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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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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Skimm'd by Alexandra Napoli & Emmy Favilla
This month we’re celebrating our favorite Asian American and Pacific Islander authors.
We’re looking back to see what Skimm’rs loved most the first half of this year. And to clue you in, we put our top sellers and most popular products across categories into one handy list just for you.
From wine totes, to beer-foaming stones, to non-alcoholic mixers. Happy hour, population: you.