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12 Clever Back to School Hacks Using Dollar Tree Items

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Yellow school supply caddy with pencils, markers, scissors, crayons

Check Dollar Tree for some clever and inexpensive back-to-school hacks!

If you’ve been to Dollar Tree lately, you may have noticed that their $1 or less back to school items (including school supplies, storage containers, and more!) are already starting to take over the shelves where the summer items used to be.

We’ve got some clever hacks for you to try using Dollar Tree items that’ll make back to school time a breeze!

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – make a market and scissors station

1. Create a portable homework station.

These colorful craft caddies are perfect for portable homework stations – just fill with pencils, pens, glue, scissors, rulers, markers, and other 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.


organizer with folders and papers

2. Keep paperwork and folders organized.

Grab a dish drying rack for just $1! Then stand the folders up in the slots, and you’ll be able to see and grab the folders you need. Place pens and scissors in the flatware holder.


organize lunch foods in easy to find containers

3. Make packing lunches easy.

Grab a laundry basket (or any of Dollar Tree’s awesome bins!) and create lunch packing stations in your pantry filled with all of the essentials you’ll need – peanut butter, jelly, bread, snacks, drinks, Ziploc bags, etc.


use sponges as ice packs

4. Skip expensive lunch ice packs.

Buy a few 2-pack sponges at Dollar Tree, and soak them in water. Place each one in a Ziploc bag, and put them in the freezer. As the sponges melt, they reabsorb the water, so you can just toss them back in the freezer after school!


Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – bento style containers

5. Keep school lunches fun.

Dollar Tree sells cute bento-style containers that are perfect for school lunches! If your child prefers sandwiches for lunch, look for these cute reusable sandwich containers with licensed characters on the lid. They’re perfect for keeping your child’s sandwich from getting smushed inside a larger lunch box!


Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – cute locker items

6. Add bling to school lockers on the cheap.

Dollar Tree has A LOT of great items for decorating school lockers: mirrors, dry-erase boards, glam fur (locker carpet), washi tape for decorating, picture frames, colorful pencil cups, magnets, double-sided signs, and MORE!


Dollar Tree Planners

7. Get student planners for just a buck!

If you’ve ever had a child lose their $30 student planner during the first month of school 🙋, you may be glad to find these colorful and practical student planners for just $1 each! Score!


Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – mini first aid kits

8. Make a mini first aid kit.

Make a mini survival kit with a plastic container or sunglasses case for your child’s backpack. Fill with band-aids, facial tissue, wet wipes, feminine products (if applicable), hair ties, and emergency contact information.


Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – clothes organizer

9. Create your own clothes organizer.

Get your child’s clothes ready for each day of the week! Grab five colorful bins and a bag of zip ties at Dollar Tree – $6 total. Use a couple of zip ties to hold them together, and tie them to your closet rod using zip ties for an inexpensive way to plan outfits for the week!

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – clothing organizer bins

Another way to use these bins is to place them on the floor of your child’s closet and write the day of the week with a dry erase (non-permanent) or permanent marker. Your kids can grab their clothes out of the bins without any fuss!

And since Dollar Tree sells a TON of awesome, colorful storage bins, you can even choose a different color for every day of the week! 🙂


Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – math practice tray

10. Make math practice more hands-on.

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 to answer the math question on each flashcard. If you’re looking for a fun way to teach fractions, check out this “Fractions of a Whole” Game!


Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – stock up on poster board, markers, and paper

11. Stock up on supplies for projects NOW.

Grab a few Presentation Boards, as you never know when your kids will need them during the year! Similar display boards sell for over $3 at Target, so you can save BIG on these items at Dollar Tree!

Hip Tip: In the past, presentation boards found at the Dollar Tree have been slightly smaller than the ones found at other retailers such as Target. Although the difference appears to be less than an inch this year, take your own in-store measurements if your child’s project has strict size requirements.

Need poster board? Dollar Tree sells that too, so grab some and be ready for your child’s next project!


dry erase markers and eraser in sandwich container

12. Re-purpose food storage containers to hold school supplies.

Check out the food storage containers at Dollar Tree, as they now carry the ones with snap lids (in-store only). These are great for holding school supplies, as they are very durable and the snap lid will prevent your child’s supplies from spilling out into their backpack or desk.

They come in the square sandwich size, and the smaller snack size too. The smaller containers are loved by teachers everywhere because they’re the perfect size for holding the contents of a 24-count box of crayons!


Join The Discussion

Comments 4

  1. Suzanne

    I love the idea of bins and zipties!! I have a ton of those around the house already! I’m going to make one for game storage! Thank you!!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Oh perfect! You’re welcome, Suzanne!

  2. Liz

    I like the marble idea for counting and for bingo. Thx!

  3. Jw206

    I got one of those craft caddies and used it for fast food sauces and other small items in my pantry

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