, I feel like Summer and I are just a better match for each other. It’s not you…it’s me.
You are a great time for sales and bargains for school and office supplies. I hope we can still be friends, and not have things be awkward when we run into each other. I think things are just moving too fast for me lately.
As a lot of us know, back to school time can be a HUGE gold mine. You start to see school supplies in the weekly ads for 1 cent and you have to squint and look again to see if you read that right!
All summer start to pay closer attention to the weekly ads. If you stay diligent, and do some simple research you can reap huge rewards for years to come.
Last year at this time, I stocked up on all the great leader sales. What is a leader sale? A leader sale is what the stores call their sales that they know they lose money on…but it LEADS customers into the store. The big box retailers have the general idea that if they can lure people in the store for the 1 cent box of crayons (real deal this season at Office Max/Office Depot check it out) then they figure that the customer will buy an over priced calculator or book bag. This is how they can afford to take the loss on the leader sales and make big profits on the other items we cram into our carts.
Like I said, last year I learned to shop smarter, a lot smarter in fact. I bought all the normal school supplies the kids needed. Then in addition, I made sure to buy all the leaders sales. With these ultra cheap items usually comes some restrictions. Limit one, limit 3, must spend at least $5. That is okay! With these ultra cheap bargain, I also buy the maximum amount allowed. For example, if there is a limit 3 packs on crayons, you bet your bottom dollar I am buying 3 packs!
There are several of reasons I do this:
- I am already prepared and virtually crossing things off next year’s back to school list. Things like pencils, crayons, etc. will be on the back to school lists for quite a few school seasons.
- During the school season, there are supplies that end up needing to be replaced. No need to pay full price!
- We are prepared for homework assignments and projects, since we have extra supplies.
- I stock up for myself too! I have other businesses that I tend to and I still need pens, pencils, notebooks etc.
Okay, so that is all fine and dandy- but what about when score all these great deals…but then we have all this stuff laying around the house?!
Not to worry friend! I have got you covered!
What works for me is, I have a latching storage container (a tad bigger than 2 shoe box storage boxes put together) and I keep all the NEW supplies
hidden from little grabby hands stored inside.
Well sometimes, you get A LOT of great deals and that box will not close anymore. Yep, I am talking about me, and it’s not like a suitcase where I could sit on it and quickly snap it closed. Okay maybe I tried that and it did not work. Lol.
I HAVE GOT YOU COVERED!
I am going to show you what this year’s extras/stock pile collection looks like (so far) and how to organize it to make sense.
These tips will save you time, money, and stress.
Surprise…little minion break! Bet you didn’t see that coming eh?
THE ORGANIZING METHOD:
First, you are going to need some type of storage container to hold the extra supplies. Use any that you may have, if you have any extras. There are not any extra storage containers in this house because I am obsessed with things being organized! If you don’t have any extras either like me, you can get one here.
This is a photo of my extra school/office supplies before I said this is never going to close, and never going to be efficient. I really do not like when I have to dig into something when I am in a hurry and make a mess that I have no idea when I can pencil in my schedule to go back and clean up the mess again.
Ever hear of someone giving you options for comparing items you were looking at purchasing? “This one is good and this one over here is the better upgraded version of this item.” Okay well then you probably get where I am going with these options. 🙂
Option #1 – The “Good” Method
This was really quick and worth the time. I put the notebooks in first at the bottom with the paper. Then I stood up all liquid like items so they do not leak. After that I put all the pens, pencils and scissors etc. in their own piles neatly on top.
Now, this is -okay- but I can tell you it will not stay this way for anyone. Someone is going to be in a hurry and take something out and it is going to be all down hill from there. That brings us to our next option.
Option# 2 – This is the better option out of the 2 in my opinion.
I use gallon sized locking bags (need to stock up? click here ). I label each bag with a permanent marker (need to stock up? click here). I label all of the bags according to the items I have. One bag says pencils, another says scissors etc.
By opening all the products it takes up a lot less room.
Also, I can so easily grab one of the bags, take out what I need, then toss the bag back in the container. No wasting time digging for what I need trying to be careful as I dig, opening something up, recycling the package, putting everything back neatly…
Then it looks like this one you have sorted and bagged everything:
Finally… looks something like this…
Looks a lot better, and is way more efficient! Now I have a lot more room, which is great because I am still collecting items before the back to school sales fizzle out.
As you can see, the paper, notebooks, and regular glue did not make it into a bag. In this storage container I feel like they did not really need to be bagged. If I was using a larger container, I probably would bag them with the jumbo zip lock bags. (Protect from accidental leaks, or pages getting bent etc.)
One of the hang ups I had was deciding if I wanted to take everything out of it’s original package. I liked that it was still fresh and new looking that way.
But honestly, the kids have to have everything labeled with their name on it if it goes to school, it saves a lot of room for other items and most importantly it is A LOT easier to find things.
All in all, I spent next to nothing this year on school supplies because I had almost everything stored away from last year’s stock pile. Even taking into consideration that I purchased items last year, I did pick up each item for 1 cent – 50 cents approximately. It gets even better, because I search for store & manufacturer coupons/store rewards ON TOP of those great deals! Even with the limitations I had made several trips to the store on my way home from errands or work. I also had called a few local family members and asked if they were out and about and saw school supplies for 50 cents or less just to pick them up and I would reimburse them.
As far as a back pack, I only bought one back pack per child and it is the only one I will buy for them. Yes, they will be taking it to college. It has a LIFETIME WARRANTY. No joke. I got each kiddo a back pack from L.L. Bean (I am not affiliated, just really believe in their products!) I paid about $50 delivered (with monogramming!) for each school bag (always searched for a coupon and sale, usually happens around now!)…but if you think of the savings for 12 years that I do not have to buy another school bag…that is amazing savings!!
I read the reviews of these back packs before ordering, and people sent back 20 year old back packs and got replacements…they really do honor their warranty I guess!
**BONUS TIP – Always have a storage container larger than you need. This leaves room for growth. The first time the container is too full and something does not fit, is when you will start to see a mess start to pile up. Click here to find all types of storage containers for all of your projects!
Do you have any tips for organizing back to school supplies? Share with all of us!
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