#1 USE CLOTHING YOU ALREADY HAVE BEFORE BUYING NEW.
Kids don't need a brand new wardrobe every year. If the clothes from last year still fit then they already have a wardrobe. 90% of Malaya's wardrobe are hand-me-downs. Most of her clothes from last year still fit so that is what she is wearing this year. If you aren't lucky enough to have a hand-me-down fairy you may be able to find one if you ask around a bit. There are also always moms looking to sell their gently used clothing in bulk to one buyer. It is less hassle than doing consignment or a yard sale.
#2 BUY SECONDHAND CLOTHING BEFORE BUYING NEW.
We went thrifting together recently and got a few staple pieces for the school year, including True Religion jeans and some sweet bomber jackets. She has way more fun in a thrift store than in a normal store with the thrill of the hunt. She even talked me into buying her a flouncy shirt that was tagged "24 months" because it fit her pretty great actually lol. We just have fun with it. If she grabs way too many things to try on I don't even need to worry because the prices are so low.
#3 USE SUPPLIES YOU ALREADY HAVE BEFORE BUYING NEW.
This applies to office supplies, stationary, backpack, lunch box. Look around your house first to see what you already have. Clean what you can to use again. Invest in quality pieces that will last. I know they can sometimes issue a hefty back to school shopping list. See if there is wiggle room. A kid doesn't need 12 crappy pens if you get 1 or 2 really nice ones that will last. Buy pens with replaceable ink. They sell 100% recycled pencils and even ones that you can plant into a tree when they are done. Mechanical pencils are great too because you can just replace the lead. Teach your kids to take care of their things. If there is intention behind every purchase (which are limited) and each item is discussed, they will understand better the importance to reduce their consumption as well.
#4 BUY SECOND HAND SUPPLIES BEFORE BUYING NEW.
I know from experience that the office supplies at Estate sales and yard sales usually end up untouched, donated or trashed. Stock up on art supplies, printer paper, ink, pencils, pens. Go to any Estate sale and ask about the office supplies. If they aren't displayed, trust me they still have a box of them somewhere. Gently used backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil cases, etc. can all be easily purchased second hand. When buying new, again, invest in quality. Aluminum binders will last 10 times as long as the typical plastic covered cardboard ones. A canvas backpack will last years longer than a cheap frilly one from the mall. Also consider waste. A cardboard-bound notebook is better than a spiral notebook with metal that will need to be trashed. They sell notebooks with recycled paper and compostable binding as well.
#5 USE ONLY REUSABLE ITEMS FOR SCHOOL LUNCHES.
Use a lunch box instead of a paper bag. Invest in a nice, leak proof canteen for juice instead of buying the pouches. Use tupperwear or silicone bags for snacks and sandwiches instead of plastic bags. Our tupperwear consists of plastic food containers I wash and reuse. Don't buy single use snack items. Buy the large size products and divide them up into containers. Try to limit the amount of food you buy in plastic. I know it is hard! The large size item is almost always less plastic than what you see with individually portioned snacks/drinks/etc.
💞💞I hope you guys like my tips and will be able to use them with your kids (or for yourself) for back to school this year! It is a process getting them used to this way of thinking. We have been programmed to buy everything shiny and new year after year after year. We have been taught that everything is replaceable. This lifestyle takes work, but it is way cheaper, better on the planet and will make a lasting impact on your child! I am going to get Malaya excited about back to school this year with a little art project to jazz up her pencil box from last year. We will also go through her closet and pick out some outfit ideas using what she already has. Then we can see what she is missing and fill in where needed. I'm hoping those special moments together will get her super amped up to start the year off right. We can save the planet if we work together and change our mindset from the ground up!💞💞💞