28 August 2011

Back to School Un-Shopping

Junk mail, advertising, email alerts.  Everyone is telling you that you need to go shopping to stock up for school.

But do you really need everything you think you need?

Kids outgrow stuff, it's true.  But you know what? Last winter's clothes still fit The Offsrping, so that's what he'll wear until the next overnight growth spurt.  (I bought the next size up on sale last spring, so worry not: he won't have to go to school in high-waters until I catch up.)  Last year's backpack and lunchbox are still perfectly functional.

And yes, they need school supplies.  We're lucky: our school has a program where all parents are asked to contribute a fixed fee, and the school buys everything in bulk, so we don't have to go schlepping around Staples in August.

They also need supplies to do homework.  The easiest thing would be to go through The Offspring's room and throw away everything to buy new stuff, rather than sorting through broken crayons and dried-out pens and locating the pencil sharpener and the scissors and the ruler.  But I'm going to spend an hour doing it that way.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to buy a couple new glue sticks, because I know I used one up making a photo album a couple months ago, and it might be time for a big-kid pair of scissors, as he's going into third grade -- but that's probably it.

The Mate and I are also both on academic schedules, which might imply we need back-to-school wardrobes.  But he's a filmmaker, and teaches his classes in jeans.  I go more formal, but I buy clothing that will last for a long time.  I did make one new purchase: a pair of bike-to-work pants from Betabrand with reflective fabric inside the cuffs and back pockets.

Question for the day, then: Will that item actually get used if you buy it and bring it home?  Corollary question: do you already have something at home that will serve the purpose?