February 7, 2020


What to Do With Excess Used School Supplies

By Lisa Batten Kunkleman

In preparation for a recent trip to Peru to build houses and work with the people of Chimbote, I was packing clothes, toys, and various donation items. In my house, I made a ridiculous discovery. I found more than two hundred fifty left-over colored pencils I’d somehow hoarded from my four grown kids’ school years. Purchasing a fresh clean box at the beginning of each year meant we accumulated oodles of left over, used, dull pencils. My son Sam and I assembled Ziploc bags filled with a rainbow of those colored pencils, freshly sharpened, along with a personal sharpener, a notepad, ink pens, and lead pencils. By the time we were done, we had made twenty-four bags mostly from supplies that had been lying idle around our house for years. I have a feeling I’m not the only person who has lots of partially used pencils, notebooks, and pens accumulating around the house that could begin a new life with a child who doesn’t have any of those items. I’m just sayin’. Here’s how you can help. Search in your area for organizations that do mission work. You might find them online or through churches, colleges, and other schools.

It feels awfully good to get things out of your house and into the hands of people who might use them.

22 thoughts on “What to Do With Excess Used School Supplies

  1. Lisa,

    This is an amazing post.

    We did something similar on our 2 trips to Nicaragua. We donated school supplies and stuffed animals to a school that had 2 walls made of brick and the other 2 were chain link fence. The kids were so happy and a little taken a back by the 5 strangers from the US that brought them gifts.



    • It is such an eye opening experience no matter how many times we go that there is so much need and gratefulness in the world. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. It’s a great feeling. We try to donate items every two weeks, but sometimes we forget.

  3. What a great idea!!!

  4. What a beautiful idea and heartwarming idea. Giving is always such a gift. It also puts things in perspective and reminds us to practice gratitude for the abundance so many of us have in comparison to others around the world.


  5. This is wonderful, Lisa. Is it wrong that I’m salivating over all of these school supplies? It feels so good to donate to those in need.

    • Hey Jill. I guess that’s why my kids got new boxes of colored pencils and notebooks every year. I think those things were very special to me as a young kid so I enjoyed going out shopping for that first day of school with them. I’m happy that our excess could meet some other people‘s needs. I hope to continue to purge and share. Congratulations on all those books it looks like you’re doing some fabulous writing.

  6. I love the close up shots of the pencils, now ready to be handed on to kids who will love them. I remember having left over crayons everywhere, but they were mostly little stubs.

  7. What a great idea! A twofer–it helps clear the clutter and puts useful supplies into the hands of people who will use and enjoy them. Thanks!

  8. I admit I’m a stationery hoarder, but that is a LOT of colouring pencils! What a great idea too 🙂

  9. I did a similar thing. With 3 sons long outgrown their school supplies, I kept a bucket for grandchildren, then donated the rest (note books, pencils, pens, paper, construction paper etc) to a grateful friend that teaches in a not very affluent area of town.

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