It is the end of July and unfortunately for your kids (or for you!) we are halfway through summer holidays. While it’s been a long time since I got to enjoy a summer off school, I still remember that feeling of dread (replaced by excitement when I was getting my degree) knowing that the days were drawing closer to when I had to go back.

One major component to back to school is the need for supplies. While some of those previously traditional school supplies have been replaced with modern technology, you’ll still be surprised at how often you’ll be relying on what got you through in the past. Here is a look at 10 traditional school supplies you still need in 2016 and how Best Buy has you covered.

Writing Utensils

While I’m still a meticulous note taker at my 9-5 job, I notice that many of my colleagues around me bring laptops and nothing but whenever they can to meetings. I suspect that there’s a larger split of tech users over writers nowadays. However, pens and pencils don’t have battery lives and what do you do when your laptop, tablet or voice dictator is low on batteries? I mean, one trip around your campus looking for Pokemon and your battery’s pretty well done right? You’ll still need pens and pencils to back you up when you’re running low.


I guess it goes without saying that if you need pens, you need something to write on. Whether you need loose leaf paper or notebooks, it’s always helpful to have a few dozen (or hundred) sheets of paper on hand to write on. As I’d mentioned above, I’m a meticulous note taker and still prefer writing over electronic notes. Despite the fact that my writing is so illegible that it would make doctors sick, I’ve always got numerous notebooks on hand for different meetings and departments just in case. I’d recommend doing this for all classes as well


16 year old Matt made a proclamation that he’d only ever need basic math for all of the various occupations he’d take up in life. More than 15 years later, that proclamation has been true for the most part. However, pen and paper have been replaced by software and there are cases where it’s faster for me to compile by hand than create Excel formulas. I still keep a calculator on my desk and find myself reaching for it more than once a day. Truth be told, it’s faster than writing those formulas or going through the calculator on my computer. I’m still a big fan of keeping a calculator handy when you need it.



It doesn’t matter how many pages you can virtually bind together in a PDF file. Once you’ve printed it out, you’ll need to staple them all together before you hand them in. Whether it’s book reports, expense reports or term papers, even the smallest stapler will help keep everything together and organized so that you can hand everything off in one piece.

You don’t have to go for the old school style staplers either. If you’re using them often enough, you may want to look into the convenience of an electric stapler where you just pass the sheets under and it fastens them all together for you.


Quite honestly, the planner is the staple of my day to day life. I have a giant whiteboard at my desk to help me keep track of the day’s tasks, but it’s impossible for a student to carry one of those around. A good day planner is a must have to keep yourself on track and much more reliable than using a phone or tablet (battery life reminder.) Are you supposed to be in room 104 or 401? Building #17 or #71? When’s your free block so that you can finally squeeze some lunch in? A planner and a bit of good organization can help take the guessing out of your day.



I’m a bit astounded at the number of things in life that still rely on bulky paper textbooks for classes and applications. If you’ve been through college and university textbooks, you know that the edition of textbook you own will probably be obsolete by the time you finish reading this sentence. $700 a semester later, you may as well make the most of it and pick up a few highlighters to help mark key phrases or statements that you know you’ll need to remember for quizzes and exams!


While on the topic of day planners, I was the kind of student who used to keep a separate binder for each class I took. I just thought it was an easier and more organized way to keep track of papers, handouts and notes for everything on a separate basis. Binders are a fairly inexpensive way to keep yourself organized and whether you choose a standard one or the zippered ones (which I preferred) they are an easy way to grab all of your organized papers and run out the door on the way to your next class.

Voice Recorders

This is a school supply that is a little less traditional than pens and paper but many students nowadays rely on a phone app to capture voice dictation from their classes. These apps can really drain a battery fast, not to mention your phone’s storage. Voice recorders today are compact and some are no bigger than the size of the average glue stick. A small voice recorder can easily reduce wear and tear on your phone as well as preserving battery life and storage space for more important things.


Sticky notes

The older I get, the more I regret not having taken advantage of sticky notes in my younger days. Nowadays, I use sticky notes for everything. Whether I need to pass memos off to my team at work or tag parts of policy manuals or reports or even post a quick reminder at my desk, sticky notes are the way to go. If you’re borrowing textbooks that you can’t dog ear or highlight, a sticky note with a memo is a non-intrusive yet helpful way to help you find your pages or reference points really quickly (even the Tardis ones of course.)

Storage options

No amount of virtual storage you have can deal with the number of physics things you still have to organize. You’ll need storage containers for everything mentioned above, whether you’ve got some sort of organizer in your bedroom or dorm or even backpacks or storage containers inside your bags. Sometimes you may need more than just a little plastic box or desk organizer. Depending on how organized you are or how much paperwork you’ve got to keep track of, you may want to think bigger scale like a filing cabinet.

That’s a look at some of the traditional school supplies you still need despite our living in an age where we’re nearly capable of owning personal vehicles that can fly. For this and much more, check out the huge selection of office and school supplies available through for ages 5-105.

What do you still rely on from your school days in this technological age?


Emerging Technology
A technology nut at heart, I'm always interested in what makes our lives easier and helps us tick day to day. Whether Home Automation, toys, games (board and video) or everything in between, I'm always looking around the corner to see what drives us in today's day and age.