At our house we’re just getting ready for the start of kindergarten, so the well of back-to-school experience isn’t exactly deep. Here goes anyway.
- Our day care/preschool situation is such that we have years of experience packing lunches. Reusable containers like zippered cloth bags with plastic lining are convenient and have cut our use of disposable plastic bags to almost nothing. I wash the cloth bags inside out with a load of clothes every few days and lay them on the stove grates to dry overnight.
- In my research on how to do school supply shopping, I saw recommendations such as “watch the ads like a hawk” and “stock up when you see rock-bottom prices.” Here’s my opinion: if you’re already planning to shop at a big box or discount retailer, the money you might save on a loss-leader like pencils is not enough to make up for the time you spend watching ads or making a special trip to the store. I also disagree with stockpiling unless you know from experience that this makes sense for your family. Want to know my good fortune? We were able to order a school supply kit in May through a vendor set up by the school’s PTA (liking those other parents already!). The kit will be delivered to the school and includes student supplies for the year along with classroom contributions such as hand soap and a box of tissues. And each kit sold raises $20 for the PTA to do more good work.
- When I caught on that my son wears the same things over and over again—and that his core wardrobe does not include that salmon-colored hipster shirt I know would look so cute on him—I stopped buying as many items of clothing. A wise friend also says that getting her children dressed in the morning is easier when there are fewer choices. So my challenge with back to school clothes shopping is this: resist the temptation to shop at the Gap and see if I can satisfy my own image needs (they are my needs) with trips to a children’s consignment store and Goodwill, where I have made many donations but never shopped.
What suggestions do you have for keeping back-to-school time simple?