Top Labelling Tips From The Teacher

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Organising Chaos, With Labels That Stick.

I am part of that special breed of human that is both a mother of small children and a school teacher.  Although sometimes this is a curse (oh gosh it is hard to stand back and not rush in and help), it is also a blessing as I am well equipped to handle all of those back to school preparations.  

This year I will have two children at school FULL TIME (cue the tears now). I jokingly tell everyone that’s why I had another baby, as I couldn’t handle the thought of having no children at home every day. #jokingnotjoking  This means double the everything:  book lists, uniforms and, of course, labels. Having the perfect labels that stick is the easiest way to organize the back to school chaos.


I think all teachers have a tendency to be OCD organisers and labellers.  I was labeling everything way before I had children! So here are my…




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An easy way to label scissors is to wrap the label on to itself, through the handle.

When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Double check

  • Text books and dictionaries
  • Stationery (EVERY pencil, marker, crayon, sharpener, eraser, ruler)
  • Calculators
  • Uniforms
  • Hats
  • Shoes and socks
  • Library bags,
  • Drink bottles
  • Lunch boxes (container and lid)
  • Lunch bags
  • Musical instruments
  • Sports gear
  • UNDERWEAR! I have a bit of a joke each year when it comes to children going to school swimming lessons.  If I find underwear and it is labeled I can discretely return it to the owner otherwise,  I will have to hold them up in front of the class!  Oh the horror!



It gets returned.  After spending a small fortune on school gear I can guarantee that something will go missing in the first week of school.  If you haven’t labeled it, there is literally no chance it will ever be returned.  Money. Down. The. Drain. At least if it is labeled there is a chance someone honest will ensure it finds its way home.

Stop the arguments.  Imagine this.  25 Children.  All with near identical belongings.  Nothing like pack up time when a child swears the red pencil with the bite marks on the end is THEIRS! If it’s labeled, no argument!


Encourage Responsibility.  This also encourages your children to be responsible for their own belongings.  This is particularly important for those littlies who have come from Kindergarten with communal resources.  Having YOUR name on an item makes you responsible for it.  If it is found on the floor there is no denying who should be putting it away!

 Now here are a few hints that I have learnt with two children at school. Different items require different information on their labels. Boy, do I have some experience in helping kids find their lost belongings!  



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An Icon helps a child identify their belongings

Pick one picture or icon for your child and use it on all their belongings.  This is particularly helpful for non-readers or beginning readers as it helps them identify their own belongings, when they have trouble reading their name.



Hats – These are the most frequently lost, expensive item (wait for it…Little Miss A’s hat costs $95!!!) These get labeled with her full name and my phone number.  With a couple hundred identical hats in the school a first name only is never going to help it find its way home.  I add my phone number as generally, I also label the inside and under the band (an inconspicuous spot) just incase someone else tries to claim it as their own!  Sometimes a sneaky label pays off.  This goes for school uniforms as well.



 Have you got any idea how many children in a school possibly share the same first name? Where possible use your child’s full name. If it is an item that may possibly be passed down to another family member a last name should do the trick. Also use upper and lower case letters for your beginning reader as many have difficulty identifying their name when it is all in capital letters…



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Two Lines Of Text. Include your child’s full name and your contact details.


If it is expensive or carted to and from school, I add my contact details.  Think hats, bags and instruments. This way if it’s left on a bus, or in the pick up zone, the finder has a way of letting you know where it is!  I always make sure mine and my husband’s mobile numbers are on our children’s school bags in case of emergencies.

So how do you do all of this without breaking the bank? Simple, a label maker!

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This year I have been testing out the Brother P-touch H105 Label Maker.


At only $25 from Officeworks, it’s affordable, versatile and creates durable labels that will actually stick. The laminated tape withstands EVERYTHING! The most durable labels on the market, they can be used both indoors and outdoors and are sun, germ, water and temperature resistant.


With 178 Symbols, 7 Frames and coloured tape, it’s easy to create pretty and personalised labels. You can also create two lines of text, perfect for your child’s name on the top and phone number on the bottom. We went with pink laminated tape for Little Miss A and laminated satin gold for Master O (they came in a three pack together with white tape)


Another brilliant addition is the iron on tape – perfect for hats, socks and school uniforms.  You have no idea how hard it has been finding labels that stick to socks! I use my label maker a lot so being able to use it with an AC adaptor saves me a whole heap of money on batteries.

 Naturally because I love my label maker so much, I want to share the love.  

You could win your very own Brother PT-H105 Labeller!  Just use Rafflecopter below to let me know;

What would you label with the Brother PT-H105 Labeller and why?  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back To School: Buying Name Labels

 It’s no secret that I love to label.  I have dedicated much of my life to ensuring everything and every place in our home is labelled!  Labels ensure items find their way home.  This is never more true than all those items that leave your home to visit school, Kindy or work each day!

Pencils, scissors, socks, and books.  If it is leaving your house, LABEL IT! If you LOVE it LABEL IT!

With a new school year ahead now is the perfect time to stock up on name labels.


QUALITY.  This for me comes before everything else.  Labels are one of those items where you really do get what you pay for.  There are many label companies out there these days but don’t scrimp on quality for the sake of saving a few dollars.  A good label can last for many years, buy it cheap and you may have to buy it twice, costing more money in the end.

Look for labels that;

  • Are Dishwasher Safe (For lunchboxes)
  • Are Washing Machine Safe (For Clothes)
  • Come in various sizes.
  • Are Laminated (paper labels are just not durable)

PRICE.  This is where it pays to be organized.  Finding a great price does not neccessarily mean finding the cheapest. Make a list of the type of labels you will need.  Savings can be found by purchasing a value pack that includes a variety of label sizes and type that best suits your needs. You can buy a cheap pack but if it’s full of labels in sizes you don’t need and doesn’t include a number of the ones you DO need! 

DESIGN.  I am going to be looking at these labels A LOT.  They may as well look good.  Also for younger children, having a particular picture or theme to the labels, assists non readers to identify which items belong to them. E.G My shoes are the ones wit the airplane picture.  I also like to get a variety of colours in my pack to help with colour coding!  I know it is a bit OCD but in the past I have used different colours for different days of the weeks or to even to help identify the left and right shoe (Red for Right, Lime for Left) By putting two matching colour labels


DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Check with your school what needs to labeled.  Some classrooms, especially in the early years have communal pencils,  crayons and even scissors.  These items often don’t need to be labeled.  However, some times it also pays to label everything just the same as at least you are in with a chance of unused items being returned to you at the end of the year.  Ask the class teachers or even parents who  have been at the school before. 

CLOTHING AND SHOE LABELS.  Don’t forget to include clothing and shoe labels.  Have you ever tried to work out whose black velcro shoes belong to who in a see of 25 pairs of identical shoes? Clothing labels generally come in either the stick on or Iron on variety. In my experience although the stick on labels are obviously much easier to use, the iron on ones do last longer. 


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 I make up a big table.  If you think I love a good label, you haven’t seen me with a table! Just in word I create a label to track what we have purchased, what we have received, what kind of book cover we will need and what kind of label we require for each item.

By doing this I can easily workout how many of each item, we need and make the most of value packs.

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mini labels, the best option for fiddly pencils and crayons

 This year we needed LOTS of Mini Labels.  EVERY pencil, text and crayon was required to be individually labelled. In past years we have required lots of regular name labels and book labels.  I also made another table for uniforms.  With two children in completely new uniforms this year I needed to stock up on clothing and shoe labels. 

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and so the production line begins!

So who do I use?  This is actually my fifth year of using Stuck On You.  At first when Master O went to child care I choose them because they were cute.  After seeing how durable they were I continued to buy them! I have even bought Little Miss A a few before, not that she has ever really needed a label! 

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Master O chose the Robot themed Designer Book Labels


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Little Miss A loved the Sweetie Pie range.

 I must admit, throwing myself into the preparations for Back To School has taken my mind off the fact that my Little Miss A, who has never been away from me, is going to KINDY!!!! 

So are you a labelaholic?  Got your labels sorted for this year?

WANT TO WIN A $25 Stuck On You Gift Voucher? 

We are giving away 2 x Stuck On You Gift Vouchers! Just Enter via Rafflecopter below!


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DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by “Stuck On You.” I have received products in return for my honest opinion and review of their great products!

Delicious Bento Lunch Ideas

 Let it be known, I am the mother of THE PICKIEST EATER.  Little Miss A started out well and as a baby would eat anything that came her way, but somewhere after the age of 18 months we found our selves with a child living off vegemite sandwiches and air.  

I do have hope.  Master O was actually much the same until he started Kindy.  Suddenly with an increase in activity, his appetite increased!  He also went to a Kindergarden with a strict RUBBISH FREE lunchbox policy.  Lunches had to be rubbish free in every sense of the word, no plastic wrap or packaged food and no junk food!  I was even sent a note home, in trouble for sending  in blueberry muffins!   But suddenly he wanted healthy food.  Everyone else was eating it and peer pressure in its finest form kicked in.  I now had requests for sultanas, carrot sticks and sushi! We started making our first Bento Lunches and never looked back.  

Our bento lunches are really just package free food in compartments.  I don’t get fancy and haven’t until now bought special cutters or food picks.  Little Miss A loves looking at pictures of  the fancy shaped lunches (especially the Hello Kitty ones) so I am going to give a few a try this year.

So for some inspiration…….

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From The Yumbox Blog, co founder Maia created this yummy bento lunch.

SUSHI!  This one is especially for master O who not only devours Sushi but cucumber too!  I have never thought to cut it into little sticks before.

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Another great lunch from the Yumbox blog

PASTA.  Both kids love pasta and will eat it in any shape or form.  This opens up a whole heap of grain opportunities.  I am thinking pasta teddies, ravioli and macaroni.

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From Another Lunch. One of the first Bento Blogs I ever read!

Salami.  I always think ham and chicken for Protein but Salami would be a winner for both children.

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From Wendolonia. This is the best BENTO blog! This is where I first read about the Yumbox!

RICE.  When all else fails we cook Little Miss A some rice.  Bento supplies often have rice moulds and I would love to give these a try.

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When the mamabelly family became interested in a household rabbit, the lunches followed the theme of the children’s interests! What a brilliant idea!

Bunnies!!!!  Remember her Bunny Birthday?  Just maybe this will be the way to get her to eat carrots? 


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Another bento from Wendolonia. I love that she calls the sliced carrots, carrot coins!

Popcorn!  Actually counted as a grain!  Who doesnt love popcorn!

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From Ladybug Lunches. Fantastic reviews and great lunch ideas for a picky little ladybug!

Those little flower hams would be gobbled up in a second.  Master O loves corn but I have never thought of putting it in a lunch box.

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This is cuteness extreme from Bent On Better Lunches.

Lady bugs, this would be the envy of the Kindy playground!  Way too cute for words and such simple but effective ideas.

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Another Bent On Better Lunches Bento! This is a yumbox tray out of the yumbox!

Take any slice/biscuit/muffin and use a cookie cutter to cut it into a heart and it instantly looks appetising! 

I truly believe by supplying small portions of many different foods, in a creative and fun way, that my picky eater may just try something new!  

All of these Bento’s are created in the Yumbox lunchbox and can be found (along with many more!) on my Pinterest boards.

and so the planning begins…..

I am a planner.  A procastinator, but a planner. I make lists upon lists.  I find it very hard to live in the now.  But I am starting to embrace it.  So now, even though you can feel Christmas in the air, I am starting the New Year organising.

On My List.

1. Sort out the school stuff. Otherwise known as ,  tackle the mountain of Master O’s school paraphenalia.  Sort, Throw, Store a years worth of school “stuff” efficiently.  Whatever system I choose, it is going to have to be compact and efficient.  We have two children, with 14 years of school each.  That is a lot of stuff!

2.  Collate the back to school lists.  The uniforms, stationary and text book requirements are here but I am yet to make my “table“.  This is playing on my mind as January is CRAZY for us with two trips away.


Stuck On You

3. Organise a 2013 Family Calendar.  I have done this!  It is here, it is beautiful and it is empty!  There is something so appealing about an unfilled calendar that I have been putting off writing in it!  We had an amazing system in 2012 using this stuck on you calendar and we want it continue.

4.Organise a 2013 Diary.  Once again I have done this!  I am trying a new system of keeping my schedule organised this year.  It does help that I dont have a work schedule to manage! I have enlisted the help of a “Persoanl Planner” and I can’t wait to share with you how I use it! Check out for more

5. Start a new cleaning schedule.  This is the up or maybe down side of now being a stay at home Mum.  The cleaning and organising of a rather large house is now my domain.  I need help people! I need a schedule or even just a list, I need to sort out a cleaning container?  

I could go on forever.  I have to say there is something exciting about fresh starts, new plans and endless lists!  

So where are you at? Any plans for the new year?

Love it? Label it or Loose it!

Boy could I go on and on about my never ending search for the perfect labels!  Even before I had children I was a label addict and purchased my own name labels for all my books!  Teachers beware nothing was going missing from my stash!

Ok so here is where I admit that as soon as Master O was born, and that I knew he was a boy and he had been given a name I ordered his own name labels!!!

More about label companies next week, today I want to show you how easy it is to make your very own book labels!!!

Step 1. Search pinterest, google, or even desing your own using clip art and text boxes in word.

Step 2. Print them onto A4 sized label paper.  You can buy this from office works for about $25 a box.  You can usually fit up to 8 lables a page!

Label your books!  It really is that easy!  Flash back time!  This time last year (before anybody read this blog!) I wrote about book labels!  So for all the newby followers here it is!  

I LOVE BOOKS.  Especially children’s books.  I love receiving them, I love giving them. I love sharing them with my kids and them sharing them with me!  So now that it’s the weekend thats what I intend to do!  Fingers crossed it will be a rainy Saturday,  the house will be immaculate, the kids will both have a daytime sleep at the same time and I will be able to enjoy a good book and a HOT cup of coffee.  I would even settle for a magazine and a warm cup of coffee…A girl can dream can’t she…. 
Well incase my dreams don’t come true this weekend, I have a back up plan.  We have a zillion books.  Okay maybe a slight overestimation, but we have a lot!  Being a teacher I had many children’s books, before I even had children.  Since having children our collection has exploded! Now they have taken over our playroom, study, bedrooms and under the stairs.  I am not a fan of clutter but books are truly one of those things I can not bare to part with!  So I would love to sort them out a bit and….add some book plates!  I just love reading to the kids and being able to tell them who bought them the story and why.  There truly is a book in our house for every occasion!  Baptisms, Birthday’s, Starting Kindy, Getting a new sister, Breaking a leg (I did say EVERY occasion!)  In the chaos of life I sometimes forget to write inside the cover.  To make life easier (and more stylish) I am hoping to use some of these gorgeous FREE Printables!
They would be great for making a start on the Back to School books?
Or you could just add them to your own home library to make sure, that favourite book finds it way home! 
What a great way to personalise a gift!
Simply click, download and print these gorgeous designs onto a sticker sheet!  
Or glue them on the front or inside cover of your children’s books for some vintage style!

So if you love it, label it and it will always find it’s way home!


Where is that note? Creating a “School File it Folder”


This where I admit, that over the years, as a teacher, I have destroyed a small forest with the amount of paperI have sent home.  The discussing, planning, seeking approval, writing, editing, copying, sending home of notes only to be often asked to replace them because they have been lost between school and home! 

I can not stress enough how important it is as a parent to……..


Other wise you may miss important occasions, get the middle of the night parent teacher interview time or even worse your child misses an excursion!

Master O is yet to start school and already we have a folder full of paper!  That’s right a whole folder!  I mentioned it briefly when we set up our Organisation Station but here is how our “SCHOOL FILE IT FOLDER”  works.


First there is a system. 

  1. READ. Check for notes DAILY.  Check bags, lunchboxes, communication books and if you can the school website.
  2. WRITE. Write down ALL DATES immediately.  We write them on our family calendar and in my “Inner B Mum Organiser”  Be sure to write in your diary when the note needs returning AND when the event is taking place.
  3. ACT. What do you need to with this information?
  • Does it need returning?  If it does, fill it out and put it back in their school bag immediately!
  • Do you need it for future reference?  File it away in your “SCHOOL FILE IT FOLDER”
  • Do you need to tell anybody else about the event?
  • Organise different pick up arrangements or a day off work?


This folder acts as a file for ALL IMPORTANT pieces of paper that come home from school.  You can expect the following kinds of notes.

  • Enrolment Forms
  • Student Handbooks
  • Uniform Lists
  • Book Lists
  • Tuckshop Menu’s
  • Newsletters – School
  • Newsletters – Class
  • School Contact Details
  • Fee Statements
  • Excursions
  • Special Days and Celebrations
  • Calendar of Events
  • Rosters
  • Curriculum Information
  • Parent Contact Details

Do you see what I mean about a lot of paper!!!! 


I use:

  • An A4 Ring Binder
  • Plastic Pockets
  • Subject dividers with clear insertable tabs. (Extra Wide)
  • Clear Plastic Pocket with Velcro closure
  • Label maker
The extra wide dividers help separate your folder into sections.  Place them in the folders and decide what your main categories will be
I have used; 
  • Newsletters
  • Fees
  • Tuckshop
  • Notes
  • Class
Place a few plastic pockets behind each category.
I use a large pocket folder at the front to hold bulkier items such as labels and receipts.
Create a cover!    DONE!  
I keep our folder in our Organisation Station so it always part of our wider household organisation and at my fingertips!
You now have a system, a place and some order to your everest high pile of school papers!  If only I could find a system for dealing with my everest high pile of washing!  Would it fit in a folder?


Back to School ~ The List Making

I know I am a list maker.  I know that there is not a day without a list.  I know there are usually more than one list on the go at any given time!  I know I am currently drowning in lists like the Christmas present list, card list, to do list, holiday packing list, shopping lists and of course….THE MASTER O IS STARTING SCHOOL LIST!  As you can see the very lucky lists move from handwritten to typed table status!

This list was mainly started as the notes from school requesting all the specifics had started rolling in.  Uniform lists, book lists, specific requests for labels and lunchboxes.  I needed it all in one place.  This is how I did it.


1. Compile all lists into one MASTER list.  Start with Uniforms and Book Lists.

2.  Don’t forget to add other school essentials such as 

  • lunchboxes
  • drinkbottles
  • art smocks
  • pencil cases
  • school bags
  • shoes

3.  As you add each item on to the list include any sizing information, quantity and price.

4. Now that you have all items listed you can also work out how many labels you will need to label EVERY item.  Include shoes, socks, jumpers, smocks, lunchboxes, individual pencils, EVERYTHING! You can see my tally on the right hand side.

5. Now I print my list off and get the highlighter ready!  I categorise my list into three priority buying times, using three different colours.  I know that I display OCD traits!

Yellow – Buy NOW (October/November) – Text books, socks, tie, school bag (anything he won’t grow out of)

Orange – Buy for Christmas (December) – Lunch box, drink bottle, pencil case, library bag and novelty stationery.  He is so excited about starting school that choosing some of the more personal items now makes for great Christmas presents.

Pink – Buy at the Back to School Sales (January). Shoes, Uniforms the rest of the stationery.

I know that if you are ever looking for a list Inner-B have a huge range of FREE Downloadable checklists including a great Back to School one!  Just click HERE

Now that all my lists are in one place, prioritised and starting to be ticked off, I know I feel more in control, more organised and hopefully prepared for what is going to be such an exciting and nerve wracking occasion in our house!

What do you know about list making?

School Book Covers ~ The Easy Way!

I know it is still two months until school goes back but a conversation over at Mummy Smiles had me wanting to share these great school book covers!  A few years ago during the Back To School sales I discovered these great “Spencil” plastic slip on book covers!  I was looking for something to put over some old contacted books I had at home for Master O’s artwork.  But they are great for school books!

The Front.

This cover we have had for 2 years and it still looks as good as new!  They are sturdy , excellent quality, with a dedicated place on the front for their name and subject.  This one is the A4 book size but they come in exercise book and scrapbook size.

The inside of the cover.


You simply “slip” them over your book.  They are wipeable and come in a HUGE range of designs for both boys and girls!

The Back

Each design is different on the front and back.  They are  extremely affordable with each cover retailing for between $2-2.50 each.  You could even remove the cover at the end of the year and reuse it the following year!

Easy, affordable and stylish a hands down winner for covering books! The one catch… I can’t buy them this year as Master O’s school has requested texts books be covered in clear contact!  Wish me luck….I HATE CONTACT!

To view the full range of “Spencil” book covers click HERE 

I was in no way paid for this post, I just love clever ideas and want to share them with the flock! 

Back to School – The Booklist

The Booklist.  That little piece of paper either brings out feelings of love or loathe. It’s that time of year again.  You are just getting your head around the Christmas Concert and wham, you now have to think about next year.   This week we received our booklist for 2012.  MY FIRST BOOKLIST EVER.  I have written them, advised parents about them, but this time its all mine to buy.  The reality has hit.  My baby is starting school.  I am all about planning ahead and lists and obviously this is no exception.  So here we go…


What to do NOW.

1. READ IT. Read the list thoroughly.  Especiallay the bit where it says what you have to do with it!  Does it have to be returned to the school?  Does it have a closing date?  Look for other details such as how items are to be named.  You may order $50 worth of name labels for Christmas only to find that all items go into a communal container to be shared with the class!

2. COPY IT. Photocopy it.  Or even better scan it. You will thank me in January or when step 3 fails.

3. SAFE PLACE. Put it in a safe place. (Also part of step 2!)  You do not want to loose this list in amoungst the Christmas Cards!  For me it is going in my Smile File!  As soon as it arrives!

4.  PLAN OF ATTACK.  I know it is only November but generally you will have to decide NOW how you want to order your books.  Most schools have three ways of ordering. 

 1.  The no brainer

Fill out the form with your credit card number and the school does the rest.  Nearly all schools now offer this option.  If they don’t, you will usually find a local newsagency or book store who will do this for you.  This is the option to go for if;

  •  You are time poor
  •  You hate shopping
  • The list is very specific
  • It’s your first child starting school so you do not already have any of the items.
  • You want your child to have the same as everybody else
This option WILL cost you more as you can’t shop around and elbow youre way to a bargain at the back to school sales.  It also means that if you have more than one child you will receive a truck load of supplies, all at once usually at the last minute, leaving you and your dining table up to your elbows in contact, labels and markers. But you will get exactly what you need, with no naughty note form the teacher telling you you bought the wrong books and you haven’t even touched a shopping trolley.
2. The 50/50.
This way you order some items through the school but shop yourself for the rest.  If your school has the previous option they generally offer this option.  You just tick off the items you want the school to source and purchase for you.
This is the option if
  • Some items are specific but it is generally your usual stationary, pencils etc.
  • You are keen to get a bargain at back to school sales
  • You already have some of the items 
  • You have a bit of time to shop around
  • You would love for your child to have a few special/personalised/choosen themselves items.
This is probably the approach I will be taking.  If you do the 50/50 my advice is have the school order the books and texts.   Generally these books are pretty specific and the school is probably getting a better deal than you are because they are buying in bulk. Buy the stationary (pencils, crayons, glue etc) yourself.   I used to love picking out my own pencil case and erasers etc.  Now that schools have become so uniform, it is the only thing kids can have that is individual!
3. D. I. Y  
This option is best if
  • You are a skilled and experienced shopper
  • You have more time than money
  • You don’t need to buy texts or specific items.
  • You are crazy
Sorry but I don’t recommend this option.  By the time you chase up 10 bookstores searching for that Year 1 Picture dictionary your child will be graduating.   Even exercise/writing books are generally very specific and there is nothing more annoying (for both teacher and parent) when you buy 10 of the wrong kind of book.   If your provides all texts and books and you are only required to buy the stationary this is a great option and by far the cheapest.  My advice is to not buy items yourself just yet, come January the stores go back to school crazy and you can pick up an amazing bargain from a HUGE range!
Oh and give your school a pat on the back because they have just made both your jobs so much easier! 
Ask your child’s current teacher if any items from this year can be used next year. Most schools and teachers are happy to send home anything that did not get used this year!  This could include, 
  • Scissors
  • Dictionary
  • Atlas
  • Calculator
  • Sharpener
  • Plastic Folders
  • Art/Sketch Books
  • Scrapbooks

This will save you both time and money!!!

I am a stationary addict and love back to school shopping, lucky for me I have been at school for the past 27 years in one form or another!  This time I am excited to experience the thrill of picking out a squeaky new pencil case for my little man!  Perhaps I could get two birds with one stone and get him one for Christmas???

How do you do your back to school shopping??