Back to School Shopping – The Struggle is Real

Remind me next year to just sign up for the school supply kit that they sell!

After four trips to stores and one final online transaction today, I am happy to report that I am done with back to school shopping for my two kids.

At first glance, the lists look so easy, right?! I combined the lists for 4K and first grade and thought it didn’t look too bad! Right?! Hmm…let me tell you how it went.

I took a first attempt on my own at Target and crossed a few of the easier items off my list. I decided to use the huge supply of pencils we had at home and buy an electric pencil sharpener to pre-sharpen 24 pencils. This IS straying from the list, but I’ll see if the 1st grade teacher will accept it. We honestly will have these pencils for YEARS if I can’t let my kids use them at school. So anyway…first attempt on my own was relatively okay, but I couldn’t finish it all in one swipe because the items on the list didn’t seem like a good price or weren’t matching up as listed.

I made the mistake of taking my kids along for my second attempt at back to school shopping at Target, and it was stressful. I have to read and re-read the list to make sure I’m buying the right thing in between shouts of, “Mom, mom! Come here! I want this!” I kept shutting that down, and after an hour in the store (we had a few other things to buy) I was D-O-N-E!

It’s so frustrating matching up what you need with what the list says. For example, here’s what I was trying to buy:

  • Two highlighter markers – chisel tip, yellow & blue
  • 2 – Clorox Disinfectant Wipes – Fresh Scent, bleach free, 35 ct.
  •  5 – black chisel-tip dry erase markers (low odor)
  • 15 large Elmer’s Glue Sticks (purple, washable, dries clear)
Back to School display Sharpie

Look at this colorful display, looking all cute. If only back to school shopping were easy & fun!

This display attracted my attention, but upon closer inspection, did it have what I needed? No! Well, unless I wanted to buy a pack of ten highlighters for the two colors that I really needed.I looked at the pretty colored ten pack of highlighters and thought, “No, I’m not wasting my money on that!” I even vented to a random woman shopping near me, and she shared that she was a teacher:

“I get it, and I appreciate the detailed list, but it also drives me a bit crazy finding the exact match!”

I ended up finding highlighters in a two-pack in yellow and blue at the Dollar Store on a shopping trip sans kids.

I moved onto the chisel tip dry erase markers. My daughter needed 4 and my son needed one. Ugh…I ended up buying two packs, so we have some extra that maybe we’ll need for next year.

When with my kids, I saw a three pack of Clorox wipes. Upon closer inspection, I needed the Fresh Scent, NOT the Citrus Scent. The pack included two of the citrus scent – NOT what I needed! Ugh…again! I had to bail after that annoying realization. Another trip to Walgreens helped me find the Fresh Scent Clorox Wipes in 35 ct. Whew!

And don’t get me started on the glue sticks – my 1st grader needs 6 and my 4 year old kindergartner needs 9, making it 15 glue sticks.  Apparently they must eat the glue for snack time.  Seriously, how is it possible to make that many projects that require so much adhesive in one school year?!

One final trip to Walmart.com helped me find the remaining Ziploc bags, including one size 4XL bag and a few boxes of Kleenex. It was so nice to just do my shopping online to get those last few things.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy  and grateful that I can afford to buy my kids school supplies – crazy as the lists may be, and I will be the first to admit that this is such a #firstworldproblem / mom struggle. I know that teachers need these supplies for their students and sometimes pool them all together for the entire class to use (not sure if this still happens in 1st grade). Teachers know what supplies hold up and work best, which is why the list is so detailed.  As a type A mom, it IS really annoying, trying to get it all right. Next year I should simply do one of the following:

  • build a stock pile of school supplies to avoid minimize the annoyance of this shopping in future years
  • do all of my shopping online
  • buy the school pack of supplies offered by a 3rd party

Next year if you hear me start to complain about back to school shopping, just shut me down and tell me to listen to my own advice on my blog!

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