Buying new back-to-school supplies and clothes each year can add up quickly. If thinking about spending an obscene amount of money on binders and lunchboxes makes you break out into a cold sweat as back-to-school season approaches, never fear: you can save your money and your mind with a little creative recycling of supplies from school years past.
Get Out of a Bind
Binders take a lot of abuse, leading to covers that fall off and edges that wear thin. Don't give up on those binders that have seen better days. Give your kids colorful duct tape and let them go crazy "decorating" their binders, securing their binder spines and edges in the process. Bumper stickers, photos, and patterned tape are also great at hiding all those old scuff marks and worn spots.
New spiral notebooks are frequently on the class supply list, but we all know the whole notebook will never get used. Save yourself some money by pulling out last year's half-used notebooks and ripping out the used pages for a like-new notebook.
If your kids are in elementary school, they'll probably need a new pack of crayons. Rummage through your crayon collection and pull out single black, red, yellow, orange, green, violet, brown and blue crayons. Put the rescued crayons in a pencil case, and your little ones are set.
Pack it Up
Backpacks take a sound beating, but many can be rejuvenated with a good washing. Wipe backpacks down, remove everything from inside them, and run them through the washing machine on delicate. Cover holes or tears with fun patches, and let your kids decorate their backpacks with fabric paint for a brand-new look.
Whether you save yourself $10 or $100 by reusing last year's school supplies, recycling classroom materials can be fun when you bring the kids in on the project and add a little crafty creativity.