It’s that time of year again, when the kids are back in school. And what does that mean to us parents? It doesn’t just mean that we are back into the school routine and our kids are gone during the day, but also that we just spent a whole lot of time and money searching for school supplies, an act that may make us feel tinges of nostalgia for our own school days. We may remember that favorite binder, that very special set of stationary, or our beloved metal lunchbox featuring our favorite pop culture icon.
In honor of the back-to-school season, we’ve collected 13 old school staples from days of yore. Which one do you miss the most?
Old School! 1 of 14
The Wooden Desk 2 of 14
Now school desks are usually made of a sturdy plastic, but back in the day, school desks were made of wood — wood that would get nicked, stained, and would often feature carvings by bored students. But there is something so lovely about an old school wood desk. I hope some schools still use them.
Trapper Keeper 3 of 14
Do you remember the Trapper Keeper? They were the go-to binder for pretty much ALL kids of the '80s and '90s. The binders came in basic colors like blue and red, but they also featured trendy graphics. They are still available today, but they don't look anything like this!
Photo Source: eBay, available here for $120
Chalkboard 4 of 14
While they haven't disappeared entirely yet, chalkboards and erasers are becoming a thing of the past. Smartboards, for schools that can afford them, have become the norm.
Crank Pencil Sharpener 5 of 14
These days, pencil sharpeners are usually electric. It is far rarer to see the old crank-style version with the dial to select the pencil size. Do you remember these?
Compasses 6 of 14
I'm actually not sure if schools still use these, but they always reeked of danger to me!
Pee-Chee Folder 7 of 14
Mimeograph Machine 8 of 14
This will give my age away a bit, but I so totally remember teachers coming in and passing out freshly mimeographed tests, and every student in the class would immediately bring the paper to their faces and give a big sniff. Yes, the mimeograph had a unique and unforgettable scent.
Photo Source: eBay, available here for $9.97
Encyclopedia 9 of 14
Hello internet, goodbye encyclopedia. Yes, that happened.
The Metal Lunchbox 10 of 14
There was a time when every kid brought their lunch in a metal lunchbox that would advertise their favorite things, like Star Wars. These days, kids mostly bring their lunches in a paper bag or a padded lunch bag (which provides more temperature control).
Multi-Colored Pen 11 of 14
The cool kids always had one of these, a pen that provided a whole array of hues in one unit. And guess what? They're still being made!
Photo Source: 4Imprint, available here for $1.07
Floppy Disc 12 of 14
Many a student kept their school work on one of these old school floppy discs. But technology moves fast, and these are very much a thing of the past.
Calculator Watch 13 of 14
It was once so easy to do your math equations on your wrist, but now there are computers, iPads, and iPhones that do the math for you.
Photo Source: eBay, available for $29.95
Stationary 14 of 14
I don't know about you, but I had a whole collection of fancy stationary (mostly from Sanrio) that I would use to pass notes to my friends in class. But passing notes has been replaced with secretive texting.
Photo Source: Sanrio, set available for $10
Photo Source: iStock Photos unless otherwise noted