Monday, October 3, 2011

Saving Big On School Uniforms with Recycling!

These days, many private and public schools require that their students wear specific uniforms during the school day.  Buying new school clothes for our kids can be expensive, but when they must be particular clothes purchased from a particular store, the cost can skyrocket.

I'm so proud that my frugality enables my son attends a great little private school, Thomas Jefferson Preparatory.  First graders and up are required to wear uniforms purchased from a uniform supply store.  When I began looking into the cost of his uniforms, I came up with an idea that would help fellow parents save money while also helping the school:  The Uniform Recycling Program.


At the end of last term, I sent a message to the parents asking that they bring in their children's uniforms that no longer fit and drop them off in a big Uniform Recycle box I'd placed at the entrance to the school.  Over the summer, I washed the uniforms a couple of times in an Oxyclean cycle and then pressed, hung and labeled them individually for size.  It sounds like a daunting task, but it only took me a few hours total to get this done.  I was pleased to see that many of the uniforms came out looking quite good!

Before the school year began, I sent another message to the parents saying that "extra" school uniforms would be available for purchase at Back To School Night for the price of 2 for $5.00, with all proceeds going to the school.  Fearing that many parents would shy away from buying used uniforms for their kids, I stressed that this extra uniform they purchased could be a great "backup" to keep at school in case their child gets wet, dirty or sick while at school.  "Why pay so much money for a brand new uniform just to keep it in your child's cubby?"  This logic worked and uniforms sold!

Uniforms that were not purchased during Back To School Night were kept at the school for future sales and for those "oops" moments when a child might need a clean pair of pants or shirt.  I plan on continuing this program as I believe that it is a great lesson in frugality and practicality to teach our kids.

School Photo
Of course, I purchased several uniforms for future use and not just as back-ups.  Some came out of the laundry looking so nice that it would be impossible to tell they were used at all! Check out how much I saved:

The Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:

Four TJP School Uniforms (Tops and Bottoms, 2 for $5.00)

Total Fake-It Cost:  $20.00, donated to the school

Compare to New LL Bean School Uniforms ($16.50 per Top, $24.50 per Bottom = $164.00)

Total Fake-It Savings:  $144.00

I'm sure there are other School Uniform Recycling Programs out there!  I'd love to hear your creative ideas on how else to save on uniforms - please leave a comment and share!

Linking Up at Tip Junkie, Today's Creative Blog and these other Great Parties!   


  1. Brilliant! And big ups to you for taking it upon yourself to get a very sensible project going! I'll bet it's made a big difference for a lot of families already, and I'll also bet you'll have a lot more interest--and maybe even some help!--next year. Yay you!!

  2. The school in our town does this also. Good for you. Thanks for linking up to the Frugal Tuesday Tip. Maybe you could add a link back to us or put up our badge next time.

  3. What a great program! I went to a school with uniforms one year--you could wear any white blouse, but you had to buy the official jumper--and my parents managed to buy used uniforms by knowing families with older girls, but I only had 3 so my mom had to do laundry frequently. It would have been so handy to have something like this.

    I came here from Works-for-Me Wednesday, and I see you didn't link back to there either. When you link up to a blog carnival, it's polite to post a link back to it so your readers can check it out and you acknowledge that blog's help in bringing you new readers.

  4. I've added the link up. Sorry, I normally do, but forgot on this post. However, I don't add buttons to my sidebar unless I've been featured.

  5. Excellent solution! Thank you so much for sharing this over on my site. I am posting a link to this over on Facebook as well.

  6. Recycling helps the earth because it could save animals, it could save birds, puppies and all kinds of them. A lot of the animals that recycling helps to save are the ocean animals. There are a lot of animals in the ocean that mistake trash for food. They're eating things that we could be recycling. Check out this video:

  7. I organize the Used Uniform exchange at our school and we've made it very easy... Bring what you can, take what you need, no limits. Parents have been great and we always have a fairly good stock. We store the items at one families home in totes and parents can call her mid year if there's an emergency, otherwise, we have 3-4 uniform exchanges/year and its free to everyone!!

  8. Recycling uniform is very good and unique idea. It will help people to get cheap uniforms as well as good for earth too. #School Blazer


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