Last night, I was at the office supply store along with about every parent and school-age child in our county. Fortunately, I was able to dash in and out in a matter of minutes to get the labels I needed for a project.
Not so much for all those families wandering the aisles.
Each of them had a pre-printed shopping list provided by the teachers, of what they would need to get through the first several months of classes .I listened as kids read off items and the parents dutifully grabbed supplies from shelves and put them into their shopping carts:
Of course, the store was ready and waiting for them. End caps of tissue and paper towels waited for those lists and carts to roll by. And flashbacks to my own “Back-to-School” shopping came flooding back.
I remember blindly going down the aisles of Target, wanting to get all the check marks on the list. Throwing in overpriced tissues and paper towels that were conveniently located in the back-to-school aisle, not even stopping to consider that we had tissues and paper towels from our last Costco run. Buying scissors even though we probably had a dozen pairs tucked away in drawers and desks at home. Buying boxes of fresh crayons instead of going through the craft drawer.
As a recovering clutterer, I remember loving having an excuse to buy all new things because they are “on the list.”
Give Your Kids One Thing That’s Not On The List
But the best thing I can give myself and my kids is not school supplies in brand new shiny boxes. It’s something else: resourcefulness.
Giving your kids a budget for school supplies is teaching resourcefulness — and will help you to save on school supplies!
Having our kids hunt for school supplies in our own homes before heading to Target is teaching resourcefulness. (Even washing backpacks so they look good for this year.) Going through sales flyers with your kids and finding discounts on what you still need is teaching resourcefulness.
What If You Don’t Have Kids In School?
My plan for back to school? See what I have extra (I’ve been known to be an office supply hoarder) and ask my teacher friends what they can use.
Hint: They can always use a box or two of tissues.
I may not have kids in school, but I care deeply that kids in my area have what they need. I would rather it be used in a classroom than taking up room in my office.
Part of being Clutter Free is making sure we are using our resources wisely, and that we can be a resource for others during their time of need.
Join the Clutter Free Academy and conquer your clutter!
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She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.