Preparing for the new school year can be stressful and expensive. Trying to balance buying everything you need without breaking the bank.
I’m here to help. Being a mum of 3, an ex teacher and owning a business where organisation is our thing, I know a thing or two about prepping for the new school year. I’ve put together a guide with a shopping checklist and tips for getting organised for the new academic year.
TIP: LABEL ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING
Your child is going to lose things you didn’t think possible to lose. If you have the time and are really organised you can use sew or iron on labels. I’ve always used a fine point sharpie but this year I’ve ordered a stamp from stamptastic. They’re really well reviewed and if you personalise with just your surname you can label everything really quickly and easily. Winning!
TIP: RULE OF 5
If you can, buy most of your school clothing in sets of 5. When you’re in a rush in the morning, lost a jumper at school, haven’t made your way down the never ending wash basket, or your kid comes home covered in gunk, your future self will thank you for this. Luckily most supermarkets offer an affordable range of school clothes.
TIP: USE SECOND HAND
Most schools have a second hand shop (maybe get in touch with ‘the boss’ in the WhatsApp group if you don’t know when or where to find it) and it’s always worth asking around for outgrown clothes. We recieve and pass on a LOT of school clothing and it’s a massive help to both my bank balance as and the environment.
TIP: BUY A SPARE BLAZER
Blazers are expensive but necessary for some schools, especially as kids get older. I’d recommend keeping a spare - we have 1 spare between our 3 kids. Someone is bound to lose their blazer just before some sort of important assembly and you will have a bolognese catastrophe at some point. Luckily most blazers can be machine washed- even the ones that contain wool. Again, WhatsApp groups are a wealth of knowledge here.
TIP: SCHOOL SHOES
Get feet professionally measured as late as possible. We always make a trip to Clarkes for a ‘proper measure’ but we buy our shoes from a range of places. School shoes are expensive but remember your little one is pretty much in these all day 5 days a week. Avoid slip-ons (I’ve made that mistake for you). For quality, longevity and price I love Clarks, Start-rite and Toezone shoes from Sainsburys.
TIP: PERSONALISE YOUR BAGS
One item that ALWAYS gets lost at school is PE kit. I’d highly recommend one of our personalised PE bags to make sure your child can easily pick their kit out of a crowd and to increase the chances of it making it’s way back to you if it gets lost. You can personalise with a name, activity or initials.
TIP: CHECK KIT REQUIREMENTS WITH SCHOOL AND OTHER PARENTS
Check requirements with school. Smaller children often only change into a pair of pumps for PE and others won’t use plimsoles at all (despite being on the school shopping list). Also, check how often your child does sport. 1 of each item should be enough for most.
TIP: YOU MIGHT NOT NEED STATIONERY
Most kids under 6 don’t need a pencil case at all. Check with your child’s teacher before investing. Keep in mind that your child will probably loose their pencil case at some point in the school year so a personalised case and excess stock is always useful! I’ve not given numbers here as each child is better/ worse at looking after their stuff. Anywhere between 1 and 5 for each item. Buy pencils and rubbers in bulk!
TIP: SHOP ALONE IF BUDGET CONSCIOUS
Children LOVE the excitement of choosing their stationery. However, it can be incredibly expensive. If you’re budget conscious and want to avoid spending big bucks on fruit scented highlighters, consider leaving your child at home when stationery shopping.
TIP: BUYING GLOVES
Buy plenty of stretchy generic gloves. Single gloves are always getting lost so try to buy ones where the left and right hand are interchangeable. Multipacks of the same colour are preferable! Personally I avoid really thick gloves. Kids still want to use their hands to play and if the gloves are too thick they’ll just whip them off and disappear forever.
TIP: BUY 2 WATER BOTTLES
They're going to forget to bring it home. At least once a week. Keep them a spare so they can have fresh water every day. Depending on the frequency and intensity of their sport, it might be worth keeping one with their PE bag too.
TIP: PREPARE FOR OTHER ACTIVITIES
Don't forget to prepare for all the other extra curricular activities. If your little one is playing in a sports team or learning on instrument you'll probably need some kit for that too. Our personalised boot bags and music bags are perfect.
That's it! I hope it's been helpful. I've put the full list together below. Feel free to screen shot and share with friends.