Overhead picture of various summer camp supplies including sunscreen, clothes, bug spray, and sunglasses.

With the summer vacation coming to an end, it’s time for students across the country to prepare for the upcoming school year. Whether you’re a kindergartener just starting your academic journey or a high school senior preparing for graduation, having the right supplies is essential for success.

This back-to-school checklist will help you prepare for the upcoming school year with the right supplies for success. At Ocean State Job Lot, we offer a variety of back-to-school supplies for less, so you can get the supplies you need for success this year. Let’s dive right into it!

Three children wearing backpacks sit on a stone wall facing away from the camera.

Keep Your Child Organized With A Clutter-Free Backpack

A cluttered backpack can add unnecessary stress to your school day. By maintaining an uncluttered backpack, you’ll have a more organized school day, reduce stress, and improve your productivity. Use these organizational tools to keep everything neat and accessible:

Backpack or Messenger Bag

A clutter-free backpack is essential for a stress-free school day. Invest in a well-constructed backpack or messenger bag with multiple compartments to comfortably accommodate your supplies and textbooks.

Pencil Case

A pencil case is also a must-have to keep your writing essentials organized and prevent them from getting lost in the depths of your backpack.

Planner or Calendar

Stay organized and don’t miss important deadlines by having a planner or calendar to track assignments, exams, and extracurricular activities.

Three students work on an assignment together.

Classroom Essentials for Note-Taking and Assignments

Writing essentials are the building blocks of every student’s toolkit. A good set of pens and pencils is crucial for taking effective notes, completing assignments, and expressing your thoughts clearly. These tools will enable you to take effective notes, complete assignments, and express your thoughts clearly. Here are some must-have items for your backpack:

Pens and Pencils

First and foremost, every student needs a good set of pencils and pens. These tools will help you take effective notes, complete assignments, and express your thoughts clearly. Purchase a variety of pens, such as ballpoint, gel, dry erase, and felt-tip, to suit your writing style. Younger children might need colored pencils or markers for their creative projects. Also, don’t forget to grab a set of mechanical pencils with extra leads, erasers, and pencil sharpeners to keep your writing utensils in top shape. These basic writing tools are the building blocks of your academic journey.


Highlighters are also an essential tool for students. Opt for a pack of assorted highlighter colors to mark important information in your notes. This will help you quickly find and retain key points during study sessions and revision. 

Art Supplies

If you’re enrolled in any art or crafts classes, ensure you have an adequate supply of paints, watercolors, brushes, and colored pencils. These art supplies will allow you to participate fully in creative projects and express your artistic abilities. By being prepared with these essential classroom supplies, you’ll be ready to engage in a wide range of subjects and activities throughout the school year.

Scissors, Glue, and Tape

These classroom essentials round out your child’s supplies. Whether it’s cutting and gluing with our scissors and glue sticks or taping a note to their binder, they’ll be ready for anything. 


Notebooks keep your subjects organized and your notes easily accessible. Consider using different colors for each subject to minimize confusion and make it easier to locate specific materials. 

Binders and Folders

A binder or an accordion file organizes each subject’s loose papers, handouts, and completed assignments. We have a variety of folders, including three-ring binders, two-pocket folders, and file folders. Don’t forget to pick up some loose-leaf paper to keep your binder stocked all year.

Sticky Notes and Page Markers

Sticky notes and page markers will also come in handy for jotting down quick reminders or marking important pages in textbooks. These organizational tools will ensure that you can find what you need when you need it.

Index Cards

Index cards are a must-have school supply essential for students of all ages. These handy cards make great flashcards for studying and memorizing important information. They can also use them to organize and categorize notes, making it easier to review and review during exams. Their compact size allows students to carry them around conveniently, ensuring that important information is always at their fingertips.

A young girl wearing headphones attends a virtual class.

Electronic Devices to Support Modern Digital Learning 

In today’s digital era, many schools incorporate technology into their curriculum. Digital back-to-school supplies are becoming increasingly important as schools embrace technology in their curriculum. By utilizing these electronic devices, students can fully engage with technology and make the most of their educational journey. Here are a few essential digital appliances that can enhance your learning experience:

Laptop or Tablet

When it comes to back-to-school supplies, a reliable laptop or tablet can be a game-changer for students. These devices offer a range of functionalities, from note-taking and research to completing assignments and accessing online resources. Depending on your school’s requirements, investing in a laptop or tablet can greatly enhance your learning experience. While some schools provide laptops to their students, having your own personal device allows for flexibility and ensures you have access to it whenever you need it. To keep your device protected, consider investing in a sturdy laptop case or a padded sleeve, which will safeguard it during your travels to and from school. With a dependable laptop or tablet in hand and proper protection, you’ll be well-equipped to easily tackle your academic endeavors.

USB Flash Drive or Cloud Service

A USB flash drive or cloud service is an essential school supply for students in the digital age. With a reliable USB flash drive, students can conveniently back up their important digital files, ensuring that they have a secure copy in case of device failure or loss. USB flash drives also enable easy access and transfer of files between different devices, allowing students to work on their assignments seamlessly. Alternatively, cloud services provide a convenient and secure way to store and access files online. With cloud storage, students can access their documents, presentations, and other files from any device with an internet connection, eliminating the need to carry physical storage devices. 


Earbuds are a must for working on independent study lessons when you need to listen to instructions without disrupting the whole class. Additionally, a high-quality headset with a built-in microphone can enable clear and effective communication during virtual classes or online group projects. Noise-canceling headphones can be incredibly helpful in reducing distractions in study hall or during noisy classroom activities. 

Top-down view of kids eating lunch at a table.

Lunchtime Essentials to Make Mealtime Healthy and Enjoyable

As kids head back to school, it’s essential to ensure they have a healthy and enjoyable lunchtime experience. Packing a balanced meal is key. Keeping your child hydrated and fed during the school day can help them stay focused during lessons. Here are a couple of ideas if your child brings their lunch to school:

Lunch Bag

Whether you opt for a lunchbox or a fabric lunch bag, either is an eco-friendly option to replace paper bags. Plus, many are insulated to keep your kid’s food cool and fresh until they’re ready to eat. Add a small freezable ice pack to prevent spoilage. A reusable lunch bag is also more cost-effective than one-time-use paper bags. 

Refillable Water Bottle

Hydration is important for everyone, and a reusable water bottle is an eco-friendly way to give your child access to water throughout the day.

Health and Hygiene Supplies to Keep Your Child Well

Don’t forget to keep your child and your family healthy and comfortable throughout the school day with these essential health and hygiene supplies:

Hand Sanitizer

Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean when soap and water aren’t readily available. 


Having a small pack of tissues in your backpack will help prevent the spread of germs and ensure you’re prepared for any unexpected sniffles or sneezes.

Antibacterial Wipes

From desks to doorknobs, antibacterial wipes help keep your area clean and germ-free.

High school students work on a group project together.

Other Essential Classroom Supplies Your Child Might Need

In addition to the basic classroom supplies, there are a few other essential items that older kids may need. A calculator is often necessary for math or science classes, and it is important to check with the school or teacher for any specific requirements or recommended models. Higher-level math classes may require a scientific calculator. A ruler and protractor are also important tools for accurately drawing diagrams and measuring angles in geometry class. Lastly, book covers offer several benefits, such as protecting textbooks from wear and tear, extending their lifespan, and allowing students to personalize their books, making it easier to identify their books quickly.

Whether stepping into a classroom again or embarking on a virtual learning journey, having the right supplies is vital for your academic success. Most schools have supply checklists based on your child’s grade and teacher’s preferences. Check with the school’s website to see if there are specific items your child needs, and use this post to supplement any extras. Remember, being well-prepared will not only make your life easier but also set you up for an exciting and productive year ahead. And don’t forget to save money by shopping for school supplies at your local Ocean State Job Lot. Good luck!

Printable School Supply List to Make Your Life Easier

School supply shopping can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With this printable list, you can easily get everything you need for your child’s upcoming school year. The list includes all the essential supplies, as well as some extras that may be helpful. To use the list, simply print it out and check off the items as you purchase them. Please remember this list is only a guide. Required school supplies vary by grade and school district. Be sure to check with your child’s school for a list of actual school supplies required. 


  • Backpack or Other School Bag
  • Pencil Case

Classroom Essentials

  • Pens (Gel, Ballpoint, or Felt-Tip)
  • Pencils (No. 2 Wooden or Mechanical)
  • Extra Lead for Mechanical Pencils
  • Handheld Pencil Sharpener
  • Dry-Erase Markers
  • Highlighters
  • Erasers
  • Watercolors
  • Colored Pencils
  • Glue Sticks (or White School Glue)
  • Scissors
  • Spiral Notebooks
  • Composition Notebooks
  • Three-Ring Binders
  • Loose-Leaf Paper
  • Pocket Folders
  • Sticky Notes
  • Index Cards
  • Student Planner


  • Tablet or Laptop
  • USB Flash Drive
  • Headphones or Earbuds

Health & Hygiene

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Facial Tissues


  • Refillable Water Bottle
  • Reusable Lunch Bag (with reusable ice packs)


  • Book Covers
  • Calculator
  • Ruler
  • Protractor