Back to school shopping isn’t always fun, even when you love shopping. I mean, shopping with the kids can be stressful, overwhelming and just downright exhausting. You’re dealing with crowds and your children’s attitudes, which means your own attitude might need an adjustment.

If you don’t have the luxury of dropping your kids at the mall and letting them fend for themselves, you need a plan of action. Knowing exactly what you need and where you’re going to find it is your first step to back-to-school shopping success.

(The second step is to have a drink waiting for you at home, by the way.)

Here are the tips for your shopping adventure:

  • Avoid buying shorts. In most parts of the country, shorts are a summer-only staple and won’t get much wear once fall hits.
  • If it’s still warm in your neck of the woods, look for lightweight long sleeved tops your kids can put on and take off as needed in air conditioned classrooms. This allows those summer T-shirts a longer wear time since they can be layered under the long sleeves.
  • Black leggings and colored trousers can be mixed and matched with what’s currently in their wardrobe. These are a must-have staple.
  • Don’t shop strictly for the sales. Doorbuster prices mean longer lines and more hassle at the register. A better bet is to find stores that have everyday low prices, like TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and outlet malls.
  • Avoid trendy items that are in style today but will lose their lustre tomorrow. Not only are they expensive but they have a short shelf life. As a note: I allow my kids to choose one trendy thing when we shop to appease them.
  • Don’t forget the shoes. Go for something classic that will transition easily from fall to early winter, and it never hurts to shop a half size larger if your child is still growing.

If these tips don’t work out for you, take the back to school shopping in smaller doses. Don’t try to tackle all your kids’ shopping in one trip, and don’t try to buy everything they need all at once–especially if you or your children are especially resistant to shopping. Short stops while you’re out and about will work just as well!