“Back to school”: Three words guaranteed to make moms break into a cold sweat. Before you need to breathe into a paper bag, know that a new year needn’t stress you out nor break the bank.
Before you hit the stores, take inventory. Tip pencil cases into an old shoebox and sift through last year’s notebooks. Stash away any special projects your child was proud of; recycle the rest. Simply tear out used pages or pop in some fresh lined paper, throw a blank label over notebook subject lines, and you’re good to go for another grade.
Wait until the last minute to make sure feet and legs haven’t grown another inch over the summer! Raid the closet for fall clothes that still fit and collect a bag of too-small items for donating. Be sure to accept hand-me-downs from friends with older children, and when it comes to fashion, don’t play into trends. If your child cares about clothes, allow them to pick out a first day outfit (then leave them at home while you do the rest of the shopping!). Many retail stores run regular deals, perfect for picking up basics, even uniform pants. Shoes more than anything suffer greatly over the year, so buy two pairs of sturdy running shoes in the next size up, and call it a day.
Take a List
You won’t be able to reuse everything, so once you’ve taken stock, write a list of must-haves and stick to it. Instead of speciality retailers, consider hitting unusual suspects like box stores and supermarkets. Even discount/dollar stores carry all the essentials for cheap.
Labels are worth every penny. Invest in a combo pack for lunch dishes and clothes that won’t come off in the washer. For siblings, consider labels with just their last name or blanks that you can customize, then get them to do the labelling. While name-tags may seem pricey, it will cost you more if that brand new pair or shoes or cool hat doesn’t make it home.
Take it Frozen
Every year we all have grand visions of Instagram-worthy lunches to make for the year ahead. But a few days in, the reality hits: my kid will only eat a couple types of sandwiches in rotation. He likes deli meats, and there’s some great flavour options at the deli counter to keep things from getting dull. Buy on sale and freeze, but remember to thaw a fresh pack on Sunday night.
Deep breaths, parents! A new school year is exciting, so let’s do this!
Written by: Julie Green, YMC.ca