We used to get new backpacks every year until we realized that buying one of quality was worth the investment. Our backpack of choice was JanSport, but have read good things about North Face, LLBean and Dakine. By middle school, especially, the better construction is necessary for heavy use.
In any case, when you find that last year’s backpack is obsolete but serviceable, there are several ways to reuse it within your home:
- Backpacks make great baby/diaper bags for younger siblings.. You can stash a lot of diapers, creams, drinks and snacks in the many pockets.
- Use the pack in the trunk of your car to keep it neat while holding emergency items like: blanket, flares, kitty litter, lock de-icer, etc.
- Stuff your gardening tools inside, so you can grab everything at once to head out into the garden.
- Designate the backpack as the overnight bag and keep it packed with extra toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, pj’s, and change of clothes – ready to grab and not forget a thing.
- Make a backpack the “home” for the best loved stuffed animals. Hang on a hook with faces peeking out. Use this as a good time to purge ratty and unused plush.
If you can’t use the backpack yourself, donate to a thrift store while summer is here so the family who needs one can find it before school starts!
One last option for conservation-minded folk is to donate the backpack to the American Birding Association. This organization’s mission is to “inspire all people to enjoy and protect wild birds.” I love it!