Back to School Essentials

I can’t believe that August is almost over! That means…back to school! Most kids are either in school or will start in the next few days, so I have decided to make a fun little list of a few things I think are important for going back to school.

(Note: Most of this stuff is geared towards older, college-aged kids since I am completely out of touch with anyone under the age of 20, maybe even 25. But most of it is relevant toward anyone starting off a new school year.)

A good, sturdy backpack. You gotta carry all those books in something, right? Gone are the days when you can walk home from school carrying just a single textbook, maybe a notebook, and a pencil in your pocket. Even grade school kids these days are taking home 3-4 textbooks every night for homework and/or studying. That means a good, sturdy book bag is a must. I still have my good ol’ Jansport backpack I used all four years of college. (I think it may even have textbooks in it, actually.) It’s still in perfectly good shape, too. Getting four years out of backpack may be asking a lot of most grade school and high school kids (I’ve seen the way kids throw their backpacks around), but if you get a good, durable one, it should last you at least one school year.

Comfortable shoes. When I was younger, I always looked forward to getting a new pair of school shoes every year. Back in my day (7th grade to be exact), those white Adidas trainers with the three stripes were all the rage. AND NOW THEY ARE BACK IN STYLE WTF I’M SO OLD! In high school, it was all about the Nike Shox. I got one new pair a year and loved them all to death. In college, I had some kind of nondescript hot pink Nike shoes, an old pair of volleyball shoes, and some cheap ballet flats from Target. They all kind of sucked actually. But I didn’t know what good shoes were back then. Now that I’m old apparently, my feet also suck (probably because of crappy shoes I wore in college), but at least I know the value of good shoes now and can tell you that investing in a decent pair is a must. Especially for you college kids who will be walking all over campus.

Trusty pens. I LOVE fancy writing tools. My favorite pens ever are the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens, but if you want something a little more basic and waaaay cheaper, I also love the Uniball Signo clicker gel pens. And the Sharpie pens. They do kind of bleed through paper, however, even though they say they don’t. But they sure are pretty! Get a cute, zippered pouch to keep all your pens organized too!

A fun planner. I am someone who still writes everything down in paper planners. Most schools probably give out, or have available, some kind of school-specific agenda, but I also always liked having an extra, fun, more personalized one. I usually have about 3 or 4 planners at any given time. Some I use for more work specific stuff, some I use for personal events, one I use as a master planner where I keep everything (mine is an Erin Condren Life Planner), and a small one I keep in my purse. If you really want to get creative, use planner stickers from Michael’s or Etsy to keep track of everything. Or just use Google Calender or iCal if you prefer the electronic thing. You do you.

A reusable water bottle. At this point, we all should know better than to buy those big cases of disposable plastic bottled water. They are expensive, wasteful, and REALLY bad for the environment. (Yes, even if you recycle them, they are still bad.) Why not get a nice reusable water bottle that looks cool, keeps your drink cold, and is good for the environment? There are plenty to choose from, I promise. My favorite water bottles are the Hydroflask ones.  They are insulated, durable, stainless steel bottles that will keep your drink cold (or hot) for a whole day. Swell and Yeti are also popular choices if you want an insulated bottle, but I do also love my good ol’ Nalgene bottle(s) as well. Contigo, Brita, Platypus, Camelbak, and Klean Kanteen are also a few ideas, but anything is better than stupid, old bottled water.

A weatherproof jacket. This is something I never really had when I was in school, but definitely could have used. Especially when I was older and got to college. I went to school in northern Indiana and walking to class in the rain and snow across campus was a real bitch. (Sidenote: Snow boots and/or waterproof shoes also would have been REALLY nice to have.) I’ve also been noticing that a lot of grade schools and middle schools even require kids to have rain jackets because apparently they will take kids out for recess even if it’s raining or snowing. That sounds kind of awesome to me, but also a huge mess. Anyway, you may not use a rain jacket all the time, but man when you really need it, it sure does come in handy. The North Face, Marmot, and Patagonia make some really good, lightweight rain jackets that are easy to throw into a bag and take with you on your way to class. Or you could just do what I did and show up to class a sopping, wet mess.

Obviously, you will need quite a few more things to be completely ready for going back to school. Maybe some new clothes, all those new school supplies, and, if you are heading off to college, things to fill your dorm room to make you feel at home. But this list should get you somewhat started if you are still behind on school shopping.

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