21 Day Fix

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Strange School Supplies

School Supplies These Days...

What is the strangest thing on your kids school supply list?

The other day on facebook I was pondering the kid’s school supply lists.  This marks year 9 of school supply shopping for me and I guess I no longer find it strange that in addition to crayons, pens, notebooks, flash drives and filler paper my kids are required to purchase “classroom supplies” such as Clorox wipes, Kleenex, paper towels and copy paper.  I’m not sure when this started, but obviously sometime between 1986 and 2004 (from my experience).  Doing “the math” I found that I spent roughly the same amount on classroom supplies per child as I did on actual school supplies.  This doesn't make me happy and I'm currently out of white copy paper at home for my printer / but bought a bunch for the school. 

I realize budgets are tight, and kids are in general slobs and need all sorts of cleaning items in the classroom but the copy paper thing drives me nuts.  I had to supply the school with 5 reams this year between my 3 kids and I know that if the school just charged each family $15 for “computer paper fee” they’d be able to purchase it in bulk from a supply store for a lot cheaper than each family is dishing out for the stuff – and bonus for the school – they’d be able to choose exactly what type of paper they get and probably end up with less paper jams.

As for the Kleenex and paper towels I’m also quite sure that had these items been on my school supply list my Mom would have sent me with a cloth hanky and a dish towel and told me to use those if I needed them. As for the cleaning items, I remember cans of Comet and sponges for cleaning in the classroom – and I’m sure they lasted longer than a container of wipes.   

Other friends tell stories of needing 4 jumbo glue sticks AND 3 elmers school glue bottles for their 3rd graders, or multiple boxes of crayons and markers for one kid.  How many do you need?  So I wonder what are the actual school supply “needs” –vs- school supply “wants”.

A friend who worked for the school mentioned that at the end of one year she saw multiple teachers with a dozen or more Kleenex boxes left in their classrooms, at that point she stopped buying a lot of the classroom supplies on the list and focused on her kids actually school supplies – budgets at home are tight too after all.  

I wonder what will be on the school supply lists 20 years from now...


  1. Having kids is crazy expensive isn't it! We've got 4 in school this year, we may need to re-mortgage the house!

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Parenting is a crazy road and it is nice to hear from others taking the same journey. Mine are all in Catholic school so that re-mortgaging the house thing may not be such a joke over here... Ellie