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Back to School Planning

in Articles, Uncategorized | by admin | on August 9th, 2010 |
Back to School Planning

It’s getting closer – That time of year you either long for or dread – Back to School time!  Now is the time to start thinking and preparing, so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute and over- or under-buying.  Here are some things to consider:

Gather

First, go through the house and gather up all the supplies you already have. Chances are you have more than you realize. For example, I’ve never known anyone who didn’t have dozens, even hundreds, of pens picked up for free from realtors, banks, car dealers and so on. (Except you, Shannon!) There’s no reason why your child has to take brand new Bics to school, when you have a houseful of pens of all descriptions.  Just make sure they work before you send Junior off to school with a fistful of them!

Sort

Once you have all the supplies gathered, throw out all the things that are broken, used up, or generally unusable by anyone. Next, sort out what your children can (and will) use, and set those things aside. And, while you’re at it, sort out all the things no one in your household is going to use (be honest and realistic) and set them aside to be donated.  You should be left with a pile of usable school/office supplies that will be used, at some point, by people in your house.  Decide on a place to store them and put them there (ideally close to where they will be used).

List

Now compare what you’ve got to the list of what’s needed, and make a list of the things you actually need to go out and buy. Don’t neglect the fact that there are some things that your child will really want to have new, no matter how serviceable last year’s are. There’s something very special about opening that brand new box of crayons…  On the other hand, does she really need new binders, or are last year’s still in good shape?  You may be surprised to find that there’s very little that you need to shop for.

Shop

Caution!!!  The people who make and sell school supplies REALLY want you to buy a whole bunch of stuff!  Right now! Lots and lots!  And they spend zillions of dollars on marketing and advertising to lure you into their stores and seduce you into buying their stuff.  Don’t be drawn in to buying anything you don’t either need or really want, okay? Be strong.  You can do it.

As with most organizing tasks, shopping is the last thing on the to-do list. It doesn’t work very well to shop before you know what you need, right? So now you know what you need, you can head to the store. Remember to take your list, and don’t buy anything that’s not on it!

Reward

If your child rebels at the idea of re-using some of last year’s supplies, you can compromise. After you’ve finished your school supply shopping, you can use some of the money you’ve saved to treat yourselves. Whether it’s an ice cream, a pizza, or agreeing to spend more than you normally would on that all-important back-to-school outfit, find something that makes you all feel good about your new strategies. And don’t forget the feel-good reward of making a donation to a good cause! There will be plenty of agencies collecting new and gently used school supplies for the less fortunate. Involve your children in giving, and they will be much happier about their own situation, whatever that may be.

Good luck!  Check back in in September, when we’ll talk about what to do with all the stuff your children are bringing home from school!

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