Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Favorite Back-To-School Supplies

I was that kid who loved a new box of 64 crayons and would organize the box by color. All the greens together, all the reds, those random silver and gold and pewter over in the corner.  I’d gather enough paperbags to cut and fold into crisp book covers for all my textbooks.  Be sure to label everything clearly with my name.

And not much has changed since then.  While my kids are checking off their school supply list of pencils and 3-ring binders and protractors and multi-button graphing calculators, I gather the items I need for back-to-school.  For the things that need to be replaced or added to, this time of year is a great time to pick up my favorite office supplies while they’re on sale for the kids.

4-tab sectioned folder.  There always seems to be some new folders and organized in the aisles at Staples. I found a 4-section folder, perfect for our family, for all my “stuff I need to know about my kids’ activities” folder. Their class schedules (for when I need to make during-school doctor’s appointments), their sports schedules, identification cards for sports associations, class syllabus, list of teachers. Its easy and convenient enough to carry with me to back-to-school night and the rest of the year.

Sharpies. These are fast becoming my favorite writing instrument because they can write on anything (including your children), they come in every color you could ever want (even neon) and you don’t have to scribble on a corner of paper to get the ink flowing. I use them to write notes, label kids’ stuff, label my stuff, sign books.

Coffee mugs. I tend to drink from the same coffee mugs every morning, part of the morning routine.  The monkey mug is a constant, my sorority mug has been added to the cycle. The cheetah mug is being retired, I’m scared the handle is going to break off mid-sip. And then of course, there’s the to-go coffee mug for those busy mornings. One from Starbucks Madrid is the throw in the purse one - it doesn’t leak – really it doesn’t. I don’t know why they don’t have this model state-side. (Starbucks – are you listening!?)  And I have a pretty Lily Pulitzer one someone gave me as a gift for mornings I want to be fancy.

Google calendar.  I still carry a paper planner – because. But to coordinate all the goings on in our family, and to be able to shoot my husband a calendar item, I rely on Google calendar. I color code our activities and can print out the calendar by day, week, month, or some other unique day-count. The best feature – it sends me reminders by text and/or email of where I’m supposed to be. That’s the one thing my paper calendar can’t do.

Note cards. Who doesn’t love getting a real, hand-written note in the real mailbox? One of my goals is to get better at writing more notes to people, especially since I like buying pretty cards.

Bound journals. I like journals for all my notetaking. From the little 3x5 Moleskine style to the cloth-covered, ledger. I am not hardly ever without at least one in my purse. Because I take notes wherever I go – church, meetings, programs, seminars, book talks – and make lists all the time. As a writer, this allows and encourages me to write wherever I am, whenever I have a few free moments. 

And since adult coloring books seem to be the new thing, and I don't have to share my daughter's Princess books any longer, I think I'll pick up a pick of colored pencils for myself, too.

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