The six thoughts I'm having when I'm back-to-school shopping in January.

Thanks to our brand partner, BIG W
If I am doing my “back to school” shopping, and it’s not January 25, who even am I?

They say being a fully formed adult is about accepting yourself, flaws and all. And I accepted, long ago, that the “disorganisation tax” was just a by-product of my slightly chaotic existence, something I would never outrun.

The ‘disorganisation tax’ is the extra money you end up paying because you buy the birthday present ON THE WAY to the birthday party and the only place en route that gift-wraps is the same place that charges $50 for a bubble wand.

Or the excess baggage charge you pay on the budget flight because you only had time to fling every pair of shoes you own into your carry-on “just in case”. After all, events on your working weekend away might call for a mid-heel and a snow-boot.

Or, the classic “disorganisation tax” – the fee you get any time you take money out of an ATM at a convenience store and the machine charges you almost half the amount you’re withdrawing.

So that’s often what I’m paying out – both in financial terms and stress levels – when every year I realise, three days before the kids go back to school that we need new shoes, uniforms, lunch boxes, water bottles, notebooks, pens, that sticky contact stuff,  socks, hair-ties, sports shoes and rain jackets. You know, everything. A lot changes between mid December and late January, it strikes me every year.

On January 25 for the past four years you would find me tearing around my local shopping centre, dragging at least one of my children behind me, wild-eyed and damp-of-brow (it’s January) my mind racing with the same inner dialogue it’s ran every January 25 that came before.


1. Woah. School shoes are expensive. I hope they’re going to do my kids’ homework for that money.

2. I have to take a ticket and get in line? Sorry, I had enough of that in the pre-Christmas deli-queue. I’m not waiting to be told you’re out of my kids’ size in the Black. And all the shoes are Black.

3. How many pens does little Bobby (insert name here to play along at home) need for Kindergarten? His pen licence is years away. ONE. That should do it.

4. I can’t believe that my baby really needs all these notebooks because she’s going into Year One/Two/ Three/Twelve. Sob. But he/she’s my baaaaaaaby. Stop the world, I want to get off!

5. Get yourself together. It’s Attack of the Lunchboxes. How are you going to find the one with: catches they can open/enough room for a full Vegemite sandwich and a whole apples/hugs the food tight enough to get you through Waste-Free Wednesday, otherwise known as freeform day, otherwise known as the day when the blueberries roll into the hummus?

6. Can a responsible adult please take over? I’m very distracted by the Star Is Born soundtrack right now.


Get out. Lunchboxes that might actually make my kid eat lunch exist right now. 

Not this year. No, no, no, not this year, my friends. 2019 will be notable in many ways, and one of them will be that my children will go back to school without their mother having already had her annual shop-induced meltdown. And their school shoes will actually fit them.

I cut myself a break this year, and I went to Big W, and I went in plenty of time. The thoughts that ran through my head on this shopping mission could not have been more different than the rantings of the hysterical person in the scenario above.

This time the thought process -- as I walked through ONE SHOP -- was positively zen in comparison:


1. There are so many pairs of school shoes here. SO MANY. And there are pairs under $10. And I didn't even have to take a ticket and get in line. Where exactly have I been all my life?

School-shoe HEAVEN. 

2. I can buy a packet of pens and it won't break the bank. In fact, I can buy two.

3. OOOh, look. There's a beauty sale on. Absolutely no harm in picking up a few things for myself while we're here, right? A woman is not a camel. Lipstick will soothe those end-of-January blues...


4. I might need to pinch myself. I just bought a lunchbox that has containers in it and compartments to keep your raisins from bumping into your yoghurt and it did not cost me $50. It was $8.

5. Where is everyone?

Basically, my inner monologue was just me being impressed at every turn that I could find what I was looking for that's good quality, and at a price point that won't make you sit bolt-upright at 3am on a Wednesday, questioning all of your life's choices.

I have a bigger problem now that Big W has removed the drama from the back to school shopping experience.

Now I have to face the fact that the holidays are over. There's nothing I can do about it, time marches on and so do head teachers with whistles.

At least I have my new lipstick to cheer me up.  And the kids' school shoes.

That's greatness right there.

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This content was brought to you with thanks by our brand partner, Big W.

*Prices in images may have changed. Please visit your local store for the latest sale prices.


Start something great with all your Back to School needs at Big W.