The advertisements have been going for awhile now – “Save on Back to School Shopping NOW.”  The summer had barely turned the corner and we are again inundated with messaging of back to school clothes and supplies for the start of another academic year. The incentives to save are plentiful. Next is a tax free week of shopping promotions too!  

We are a consumer culture, but constantly in consumption mode is wreaking havoc on our planet and our wallets.  The best sale is the one you don’t participate in, the best finds are in our very homes at no cost to us or the planet.

In conjunction with our guest blog on how to “Break up with Fast Fashion”, we want to share tips and reminders of ways to simplify and save during the back to school craze:

  1. Start with an inventory of what you already have.  What do your kids have leftover from last school year that’s in good working order?  
    • Is a new backpack and lunchbox necessary or can a sibling pass theirs down? Can shoes last another season?
    • Could you consider ONE new back to school outfit instead of an entire wardrobe if most clothes still fit?
    • Take a look at all the school supplies that came home unused or barely used. 
  2. From your inventory, make a list of items you know you NEED to refresh for the coming year. 
  3. Before going out and buying brand new – consider second hand (see below). 
  4. If it’s time to buy brand new, consider the following;
    • Buy products with companies that have sustainable business practices (see our blog) or replace single-use items with reusable ones.  We know kids grow fast and spending extra money on items can seem impractical, but consider this option for items that will last many years: backpacks, lunchboxes, reusable water bottles and containers for lunches.  

Every summer, Wilton Go Green President, Tammy Thornton, has her two boys go through her version of a “fashion show.” For one 30 minute period each boy is thrown in and out of each item in their closet and dresser to see what fits and what doesn’t.  Each item then goes into one of three piles 1) Regifting to the younger cousins or other, 2) Donating to the Textile bin (see below) 3) Back into the closet.  The process doesn’t take a lot of time and it helps them decide what they really need. Plus, savings start at home before we head to the store.

What do I do with unwanted clothes, shoes and more? 

  • For clothing and footwear that are in good condition but just don’t fit, consider giving them away on Buy Nothing FB groups or donating them to a local charity.  In Wilton, you can donate or consign items to The Turnover Shop which in turn returns its profits back into our community.  
  • Clothes or textiles that are tattered or broken, should be placed in one of many textile recycling bins around Wilton.  For Bay State Textile bins (located at Wilton Congregational Church, Miller-Driscoll, Cider Mill and Wilton High School) check out their list of Acceptable Items which includes clothing, footwear, textiles ,accessories and linens click HERE.  Wilton Transfer Station and Trackside Teen Center both host a textile bin from USAgain. View their list HERE.  

Buying Second Hand, Upcycled, Consignment

Whatever term you want to use these days, all of the above work with the idea of trying to receive or purchase clothes that were once worn by someone else.  Some of the options we saw in our earlier blog were: 

  • Buy Nothing or Tag Sale FB pages 
  • The Turnover Shop in Wilton
  • Loop de Loop Kids and Maternity Consignment shop in Wilton 
  • ThredUP
  • DePop
  • Poshmark

However you decide to recycle and reuse your way to planning for the upcoming school year, the planet will thank you!

Photo credit: Grace Lanning

By Comments off August 11, 2022