Back-to-School Supplies You’ll Want Even if You’re Not in School

Published on: Aug 12, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
back-to-school supplies for the upcoming yearDesign: theSkimm | Photo: Free Period Press, Amazon, Loftie

Back-to-school season always makes us feel excited — if just for nostalgia’s sake and the thrill of new supplies. Fresh planners, new pens, and desk gadgets that’ll keep your setup clean and tidy? Our inner child who loves gel pens and Lisa Frank is jumping for joy.

If you’re heading back to school, we rounded up the items to get you ready for the busy year ahead. And tbh, even if you’re not in school, these products will be just as useful for your everyday commute or work-from-home sitch. Blow the dust off your shower caddy, we’re heading back to campus.


silicone collapsible coffee cupAmazon
A collapsible silicone coffee cup that’ll make your morning commute much easier…

Hiii, subway (or bus or train) — it’s been a while. With this on-the-go mug, you’ll be able to drink your cup of java while heading to class. Once you’re done, you can collapse it down and toss it in your backpack. It’s incredibly compact and won’t hog space or create waste (and that’s pretty cool). ($15, Amazon)

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eucalyptus sheet setSijo
A eucalyptus sheet set that feels like silk and can fit dorm beds…

Made from sustainable materials, these sheets will be the perfect end to a long day of studying at the library. They’re antimicrobial, cooling, and hypoallergenic. If you’re skeptical, you can test ‘em out for up to 30 nights and then return if needed, no questions asked. ($145+, Sijo)

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slip-on sneakersKeds
A pair of slip-on Keds you’ll wanna wear all over campus…

They look like lace-up sneaks but actually slip on, so even if you’re running late, you won’t need to waste a minute tying laces. With cushioned footbeds, they’ll feel broken-in from the moment you take them out of the box. Psst...we’ve tried these shoes and love them. Not only are they cute, but they also work with pretty much any outfit and provide all-day comfort. ($49.95, Keds)

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art printRedbubble
An adorable art print any book lover will want on their wall…

Looking to zhuzh up your space for the school year ahead? Redbubble has a wide array of prints, posters, and tapestries. This one is printed on lightly textured cotton paper and comes in four sizes. It’ll arrive without a frame, so depending on the size you choose, check out frames here. ($16.80, Redbubble)

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hand sanitizerVerishop
A pack of hand sanitizers that smell amazing and keep skin hydrated…

Back to school = back to touching a million different surfaces, from textbooks to cafeteria cups. Yeah, you’ll wanna carry a sanitizer on you at all times. Paume is plant-based and blended with essential oils to keep your hands nourished. The scent is light, with a formula that’ll kill 99.9% of harmful bacteria and germs. The bottle is also made from recycled materials. Refills come in pouches that can also be recycled, so you won’t have to create waste. ($28/2 pack, Verishop)

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over-the-door shoe organizerAmazon
An over-the-door shoe organizer that’ll allow for more closet space…

Keeping all your sneakers, boots, and heels stacked on the ground? Not very ideal when you’ve got minimal closet space. This hanger lifts everything off the floor so you can see all your pairs at once. No more fumbling to find that second sneaker when you’re just trying to head to the gym. ($9.87, Amazon)

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earbudsAmazon
Noise-cancelling, wireless earbuds you can keep in your pocket…

From listening to music while studying to following a lecture, these earbuds will come in handy more times than you can count. If you need to hear what’s going on around you, hop into transparency mode so you can chat quickly with a friend. To control the buds, all you’ve gotta do is tap ‘em. They’ll connect with your phone and laptop via Bluetooth, and can play up to 10 hours on a single charge. ($59.99, Amazon)

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digital detox workbook to help you decrease screen timeFree Period Press
A digital detox workbook since you’ll be spending a ton of time looking at a screen…

For those who are attending classes via Zoom — or who just wanna cut back on time spent endlessly scrolling — taking a break from screens is crucial. This workbook can help you press pause on the constant need to be online. From checking emails to scrolling through Instagram, sometimes you (and your eyes) just need a break. ($12, Free Period Press)

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amazon prime student membershipAmazon
An Amazon Prime Student membership that has a ton of perks…

You’ll get access to Prime Delivery, Prime Video, Prime Reading, and Prime Music, early access to deals, and so much more. It’ll come in handy when you’re looking for dorm essentials or just wanna watch a movie after a long week of work. All you’ve gotta do is explore the offers (including food delivery perks) and sign up. Psst...the first six months are free, and from now until September 30, Prime Student members can get three months free of Audible Premium Plus, as well as three free audio titles to keep forever. (Sign up here, Amazon)

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portable chargerAmazon
A portable charger so your phone never dies during a full day of classes…

Better safe than sorry. When you’re running around campus or working all day on a project, the last thing you wanna see is a low-battery warning. This is one of those staples that’s great to keep in a backpack for emergencies. You’ll truly never regret having it on hand. ($29.99+, Amazon)

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laptop cleaning brushAmazon
A laptop cleaner for all those fingerprints and crumbs your comp collects…

The microfiber pad removes icky prints and smudges from the screen, while the soft brush sweeps away any dirt and leftover crumbs from your most recent snack. When not in use, you can pop the cover over the pad and retract the brush so both stay clean and protected in your desk drawer. Midnight munch while you’re writing a paper? No one will ever know. ($10.99, Amazon)

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backpackDay Owl
A brand-new backpack to hold all your valuable items…

Ah, possibly the most important school item there is. This backpack is your home base. It’s stylish and functional: It has a padded laptop pocket, a spill-resistant water bottle pocket, a top pocket for glasses and small items, and a hidden side pocket for a phone or keys. It’s also made with waxed canvas from 100% recycled post-consumer plastic bottles, 100% recycled polyester lining and trim, algae-based foam, and water-repellant neoprene. Aka it’s great for you and even better for planet Earth. ($149, Day Owl)

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plannerAmazon
A planner that’ll help you keep track of all your upcoming assignments…

Looking to stay on top of your game? Say hello to your new best friend. This planner will help you track due dates, meetings with professors, and your ever-growing to-do list. It’s got both weekly and monthly spreads, with room to jot down notes and reminders. You = booked and busy. ($32, Amazon)

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cable clips to hold charging wiresAmazon
Cable clips that will organize the jungle of charging cables hanging from your desk…

Instead of having cables rest on the floor, these clips will hold them in place. Every clip has a sticky back, so depending on your setup, you can stick each one in a different place where you need a wire available. When you’re running low on battery, you’ll have a charging cable waiting at the ready. ($4.99/6 pack, Amazon)

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car visor extender to help dim headlights and prevent glareGrommet
A car visor extender if you drive to your classes…

Morning and evening commutes can be tiring, and getting a glare on your windshield can be a huge driving hazard. One thing is for certain: Good visibility is a must. This extender attaches to the driver’s seat built-in visor and can dim the brightness of oncoming headlights. Safety first. ($29.95, Grommet)

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phone-compatible alarm clock that is also a noise machine and night lightLoftie
An alarm clock that's also a Bluetooth speaker, night light, and noise machine...

Loftie does it all. And with a two-phase alarm, you won't dread waking up in the morning. The first alarm gently stirs you, while the second is designed to get you out of bed. Plus the tones are meant to be soothing. You can schedule different alarms for separate days of the week. To explore what your clock can do, you can download the compatible phone app. Sweet dreams. ($149, Loftie)

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white noise machine Amazon
And a white noise machine with 20 sounds to choose from…

You can go from a babbling brook to a bonfire to bird chirps. Everything is adjustable to help you find your perfect options, with 32 volume levels and five timer settings to choose from. This way you can stop focusing on street noise or the sounds of a roommate still awake. Rest is always essential, and especially when you’ve got an early morning class. ($19.99, Amazon)

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pens with large ink suppliesSeltzer Goods
An RBG-inspired pen that can be refilled…

Think about how often you write during the school year. To help reduce the amount of pens you toss in the trash, this long-lasting ballpoint pen has a large ink supply. Once you do run out, you can refill and get going. And if you’re craving some old-school writing supplies, we highly suggest these gel pens. Your planner is just begging to be decorated with colorful doodles. ($8.95, Seltzer Goods)

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If you buy anything from this email, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate too) when we published. Thanks.

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Skimm'd by Alexandra Napoli & Emmy Favilla