"Second-hand uniforms, and 4 other ways I'm doing back to school differently in 2023."

Thanks to our brand partner, Officeworks

I am done being the frantic parent who waits till the night before school goes back to get organised. 

As a mum to 4 kids, I have been a school parent for ten years. Every year, the night before school goes back, you can guarantee I will be rummaging through my office draws for name labels, convincing the kids that their uniforms from last year still fit and searching my emails for stationery lists. 

Not this year.

I won't deny that I perform best with a deadline.

The problem isn't the scrounging for uniforms, lunchboxes, and shoes. It's not the last-minute dash to the shops to buy stationery or negotiating with teens over which laptop they need. 

The real problem? I will spend the entire eight weeks of school holidays thinking about what I need to do to be organised for the start of the school year whilst at the same time juggling:

  • Shopping for Christmas presents
  • Booking and remembering end-of-year concerts and catch-ups
  • Organising the street Christmas party
  • Buying gifts for teachers, coaches, scout leaders and babysitters
  • Making the Christmas cake that should have probably been prepped in September

When my mental load is already maxed out with Christmas, the back-to-school admin adds an unwelcome layer of anxiety to the holidays.

So, I'm taking the stress out of back to school time for 2023.

For 2023, as I head into my 11th year as a school mum, I'm determined to get myself more organised so I can enjoy time in the school holidays, surfing with the kids rather than stressing about stuff for school.

I will be honest. Being organised isn't my default style. If it isn't yours, perhaps my plan below will help us both!


First things first.

1. Take any opportunity to streamline (and outsource).

I'm ridding myself of any approach to get the kids organised for school in 2023 that comes with too much fuss, too many steps, or too much legwork to do myself.

So coupled with that, comes the magic of outsourcing.

As soon as the stationery request lists come flying at me from the kids, I'll be taking a photo of them and uploading to Officeworks' School List Service. That's where they match up the school items for me, find me the best price, I review it and give the go-ahead to order online – and when the order's ready, I Click & Collect at my local store. So streamlined, and honestly such a sparkly saviour to lighten my mental load.

Now I'm imagining what you're thinking. If the service comes with a hefty price tag, especially with my own four kids at school. The website is telling me the service is free (score!) – and parents are saving, on average, 25 per cent on their school list prices when shopping with Officeworks. Beauty. 

Why have I not heard of this before? I can be confident that the kids get everything they need for school, which costs less than if I shop for it physically myself. 

I'm trying to find the catch, but it feels like a game-changer to me!

2. Hitting the second-hand uniform sale.

The kids seem to grow like weeds over the summer holidays.


I've marked the second-hand uniform sale for Term 4 in the diary and plan to purchase the next size up for 2023 early. If I buy what I need and get it washed this year, I might even sew on missing buttons and sew up any rips!

3. Sorting the kids' school devices.

This is a big one, and one that comes with so much research. 

My 15-year-old has already told me he needs a new school laptop for 2023. Naturally.

As his technology needs differ significantly from mine based on what it's used for (for his school's bring-your-own-device policy), I have another recommendation: for parents to check out the Officeworks BYOD Purchase Assistant Tool (PAT) online. It's a super helpful tool for secondary school kids in the market for a new device, and helps parents determine what options actually fit the school specs (and importantly, our budget). So the devices you want to compare (across different brands) are laid out for you clearly online to deep-dive on. We will head into the store together to then decide on the final winner, and it can go under the Christmas tree!

Thankfully, these also come with a price beat guarantee, so if I find the same item cheaper elsewhere, Officeworks will beat it by 5 per cent.

4. Ordering new name labels now.

As well as stationery, I leave ordering name labels to the last minute. Inevitably this means we manage to lose something in week one, whilst I'm waiting for the labels to turn up in the mail. Woops.


As part of my plan to be organised, I've already ordered sticker name labels. VERY early. I’ve also bought myself some new markers and hidden them from the kids so I can gleefully name everything for school before it disappears into their rooms. IYKYK.

Listen to This Glorious Mess to know more about back to school essentials. Story continues after podcast.

5. Sorting new lunchboxes.

Lunchboxes and drink bottles are a daily battleground in our house. I've been interrogating the kids about their favourite lunchboxes and drink bottles (they went on the Officeworks list). So they'll be snapped up early and stashed in the cupboard. 

They will also get wrapped up and put under the Christmas tree. Hey, it all counts.

Look, it’s naïve to think that on January 25, 2023, I will be 100 per cent ready for the school year. I will likely drag complaining kids to the shops to ditch the holiday mullets and buy shoes that actually fit.

But I plan to have time for a quick surf as well!

Looking to save on their school list? Check out Officeworks' School List Service. If you're shopping for a new device for your high schooler, use Officeworks' online Purchase Assistant Tool to compare your BYOD options.

Exclusions apply to Officeworks' Price Beat Guarantee.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Officeworks is Australia's leading retailer of office supplies, technology, furniture, education resources, art supplies and Print & Create. Officeworks has more than 40,000 products on its website and with everyday low prices on quality products and services, including tech-support by Geeks2U, you'll find everything you need at Officeworks.