This time of year, Shopping Siren still gets chills walking through office supply stores.

Which, considering this week’s heat, is a feat.

There’s something about the smell of fresh crayons and paper. Or maybe it’s the rainbow of colorful folders or the boxes of spiral notebooks covered with photos of fluffy kittens or cartoons of dashing superheroes. Whatever the reason, it always feels a little bit exciting, a little bit hopeful. Like Christmas. But with school supplies.

I haven’t actually gone back to school during the back-to-school season for more years than I can count — though the scientific calculators on sale right now could probably help me out with that. But I decided a while ago that you don’t actually have to go to school to take advantage of school sales. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t. Get all the stuff and none of the homework. 

Need some pens for your home office? Want to refill your printer paper? Feel the overwhelming urge to glue macaroni to construction paper? Now’s the time!

Some sales end as soon as Saturday, but others go to the end of September or so. Don’t be afraid to stock up before your favorite deals disappear.

Because everyone can use a fresh box of crayons.

• Kleenex two-ply tissues, three-pack, Staples, $3.99

Kids are germy, kids going back to school are even germier and you’ve now sneezed 11 times in the past five minutes. Three boxes should get you through next Wednesday.

Need more? Some Staples stores have three-packs with an extra box free. Others — like the Staples in Lewiston — have just the three-packs, but the package includes a $2 off coupon toward another box. Huzzah! Sneeze all you want. You’re covered.

• Staples screen cleaning fluid, 2 ounces, Staples, $4.99

Comes with a small microfiber cloth for easy cleaning of your phone, tablet or computer screen. So you can show off photos of your cat/dog/kids and people will actually be able to tell which is which.

• Crayola crayons, 24-pack, Staples, 50 cents

For coloring! And other things, I’m sure, but mostly coloring! Use as stocking stuffers if you’ve got kids. Keep on hand for kid visitors if you have none of your own. Or grab an adult coloring book and spend some time acting like a kid.

Couple this deal with Staples’ $5 off $25 coupon — good through Saturday — and you can get a lot of crayons for very little money. Note: Staples limits you to 30 boxes of crayons, so maybe you’ll also have to buy some Crayola markers or colored pencils, each box on sale for 97 cents. Color me inspired. 

• Staples washable glue sticks, four-pack, Staples, 97 cents

The key word here being “washable.”

• BIC Xtra-Comfort ballpoint pens, 12-count, OfficeMax, $1.50

Because you have no working pens at home and last week had to resort to jotting down information with leftover chocolate pudding. Which makes your notes delicious but hard to read.  

• PNY 16 GB flash drive, OfficeMax, $3.99

Once upon a time, this flash drive was $14.99. It was supposed to go back to that price on Sunday, but then you bought it, used it to back up all your summer photos and lived happily ever after. The end.

• Post-It notes, 400 sheets, OfficeMax, $5

These 3-inch-by-3-inch cubes come in a variety of colors, great for coordinating all the notes you leave for your significant other. Pink for “I love you.” White for “You’re the best.” Green for “If you don’t pick up your socks soon, we’re all going to die from the fumes.”

Best find: Office Depot colored copy paper, OfficeMax, $3

A ream of colored paper, which is pretty much all the colored paper you’ll need for the next year. Perfect for flyers, art projects, notices you want noticed and paper airplanes that will both fly well and look awesome. Maybe you should get two reams.

Think twice: Office Depot correction tape, six pack, OfficeMax, $5

Bag Lady was amazed to hear that correction tape is still a thing in this age of the delete key. Shopping Siren has to agree. And six of them? That’s enough correction tape to pass on through the generations. So maybe skip this particular item. Your great-grandchildren will want the excitement of shopping for it themselves. By then, correction tape will be retro cool.

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who have had enough of this heat already.) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

Crayola crayons, 50 cents at Staples. Color outside the lines.

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