Back to School – Keep It or Toss It?
School supplies can get expensive and it's that time of year again. A new box of crayons, a carton of pencils, fresh notebooks, folders, and a new backpack to put it all in was so exciting, but why do you need new stuff every year? Do you really need a new eight pack of uhu stics? Maybe not.
Back to school shopping can be really stressful and expensive, so here are a few things you can re-use and a few things you should buy new.
Remember having a shiny new lunch box with your favorite music star, TV show or superhero on it? That was the best wasn't it? Well, as the year wore on, it got dinged, full of crumbs and maybe the paint was wearing off a little and by the end of the year, it wasn't as cool as it was back in September. Buying a new one this year is a good idea because they probably aren't obsessed with whomever it was they were obsessed with a year ago, but this year buy a plain fabric lunch bag. It won't get dinged and you can reuse it next year.
I got a green backpack for my freshman year. It looked fine with brown or black so I wouldn't have to change bags with each outfit. That was almost 10 years ago and I still have it. It has pictures painted on it, writing and flair. As kids grow, their backpack becomes a fashion statement, so your teen may not want a new backpack. If that's the case, save your money and spend it on something else that they do want. If you need a guide to budget friendly backpacks, click HERE.
Three ring binders are usually pretty durable and can be used until they die. I was digging through some old stuff recently and found a Care Bears three ring binder that I probably got when I was 8. This is the same deal with the lunch box. They probably aren't obsessed with Justin Bieber or Big Time Rush anymore, so if this is the case, just get a plain three ring binder. I have one from several years ago and it's now repurposed into a cookbook. Remember Trapper Keepers? Those were the best.
Notebooks, folders and erasers should all be replaced. They all have a life cycle of about one school year. Spiral notebooks bend and get frizzy, erasers are used to a nub and folders; especially the non laminated folders don't even make it that far, so it's best to invest in new ones. Highlighters, markers and crayons should also all be replaced.
Pencils and pens, however, may not have to be replaced. Take all of the pens and try them out. Any pen that's dry or missing a cap, get rid of it. Pencils that are still at a respectable length, just sharpen it and stick it in the pencil pouch. If the eraser on the pencil is down to nothing, you can still salvage the pencil by using a pencil top or hand held eraser. You can also reuse glue sticks and glue bottles. Just make sure they aren't dried shut or sticky all over. If that's the case, you can just use some Goo Gone to get rid of it.