Best bets for back to school

Sorry, teacher friends and family - I’m that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” back-to-school mom. And yes, it’s still way too early to start thinking and talking school, I know, but the deals are starting to hit and you need to take advantage of those!

I wanted to share some of the tried-and-true products I’ve found that we use daily or almost daily. Disclosure: a couple of these links will generate a small commission for me, BUT most of them don’t. These are legitimately things we use and love. I will never ever ever recommend ANY product that I wouldn’t whole-heartedly stand behind!

(And lest anyone thinks I have it all together, I promise you I haven’t emptied my kids’ backpacks from the last day of school. In May.)

Here’s what we use and love and highly recommend:

Lands End backpacks and lunch boxes

I tell everyone to buy Lands End backpacks and lunch boxes. I bought ours years ago after Christmas, when Lands End does additional 30% off clearance, but they’re so good that I’d gladly pay more. Today (July 16) they’re 53% off AND free shipping, but at this time of year, you can easily get one 40-50% off.

My kids are HARD on stuff, but these stand up to the abuse and have lasted for YEARS (I just checked - ours were bought in 2016). And Lands End stands behind their products, so if anything were to rip or tear or break, they’ll hook you up.

We went with medium, since even little kids tend to bring home larger books and art projects, and they can grow into them.

And for the lunch boxes, I found that I liked the soft-sided ones like this better.

(I also highly recommend their Iron Knee jeans and pants if you have kids constantly ripping through theirs)

Tupperware lunch containers


Act fast on these because they are NOT available year-round. And right now they’re BOGO! The others are great for half a sandwich, but these fit a full one, plus a nice helping of chips or puffs or whatever. Conveniently, they also fit PERFECTLY in the lunch boxes recommended above! If you need a Tupperware rep, Dee W Ieye is your woman. You’re welcome (and hopefully not easily offended - she’s hilarious, but a little raunchy). Seriously, though, Kevin is a wonderful rep, and you should have a party. Tupperware is another company that stands behind its products (you know your mom and probably grandma still have theirs, right?).

Nalgene OTF water bottles

nalgene kids otf.jpg

After doing no research, I bought two of these Nalgene On The Fly Kids bottles on a whim from a Target back-to-school sale display, and I am so glad I did. They have been the BEST. They may be a tad tough for preschool hands to open and close the little latch, but I’d say for K and up, they can’t be beat. Perfect size, leak-proof, easy to clean, not a lot of moving parts, nowhere for icky stuff to grow. Love love love. They’re available on the Nalgene website and Sierra also has some options too (I bought a couple extra there because of the great price and fear they’d be discontinued). And, of course, they can be found on Amazon too. One caveat - we don’t use these for sports. They’re better on a table (they can tip if the lid is open and the water level is low) and they’re a little small for that purpose.

Minted name labels

And once you have all this good stuff, make sure you don’t lose it! I put these name labels on All. The. Things. (Yes, I design for Minted, but I don’t have any of these label for sale - I’m just a huge fan). The tiny little ones are great for all the school and sports stuff (coats, gloves, hats, water bottles), plus we have the larger ones for the backpacks and lunch boxes. There are also great ones for allergy kids.

Just make sure you stick them on a label - not fabric. They last through years of the dishwasher or washing machine.