When it comes to school supplies, there is a universal truth: they are the single most exciting thing about going back to school.
Sure, picking out that first-day outfit (in sixth grade: green Converse high-tops, jean skirt, and a sassy t-shirt from dELiA*s) was fun, but the real thrill of leveling up a grade began at Office Depot and Staples. There was something about a fresh set of pens, binders, notebooks, planners, and sooo many #2 pencils that made the promise of straight As and a perfect SAT score feel so attainable.
And while college graduation was a mix of relief, joy, and terror, the realization that I'd no longer have a reason to stock up on new school supplies made me a bit sad. So this year, I'm imagining all the things I would buy (and still might) if I were headed back to school this fall.
This classic, Swedish-designed backpack (available in over 20 colors) is the perfect vessel for all your school essentials, plus those dirty sneakers you'll need for soccer practice. Made from Vinylon F. material, it is dirt-resistant, water-resistant, and wipes clean, so it can go just about anywhere you do.
Starring Herschel's signature style and durability, this school-ready backpack (heck, it's even in the name—Pop Quiz) has internal mesh organizers, tons of pocket storage, and a padded, fleece-lined sleeve for that precious laptop.
This simple backpack looks like it's distressed leather, but it's actually made from eco-friendly paper—and believe it or not, is still durable enough for daily use. A stonewashed cotton lining and adjustable straps add just the right finishing touches.
Budget-friendly and long-lasting, this 100 percent cotton canvas backpack is a stylishly laidback option for middle school all the way through college. The black is a total classic, but it also comes in rust, mustard, and even a multi-colored option for when you want to stand out in a crowd.
I'd buy anything that direct-to-consumer brand Everlane sells, but I especially want this sleek and sophisticated snap backpack with a water-resistant exterior and leather detailing.
A brand new, empty journal represents a world of creative possibilities, all just waiting to happen. I'd like to think that I could write an award-winning novel in this colorful journal from Anthro.
Binders don't have to be boring, plasticky affairs, as this breezy tropical binder, made from a sturdy laminated material, proves. A set of these will make you feel like you're on summer break even when you're stuck in the library.
This no-nonsense notebook would be a great companion to all those super focused students out there (or those, like me, who wish they were). It's got everything you need to stay organized: lots of paper, bullet templates, conversion charts, pen holders, and ID badges.
Classic and functional, this Moleskin notebook-meets-planner has enough room for all your class notes, schedules, and random thoughts—as well as handy stickers that somehow feel like a wonderful bonus.
Filing paperwork is both boring and annoying, but this 12-count set of decorative floral file folders make it just a littleeee bit more fun.
I don't actually know if scantrons (aka the anxiety-inducing forms you bubble test answers onto) still require you to use a #2 pencil, but even if they don't, a pack of these timeless Ticonderoga yellow pencils are pretty obligatory.
The only thing better than a new set of pens is a new set of gel pens in a ton of fun colors so you can keep those note-taking—or doodling—skills fresh. (For my history classes: purple was an important date, red marked a key historical figure, and green was for random things I thought I should remember, and never did.)
I never understood why people bought highlighters in any other color than yellow. I mean, who can even read text after a purple highlighter has gone to town over it? Exactly why I will forever be loyal to Bic's yellow highlighters.
You probably don't really need a 24-count set of Sharpies, but c'mon, you know you'll feel like the coolest kid in school if you've got one.
I'm all for funny, funky pencil sharpeners (like this one in the shape of a nose), but the only thing that can really get the job done right is this electric version.
What could be cuter than these teeny-tiny erasers in the shapes of my favorite fast food? Absolutely nothing. Add them to the shopping cart.
Even basic paperclips are getting the millennial rose gold treatment, and honestly, I don't hate it. A little over $3 is a small price to pay for feeling like you fit in with your generation.
Since those adorable food-shaped erasers probably aren't the most functional, you'll want to pick up a pack of these more dependable ones for when you've got a lot on the page you need to delete.
Sometimes a paperclip just won't cut it. When that happens, turn to these floral binder clips that can comfortably hold the 20-page paper you stayed up all night writing.
This bamboo fiber bento box with cutlery included is the best (and cutest!) way to ditch plastic bags for good, and make sure your lunch is ready to travel with you (and thanks to a silicone band, without spilling).
My favorite thing about this lunch bag is that it doesn't really look like a lunch bag. It's more like the cute shoulder bag I'd be happy to tote to dinner, or on a day around the city. But don't let its good looks fool you: it's hardworking, too. The inside features a removable insulated lining and a back pocket for cutlery.
My Hydro Flask travel mug keeps liquids hot or cold for hours on end, so it's no surprise that the company has also mastered the art of keeping lunch in tip-top shape with this cute insulated tote.
Speaking of travel mugs...coffee, or at the very least tea, is the lifeblood of every student. And these pretty, double-walled ceramic tumblers are the best thing to drink from.
This triple-walled, vacuum-insulated travel mug from S'well is another great option for those that like to stay hydrated on-the-go. The exterior has a soft-touch texture that’s easy to grip when you're running between classes.
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