I am taking on the challenge to purchase our own school supplies, for 3 children, instead of paying out to the school to pick up the supplies. The main reason is to reduce plastic waste and reuse items we already have. All the items are paid for (optional) before the previous year ends. The teachers collect a sum of money and purchase all the items the students need for the coming year. A parent can choose to purchase and collect these items on their own.
Every year, when school finishes for Summer break, the kids bring home all their school work and the tools they used throughout the year. Tools I am talking about are writing utensils and a case to put them in. An agenda bag, duo-tangs and binders. Ear phones for the computer too. So many of these items can be reused, if they are still in good condition of course!
The money that was owed for the supplies was $45.00 per child this year. $5.00 each is set aside for school agendas. I’m curious to know if I can beat the price! Lol!
July 31, 2019
Time is here to start purchasing school supplies. I have not yet gone through exactly what we already have before buying the rest. That time is here. I was checking out what is available package free tonight at Wal-Mart. I found that the selection by the main doors had a lot of pre packaged supplies. As I walked through the store, I found that there were bins along the aisles with more selection, this time, more package free items. Some rulers for example were wrapped in plastic, while others had no packaging. Glue sticks were all mostly packaged, but I found some that were not. Hilroy Scribblers can certainly be found individually instead of buying a package of 4 wrapped in plastic. I am really excited to start, but I want to compare to Staples as well. I would rather support that store than Wal-Mart to be honest. We rarely shop at Wal-Mart now for the past year and half. I am in once a month maybe for items I can not get elsewhere.
August 2, 2019
Started on Alaina’s supplies. Instead of highlighting the items we do have with a highlighter maker, I am just using a pencil crayon (No ink)! Fixed Alaina’s backpack. Just hand sewed a piece of old sock inside. The page dividers are good for another use, just cleaned this one a bit, came out clean! Her book bag is good too. The Crayola markers she had last year, still have lots of life in them!! Maybe the red is starting, but I don’t mind replacing them when needed! I got two Hilroy scribblers to be reused as well! One had only 3 sheets used, I just cut those out (do not rip as ripping will make the back pages fall out!). The other scribbler was used for 3 lines only in the whole thing! What a waste that could have been!!! Reusing zip lock bags too, handed to us for reuse.
Julia’s list is underway too. Reusing some duotangs I found. I had some zip lock bags handy from family that I stored away. Scissors and I found a pencil box Julia can use. Book bag good to go too!
Daniels started too. Reusing an old pencil box and book bag. Markets are good to go, just need a black and blue. (I will split a new box, the red to Alaina’s as hers is not as fresh and black and blue to Daniel).
August 9, 2019
I Bought these supplies on the 3rd. They are all sorted now into each child’s backpack.
The box on the top right are sticky notes, part of the school supply list. I searched for a kind not wrapped in plastic at Staples. I found one which seemed on the pricey side. It comes in a box, a stack of 12, different colours. The price was$23.99. When I compared the unit price (per stack) to other brands, it was actually a little bit cheaper if I were to buy 12 stacks of another kind. So a stack went to who needed it and the rest will be stored for the following 3-4 years hopefully. If the kids need more than 1 stack, no problem!
The list is much smaller now. I received a tip from a follower on Twitter suggesting to try HMS Office Solutions on Water Street. I totally forgot about that local store! I am looking for 18 black, dry erasers plastic free. Walmart and Staples did not carry them in a box or in bulk amounts that I could find. I called HMS and they ordered me a box of 12, less than $2.00 each! 12 will do for now, if the kids need more, I will get more when the time comes. Great!!
3 Items left on the supply list, will finish it up this weekend and work on the other school items such as water bottles, shoes, backpack, lunch can and sort out the clothing.
August 11, 2019
Picked up the dry erase markers (pre ordered from a local shop). I could not find these plastic free other wise. Pack of 12, needed 18, but I think that number is stretched too far! If need be, I will buy more if and when needed.
School supply shopping is complete.
I figured out the price comparison; would have been cheaper to pay the school. Overshot the budget by just over $8.00. Though, we saved good products from being replaced with new, we saved about $47.00 reusing products. Reduced plastic waste too.
August 11, 3019
I am heavily looking into shopping second hand for most clothing articles. I hit big this past weekend on jeans for the girls! I shopped at Summerside Frenchy’s and Salvation Army. 7 pairs of jeans and 3 tops for less than $18.00.
August 17, 2019
Been very lucky finding second hand clothes for the kids and a little cost!! I highly recommend thrift shopping!
August 24, 2019
More clothes picked up for school. The most frustrating part was buying new socks and underwear. So much waste and money. Buying these was almost as expensive as buying the school supplies. Ridiculous! But, the kids did need these items as many were worn out, not enough supplies or too small. (Kids grow and clothes wear out).
September 5, 2019.
My tablet died for a week, so no pictures of the rest of the items for school. We bought the rest of the supplies needed for clothes and shoes, an amazing family adventure while we were at it! We did buy another fabric lunch can for Julia. I did not put in the time to find a metal one, though I am sure it would not last long with Julia. I can imagine it would get bent and the the cover broken off the hinges. So, fabric bag, we should be able to get 2 years out of it, hoping more!
- Reusing saves on supplies, resources, money and time!
- Reusing teaches others (kids) that new is not necessary. Use what you have.
- It is possible to find supplies package free, you just have to look with patience.
- Ordering or buying in bulk has advantages.
- How do the teachers order the supplies? Probably different from school to school, teacher to teacher.
- Could the government (schools) take control and order the supplies required while reusing supplies already on hand such as pencil boxes, scissors, paper etc . . . It would be a big job (great for summer students?) Taxes pay for the supplies maybe?
Update, November 2019
In Daniel’s class, this pile of supplies was sent back home as not needed! 2 inch binder with 200 sheets of paper, dividers, a bunch of duo tangs and scribblers. Earlier in the year, the graph paper. I will find a use for them and save them of course.
I’m annoyed that these were on the school supply list, but not needed. I guess it’s best to send the school money for school supplies if that feature is available, but oh man, money I could have not spent. Supplies I could have refused. There is a gap at school with attention to reusing some supplies.