4 Stress-Free Back To School Shopping Tips!

Well, here we are, right around the corner from school starting up again! Show of hands: how many of you have school age children? Ok, how many of you get a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of back to school shopping? I imagine there are plenty of you out there raising your hands, and I'm one of them! I remember when Natalie first started preschool, I was SO excited to go out and buy her cute clothes for school. She was little, and still fit in toddler clothes, which are adorable, and really didn't have much of an opinion either way about what I picked out for her. As the years have gone on, however, it gets a bit harder finding clothes that fit, are appropriate, and most importantly agreed upon by both mother and daughter! Not to mention Kara is thrown in the mix now, which doubles the-er-fun!

I knew this year had to be different, and I cam up with a plan to make back to school shopping a bit easier on everyone. When Kohl's contacted me to take part in their Back To School campaign, I knew this would be the perfect time to implement my new plan! I loaded the girls up and headed the literal one minute it takes to get my Kohl's store, and had a pretty successful trip! Here are the tips I used to help streamline the entire process:

All items pictured above available at Kohls!! Isn't it all so cute!!

1. Communicate your shopping guidelines with your kids at least a few days before you go shopping.

By voicing your rules beforehand, you will avoid the dreaded bickering and whining you will receive at the store if you hadn't prepared them in advance. Give it a few days to sink in their minds exactly what you will and will not be buying them. For example, it is required that my girls wear athletic shoes to school.  I told them that we will only be looking for one pair of athletic shoes each, and will not be buying any other cute sandals, flats, boots, etc. that they see that day. My sole purpose was to just buy what they needed for school. Other good things to tell them: exactly which stores you will be going to, exactly how much of each item you will be buying, your clothing rules (no itty bitty shorts, etc), and if they are old enough even your budget.

2. Pick a one-stop shop to buy everything they need.

A store like Kohl's has practically everything you need for back-to-school clothes shopping. Tops, bottoms, socks, underwear, backpacks-they have it all and in an abundant supply! (Seriously, their backpack selection is HUGE!) I let my girls know we were only going to Kohl's that day, and that I wanted to get as much as I could in that one shopping trip! At the end of the day, you will be thankful that you weren't run ragged all over town going from shop to shop, looking through all the practically same stuff!

3. Once at the store, hone in on the particular brand/collection that you like and mix and match within that group.

Each child has their own personal style, which is great! Find the brand and/or store collection that seems to jive most with that style, and pick out most of the items on your shopping list from that group. The collections usually always have an underlying theme holding them together, either through colors, patterns, or styles. This makes it super easy to mix and match items, getting more bang for your wardrobe buck, as well as less stress in getting your kids ready in the morning. It is so much easier if everything pretty much goes together, instead of trying to find the one top that only goes with that one pair of pants, etc! Another plus of pretty much only shopping at one store! Below is Kara modeling some of the cute tops we found from the MUDD line, which is our personal fave:

I think we have a budding style blogger on our hands!

4. Anything you don't find that day- order online!

Instead of dragging my kids out for another day of shopping, when I got home I ordered the remaining things we hadn't found and still needed online. For example, my daughter Natalie has a wide foot, so it can be harder to find her those types of shoes in stores. Online however, there are plenty of options, so I went ahead and ordered her the shoes we wanted in a wide size when we got home. I've also personally become aware of what brands usually carry shoes in a wide size, so it makes it super easy to to just do a quick brand search and find what I am looking for.  The other thing I bought online were school uniforms. Since last year, my daughters go to a school that requires uniforms, and while in-store selections may be a bit slim, there are much more to choose from online.  (On a side note, this doesn't necessarily make school shopping any easier, as I still buy them some fresh "regular" clothes for after school and weekends.)

I hope those tips help you out when you take your kids back to school shopping this year! Please share any additional tips you have in the comments-I know I certainly will take all I can get!  Also, make sure you check out Kohl's this year for all your back-to-school shopping needs. They have great selection as well as affordable prices and great sales to take advantage of. I love their Kohl's cash, which during certain sales dates you get a $10 coupon for each "x" amount of dollars you spend. On this trip I got a $40 Kohl's cash voucher!! Not bad! I think I'll go back and buy mommy a little something as a reward. And for those wondering, here is a quick snap of (some of) the haul from that day:

They are all ready to go with fresh new uniforms, backpacks, athletic shoes and socks! (I blurred out the school name on their uniform tops for privacy. Please not those were not bought at Kohl's, but a local uniform shop)

One last thing- Kohl's has some great back-to-school sweepstakes going on! 

The first is the A+ Pinterest sweepstakes, where you simply re-pin Kohl's back-to-school items for a chance to win cash! Details right here!  

Second is an in-store game, in which for every $30 you spend, you get a code to enter online to win great prizes! Details right here!

Disclaimer: I was provided a gift card from Kohl's in order to review their Back 2 School promotion for you all. All tips and opinions are my own!

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