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The Inferno of School Supplies

I’ve often said that I believe hell will be a version of grocery shopping with small children.  A closer degree to the epicenter will be shopping for school supplies.  Combine the two, and I’m drawing near to Dante’s Inferno.

And the thing is, I love (love-love-love) school supplies.  For crying out loud, I shop for them when I don’t need to.  I may or may not have an excessive amount of sticky notes, pens, highlighters, and the like at my disposal.

It’s just that the school list is obscenely specific.  Kindergarten students need some of the same items as first graders, some all together different items, and some same items in different quantities.

We were never actually able to find purple folders (extra sturdy without brads), 200-count Kleenex (I found 196), 60-count Post-It notes (I found 90), or a 2 GB jump drive (I found only 4 GB).

Meanwhile, my children were sneaking Hot Wheels into my cart or lifting the edge of my t-shirt as I reached for high shelves.

“Mommy, I just want to see the baby lines.”  Those are stretchmarks.  (And thank you for those, my son.)

Would you look at my kitchen?


On the ups, I found a great use for the IKEA bags I seem to collect on my every visit.


School supplies, I will love you more tomorrow than I love you today.  We’ll once again strike up the love affair in no time at all.  I’m sure of it.

Today, though, I need a little space.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. The thing that always made me laugh is how much the school wants us to buy and how high our taxes are….could someone explain???

  2. Hi Tricia,

    I’m a college student and just wanted to acknowledge you for kicking my mind into gear every time I need to focus on my studies! I visit your blog daily to read your empowering words and then I hit the books. Some days you are my inspiration. Some days you are my peace. I thank God for the gift that is your writing. Lots of love from Houston, Texas! Jackie

  3. Also on the “ups,” as a single friend on a limited income demonstrated to us yesterday when we drove her to Staples, the pre-start-of-school prices for these things are a godsend for those planning to pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse’s mid-November pick-up. :o)

  4. I suddenly like Elizabeth’s even more. No matter the grade level, students are only asked to supply at total of 9 items, one of which is just making sure they have the proper p.e. shoes to wear on p.e. days. So I only had to buy 8 things, not too shabby.

  5. Now that we homeschool we don’t have to deal with all that! YAY!
    But I am a person who absolutely has to “get it right.” And those stinking lists nearly drove me to tears. It was impossible to get it right. Finally, the last couple of years I developed a “screw it” attitude. Blue is close enough to purple. 12 is close enough to 14. It was liberating!
    Besides, you just throw all the stuff in a pile in the classroom anyway. The teacher has no idea which one is the one who didn’t get it right! 🙂

  6. I hate those with brads/without brads folders! They always have the opposite of what I need. I have been so desperate I have cut out the brads!

  7. LOL last year we received a list from the school saying you will need these items within the first two days.. so we diligently purchased everything .. the 2nd day of class all the stuff came home saying we don’t need this .. unless you are planning to donate it to the class… ug : )

  8. Hello Tricia.

    Im Erin, all the way from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Ive been following your blog now for some time. I always think “I loved that post, I should write her!” then..I don’t..mostly, because to me you have become somewhat of a superhero, and im fairly certain that Superheros don’t actually answer fan mail. Im also very certain that my bad spelling and grammar would be a severe turnoff to you. Alas, this post actually made me LAUGH OUT LOUD. Im very certain, that in fact, this IS actually written about me, and my quest for the correct school supplies. I also have a 5 year old who has taken to lifting my shirt at random, and ALWAYS inappropriate times, usually in a quest to poke me in the bellybutton. (WHY!!??)

    Just a THANK YOU for writing, and for keeping me laughing, and crying, and for helping me be a little more grateful for the things I have, that sadly, you might not.

    Thank you.

    Erin Jones.

    • Hello, Erin. I love that you wrote to me. I’m no super hero… just a busy mom like you. And in that sense, we’re certainly both super heroes. 🙂

      I do respond to emails as often as I can, and yours made me smile today. Thank you for reading, all the way from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. May your day be free of shirt-lifting and belly-button invasions. 🙂


  9. Don’t blame the beloved school supplies. (I love them too!) I think the fault lies with the teachers who never bother to check how the desired supplies are actually packaged by the companies who make them…

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