It’s that time of year again: Back to school. The local kids are, depending on their ages, either bereft with dread or bubbling with excitement. You happen to be a member of the latter camp, despite having graduated from kindergarten more than 20 years ago.  

What can you say? You love a spreadsheet and Google Docs as much as the next event planner, but there is something about the promise of analog supplies that gets you excited to throw yourself into the fray of planning. 

Here are the three items you make a beeline for when you spot those tell-tale back-to-school banners. 

New color coded folders

Maybe it feels a little “grandpa” to still use folders, but the satisfaction you feel when you can whip out Sponsorship Contracts from your shiny red folder while your coworker is anxiously scrolling through their email is second-to-none. Maybe you only actually use one or two dog-eared folders consistently (despite hoarding a half-dozen other brand new ones), but you know where everything important is…right?

Fresh Sharpies, highlighters, and pens

Whoever is satisfied with whatever ballpoint they grab from some office mug has never experienced the bliss of arranging half a dozen pens of various widths and colors at their workstation. After all, you need to be ready for all expert notetaking, highlighting, and labeling needs. And these new pen purchases are justified, you swear. Your favorite Sharpie is almost out of ink! Ok, maybe you have two backup packs, but what’s the harm in two more backup packs? 

A new lunchbox

You don’t remember lunchboxes being this innovative when you were a kid. The fanciest it got was a slot for an ice pack. Now, there’s stay-fresh, insulated, BPA-free recycled plastic bento boxes with cartoon characters plastered on the side. With all these little containers for your salad dressing and your snack mix, the thought of putting together a real take-to-work lunch is actually kinda fun — definitely more appealing than grabbing a premade sandwich at the nearest coffee shop. Time to research some meal prep blogs…

Crossed off all the items on your list to grab at the back-to-school bonanza? Make sure you’ve also checked off all the items on this pre-event checklist.