School Supplies from the ’80s & ’90s That You’ll Totally Remember

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Back-to-school time is always a perfect time to get nostalgic about your own days in the classroom, but things have changed a lot since you were the one sitting behind the desk. From hand-operated (gasp!) pencil sharpeners to everyone’s favorite folders, scroll down to re-discover some of the school supplies you probably couldn’t live without.

Tavets via Instagram

Trapper Keepers helped you stay organized. But it was the outside design that stole the show. 

Scented markers made your papers smell delicious. Lucky for kids everywhere, they're still going strong and available anywhere school supplies are sold.

Gabby Cullen

Pencil sharpeners had to be operated by hand.

You put trolls on your pencils way before Poppy and Branch were cool. 

You kept your papers in the whimsical yet slightly psychedelic Lisa Frank folders. Buy this vintage gem at eBay

You hoped Kissing Potion lip gloss really worked. You can still find it on Amazon!

You loved your Walkman...and the mixed tapes your friends made for it! 

You loved when your teacher rewarded good grades with Scratch And Sniff Stickers on your test papers. 

You used a tape recorder and had to hit rewind...a lot.

Remember when all your information came from the Encyclopedia instead of Google or Alexa? 

And in order to find exactly which Encylopedia you needed, there was the ever-handy card catalog. 

Learning to spell was fun with Speak & Spell. And then E.T. used one and sealed its fate as a classic '80s relic. 

Avoiding dysentery and watching out for thieves along the Oregon Trail was all part of the educational fun.

Overhead projectors with their erasable transparency sheets have long been retired to make way for projectors that connect to laptops and tablets.

Rainy day movies meant rolling the AV cart out and popping in a VHS for recess time. 


Bento boxes with Instagrammable food art have replaced plastic lunch boxes packed with fruit roll ups and gummy sharks (don't forget your matching Thermos!). 

Long before the magical cloud existed, these bad boys were all the storage you needed—as long as you didn’t lose them.


The original fidget spinners! Your Tamagotchi wasn't exactly a classroom essential, but at recess, the first thing you did was feed your digital pet. 


—Sher Warkentin with Melissa Heckscher

Featured image: Vishwanatha Srinivasan via Pixabay



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