DIY: Recycle Your School Supplies

I find it totally outrageous that I spent over $150 at Staples for new school supplies last year.  Now that my children are going into 2nd, 4th, and 6th next year, I’ve decided to take things into my own hands.  Up until this point, I have felt intimidated about sending in second-hand supplies, bordering on concern that it somehow would be unacceptable.  My aggravation about spending all of this money over the years has grown, as things like several boxes of gallon bags and baby wipes have been requested. After a recent conversation with a friend, I am going to suggest that our schools need to write on each request list that repurposing supplies in good working order is acceptable.

My mother just retired from teaching, and every year she had a ridiculous surplus of supplies hanging around. In our own home, we have amassed enough colored pencils, regular pencils, and Crayola markers to outfit an entire classroom.

As I write, three plastic pencil boxes are in the dishwasher.  All supplies that came home are being sorted.  Anything broken or really tired is getting tossed.  I’m reviewing the lists for next year, taking time to check off what we already have.  Then, we will sort what we have into bags for each child,  My goal is to cut last year’s bill at least in half.

Here’s some of what we’ve recycled so far:


Getting the kids on board is an important part of this change.  Just because it says “Staples brand glue stick” does not mean other types won’t do the trick.  Pencil still works but has no eraser?  Just add eraser “toppers” to them.  Pink erasers, highlighters, and dry erase markers came home this year barely used so they will be going right back into school “as is”.  I was very impressed and excited to see my kids recognizing the value in reusing items, and look forward to having them help me finish the project before we spend any money beyond what is truly needed.  Also, explain that saving an extra $100 in school supplies this summer could mean instead taking a special family outing.

Happy recycling!









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