Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School Shopping

It's the last day of August and I know many kids are back in school already, but my kids still have 10 days of sleeping in (I wish!) and playing in the sunshine, which thankfully is sticking around. But school does eventually come and, along with it, the obligatory school supply shopping list. I still have fond memories of back-to-school shopping as a kid. Of course, when I was older it became all about the clothes, but as a kid, I loved picking out my notebooks and folders (remember PeeChees and Trapper Keepers?)

My kids and I headed out last week to buy supplies, but I was determined not to spend money rebuying things they already had so first we went on a search through their rooms and our craft drawers. We found scissors, markers, pencils, glue, rulers, and erasers. Sure, the markers aren't in the fancy box, but that box usually gets discarded or destroyed in the first few weeks of school anyway. As long as all the colors still work and the glue isn't dry, we are in good shape!

Here are a few tips that are helping us save money and reuse our existing resources. Any tips from your family to share?

* Grab the list of needed supplies and send your kids on a hunt through the house to see what they can find. Bonus: less junk in the house!
* If you end up buying extras (the 18 pack of #2 pencils when you only need 12 or the buy one/get one free notebooks) pass them on to a local child in need. Volunteers of America is running an Operation Backpack program in many cities, as are many local churches and schools.
* Find new uses for leftover items at the end of the year. In our house, 3-ring binders become storage for baseball cards, spiral notebooks with leftover pages become journals, broken crayons can be melted down to make candles.
* Don't forget the "comfort kits" either. I assume most schools do these now, but in case you aren't familiar with them, these are the "just in case we have an earthquake/snowstorm or some other emergency and your kid gets stuck at school for a while" kits. Athe end of the year, I pull out the too-small socks and snacks nearing their expiration date and save the space blanket, toothbrush, etc. The socks get passed along to a smaller friend and the snacks get taken along on a summer outing. This week I'll replenish the packs with new snacks, socks that fit, and a new family letter/picture.
Now for the real question, who is happiest about it being back-to-school time. Your kids or you??


  1. I wish I had done that before I went supply shopping this year. I already mentioned to the kids that next year that's our plan. Thanks.

  2. I'll have to post about this again next May so we think about it in advance!