How to Simplify Back-to-School Shopping

Lesser-known tricks to make the first day back a little easier. 

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Photo by Tom Schierlitz

First:

Check if your child’s school allows you to order the whole kit and caboodle for her grade through a third party or Amazon. (This option sometimes has a deadline, so check that, too.)

If Not:

Don’t stress out about having to get everything on the list for day one. “A lot of teachers will provide a list of supplies specific to their classroom on the first day,” says Margaret Kenny, an English teacher at Polytechnic School, in Pasadena, California. “I schedule two hours to go to Staples that first week of school.”

Ask for SKUs:

If teachers have the SKUs for items (don’t bet on this, but ask), it can make shopping easier. “You don’t realize how many types of markers there are until you’re trying to find a specific one at Target. If you have the SKU, you can search for it and buy it online—with a glass of wine in your hand,” says Alexis Gendron Lefort, a mother of two in Hingham, Massachusetts.