As summer winds to a close, it’s time to start thinking about back to school. And whether your kids are back in school already or still have a few weeks left of summer, you will want to make sure you’re prepared for the hustle and bustle of school time. But, back-to-school shopping is more expensive than ever, according to an article by Ayesha Rascoe on NPR.com .
Luckily, though, you don’t have to shop for everything on their school to-buy list. Instead, you can pack their backpacks by repurposing many of the items you already own to create useful items for your littles to use throughout the school year. Here’s how to start.
Between hand-me-downs and last year’s school supplies, your kids likely already have many of the items they need for the school year. Before repurposing anything in your home, decide what your kids need (and will use).
Tupperware is for more than just food storage. For the school year, let your kids decorate some plastic Tupperware that they can use to store school supplies. They can keep this decorated Tupperware in their locker and have quick access to whatever they need—whether it’s extra pencils, erasers, crayons, an extra pair of girl’s socks, or a sticky note with their home phone number.
Decorating your locker is a favorite pastime for many school-aged children. You can help your kids start their decoration collection by gathering photographs of family and friends from your home and looking around for other items they can hang up, too—like fun magnets from family vacations or postcards from friends. This way, every time they open their locker they’ll be reminded of happy times at home (which can be helpful during a day of stressful assignments at school!).
Old pillowcases can easily be used as storage for your child’s gym clothes. The pillowcase can slip right into their personalized backpacks and be easy for them to find their gym clothes when they need them. Plus, they’ll be able to put their dirty gym clothes back in the pillowcase so their dirty clothes won’t just be floating along in their book bag. See? Who said you couldn’t get a second use out of those old Christmas sheets?
If your child is young enough to be in just one classroom all day (like kindergarten or pre-K), the school may allow for them to bring in storage baskets or bins to help organize the items in their cubby. You can reuse a small canvas storage bin from your home to store your child’s necessities in—things like extra crayons, tissues, their favorite stuffed animal—whatever they want! This is a great way to use those canvas storage bins, which, you probably have a few extra of. You can even gift a few to your child’s teacher so they can keep any extra items organized throughout the school year.
Mason jars are really an all-purpose item that can be used for many things. Country Living Magazine stated that these “versatile vessels have quickly evolved from just a simple canning necessity to an essential wedding decoration, easy craft project base, and overall country home staple.” In other words, they’re truly an all-in-one item that can certainly come in use for school repurposing. Gather a few mason jars (and you can even let your littles decorate them!) and use them for pencil storage, pen storage, crayon storage, or whatever your kids need to make them more productive at school. These mason jars can be stored at their locker or at their desk (if they have a permanent desk). You can even keep these Mason jars at home, so your kids have easy access to pens or pencils when working on their homework.
Another option for mason jars? You can use them as reusable water bottles for your children (just make sure they aren’t decorated in this case) to use during their school day. All you have to do is get a top that can accommodate a straw and pick out a fun, reusable straw for the cup.
Beyond being cost-effective and better for the environment, creating school items for your children using repurposed items from home will help them associate school with the comfort of home. Every time they open their locker and see a Tupperware from their kitchen, they’ll be reminded of you! And if their locker is decorated with fun memories, they’ll be able to bring those happy thoughts to their upcoming class.