5 things I’m NOT buying for back to school

by Katie Virk

Your child starting school is a big deal and your excitement / anxiety might make you want to rush out and buy everything they could possibly need, just in case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE – shops will remain open AFTER the kids have started school, so it’s fine to wait and see what they actually NEED and buy it in week one or two of term. Lots of schools have multiple items on the uniform list that no one actually uses. Many a parent has bought plimsolls / daps only to be told by an upset child that e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e else was wearing trainers for PE, not plimsolls. A wait and see approach can often pay off.

Here are 5 school items that you can easily miss to save time, money and the environment.

1. Stationery

Lots of primary schools in the UK provide everything children need in terms of pens, pencils, erasers etc. (It’s easier for staff than having to sort out multiple ‘Miss, she took my rubber’ arguments.) So no need to stock up on this season’s must have pencil case each year.

2. Backpack / book bag

We’ve been using the same trusty backpack for a couple of years now. I bought a fairly neutral design rather than something themed to his current favourite TV program, this means he’s happy to use it year after year. I’ve recently sewn up a small hole so we’re good to go for another year of getting kicked and dragged around the playground.

Starting school


3. Logo school uniform

Our school is happy for kids to wear plain sweatshirts or cardigans in school colours rather than ones with the school logo on. This means I can sell / pass them on much more easily when they’re outgrown as I’m not limited to only one specific school. Plus my son is happy to wear the plain navy hoodies outside of school too since they’re not easily identifiable as uniform – multipurpose bonus!

4. Personalised items

It seems you can buy pretty much anything with your child’s name on it these days – water bottle, backpack, pencil case etc. This is lovely but you’ve just cut your re-sale market / pass on-ability down to about 1% of kids who have the same name as your child. When we re-use an item for a second child or pass it on we are reducing the need for brand new items to be manufactured, and so reducing our carbon footprint and landfill waste.

5. New shoes

My kid’s feet don’t seem to have grown, so I’m not going to rush out and buy new shoes just because it’s the start of the new school year. He’ll be wearing his old ones until he grows out of them. I buy sturdy brands and styles so I know they’ll last as long as he needs them.

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