By Jiji Lee

Fresh for Fall: A "School Supply" Shopping List for Grownups


Head into fall with a desk full of supplies that make you smile.

There is something so special about buying new supplies for the start of September.

It’s that nostalgic “back-to-school” feeling — a thrilling mix of anticipation and nerves, as well as that excitement of wanting to break in shiny, new things. While we may not be elementary school students anymore, we can still refresh our current stock of supplies. Plus, stocking up on new supplies can help you cope with the transition of the seasons, as we go from the laidback days of summer into the fast-paced nature of fall.

Refreshing your office or grad school supplies is also a nice way to treat yourself to the supplies you never had as a kid. For instance, when I was in elementary school, I had to stick to the teacher’s list of mandatory school supplies, which, unfortunately, never included colorful paper or gel pens!  Luckily, as adults, we can indulge ourselves to any supply we’d like, without compromising on fun or taste.

Here are some “back-to-school” supplies you can buy that will not only satisfy your inner child, but will also help you prepare and get excited for a new season.

Updating your essential supplies

These are the supplies you use regularly. Maybe they’re the pens you have on hand that always seem to run out of ink. Or your notebooks that are running out of pages and you have to scrawl your notes in the margins. Or that stapler that always seems to be jammed and reminds you of a dreary office.

If you find any of this describes your current office supply situation, it might be a good time to give your supplies an upgrade. By swapping your old supplies with updated and sturdier versions, you’ll be able to face September with a renewed sense of confidence and excitement.

Goal planner: Start September right with a planner to help you manage your goals and track your tasks. An undated or academic planner is perfect for that “back to school” planning, though 2020 is fast approaching so a planner for the new year could be perfect for your really big goals.

Clear file folders with tabs: Thanks to the clear cover, you can easily store and spot your important documents. The bright tabs also make it easy to mark your folders and keep them organized all year long.

Pencil case: You’ll never scrounge around for pens or pencils again after storing them in this clear and sturdy case.

Colorful notebooks: Perfect for doodles, journaling, brainstorming, and problem solving. Did you feel penned in by the standard spiral notebooks from your school years? Upgrade to a notebook that brings you joy and inspiration!

Daily task pad: If I had one of these as a kid, I would’ve actually remembered to do my homework on time! This will also get you excited for writing down things-to-do as well as checking them off and celebrating yourself at the end of the day.

Muji pen and pencils: The minimalist, modern style keeps it professional, while the array of colors allows you to have fun and embrace your inner child.

A colorful stapler: Turn a dreary administrative task into something you look forward to do, with this accessory.

A bright desk clock: The compact size is perfect for your desk and the pop of color will add some cheer to your day.

Post-it flags:  School reading assignments would’ve been much more fun if we had these colorful flags to highlight our favorite passages. Who says organization accessories have to be boring?

Don't forget to add a little fun to your school supply shopping list

If your school was strict about what types of school supplies you could have, and didn’t allow for fun or unique designs, then you know that feeling of missing out on glittery Trapper Keepers or colorful pens and pencils.

While we may have outgrown unicorn designs and Trapper Keepers, we can still satisfy the kid within by investing in office supplies that are both fun and functional.

Faceted foil notepads: Who doesn’t love a little gold sparkle? These fun yet elegant notepads are the perfect blend of whimsy and grownup design. Make jotting down notes feel like a special part of your day!

Bright Ideas sticky notes: These rainbow colored notes can help you generate ideas for any creative endeavor.

Metallic and gel pens: The “grown-up” version of markers. You can add colorful text to planner pages or decorate your calendar pages with these.

Adult Trapper Keeper: This smart and bright version of a Trapper Keeper will have you feeling both nostalgic and organized. 

Shop for supplies to help you recharge

In elementary school, we had the benefit of recess as a way to take a break and play. In our busy adult lives, it’s easy to go from deadline to deadline or meeting to meeting without taking a moment’s pause.

While having new supplies is great for encouraging our productivity, it’s also important to have things on hand that help you take breaks and refuel, and bring a little joy to your day.

Swell teakwood water bottle: Perfect for storing cool or hot drinks. The teak design adds a comforting touch to your workspace, and looks classy on any desk or meeting table.

Sneakers: Keep a pair by your desk and try to go for a walk to break up your day and refuel. Plus, nothing says “back-to-school” like that excitement of breaking in new shoes

Self improvement books: To help you cultivate happiness, develop new habits, and recharge your life, bring in the wise words of someone who inspires you to do your best.

Corkboard: If you loved decorating your college dorm room with posters of your favorite band or postcards of art, then you’ll enjoy pinning your inspirations to this board. Put your favorite calming image or quote, and you’ll feel a sense of calm every time you see it.

The great thing about buying new office and school supplies is that it’s an affordable and fun way to refresh your life.

Whether you’re updating several items or just one, you’ll love that feeling of opening a fresh, crisp notebook or using a colorful gel pen. While it will be hard to say farewell to the lazy days of summer, at least it’s reassuring to know that we’ll be entering fall with new tools to keep us happy and productive.