Back to School Shopping

I did a little back to school shopping today.  Against my better judgment, I might add. :-)  However, I am on a mission, so off to shop I went.

I have decided I want to make my own planner.  I love those Erin Condren planners, but I can't afford one, so no cute Erin Condren planner for me.  So I'm going to make my own.  I had decided to do this awhile back, but I was definitely inspired by Primary Graffiti's post about making her own planner.  Though I liked how she did hers, I was looking to do something a bit different.  I considered making the pages to go into the planner, then having it bound at some place like Staples, so that I didn't have to use a binder.  I may still use a binder, I haven't decided yet.  It's a good thing I have another month to decide!

So today, I spent some time at Staples looking at different things for back to school.  I came across these in one of the aisles.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the organizers on the left side.  Black and white and turquoise?  I'm in love.

Usually, everything in black and white has pink as the accent color.  But I have a confession to make.  I hate pink.  I realize this is sacrilegious for many of you, but I seriously dislike pink.  I am sick of seeing some cute black and white item and opening it up and finding pink.  So to see turquoise is a relief!  I just wish this stuff wasn't so expensive, because it would look awesome in my office at home!

I also saw these awesome chalkboard labels.  How cute are these?  You can also buy chalk to write on them.  (Except it's probably overpriced since it's Martha Stewart!)

I really liked the turquoise labels on the left. 

The Martha Stewart notebooks were also super cute, durable, and on sale for half off!  I still think $3.50 is ridiculous for a notebook, though, so I didn't buy one.  

Then I came across these, and I was immediately intrigued.  It's the ARC system from Staples.  Basically, it's a ring system that is like a notebook and binder hybrid.  It functions like a notebook- you can fold the book back on itself, and it looks like a notebook.  However, you can add things to your notebook, such as dividers, or you can take things out.  There are even a few sizes.  

The Martha Stewart line also has stuff that goes in the ARC system, like dividers in cute colors and different papers, calendars, etc... 

You can also add new rings to make your notebook hold more. 

I would have bought one of those notebooks right then and there, except for one thing.  The "hole punch" that they have to put papers in your notebook is $43.  Yep, $43.  If I was going to spend $43 on a hole punch, I may as well buy an Erin Condren planner!  I asked the girls behind the counter in the Copy and Print center if they happened to have the hole punch so that people could print things out there (which I was planning on doing anyway), and have them bound to fit the Arc system.  Well, that was a no go.  So I'm pretty disappointed- I loved the idea of being able to add things just like I would in a binder, but have a notebook instead. :-(

So now I have to decide if I want to go back to using a binder again next year, or if I want to create one that I have bound with a coil binding.  Decisions decisions...

What is your planner like?  Do you have a fancy Erin Condren teacher planner?  Do you have something you created yourself?  Do you use a school issued plan book?  A binder?  How do you keep track of your plans?  I have had a binder since I started teaching.  It's gotten a little better each year, but I am looking for something great!

However, when I was at Target and Michaels today, I found a few fun things I can use in my planner.  There is a line by K&Company called Smash.  It's to make a "Smash book", and there are cute papers, dividers, and other materials to personalize your book.  The idea of a "Smash book" is adorable, but I know I would never keep up with it.

However, they really do have some cute stuff you could use to personalize a binder or notebook.  They had different dividers, tabs, clips, and pockets that you can use.

I am in love with this "Smash Tape" which I assume is like washi tape?  I love the black and white polka dots!  

And the multi-colored tape was cute too.  I thought I remember Faith Wheeler using something like this on her Monday Made It?  Maybe? 

They had cute plastic pockets.  I don't know what you would keep in them, but they're cute!

I love these Smash bands!  They're elastic bands you could use to hold your notebook closed once you have too many things in it!  I like the black and white one, of course.  I didn't see these at either of the stores, though.  :-(

This is something I actually bought at Target.  It's an elastic band that holds pens, pencils, markers, etc... and keeps them handy.  As someone who is always looking for a pen, this is such a great idea! 

I also hit up JoAnn Fabrics (though this was a few days ago, actually.  Sorry.)  

I saw these sticky back chalkboard and dry erase sheets.  How fun are these?!

I also loved the little mailboxes they had at JoAnn.  I bet there could be some really cute uses for these!

They had a whole side of one aisle devoted to school supplies.  They even had bulletin board paper!

Another place I went (and bought!) was Target.  I didn't get any pictures.  However, they have their Dollar Spot full of school supplies!  I bought some turquoise colored pocket charts (!) and border holders that were $3 each.  I don't think I need any more pocket charts, but I couldn't resist the fun color!  They also had "reinforced" notebook paper that had cute patterns where you would put it in the binder.  (This may have actually been at Staples.  I'm not sure.  It was black with white polka dots, that's really all I needed to know!)

Have you been doing any back to school shopping?  Have you found a great product you want to tell everybody about?  Please share!  (Is there a linky for this?  If not, why not?!)

I hope you all are having a great summer!


  1. I too went shopping! Well, I went camera shopping. Going back this weekend once I make some decisions! :) Love your cute finds, can't wait to see them in your classroom!

    Fun in PreK-1 & Kinder

    1. I love to go camera shopping! I used to work in a camera store once upon a time. :-) I hope you find a great camera!