New Stuff vs Good Used Items for School

Yep, I used the word “stuff”…because that’s what it is.   Last time I told you a couple of stories about the long list of supplies that schools are requesting parents purchase to make up for the items that budgets can no longer support.  I have lots of family and friends that are teachers from preschool to college and I can attest to their real gut wrenching that they purchase many items out of their meager salaries for supplies and then still have to beg parents to chip in even more.

Everyone is pinched.

I relayed that story of the SOS “Study & Organizational Skills” course that I taught to some 6th graders many years ago. The request to NO BUY NEW ITEMS to supply this organizational banker’s box that I got donated was a “teaching lesson” to these parents.  To the staff’s surprise as well as the students and their parents, they all had no trouble filling what was essentially a “back to school supply list” from the left overs from previous school year’s supplies they were already storing in each families home!

If the zipper isn’t broken on last year’s backpack……toss it in the washer for a great cleaning…if you’re really bold…..dye it a new color that your child chooses.  You can bedazzle it with them from the craft supplies you have already at home.

Gather up all the pens, pencils and erasers, colored pencils and the crayons you have laying all over your house and fill your list.  Sharpen every pencil, check each pen to see if it still writes etc. I know you have pencil boxes, and pouches that can go into those three ring binder from last year.

Let’s face it:  those slash pockets, plastic colorful dividers, and 3 ring binders will last in a land fill for centuries.  No one that I know keeps the papers that are hiding there between each of the dividers or the three ring binds themselves.  Save them.  Put them in a box at the end of the school year and set them in a closet until right before Labor Day.

Back to School Savings are only “savings” if you can buy in bulk with other families on the Internet and split the haul!

This same thing goes for lunch boxes and designer lunch bags with little containers in them.  I bet you I still have at least 15 bags and 20+ plastic containers in a cabinet in my basement and my children have been away from home for more that 10 years.  That reminds me:   “note to self….donate these items….so someone else can use them….”  Thanks for the reminder!

This process is a very valuable modeling lesson that we each need to teach our children.  If we do not have the cash to purchase new school things and we have perfectly good ones left from last year which choice is the better on for the family financially?  If I child really needs 3 red pens for correcting to hand in to the teacher and you can afford or you have only one, then give the one and save for the other two.

Life is about choices.  Children need to be taught about how to decide.  The Parent is the one who is responsible to teach this lesson.  It really will make no difference if the number 2  pencil is new or from last year.  What matters is that the child has something to write with!