It always amazes me every year just how much my kids have grown! The downside to that is just how quickly they outgrow their clothes. Here are a few things I do to get the most out of their clothes.
Sort clothes every Spring and Fall
Every Spring and Fall we take a day to spend with each kid sorting their clothes. I make my kids try on everything in their closets and drawers (at least everything they haven’t worn recently). This is a big job, but it is so worth it! We organize closets and drawers as we sort. This helps me know what I still need to buy for each kid. For instance, in the Spring I need to know what shorts still fit and if we need to buy more.
- Start with one type of clothing. We usually start with pants because they are the hardest to put on/off. I make a pile of pants on their bed for them to try on.
- Make a pile to keep and one to donate. I usually fold the keepers while I’m waiting for them to try more things on. Once they’ve finished pants, I give them a pile of shorts, then shirts, jammies, dresses, swimsuits, shoes, etc. We go through it all!
- Plan on a good 2-3 hours. I make them try anything on that I’m not sure will fit. Sometimes they grow wider and sometimes they grow taller. If your kids are little, you get to decide what to keep.
- Make a list as you go of things you’ll need to buy.
- Be careful buying school clothes too soon. One year, I bought my daughter all new pants in the Summer for school. The first time she wore them they were floods because she had grown 3 inches! I had to make them all into shorts and buy her new pants.
- As they get older, they don’t grow as much! My oldest daughter has stopped growing so we don’t have to go through as many clothes. But I still ask her to go through her things and tell me what clothes she needs.
- Use drawer organizers to separate smaller items.
- Go through your “Too Big bins”. See if they have grown into any of those clothes yet.
We received a lot of hand-me-downs from family and friends when my kids were little. There are definite advantages to being one of the younger kids! Getting clothes for free really helped us when our funds were tight. A few tips when you get hand-me-down clothes…
- You don’t have to keep everything that is given to you. Do not feel obligated to save anything! If you like it, keep it. If not, donate it to another friend or family that might use it or take it to the thrift store.
- Go through the clothes right away. Check for stains or holes. Get rid of any clothes that are worn looking or damaged.
- Make a pile of things that might fit now (they will have to try on) things that might fit in the future, and a donate pile. Have the kids try them on as soon as possible.
- When they were little, I could pick what I liked. But as my kids have gottne older, they need to go through the clothes. If they don’t like something or don’t think they would wear it, don’t save it. I’ve found that no matter how cute something is, if my kid doesn’t like it, it will sit in their closet and never get worn. Don’t waste the space.
- Keep a bin of “too big clothes” for each kid. Then if the clothes are too big, you have a place to put them. If it fits now, it goes in their hamper.
Thrift Store/Consignment shopping
Let’s face it. Kids are expensive! I like to cut costs wherever possible. Shopping second hand has been a mega-money saver for me. I try to go once a month to different thrift stores. I take my list and focus on those things that we need. You can find amazing deals if you are willing to get dirty and search for the “diamond in the rough”. I have found a lot of great deals on some beautiful clothes but it does take some looking. Try to shop on sale days. Some stores will let you donate items to receive a discount. Consignment stores will take your clothes for a small amount of money. I used to put that money toward other clothes and toys. I have found lots of new items. Make sure to wash everything you get at the thrift store before you put it away!
With little clothes, wash everything new before you put it in your closet. I learned this the hard way after I had baby clothes shrink after one wash and my daughter only got to wear them once. I’d recommend that before the baby comes, wash all of the clothes in a gentle detergent and sort by size in the closet. This helped me a ton! You’ll have the next size right there, organized and ready to go.
My kids usually only wear each outfit once during the week, so they need at least 7 of everything…pants, socks, shirts, etc. This way I only have to do laundry one day a week. You decide how dirty your kids are and how many times they can wear something, and how often you want to do laundry. For me, 7 of each item x 5 of us=a full day of laundry once a week.
Give sorting clothes a try this Spring! One crazy sorting day, will make your life so much easier in the future. Let your kids help sort their clothes. Your kids will have organized drawers and closets where they like the clothes and know that everything fits them! It has made all the difference for us!