25 Back-to-School Products That Earn High Marks

iStock
iStock

New school style: Whether you're starting college, shopping for the kids, or just want an excuse to treat yourself to new office gear, Mental Floss has you covered. Equip yourself or a loved one with these stylish and functional school supplies.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. COFFEE AND DOUGHNUT POST-ITS; $13

coffee and doughnut Post-its
Courtesy of Post-it

Add some flavor to your notes with the two-pack set of coffee and doughnut Post-its. Each of the 60 sheets is 3.20-by-3 inches.

Find It: Amazon

2. PACKIT FREEZABLE HAMPTON LUNCH BAG; $16

PackIt Freezable Hampton Lunch Bag, Blanket Stripe
Amazon

This spacious lunch bag is designed with a freezable lining, so it can be folded and placed in the freezer. When you're ready to take it on the go, it'll be ready to chill your food for hours. Bonus: It's also lead- and BPA-free.

Find It: Amazon

3. MONSTER REUSABLE SANDWICH BAGS; $11

Orange Monster Reusable Sandwich Lunch Bags
Amazon

Save the Earth and amuse little students with these reusable, dishwasher-safe bags. Each set of four includes two sandwich bags and two snack bags—all with an easy-to-grip opening.

Find It: Amazon

4. BENTO BOX FOR KIDS; $40

OmieBox Bento Lunch Box With Insulated Thermos For Kids
Amazon

This three-compartment bento box is roomy enough to fit a hearty, healthy lunch. The BPA-free container—available in five bright colors—is leak-proof, easy to open, and comes with a built-in thermos.

Find It: Amazon

5. LARGE MONTHLY PLANNER; $15

Large Personal Monthly Planner
Amazon

JStory's minimalist planner is made of thicker-than-average paper and includes a column for notes. And the blank design offers flexibility: You fill in the dates yourself.

Find It: Amazon

6. ORANGE LINED NOTEBOOK; $9

Rhodia Staplebound Orange Lined Notebook
Amazon

French brand Rhodia earned a strong following among artists and designers for its high-quality paper that's unbelievably smooth. The cover is sturdy so you can take notes anywhere.

Find It: Amazon

7. HONEYSTICKS BEESWAX CRAYONS; $23

crayons
Amazon

These sustainable crayons are made of 100 percent beeswax from New Zealand. (They smell like honey, too!) The thick shape is perfect for toddlers to hold.

Find It: Amazon

8. MOPHIE POWERSTATION XL; $66

external battery
Amazon

An external battery is a must for days when shuttling around campus from classes to clubs to rehearsals is unavoidable. This slim rose gold option has two USB ports and is compatible with both smartphones and tablets.

Find It: Amazon

9. CABLEKEEP; $13

Nice GLD-02 Goldie CableKeep
Amazon

This helpful gadget for iPhones holds both your power adapter and USB cable while keeping them tangle-free. It also functions as a stand for your phone when the Cablekeep is plugged into the wall.

Find It: Amazon

10. PARKLAND BAYSIDE KIDS' BACKPACK; $28

Parkland Bayside Kids Backpack
Amazon

Tote books in style with this eco-friendly backpack, featuring a polyester exterior made from recycled water bottles.

Find It: Amazon

11. LEGO BRICK BACKPACK; $50

LEGO Brick Backpack
Amazon

This whimsical statement backpack from LEGO features a padded handle and shoulder straps, so it's as comfortable as it is cool.

Find It: Amazon

12. HERSHEL NOVEL DUFFEL; $81

Herschel Supply Co. duffel
Amazon

Class up your gear with this stylish duffel from Herschel. It features a padded shoulder strap and a special compartment for those dirty cleats.

Find It: Amazon

13. ANTIQUE BRASS PHARMACY FLOOR LAMP; $50

Dawson Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Amazon

Overpower dim dorm room lighting with this brass floor lamp. Its height can be adjusted from 33 inches to a maximum of 55 inches, while the arm can be adapted to shine light at a variety of angles.

Find It: Amazon

14. EGYPTIAN COTTON TOWEL SET; $24

bathroom with towels
Amazon

This set of soft Egyptian cotton towels from Amazon's Pinzon brand includes two hand towels, two washcloths, and two bath towels—all listed as 100 percent cotton and at an affordable price.

Find It: Amazon

15. WHITE MARBLE MACBOOK KEYBOARD SKIN; $12

White Marble MacBook Keyboard Skin
Nordstrom

Protect your keyboard while adding a little luxury to your Macbook with this white marble keyboard skin.

Find It: Nordstrom

16. MAGNETIC CHALK BOARD; $18

chalkboard
Amazon

Get organized with this wood-framed chalk board, which comes with chalk and two vintage-style magnets.

Find It: Amazon

17. COFFEEBOXX SINGLE SERVE COFFEE MAKER; $230

portable coffee maker
Amazon

This ultra-durable single-serve coffee maker is great for the dorm as well as the campground. It's water- and dust-resistant and works with K-cups.

Find It: Amazon

18. TRAVEL MUG; $25

 Zojirushi SM-SA48-BA Stainless Steel Mug
Amazon

If you need java to survive, pick up this sleek vacuum-insulated travel mug, which features a splatter-free push-button lid. It's also lockable, so you won't be that person who spills coffee in class.

Find It: Amazon

19. SIX-PACK OF STACKING DRAWERS; $32

stacking drawers
Amazon

Stack these versatile transparent drawers to create a dresser so you can fit your huge wardrobe in your dorm room.

Find It: Amazon

20. FACETED TAPE DISPENSER; $7

gem tape dispenser
Amazon

This elegant copper tape dispenser will give your desk some class. It's also weighted, so you can grab with ease. (Roll of Scotch tape included.)

Find It: Amazon

21. COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE; $84

microwave
Amazon

Master the art of dorm room microwave cooking with this 1000-Watt model, featuring that all-important popcorn setting.

Find It: Amazon

22. SATEEN SHEETS; $18 AND UP

sheet set
Bed Bath & Beyond

These 400-thread-count sateen sheets feel silky to the touch: They're a simple way to make your dorm room feel luxurious.

Find It: Bed Bath & Beyond

23. TOUCHSCREEN MIST CLEANER; $10

Two-In-One Spray and Microfiber Cloth
Amazon

Use this screen-safe spray to remove dirt and fingerprints from your phone. It comes in a bottle that's coated with microfiber cloth so you can spritz and wipe all in one.

Find It: Amazon

24. MESH SHOWER BAG; $13

 Saltwater Canvas, LLC Zip Top Mesh Shower Bag
Amazon

No more feeling around outside the shower curtain for your shampoo. Take this quick-drying mesh shower caddy right into the stall with you.

Find It: Amazon

25. MINI FRIDGE WITH DRY ERASE BOARD; $250

 Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Refrigerator with Neon Markers
Amazon

Make your dorm room unique with this fun fridge that has a dry erase exterior and comes with neon markers so you can write notes directly on it. No paper and magnets needed. It also includes a freezer unit and ice cube tray.

Find It: Amazon

10 Ways to Get Your Caffeine Fix Without Coffee

iStock.com. Photo illustration: Rebecca O'Connell
iStock.com. Photo illustration: Rebecca O'Connell

Looking to get an extra buzz without drinking another cup of coffee? Luckily, sleepy people everywhere have created a huge market for all things caffeine-related. Here are some more unusual products that will give you a buzz.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Perk Energy Bracelet

A woman wearing a Perk bracelet
Perk, Amazon

These bracelets administer caffeine right through your skin. They're lined with energy patches that provide the same amount of caffeine as a medium cup of coffee, according to Perk, but over the course of four hours to prevent jitters or crashing. Because the caffeine isn't going through your digestive system, the effects are also stronger and hit faster. Each bracelet comes with 30 caffeine patches to get you started.

Buy it on Amazon for $40.

2. Viter Energy Mints

Six light blue tins of energy mints
Viter Energy, Amazon

Worried about getting coffee breath? Viter Energy mints will make your mouth minty fresh while putting a pep in your step. Each mint has 40 milligrams of caffeine, so eating two mints is about the same as an 8-ounce cup of coffee. (The caffeine content of coffee varies from brand to brand, but according to the Mayo Clinic, an 8-ounce brewed coffee might contain anywhere from 95 to 165 milligrams of caffeine, while an espresso will around 47 to 64 milligrams. A tall dark-roast brewed coffee at Starbucks contains 193 milligrams.) These mints have a "strong and intense wintergreen flavor and menthol kick” as the makers describe it, but they also come in spearmint, cinnamon, chocolate mint, and peppermint flavors.

Buy them on Amazon for $20 for six tins.

3. Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap

Showers are about to get a lot more energizing—no freezing cold water needed. This vegetable-based glycerine soap from ThinkGeek is made with caffeine to give your morning a jump start even before your first cup of coffee. Each Shower Shock bar packs about 200 milligrams of caffeine per use. (Each bar is about 12 servings.) It also has a refreshing peppermint smell—but no, it's not edible.

Buy it from ThinkGeek for $8 or from Amazon for $16.

4. pureLYFT Energy Stir Sticks

Boxes of pureLYFT stir sticks near citrus fruit
pureLYFT, Amazon

Now you can add caffeine to any beverage you like with a stick that you can swirl into your drink. The plastic sticks are filled with crystals that dissolve after just 10 seconds of stirring. Each packs 125 milligrams of caffeine. You can opt for the plain version or try flavors like orange, mixed berry, and lemon-lime.

Buy them on Amazon for $13 per pack of six or at these other retailers:

5. OGX Fight Fallout Shampoo

A brown bottle of OGX shampoo
OGX, Walmart

Energize your scalp with caffeine-infused shampoo. While this shower addition might not actually wake you up, some studies have suggested that caffeine may (slightly) help with hair loss. OGX claims their shampoo helps thicken hair and keep it on your head. The company also makes a conditioner and a "root stimulator" spray with the same ingredients.

Buy it from Walmart for $12 or at these other retailers:

6. Power Toothpaste

Say goodbye to groggily brushing your teeth. Power Toothpaste is infused with caffeine that quickly kicks in as soon as you're done with your oral hygiene routine. Each tube has enough mint-flavored paste for 90 brushes with roughly 80 milligrams of caffeine per serving.

Buy it from Power Toothpaste for $15 or from Amazon for $20 (with Prime shipping).

7. HeroEC Energy Water

A 12-pack of water bottles
Hero Water, Amazon

Swap out your coffee for something a little more refreshing. This hydrating water from Hero Water comes with electrolytes and 60 milligrams of caffeine, without the bitter aftertaste of coffee.

Buy it on Amazon for $20 for a pack of 12.

8. Jolt Energy Gum

A box of Jolt Energy Gum
Jolt, Amazon

Based on the popular soda, Jolt Energy Gum comes packed with guarana, ginseng, and 40 milligrams of caffeine per serving. The spearmint and "icy mint" flavors are designed to deliver a minty kick that's sure to keep you up for a while.

Buy it on Amazon for $20 per pack of 12 (120 pieces total).

9. First Aid Beauty Matcha Wake Up Wipes

A pack of facial wipes
First Aid Beauty, Amazon

Start the morning right with a clean and refreshed face. These caffeine matcha wipes remove dirt, soothe with aloe, and wake you up. The caffeine reduces puffiness and redness, too. Each pack comes with 25 wipes designed for all skin types.

Buy it on Amazon for $7 and at these other retailers:

10. Eagle Energy Caffeine Infused Inhaler

A three-pack of caffeine inhalers
Eagle Energy, Amazon

Made with guarana extract, ginseng, and vitamin B12, Eagle Energy’s caffeine inhaler is a sugar-free, calorie-free way to get your energy boost. According to the company, “Eagle uses a customized heating system that creates a vapor and is engineered to maximize caffeine bioavailability and prevent the creation of any unintended by-products.” Because the caffeine is inhaled, it only takes three to five minutes to kick in.

Buy it on Amazon for $26 per pack of three.

The 3 Best Mattresses You Can Order Online Right Now

iStock.com/diego_cervo
iStock.com/diego_cervo

President’s Day is quickly creeping up, and you know what that means: Everyone and their mother will be shopping for new mattresses (which traditionally go on sale over the holiday weekend). However, if you don’t feel like fighting off the crowds at your local mattress outlet, there are plenty of great online deals you can take advantage of—and you don't have to sift through a thousand reviews to find a great one. Check out our buying guide to the three comfiest mattresses on the market right now from Leesa, Allswell, and Linenspa.

1. Leesa’s Universal Adaptive Feel Memory Foam Cooling Mattress

Leesa's universal adaptive feel memory foam cooling mattress
Leesa, Amazon

Do you kick off the covers in the middle of the night because you get too hot? Try Leesa’s 10-inch-tall cooling mattress. It has three unique foam layers: The first layer is designed to keep you cool, while the second offers body-contouring comfort, and the third helps relieve pressure and provide core support. The “adaptive feel” label refers to the fact that it adapts to your body no matter what your preferred sleeping position may be. The mattress comes in twin through California king sizes, with prices starting at $375.

Buy it on Amazon or from Leesa's website, where you can get 15 percent off plus two free pillows this weekend.

2. Allswell’s Luxe Hybrid Mattress

This extra-thick mattress is so popular that it frequently sells out from Allswell and at other retailers. It packs 12 inches of high-end material into one mattress, including quilted memory foam and an outer layer designed keep you cool in hot weather. Similar mattresses tend to go for thousands of dollars, but the Luxe Hybrid retails for far less. Prices start at $345 for a twin, $485 for a full, $585 for a queen, or $745 for a king. (Not sure about the difference in mattress sizes? We've got you covered.)

Buy it from Allswell's website, where you can save 15 percent through February 20 using the offer code 15FORALL. It's also available at these retailers:

3. Linenspa’s memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress

The Linenspa memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress
Linenspa, Amazon

Amazon customers swear by Linenspa’s hybrid mattress, which comes in sizes twin ($96) through California king ($198). Ideal for people who like medium-firm mattresses, it combines the benefits of memory foam with the support one gets from a traditional innerspring mattress. The standard version is 8 inches thick, but Linenspa also offers a 10-inch version in all sizes. (We also love the company's incredibly affordable down-alternative duvet, which is $50 off right now on Amazon.)

Buy it on Amazon, where the 8-inch queen mattress is currently 18 percent off ($156).

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