As the term implies, bulk school supplies are school supply products that are purchased and distributed in bulk, or large quantities. Bulk school supplies include a wide range of typical supplies and materials such as pencils, paper, erasers, rulers, and so forth, but also include other items used within a school, such as math manipulatives or science lab equipment. Administrators, educators, and day and pre-school providers are the most common consumers of bulk school supplies.
In most cases, school districts will order bulk school supplies and distribute them throughout each individual building, where it is up to the administrator or principal of the building to further distribute the items. Specific items, such as dissection equipment, microscopes, and calculators, are doled out to the appropriate classrooms, while broader, more generic items like art supplies and paper may be stored in a closet or room for as-needed use. Teachers, school groups, and community groups serving children can sometimes save money by ordering bulk school supplies that are not provided by their district or organization.
Several companies across the United States and around the world are retailers of bulk school supplies. The most convenient way for organizations to order and purchase supplies is through catalog ordering, though a number of companies have online catalog and ordering as well. NASCO is an example of a company that provides bulk school supplies ranging from classroom equipment, physical education supplies, and more.
Other organizations, whether working with children, seniors, or even employees and volunteers, may find it beneficial to order bulk supplies. City and county recreation departments, child care providers, and others can find a variety of arts and crafts supplies, sports equipment, and other products available in bulk that may be priced lower than purchasing the items in smaller quantities. If you represent or are a part of an organization that could use supplies, check with other similar organizations to see if pooling resources and ordering bulk school supplies would be advantageous.
You can find catalogs online or visit local school supply retailers and ask who their suppliers are and if they have catalogs available. In some cases, a school supply retailer or wholesaler may be able to provide you with direct ordering at a bulk discount. Also check your local yellow pages or phone book directory for retailers and wholesalers in your area and do a basic Internet search to see if there are companies you can request catalogs from online.