Spending and Saving

How to Find Free School Classroom Supplies

With these tips, you can start finding some free supplies for your classroom and get your school year started off right.

Teachers know all too well how challenging it is to get all the supplies needed for their classrooms. While teachers send out supply lists each year, many students can’t afford to buy everything on the list. Schools often give teachers a stipend, but it’s only a fraction of what’s needed for the year.

But teachers rarely let their students go without. According to a survey by Scholastic, teachers spend over $500 on average each year on supplies – and even more in high poverty areas. Coupled with low teacher salaries, it’s a lot of money for teachers to spend out of pocket.

Fortunately, there are ways to get at least some of your supplies for free. Read on for some tips on how to find free school classroom supplies.

Sign Up for AdoptAClassroom.org

AdoptAClassroom.org is a website dedicated to getting money for teachers to buy necessary supplies. You can register and make a list of what your classroom needs, and then donors come to the site to sponsor classrooms. 

Ask on Social Media

If you have a lot of friends on social media, put out requests for things you need. Many people have office supplies like pens and pencils or even old books for a classroom library that they’ll be more than happy to donate. You may even have some former students and parents who want to give back.

Create a Wish List

You can create a teacher supply wish list on sites like Amazon. You can add what you need, share it with parents and other groups who donate to classrooms, and you may get some of your supplies filled. This is a great way to use social media again to encourage others to help supply your classroom.

Start a Supply Sharing Day at Your School

Teachers always have leftover things they didn’t use at the end of the year. Instead of throwing that stuff out, organize a day where all the teachers in your school bring their unused or old stuff to the gym. Everyone can go around and take what they need.

Appeal to Local Businesses

Many businesses want to give back to their community but aren’t sure how. Reach out to local businesses to see if they have something they’re willing to donate. For example, lots of businesses have office supplies they don’t use that they may be willing to give to a good cause. Other stores, like a used bookstore, may have extra books that they can’t sell but will be happy to see them go to a good home.

Join Rewards Programs

If you’re a reading teacher, consider joining the Scholastic Book Club program. Every time families buy books, you get money for classroom supplies and even free books. You’ll have to spend your funds at the Scholastic store, but they sell more than just books – you can get supplies and even furniture.

Other stores like Staples have a rewards program, too. When parents in your class make a purchase, you get a percentage of what they spend to use at Staples. 

Hit Up Retired Teachers

Many teachers who are retired still have loads of supplies they’ve yet to get rid of. Often, these teachers will be thrilled for you to take it off their hands, especially if they know it’s going to be put to good use.


NAEIR is a nonprofit specializing in supply donations for teachers. You simply register and choose what you need. You’ll have to pay a small processing fee, but otherwise, the supplies are free.

Final Thoughts

While you’ll probably wind up putting some of your own money into your classroom, there’s no reason to spend more than you have to. With these tips, you can start finding some free supplies for your classroom and get your school year started off right.


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