Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gettin' Schooled at the Thrift Store

Ready your yearbook poses!

It's almost that time of year again, the time when elementary students and high schoolers must retire their lazy summer schedules and hit the books for the new school year. And if you're a struggling college student, or a parent of a younger student, you know how costly the back-to-school season can be. 

By now, I'd imagine a large percentage of students and parents have already blitzed through the aisles of their local super stores, to stock up on composition books, folders, pens, pencils, folders, binders and more. And even with coupon clipping and shopping the sales, those carts full of school supplies add up quick. And now that the first day of school is right around the corner, many parents don't have time to get picky when it comes to the prices. 

But if you're a last minute back-to-school shopper, you may be in luck!

Now. Right now. This is the time for back to school thrift shopping. Inquiring minds may wonder, "What kind of supplies can I really find at the thrift store?"

Well, I'm glad you asked. 

Go thrifting? I loooove homework!

While students and parents may not be a fan of procrastinating when it comes to the dreaded back-to-school shopping, this may be the one instance where shopping later may be better for your wallet. I was strolling the aisles of Goodwill just the other day and the shelves were literally overflowing with brand new packs of loose paper, multi-subject notebooks, three-ring binders, organizers, index cards and more.

And it makes so much sense. Retailers tend to push inventory ahead of the season. By now, your WalMarts and your Targets are hoping to unload Halloween...and even Christmas merchandise to the shelves. They expect their stock of school supplies to be low this close to the start of school. And if they are way above expected inventory, they may very well unload their wares to local thrift stores. At least this seems to be the case at a few Goodwill thrift stores in my area. 

But even without the retail donations, chances of finding perfectly usable folders, binders and desk supplies are fairly high. I've even spotted a number of lunch kits and backpacks in my travels. 

Just say NO to Cliff's Notes...and drugs.

I remember doing my fair share of book reports in my day, from elementary school to high school. Even in college, those bibliography pages of research papers had to have some depth. Make reading an adventure for your kids by having them choose a few age-approppriate books. Who knows? Maybe those pesky book reports won't wait 'til just before the due date if the kids go on a treasure hunt for the right read.

Extra credit for those who donate the books back to the thrift when they're done!

Dorm Room Decor For Cheap

Bring a little 'You' to your University. 
99 cent sign. Worth every penny on finals week.
Make your dorm feel like Home Sweet Vintage Home.

College students moving into the dorm room will have a whole new life ahead of them. But that doesn't mean they should settle for the bland, barely furnished offerings of the standard dorm room. Spruce up the place with some secondhand decor that speaks to you. Small wall hangs, picture frames, knick-knacks...these can be a really cheap way to make your dorm room a little more livable. 

For thrifty and creative DIY tips to make thrifted wares work for the dorm room, check out this special  savings report that recently aired on ABC news. 

In the meantime, get on out to the thrift and see what secondhand scholastic wares you can find for less. Remember Trapper Keepers? I even spotted one of those bad boys the other day. Need a desk lamp for your dorm room? Done! 

Ah, but how about the back-to-school wardrobe? Well, thrifters, that's for another post in the very near future. So stay tuned. And get ready to hit those thrifted books!


Sir Thrift-A-Lot said...

Definitely remember Trapper Keepers! I think I may have one... somewhere.

Thrift stores here this past Monday all had 50% off sales on clothing, linens & I don't know, I don't tend to go. It's too crazy. They were "Back to School" sales.

I have to agree, I've noticed a lot more unopened stacks of lined paper around, but you can always pick these up year round at the dollar store, too.

Jackie Jardine said...

That's true, Sir. The Dollar Store seems to have a lot in the way of school supplies. But ya cant beat a pack of loose leaf paper for a dime from Goodwill!

I love sales at the thrift...and I hate them for that exact reason, the crowds. I don't mind a little thrifty competition. But for some reason, the thrifts in my area lately have been jam-packed with some exceptionally rude people. I swear. I don't know how the employees deal with it!

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

Anonymous said...

Seattle area Goodwills sell notebook paper and spiral notebooks for 99 cents. I don't know why anyone would pay that if they were paying attention to the back to school sales at the retail stores. Other school supplied can be had for good prices though. I just bought NIP school scissors for 25 cents. I like the white 3-ring binders with clear plastic that you can dress up any way you want.

Jackie Jardine said...

That's a shame about the up-pricing of the Goodwill in your area, Frugal. I find that to be the case sometimes with household items. The school supplies at the thrifts in my area have been cheap, I think due to the volume of donations. Just imagine all of those shelves dedicated to just notebooks and paper.

And decorating those plain, white binders sounds like a great idea to me! Back in the day, I used to cover mine in Lisa Frank stickers of unicorns and rainbows. Ha ha.

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

Sir Thrift-A-Lot said...

The paper I seen at Goodwill was $1.51!

& last week I saw a killer pitcher at Goodwill at 8:50PM at night & they were opening at 9AM the next day for their weekly 50% sale... I had to get blood taken the day just around the corner, so I thought, what the heck, I'll get up & be there for around 9:10ish. I get there & I'll be damned if the line wasn't already 15 people deep, 80 people seemed to be piled into the store & people seemed to be buying things.. just to buy. I couldn't find the pitcher, so like a creep I was peaking into peoples buggies & one lady had emptied just about everything from two shelves of one end cap into her buggy (I had remember some of the items from the night & week before. I go in everyday).

Just can't deal. Don't have the patience. Sometimes I go a little crazy & yell at the other shoppers.

Jackie Jardine said...

Ah so you're the legendary thrifter I've been hearing about...the one who trolls the aisles yelling profanities at the other shoppers, lol.

I've been tempted to lose it some days, too. It's funny. I used to only get that feeling of complete annoyance at the mall. But now thrift stores are getting a bit crowded and I'm feeling claustrophobic there too. Yikes!

And over a buck for paper at the thrift!? Ridiculous.

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!