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4 Back to School Tips to Buy Only What You Need

September is fast approaching and if you’re a parent, chances are you’ve got a long shopping list that includes kids clothes, school supplies, snacks and accessories. The back to school shopping season can be pretty stressful for any parent, especially if you are trying to be mindful of your overall consumption. To make this chaotic time of year a little easier on your wallet and the planet, try following these 4 tips:


1. Do a back to school audit.
Before you buy anything on your list, consider doing a thorough audit of what you already have in your house. Start by pausing to check in with yourself, notice if you are being influenced by the back to school shopping craze, then take stock. Organize your arts and crafts supplies to see if you really need new pencil crayons and glue sticks. See if your kids still have lots of room in their notebooks from last year, or a secret stash of crayons and markers you thought was lost. Once all that is done, you can be confident that the things on your shopping list are items you genuinely need! 

2. Get organized for lunches ahead of time.
Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with package-free goodness that’s easy to pack for lunch! Some things to keep on hand are hummus and dips, carrot sticks, crackers, trail mix, dried mango and chocolate covered raisins. Send them to school in beeswax wraps or cloth bags. Packing zero-waste lunches can take a little bit more planning, but planning ahead is the best way to avoid last minute vending machine or school cafeteria purchases. 

Check out our Back to School Collection for great low waste container options.


3. Check local thrift stores and facebook groups.
Let’s face it, growing kids need new clothes! The best alternative to fast fashion is to get into thrifting or finding hand-me-downs from cousins and friends. Of course, sometimes a new clothing purchase can’t be avoided, but finding a few things second hand or checking out your local Buy Nothing facebook group can make a difference!


4. Get creative to spruce up what you already have. 
While you may not be feeling the pressure to buy brand new items, your kids might still want to refresh their look! Use this as an opportunity to get creative with stuff they already own. Instead of buying a new backpack, put it in the wash, make any necessary repairs and decorate it with pins, badges, keychains, sequins, stickers and more. You could even look into dyeing it another colour! Same goes for lunch boxes, pencil boxes and binders.


With these tips, you can practice minimal living while being prepared for the busy school year. Making mindful choices about what you choose to buy new, used or not at all is a great way to share zero-waste habits with your kids. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and good luck for the year ahead!

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