I need Back-to-School help – a reader challenge/contest

I admit it. I’m a deal shopper.

I have spent many a July Sunday going through sale ads, cutting coupons, seeking penny pencils. I have arrived at a variety of big-box stores bright and early on weekday mornings, avoiding crowds and grabbing deals. I have hunted the elusive 8-pocket divided pocket folder from place to place.

I kind of liked it.

But now I’m a full-time working mom. My habits have to change. I am already predicting the many ways our lives will alter (and fearing the ways I haven’t even thought of.) Here’s what I know.

  • We will have less time to get ready in the mornings.
  • My sons will go to after-care each day, meaning I’ll need to provide additional school snacks.
  • I will no longer be available for, “Mom, I forgot my…”
  • Weekday school supply shopping is not an option.

Since I have three sons with crazy supply lists, less time, and no inclination to fight the evening and weekend crowds, I’ve already been looking for solutions to my school supply challenge. I was so glad when a friend hooked me up with The Write Stuff, a prepackaged school supply company, based right here in Illinois. While my sons’ school doesn’t participate in their school program (Boo-hoo!), I can order almost all of what I need through their website, at a good price and shipped right to my home (hooray!). Since they each have specific items on their lists, building 3 separate “a la carte” kits will just take a little time on the computer.

That’s one challenge down, but what about the rest?

So I turn to you, dear readers. I’m looking for your best back-to-school advice. Please comment on this post with helpful tips for getting and staying organized for the school year.

On Monday, July 16, 2012, I will choose one random winner for a Write Stuff school supply kit, to be shipped in time for this school year. (Tips may also appear on the websites and/or blogs for The Write Stuff as well as Go Girl Communications.)

Thank you friends.

Disclosure: I sometimes receive complimentary products and services in connection to my blog, in this case a school supply kit. I choose to write only about products, destinations and services that I enjoy. All opinions are 100% my own.


The Write Stuff kit ships in a keepsake box.



I was surprised at how much fits in that box. Brand name supplies including dry-erase markers and highlighters.

9 thoughts on “I need Back-to-School help – a reader challenge/contest

  1. lay it all out the night before: clothing, from the underwear out, including shoes and socks. Pack the back pack with all necessary homework and supplies. If you are using snacks that won’t stand overnight exposure to room temperature, set up a special snack bin and pre-package the snack packets in ziplocks or other air/spill tight containers.If you can manage it, decide on breakfast the night before and do any prep work ahead if possible. Bottom line, the more decisions you can make the evening before, when you presumably have more time and aren’t trying to get out the door, the smoother, easier and more efficient your mornings will be.


    • Hey Cheri, I just wanted to let you know for early morning camp this week, we’ve been picking breakfasts the night before (along with laying out clothes). It’s been a big success — kind a dry run for the school year. Thanks again.


  2. Our biggest trick is moving the kids back to a “school schedule” from the more lax summer schedule. We start about a week before the first day of school, encouraging my grade-school-aged twins to get to bed a little earlier each night. We also make sure everyone gets up a little earlier each day too (more of a challenge for my teen).

    Like Cheri, we get as much ready the night before as possible. I usually set the table for breakfast every night before a school day; it cuts down on the commotion in the kitchen and I can tell at a glance who isn’t up or hasn’t eaten anything yet.

    To me, it seems like the first day is always nuts, no matter what I do. There’s so much energy and nerves and excitement… and the kids are pretty wound up too.


  3. I too love to go back-to-school shopping and looking for deals. This year I’ve got four kiddos going to school and the list is longer. One thing I do each year is goto the school’s website and print out the school supply list for the following year as well as the current year. For example, I carry my soon to be fourth graders supply list and will also print out the fifth grade list. I’ll hit all the penny /nickel sales and get supplies for both grades. Then when the kids go back to school the stores usually put the supplies on clearance for 50-75% and I go back and go through the fifth grade items on the list only buy items if they are in clearance. Next year I’ll finish the fifth grade suppliy list. There have been years in which I only have four items left for the school year.
    I also have them get their things ready the night before, it helps things run smoother in the morning.


  4. Ok … Getting ready the night before a school night all comes down to three things for me…1. making a list of what we do not want to forget – this usually includes the lunches, backpacks, items needed for my toddler and whatever else we should not forget 2. Getting as much of the lunches and snacks ready 3. Assigning each of us a task to do in the morning to make sure we get out of the house in time. I still make sure the boys have their clothes next to their beds so they are easily found when the are getting dresses half asleep. They know to get the backpacks ready and by the door with ALL their homework IN the actual backpack the night before. I make sure to have all my stuff ready as well. The most important thing is to give yourself time and plan out your lunch menus in advance to avoid argument. With time, trial and error a routine is eventually established. Good luck. Somehow we all survive!!


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