These 12 Genius Dollar Tree Hacks Will Make Back-to-School Time Easier

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Our clever Dollar Tree hacks make back-to-school time a breeze!

hand holding pink caddy with school supplies

We can’t stop using these clever school hacks with Dollar Tree items.

If you’ve been to Dollar Tree lately, you may have noticed that their $1.25 or less back to school items (including school supplies, storage containers, and more!) have already taken 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!

1. Create a portable homework station.

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

Colorful craft caddies – $1.25 each

These 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.

2. Keep paperwork and folders organized.

dish rack organizer

Dish drying rack – $1.25 each

Who would’ve thought– a dish drying rack!? You can stand the folders up in the slots, and you’ll be able to see and grab the folders you need. Then, place pens and scissors in the flatware holder.

3. Make packing lunches easy.

organize lunch foods in easy to find containers

Laundry baskets – from $1.25

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.

4. Skip expensive lunch ice packs.

use sponges as ice packs

You get 2 sponges for this low price at Dollar Tree! Simply 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!

5. Keep school lunches fun.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – bento style containers

Food Storage Containers – from $1.25 each

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!

6. Add bling to school lockers on the cheap.

cute locker items from dollar tree

Dollar Tree has A LOT of great items for school lockers: mirrors, dry-erase boards, and chalkboards are just a handful of items they have online, but in-store you may be able to score glam fur (locker carpet), washi tape for decorating, picture frames, colorful pencil cups, magnets, double-sided signs, and MORE!

7. Get student planners for just $1.25!

Dollar Tree Planners

School planners from $1.25 each

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 $1.25 each! Score!

8. Make a mini first aid kit.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – mini first aid kits

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.

9. Create your own clothes organizer.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – clothes organizer

Get your child’s clothes ready for each day of the week! Grab five bins and a bag of zip ties at Dollar Tree – $7.50 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! 🙂

10. Make math practice more hands-on.

Dollar Tree Back to School hacks – math practice tray

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!

11. Stock up on supplies for projects for now vs. last minute!

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

Presentation boards – $1.25 each

Grab a few presentation boards, as you never know when your kids will need them during the year! Similar tri-fold display boards sell for over $9 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 in both directions, take your own in-store measurements if your child’s project has strict size requirements.

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

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

dry erase markers and eraser in sandwich container

Food Storage Containers from $1.25 each

Check out the food storage containers at Dollar Tree, as they now carry the ones with snap lids. 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!

Now you’ve got the hacks, time to grab the school supplies!

About the writer:

Jenna has a Bachelor's Degree from Lycoming College and her Master's from Penn State, holding 4 years of writing experience between a variety of publications and Hip2Save.

Join The Discussion

Comments 8

  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!

    • Jill

      So do I!!! I’m totally doing this too!!

  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

  4. Deb

    We always kept a presentation board and a package of poster board under the sofa for those Sunday night “I forgot to do my project and it’s due tomorrow” emergencies.

    • MaryKay

      You are a genius 👏 Thank you for the idea 💡

  5. Katie

    The frozen sponges are clever, but I don’t think it would work past preschool age…I don’t want to mortify my kids. Then again we bought lunch ice packs for $2 each and they have lasted five years!

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