My sister and I went to a Catholic elementary school, so instead of getting new outfits for the school year, we had school uniforms. But we could get a new school bag to start the year!
In those days, we didn’t have backpacks. Instead, we used colorful briefcase-style bags to carry our books and school supplies. That, along with a metal lunch box, was standard gear for the school year.
Today, kids have more options for toting books and school supplies. The briefcase-style school bag is still available, but more kids use backpacks. Some of the backpacks even come with wheels so that instead of carrying heavy books, they can wheel them like a carry along.
But at some point, your child will outgrow their school bag or backpack. Perhaps it has a cartoon theme that your child now finds childish, or it’s no longer big enough. If it’s still in good shape, be sure to pass it along to someone who can use it.
Is there a younger sibling, cousin, or neighbor who could use it? If not, a local homeless shelter or other local charity might accept gently used school supplies. You can also offer it for free via Freecycle or your local Craigslist. I think that a little investigation will offer many options for donating school bags in your area.
But what if the bag is not in great shape? Even it’s had a lot of wear or the straps are broken, there are still options for reusing an old school bag.
You could keep an old backpack in the trunk of your car to store emergency supplies like flairs, a flashlight, a mylar blanket, and a card with emergency phone numbers. Or reuse an old backpack or school bag as a small tool kit for the house. Fill it with hammers, screwdrivers, even pruning shears for the garden, and stash it under the sink or in a utility closet.
One of my favorite reuse ideas for an old backpack is to put old hardcover books inside of it (these can’t be recycled curbside in my area) and use it to add weight to my walking workout. No “weighted vest” needed! And two items that might have gone to a landfill get a new life!
What if your quality leather backpack has a broken strap or zipper and you don’t want to part with the item? A local shoe repair shop can repair those for you. Last year, our shoemaker Auggie repaired a strap on one of my Aunt Connie’s fine leather bags for me. I know that I will get many more years of use from that now!
Something that might be considered “junk” can have so many uses before you send it to a landfill. With a little imagination, we can help this planet bit by bit!
Feature image by Caleb Oquendo from Pexels