Back to school sanity saver #4


Keep a supply of basics so that you are not running to the shops every five minutes. These are some of the key items that have saved me time and energy over the years and pretty much elevated me to the status of a Stationery Savvy Mum in my children’s eyes:

  • Buying enough plastic to cover books and textbooks, together with sticky tape and labels. If school allows, use durable slip on book covers that come in about a dozen different colours for covering exercise books both hard and soft covers. Talking of plastic, especially for covering textbooks – I buy something called a PVC roll (see the picture for reference). It’s 5mm long and 600mm wide.  I have been covering my children’s books in it for years and the books still look new by the end of the academic year. Well worth spending a little more. You can find it at PNA stores for R55.99 per roll.
  • A sticky tape dispenser is indispensable!  I bought a heavy duty one donkey’s years ago for large rolls of sticky tape and have never looked back. So much easier to use than a roll of sticky tape on its own, or those tiny dispensers for small rolls of tape. It makes covering books and gifts so much quicker and efficient.
  • Speech cards – look for something called Record Cards at your local stationery outlet. They are made by Croxley and come in 100s. I buy 75mm x 127mm cards which are more than big enough for a child to use for speeches. And there is always a speech within the first few week of the school year starting – it’s usually a get to know you speech entitled: All about me!
  • Elastic bands – they are useful for all sorts of things including holding all the speech key cards together.
  • Plastic sleeves (A4) – you can never have enough of these!  I buy a pack of 100 each year from my local supermarket.
  • DL white envelopes – necessary for sending money or circulars back to school among many other things.  I cut up old birthday cards with pinking shears, stick the picture on one half of a white DL envelope and write birthday messages on the other half with co-ordinating coloured khoki’s for school birthday parties.  With basic birthday cards costing on average between R15 – 35 today, for children who generally don’t really appreciate them, I find this a suitable solution.
  • Extra glue sticks and exam pads because they are always running out.
  • Coloured paper – buy a pad of coloured paper from your local supermarket or stationary store. Brightly coloured paper always comes in handy for projects, and as the background for new front pages in new exercise books.
  • Paper and printer cartridges. With children researching their projects online more and more, and printing out pictures from the Internet as well as their typed project, ensure that you buy your printer paper in bulk – five reams in a box, and that you always have a spare black and white and full colour printer cartridge or two in the cupboard. Printer cartridges always have a habit of running out just before bedtime when everyone is under pressure – go figure!

I haven’t included cardboard for projects on this list as it is out-sized and difficult to store. Buy as, and when, required.

You will be amazed at how giving a little bit of thought to the above can streamline your life, saving you time and energy as you will not need to keep running to the shops. It also empowers your kids and keeps your family sane and speaking nicely to each other even as deadlines loom.

Click here for Sanity Saver #1

Click here for Sanity Saver #2

Click here for Sanity Saver #3


Click here to watch my back-to-school television interview on SABCTV3’s Expresso on 14 January 2015.