The Ultimate Back-to-School Supplies List

September is right around the corner, and we all know what that means; back to school shopping. After hosting your kids at home for over a year, it may seem like a daunting task to head out into the world and purchase backpacks and notebooks. Luckily, we all know that looking for school supplies can be overwhelming even in normal times. So, look no further! We put together a list of the best back-to-school supplies to reduce some of the stress this time of year can induce.

We prioritized safe products, good reviews, options for multiple ages, and of course great design and color pattern options, too. Some of the prices might give you sticker shock, but remember, most of these items are made to last several years, reducing your need to replace them yearly. Hello, slow fashion!

Backpacks & Lunch Boxes

Let’s start off with backpacks and lunch boxes. These items should be on every parent’s back-to-school supplies shopping list. Because let’s face it, even the youngest of children needs a bag and lunch box to take to daycare or preschool.

These backpacks have the coolest designs, come in large and small sizes, and even have matching fanny packs. Bold, colorful and fun is the vibe from this brand; perfect for back-to-school supplies shopping list.

These bags come in 50 color combinations so you’re bound to find something that speaks to your child. Better yet, this company is one with a notable cause. For every State bag purchased, they’ll support American children and families in need and work to shift the narrative around social justice.

Fjallraven has a cult following for a reason. The color and size options (perfect for matching mama and babe), as well as the quality, speak for themselves. This company puts sustainability at the forefront of its production, making quality items that last.

For your college student going back to school AWAY from home, pun intended. This bag packs all the organizing features and a sleek design for a young adult. Not to mention it makes the perfect carry-on for those plane rides back home to visit the parents.

For people who can’t stand single-use plastic cutlery and straws, which is why I love the Porter utensil sets. Compact, lightweight, and sturdy, they are also dishwasher safe. The carrying case ensures you will keep your cutlery clean and when it’s dirty it has a cover, just toss it in your backpack or purse. What more do you need?

Another bento box option with a slightly different approach and fave in my mom’s groups. These boxes are built to last a lifetime and are dishwasher safe.

If you’re worried about keeping your kids’ lunch cold, this is the box for you. Hydro Flask products are lightweight and easy to clean with two size options grab a matching water bottle to go with! Plus, their products are FDA food grade with a BPA-free liner. Free from toxins, free from worry!

This eco-friendly stainless steel lunch set has it all. The tiny compartments are an A-type personality’s dream come true for organizing all your lunch snacks. Each Rover Set includes 1 Rover Lunch Box, 1 Big Dipper food container, 1 Little Dipper food container, Insulated Carrying Bag, and Magnet Set. These might land on the pricier side but I think it’s worth it. Get different magnets to mix up the theme from year to year.

Back-to-School Supplies

Let’s dive into the best back-to-school supplies for napping materials. While your high school student or college freshman may want to take a nap during class, this list is definitely geared toward your little ones.

This organic cotton but a much more affordable price point than the other organic cotton options on the market.

Safe, non-toxic, and breathable, Avocado fills their organic toddler pillow with 100% GOLS organic certified latex and 100% GOTS organic certified kapok fiber. Then, they stitch it all together using a gentle, 100% GOTS organic certified cotton. Sounds like a must on this best back-to-school supplies list.

These are the softest and temperature regulating so if you have a warm-blooded child they will be perfectly happy on this sheet made of bamboo, cotton, and spandex.

Water Bottles

We know that as an adult it’s important to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. But do you know how much your children should drink? As a general rule, toddlers should have two to four cups, children four to eight years should drink five cups, and kids and pre-teens (nine to 13 years) should consume seven to eight cups. This brings me to my next point on the best back-to-school supplies list; water bottles.

This is perfect for little ones. Thermus is lightweight and easy to clean they are, and the straw is removable so you can really clean the spout. It is however recommended you hand clean and dry. I’ve found they just get cleaner by hand anyway. Another cool feature is that the straw is covered so it helps keep the straw clean from germs when it’s not being used,but the best part is that it doesn’t leak.

These water bottles can take a beating (trust me we have put them to the test.) They really do a wonderful job of keeping liquids cool, and how much water they hold. A word to the wise though, they don’t fit into a standard cup holder if that’s a dealbreaker for you. But a bonus is that they are BPA-free.

If you’re looking for something that holds more water for an older child or teen, give the Yeti Rambler with Chug Cap a try. This water bottle has a wide-open mouth and scores high marks for keeping drinks hot or cold for several hours. The wide mouth is the perfect size allowing you to add ice cubes if you want without being overly wide and awkward to drink from. Your child will feel able to express themselves with this back-to-school bottle, thanks to the assortment of colors from bright and bold to more muted.

Face Masks

As a parent, you may have a lot of worries when it comes to sending your children back to school post-pandemic. We get it, we’ve got a lot to consider this year. This is why I think it’s important to add masks to my best back-to-school supplies list. So, we’ve rounded up three of our favorites on the internet with each child’s age in mind.

These bold colors and hip prints come in both adult and children’s sizing. What makes these a big hit on the playground are the adjustable ear straps. I can’t get over the adorable designs and love how they elevate my son’s outfits. If you have to wear them they might as well look good right?! Extra points for the organic cotton and wire nose form and 3-pack, cause we all know they’re going to get lost.

Are muted tones more your thing? Need something comfortable for your teen? These masks are the answer! Not only do they have tons of reviews on comfort, but they are also very affordable. Featuring an adjustable ear strap and noise wire, one reviewer said they are even comfortable to work out in.

We have all lost a few masks, and with all the chaos when school starts, we’re pretty sure there will be some casualties in the beginning. That’s why these mask lanyards are super lightweight, fun colors combos, are handmade and come in adult and children’s sizing. Bonus: this seller ships fast and you get to support a small female AAPI business!

Organizational Tools

Last but not least on my best back-to-school supplies list are things to help keep your kids organized. If you’re a huge Type-A personality like me and is an incredible multi-tasker and love organization, then you’ll love this section the most!

Sticky Lemon is a super quirky Dutch brand and their color combos nod to retro times and really give your child the opportunity to express themselves.

This Vancouver, Canada-based company has created a timeless product with a fine regard for detail. Their bags are highly recommended, and there are tons of options for adults, kids, and teens. Plus, they’ve committed to giving thousands of bags to health care facilities across North America to help front-line workers on their journeys to and from work.

All of these back-to-school supplies start to add up, so if you’re like me you want to keep track of it. From P.E. clothes to backpacks and pencil cases, keep track of them with a custom name label. The ink is supposed to stay for 50 washes.


Let us know what’s on your best back-to-school supplies list. Hit us up in the comment section below. We’re always on the hunt for sustainable and fashionable products to try. So, don’t be shy and share with us below.

Live your life to the fullest.

Xoxo, Messycafe.


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