Whether your kids are ready or not, the new school year is here. Soon, the carefree days of summer will be a fond memory, and it will be time to get back in the classroom for another year of learning.
But, like with any new season in life, with back-to-school comes all the stuff. New backpacks, new shoes, new binders. If you’re like most of us, you probably haven’t even properly finished purging last year’s art projects, so you are nowhere near prepared for an onslaught of new ones. But fret not, before the kids head back to the classroom, spend a few days discarding all of last year’s bygone treasures. Because there is something so accomplishing and satisfying about being “out with the old and in with the new!”
Before you empty your closets into a donation bin and head to the store for new items, look through what you have first. A major way to save your budget (and the frustration of out-of-stock back-to-school supplies!) is to explore your own supply first.
Here are a few tips to get started.
- Shop your closets for school supplies that are unused or in good enough condition to be reused.
- Wash backpacks and lunch bags. Determine which ones can be reused and which can be donated.
- Make a precise list and only buy what you need. Sure, your kids may want new crayons, but if they already have a bin full of barely-used crayons, they don’t need more regardless of how inexpensive they are!
- Consider buying only what you need right now. Your kids might see cute jeans or great sweatshirts at the store, but, if the weather won’t be cold where you are for several more months, skip buying bulkier items right now. Kids may have a growth spurt between now and winter!
- Buy secondhand. No need to get everything brand new for back to school. Does your child want a cool new backpack with a $50 price tag? Check sites like GoodBuy Gear or consider asking friends with older kids if they have cool backpacks they can pass down.
After you’ve worked with your kids to determine which items stay and which items go, you can take your decluttering to the next level once they are back in the classroom. Stay ahead of clutter this year by setting yourself up for success, that way, preparing for school this time next year will be breeze.
- Create a drop point for kids’ stuff when they get home from school. This spot should be by whatever door they normally walk in and should be free of everything else. Maybe it’s a table or a hall tree. Purge that space so there is nothing there except a spot for backpacks, jackets and shoes. Encourage your kids to always drop their items there at the end of the day so you always know where they are.
- Design a Home Hub in the kitchen or another well-traveled area in your home. Ideally, it would include a chalk calendar and a cork board with plenty of push pins. Every day you should empty your child’s folder and immediately write important dates on the calendar. Tack the corresponding paper on the cork board and then recycle the paper after the event passes.
- Create an “artwork bin,” in which all art projects (or just classroom projects) are tossed when they come home from school. Make a point to go through it at holiday break and spring break, eliminating any projects that aren’t worth saving. At the end of the school year, go through it once more and then place projects to save in a labeled bin in a storage closet or attic.
- Eliminate old toys. As kids grow, their interests change, and the toys that once held their attention no longer will. Time to pass them on. Consider listing them on GoodBuy Gear if they are in good condition with all of their parts. Use the cash you make to buy new-to-you toys from Good Buy Gear that your kids will enjoy.
- Clean up the bookshelves. We love buying books and reading them, but, once each of my girls has read a book, we find little reason to keep it. As my kids grow, so many of the books we once loved are simply no longer used. If your books are in great condition, they can be resold on GoodBuy Gear. If they are well-loved, considering placing them in Little Free Libraries in your area to be discovered by other readers. Your kids may even discover some great new books to read themselves at your local Little Free Library!
- Clear out the garage. Just like kids outgrow shoes and pants, they also outgrow bikes, scooters, helmets and so on. Prepare for colder weather (which can mean more hours outside until the weather turns frigid) by getting rid of all the wheeled toys your kids can’t use any longer. Sell old bikes and scooters on Good Buy Gear or donate them to charity. Then, grab new-to-you bikes from GoodBuy Gear to get ready for the gorgeous weekends that fall usually ushers in.
Not only is decluttering good for your headspace, it's good for the planet. Selling gear can help you save for the things that matter, and by shopping secondhand, parents can provide the best for their kids for less—and that’s a beautiful thing.
Ready to start decluttering? Sign up to sell here.