Back to School Again? Ideas and savings for moms with a mission

It’s that time again. Back to school.

Even though it’s not quite August, the stores are filling up with notebooks, sharpies, pencils, paper. It’s enough to make you pull out your hair! didn’t summer just start?

An assortment of colored pencils
An assortment of colored pencils (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve frittered away the girls’ camp week, catching up on my own projects, not doing those fantastic organization projects I’d intended for this summer. Here’s how we do things, RecessionHome style. And yes, I shop at Walmart for just about everything. Necessary evil, or great bargains… you decide. No. They didn’t purchase any of my little one’s school supplies. I wish!  Maybe if I ask very nice, and say please. A girl can dream.

Go through old school supplies:

Now, it’s time to first sort through any remaining school supplies from last year, harvest what we can, and spend only where we must. I keep a Sterilite 3 Drawer Narrow File System iconfor each girl, different drawers for different things.

Right now they’re all a mess. Just wait until we’re done. They’ll be perfect. These are entering their 4th year of use. Purchased when my oldest was entering 1st Grade and my youngest, Kindergarten. Had to do SOMETHING to keep their stuff organized! One is pink, the other green. And they are VERY, Very used.

Sterilite 3 Drawer System -- year 4
Sterilite 3 Drawer System — year 4


Top drawer is SUPPOSED to be for pens, pencils, rulers, erasers, sharpies, dry erase markers, and small notepads. Ideally. At the end of the year, they end up looking a jumbled mess. To get it back to the basics, remove all the old worn crayons, chewed up or broken pencils, dried markers, leaving ruler, unused erasers, un-sharpened pencils, etc. ready for use!

Pens, pencils, whatnots — a ruler, is a ruler, is a ruler…

Second drawer is for notebooks, papers, binders, and folders. Again, at year’s end, we have piles of this, torn that, and one or two items that missed my little one’s attention.

Notebooks to get refinished…

Bottom drawer, at the beginning of the school year, is ideally empty. EMPTY. See what it looks like when the year is over? Chock full of papers and projects that I want to either keep, review, or toss. One mama had the idea of making a Shutterfly Photo book of the year’s worth of school projects. That’s one I’m going to do with the kiddos next week. Stay Tuned for that one. I’m going to ignore this one until next week when the girls and I look over a year’s worth of their greatest hits! Ideas of things for this drawer are: Great grades, funny projects, beautiful pictures, and reports.

A whole drawer of their greatest hits from last year…

Revise your School Supply shopping list:



REVISE your back to school shopping list and don’t buy extra of what you already have, unless you just want to stock up. Do you need more construction paper? Just want to add to your paper stock, or get a great deal on glue sticks? Again, look through your list, and trim down things that can be re-purposed, or recycled. Make a new cover for the old 3 ring binder! Another project that will keep on giving.

I’m pinning my shopping list, in hopes that I actually won’t forget anything.



The kids are growing so fast, I can’t hardly keep track. From one laundry session to the next, they leap from size 8s to 10s to 12s! It’s time to go through, yard sale, and even contemplate taking to the local or online consignment store. In our town, we use Baby Junk.  A great resource for snapping pics and selling shoes, clothes, and items for kids and babies alike!

The local GoodWill, and consignment stores are also our kinds of places to shop! With the girls getting bigger daily, it’s tough for thrifty moms to shell out tons for clothes my littlest will return in tatters. Things like back packs? shoes? everyone gets a new pair, a new pack, and new outfits for the first week. But for the long haul? Thrift stores and sale racks are the way to go.


New is the only way to go, here. And new? That’s easy. My daughters love Crocs. One new pair of Crocs each fall, each spring.


And some sparkly boots for winter.

Adorable from Famous Footware…

Between that, running shoes and soccer cleats for the weekend, we’re done and DONE. And the brand new, sparkly organized containers are ready to go…just in time for school.

Start the year off right…

Have your little one answer these questions on the first day of school! grade by grade downloads…

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