As the beginning of the school year approaches my kids all start begging to go shopping for new clothes. I tell them, yes, we can do that, but first you have to inventory all the clothes that you have, and take out the clothes that are too small for you. This works ONLY at this time of year...because they are so motivated by the thought of new school clothes that they are willing to work hard to make it happen. So I just do my other projects and wait for them to clean out their closets. Sometimes I have to wait longer than other times depending on the child's temperament.
When they have sorted, and counted all of their shirts, pants, and shoes, etc...we sit down and talk about what they might need for the school year. Usually this is MUCH less than they thought. So we have really saved money over the years doing it this way. It also helps that they have sorted it themselves, (instead of me), so they can see with their own eyes that they don't need as much as they thought, and I don't have to convince them.)
For school supplies, I have developed a system where previously on the last day of school I confiscate their backpacks with all their supplies and don't let them empty it. Then when the beginning of the next school year rolls around, I just take out their old backpack and compare what is already in it to their school supply list. (We like to get plastic folders that will last longer than one year). We check things off and usually find that we don't have to buy as much as we thought. This is really awesome because with five kids, little things add up to a lot.
Hope you are having fun getting ready for school! We are having lots of pre-school excitement at our house!