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Clever Back to School Hacks Using Dollar Tree Items

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Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – use a compartment container for snacks

If you’ve been to Dollar Tree lately, summer items are clearing out and $1 back to school items are hitting the shelves! We’ve got some clever hacks for you using Dollar Tree items that’ll make back to school time a breeze!

1.) Create a portable homework station.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – make a market and scissors stationBe on the lookout for colorful craft caddies in the back to school section priced at just $1. These are perfect for making portable homework stations at home – just fill with pencils, pens, glue, scissors, rulers, markers, and other homework essentials. Then you can easily transport the caddy from the office to the kitchen table – or even take it in the car filled with coloring supplies for long road trips.

2.) Keep paperwork and folders organized.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – organize folders and papersIf you’re looking for a way to keep all of those school folders and papers organized, grab a dish drying rack for just $1! Then stand the folders up in the slots and you’ll easily be able to see and grab the folders you need. In the flatware holder, place pens and scissors that you’ll need to sign school forms.

3.) Make packing lunches easy.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – organize lunch foods in easy to find containersTo make packing school lunches simpler and something that the kids can even help with, grab a laundry basket (or any of their awesome bins!) and create various lunch packing stations in your pantry filled with all of the essentials you’ll need – peanut butter, jelly, bread, snacks, drinks, Ziploc bags, etc. It will make those hectic mornings a little less hectic when you can find the things you need.

4.) Don’t pay too much for lunch ice packs.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – use sponges as ice packsIf you don’t want to worry about your kids losing their lunch ice packs, consider buying a few 2-pack sponges at Dollar Tree. To keep lunches cold, soak the sponges in water, place one per Ziploc bag, and put them in the freezer. As the sponges melt, they will reabsorb the water so you can just toss them back in the freezer after school! And you won’t go crying if when they get lost or thrown out.

5.) Keep school lunches fun.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – bento style containersDollar Tree sells cute Bento-style containers that are perfect for school lunches! These boxes allow you to be creative with lunch instead of packing the same PB&J every day. You can also look for 10-pack mini containers that are useful for condiments and can be placed inside another, larger container.

6.) Rethink snack packs!

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – an organizer that fits in a lunchboxThese handy Hardware Storage Cases are perfect for filling with a variety of fun and different snacks! Your kids will have fun eating the different snacks each day and you can even write a fun note with a marker on the outer bottom part of the squares so they’ll be able to read it when they eat the snack!

NOTE: Because these containers aren’t necessarily food grade plastic, please use your best judgement. Also, it is recommended you don’t heat it in a microwave or place it in the dishwasher.

7.) Add bling to school lockers on the cheap.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – cute locker itemsDollar Tree has A LOT of items that would be great for decorating school lockers – mirrors, dry-erase boards, glam fur (can be used for locker carpet), washi tape for decorating, picture frames, colorful pencil cups, magnets, double-sided signs, and MORE that would be fun to place in the locker!

8.) Pay a buck for student planners.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – student plannerIf you’ve ever shopped for a student planner, you know how expensive they can be. Plus, if you’ve ever had a child lose their $30 student planner 🙋 during the first month of school, you may be hesitant to spend that much on another one again. SO, I was pretty happy to find a variety of colorful and practical Student Planners in all sorts of shapes and styles for just $1 each! Score!

9.) Store Box Tops in magnetic tins.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – magnetic tins

If you’re looking for an easy way to collect your Box Tops, consider grabbing these Magnetic Tins 2-packs with removable lids. Just place on your fridge and add to it every time you clip a Box Top!

Remember, clipping Box Tops is an easy way to earn money for your child’s school! Go here for more details on how the program works.

10.) Make a mini first aid kit.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – mini first aid kitsConsider making a personalized, mini survival kit using a plastic container or sunglasses case and placing it in your child’s backpack. Fill it with band-aids, facial tissue, wet wipes, a LifeSaver mint/cough drop (if allowed), feminine products (if applicable), hair ties, and emergency contact information. You could also place an encouraging note inside!

If you’d rather not create your own kit, Dollar Tree also sells a First Aid Kit that contains an assortment of 18 bandages and two antiseptic towelettes.

11.) Create your own clothes organizer.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – clothes organizerMom, I don’t know what to wear! If you’re looking for a way to keep your kids’ clothes organized and planned out each week, consider grabbing five colorful bins and a bag of zip ties at Dollar Tree – $6 total. Use a couple zip ties in between each tote to hold them together and then tie them to your closet rod using zip ties or any sort of ribbon. Your kids will have their clothes ready for each day of the week!

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – clothing organizer binsYou can also set these bins on the floor of your kids’ closet and write the day of the week on them with a dry erase marker (non-permanent) or a permanent marker. Your kids will quickly be able to grab their clothes out of the bins without any fuss!

Remember, Dollar Tree sells a TON of awesome, colorful storage bins, so you could even choose a different color for every day of the week to make things a little more fun! 🙂

12.) Make math practice more hands on.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – math practice tray

If you’re looking for a practical way to teach basic math, grab a vegetable tray and a bag of stones/rocks, as well as flashcards. Place all of the stones in the middle of the tray and the cards in the outer compartments. Then have your child place the correct amount of stones in the correct spot(s).

If you’re looking for a fun way to teach fractions, check out this “Fractions of a Whole” Game using a veggie tray! And, you can always re-purpose your veggie tray for that next get-together or party!

13.) Stock up on supplies for projects NOW.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – stock up on poster board, markers, and paper It’s always a great idea to grab a few Presentation Boards as you’ll never know when your kids will need these boards during the year (I hate running to the store only to find empty shelves or paying more than I should)! At just $1 each, I always grab a few and stick them in our school supply closet. By the way, similar display boards sell for over $3 at Target, so grab a few at Dollar Tree and save BIG!

Need poster board? Dollar Tree sells Poster Board 2 for $1, so grab a few for those school projects, too!

Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.

Join The Discussion

Comments 20


    Please don’t use tool kit/boxes for lunch, they’re made with chemicals not suitable to hold food.

    • Klp

      I was going to say the same thing! I love the idea but worry about the quality of plastic and if it’s safe for food.

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Thanks for the tip. Because this isn’t necessarily food grade plastic, please use your best judgement.

  2. Susan

    just a heads up on the presentation boards. they are smaller than the office supply store ones. my kids school during science fair required students to purchase a presentation board- the larger ones from office supply stores. during the science fair display in the multi purpose room, it was painfully obvious which kids didn’t follow instructions 🙁

  3. Dana

    Not a fan of the advice with the tool storage boxes….PLEASE do not eat from these. They are not meant to be used as food storage 🙁

    • ana

      I was going to say the same thing. Can I also add not to fill these with little bite size items and give to young children in the car?

      • ana

        I’m sorry if it sounds nit picky, I don’t mean it that way at all! They make really great quality (stainless steel) containers for kids and I think it’s worth paying more to know that they are safe. 🙂

        • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

          Thanks Ana 🙂

  4. Y

    I just came here for the comments. I saw the thumbnail and knew it would be a good time… 🍿 🍿

    • cat

      LOL me too!

  5. Liz

    With all due respect, if you have to put a disclaimer on a hack relating to food safety for children, it’s probably not a very good tip.

  6. Kpia

    Wow… How about saying, “thanks for the awesome ideas,” instead of all of the negative comments.

    • Y

      Scrolling past isn’t as fun as being anonymously sanctimonious and pretending you know something everyone else doesn’t. But we still drink out of the garden hose in a pinch 😉

  7. Shannon

    I like the clothes bins to set up each day of outfits. I really need to do this. My kid refuses to pick out his own clothes and get dressed unless I lay out the clothes before hand. And my daughter takes forever to decide what she will wear and everything that I pick out “isn’t pretty enough”. Ugh it’s a miracle that we make it to school on time!!

    • Nicole

      I’m so glad it’s not just my daughter who does this LOL!!! I started doing this hanging organizer idea a few months ago during the school year and it works great! We pick out her clothes for the whole week together on Sunday evening.

    • Kate

      My daughter says the same exact thing !

  8. tiffany

    I really like the idea of the clothes organizer. Going to try this with my little one, thanks!

  9. Tina Matteson

    I love those little plastic tool storage boxes for keeping my earrings and other small jewelry items when traveling!

  10. Queenjen87

    I was quite happy today as I ventured out to a Kmart and at least in store they had 100% back in points wby $10+ up to $50 in their smart scense ect brands. So I got antibacterial wipes, tissues, paper towels, sandwich bags, and hand sanitizer for back to school (and a pack of diapers and mega pack of wipes) for $50 and got back $50 🙂 good way to make the most of your money for back to school shopping. Ends today I believe.

  11. Dee

    Those hardware storage bins are great for storing earrings, pins and other jewelry. I have several and they last forever, don’t spill in your luggage and it’s easy to see which pair you want.

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