Now that my kids have been in school for a few years, I feel like a veteran when it comes to buying back-to-school items. I’ve learned that they really don’t need very much, but the items I do buy must be high quality because I don’t want to have to buy it all again mid-year!

So sit back, relax and check out this roundup of my tried-and-true favourites.

Instead of spending time researching the best kids’ stuff for school, you’ll have time to give yourself that manicure you’ve been jonesing for!

So Young Lunch Box  ($31)

I bought my daughter this lunch box when she started kindergarten and it’s still going strong as she enters grade 3! It’s made from laminated linen and has an insulated interior with room for an ice pack. It’s also free of PVC, phthalates, lead and BPA. There are tons of cute designs, and they come in cooler bags, backpacks and uncoated raw linen designs as well.

L.L. Bean Original Book Pack ($30)

My husband bought this backpack when it was first introduced 30 years ago and he still uses it to this day. (Yes, you heard me right!) While the fabrication may have changed over the years, one thing remains: L.L. Bean’s guaranteed quality. The price is great too… less than $30 (and shipping from the U.S. is free!). Tip: be sure to check out their cute prints.


Lunchbots Food Containers (Starting around $20)

If you’re looking for stainless steel containers, I highly recommend Lunchbots. While they will set you back $20+ a pop, they are the last lunch containers you’ll ever have to buy! They’re in constant rotation in my daughter’s lunch, so they are washed a lot, yet they still look like new. Tip: the version with unpainted stainless steel lids will stay new looking forever.

Goodbyn Lunch Containers (Starting at $3)

A less expensive alternative to stainless steel, Goodbyn lunch containers are functional, come in bright colours that kids love, and the separated sections ensure there are no soggy lunches. When my son started junior kindergarten last year, I wasn’t sure if he would lose his containers on a daily basis (even with name labels on them), so I gave these a try. Needless to say, he is going back to school this year with last year’s lunch containers!

Funkins $10

From a young age, my kids learned to wipe their hands and face before leaving the table. Now that they’re older, Funkins are there to help them do it at school! Used as both a placemat and a napkin, Funkins are a high-quality, durable alternative to paper napkins and are great for waste-free lunch programs. We’ve used ours for almost a year they still look like new… they go through the washer and dryer like a champ. There are gorgeous designs for all ages – even ones for Mom! (Psstt… there’s a sale going on now! Use code SUMMER2015 for 20% off.)


Oliver’s Labels (starting at $10)

After you’ve spent your hard-earned money on great back-to-school items, it would be nice to have some peace of mind that you’d get your items back if they ever got lost, right? Enter Oliver’s Labels! Not only do they have super cute designs, they also offer an exclusive (and free!) Found-it™ Lost and Found Code on many of their labels. Combine that with their 100% satisfaction guarantee and you can’t go wrong! My family has been using these labels for over three years and loves the beautiful full-colour designs and amazing durability. I’m a fan of their new Round Labels and Match-up Shoe Labels, shown below.

What are YOUR tried-and-true back-to-school favourites? I’d love to hear them, so connect with The CMR onFacebook or Twitter and share your recommendations!


But wait… there’s more…

Contest ALERT!

When I told some of the featured brands that they would be in my round-up, they wanted to share the love with a giveaway. One lucky reader will win a prize pack that includes a Preschool Package of labels and tags courtesy of Oliver’s Labels, and five (5) Funkins cloth napkins courtesy of Funkins!

Enter for a chance to win below. See Rafflecopter for full terms and conditions. Good luck!

Fab Frugal Mama