How I’ve Saved 1000’s of {Dollars} on Garments for My Children

Sporting some beautiful hand-me-down attire for Easter 2022

I began a clothing-focused mini-series over the summer time whereby I managed to commit two ENTIRE posts to the subject of simply me and my clothes alone:

Riveting as that was, a lot of you requested I write concerning the clothes of the different folks in my home. In response, as we speak I deliver you a deep dive into the closets of my youngsters, Kidwoods, age 7 and Littlewoods, age 4.

The Hand-Me-Down Practice Continues

We’ve been on the used/hand-me-down practice since earlier than the ladies had been born and haven’t disembarked but. I get the majority of their clothes (and footwear, toys, books, puzzles, and many others) from three sources:

1) Storage gross sales.

Whats up and welcome to my backyard. Let me present you which ones vegetation we are able to stomp on.

The overwhelming majority of their clothes (and every little thing else) comes from yard gross sales as a result of it’s usually one-stop buying AND they’ve the perfect costs. If I occur upon the yard sale of a household with women barely older than mine, I usually purchase 90% of what they’re promoting. The garments, toys, books, footwear–if the ages and kinds/tastes line up, I replenish!

Some great benefits of doing this are many-fold:

  • I get an enormous cut price. The extra you purchase, the extra inclined sellers are to give you a bulk low cost. $20 for a pile of garments, toys, books, boots and coats has occurred to me many occasions.
  • I don’t must go to each single storage sale on earth. Whereas I get pleasure from yard sale-ing, I don’t do it each weekend. Level the truth is, storage gross sales solely occur in the summertime/fall right here and I don’t have to go all season lengthy.
  • I get an almost full wardrobe in no matter dimension(s) they’re promoting. I get the snowpants and the coat, the boots and the sweaters, and many others. Generally it even matches! Successful.

2) Hand-me-downs.

Second-hand ski gear!

I gladly and gratefully settle for all hand-me-downs supplied to me. I’ve a number of native associates with older daughters who graciously move alongside their outdated garments to me. Yay!

3) Thrift shops.

That is final as a result of it represents the smallest share of their clothes. I like thrift shops, however too usually, the youngsters’ garments are overpriced. Every particular person merchandise has its personal worth and, whereas $10 for a costume for me seems like a fantastic cut price, $10 for a costume for my four-year-old that’ll solely match her for one season doesn’t really feel like a deal. Therefore, these purchases are few and much between.

The “System”

As you could now be questioning: sure, my system of garments acquisition for the youngsters is haphazard at finest. At a storage sale I’d purchase snow pants for Kidwoods to put on subsequent winter concurrently a swimsuit for Littlewoods to put on that week. Since I’m on the mercy of no matter I discover/is handed right down to me, I noticed early on that I’d want an ironclad System-Of-Group. It’s not really ironclad and it’s undoubtedly unfit of being a Correct Noun, however it works. Largely. Right here’s my secret:

I’ve plastic tubs labeled by dimension and season stacked on cabinets in our basement.

That’s it. Not magic, however very practical. When the youngsters had been youthful, I had every little thing grouped by dimension, corresponding to: “3-6 months,” “9 months” and many others, however as they bought older, the addition of seasonal subdivision has been useful.

At first of winter and once more in the beginning of summer time, I take away all of the clothes from their rooms and divide it into classes:

  1. Final 12 months’s hand-me-down Halloween costumes

    Give away:

    • That is something Littlewoods has outgrown, something Kidwoods detests and something now we have an excessive amount of of. For instance, Littlewoods–for unknown causes–had 20 t-shirts in final summer time’s wardrobe, so I donated half of them.
  2. Memento field:
    • That is something Littlewoods has outgrown that I can’t bear to half with. Up to now, I’ve only one field of saved clothes and I’m making an attempt very onerous to maintain this at a minimal.
    • Since my children are each women and solely 27 months aside, they’ve worn all the identical clothes so I get two for the value of 1 once I save an merchandise!
  3. Would possibly match subsequent 12 months:
    • Something that’s huge/roomy/looks as if it’ll match once more goes into an appropriately labeled field, i.e. “Winter, Dimension 4T, Would possibly Match Littlewoods Once more Subsequent 12 months”
  4. Kidwoods outgrew:
    • Something she’s outgrown goes into one other field labeled as such in order that I don’t get confused, i.e. “Summer season, Sizes 5-6, Kidwoods Outgrew”

Sisters in second-hand attire

This can be a bit laborious, however I solely do it twice a 12 months (fall and spring) and it’s the one method I do know to maintain monitor of what now we have for every child for every season.

As I obtain hand-me-downs, and rating storage sale finds all year long, I kind them into the appropriately labeled bins. Thus, these snow pants I purchased for Kidwoods to make use of subsequent winter are already within the “Winter, Dimension 8” field.

This technique additionally allows me to hand-up garments to associates whose children want a particular merchandise in a specific dimension. And sure, they do joke about going buying in my basement and sure, I deserve it. BUT, I like having the ability to pull out an entire wardrobe for every child for each season for an absolute fraction of the price of shopping for new. We’ve saved hundreds of {dollars}–simply–by not shopping for our children new garments for the final seven years and we are going to proceed to reap these financial savings for so long as attainable.

What About Child Preferences?

This was not a difficulty when the youngsters had been infants and, truthfully, I typically miss dressing them in lovely outfits with matching hair bows. They don’t let me do this anymore. Now, each children choose their very own outfits and costume themselves daily, which is ok by me and leads to some very distinctive trend decisions. I encourage them to put on no matter makes them snug and completely satisfied.

That is the arm-twisting sister pose… They not let me costume them like this with the matching bows 🙁

The one “rule” now we have is that you need to be sure to’re heat sufficient within the wintertime. At 4 years outdated, Littlewoods doesn’t have many opinions on her clothes and is content material to pick from no matter I put in her drawers. All of her issues are within the lowest two dresser drawers in order that she will choose every little thing herself. Her mantra at age two was, “I DO SELF!!!” and that also rings true for her.

Kidwoods at seven years outdated, alternatively, has very particular notions about what she’d prefer to put on. Up till final 12 months, I simply put issues in her drawers for every season (as I do now for Littlewoods) and he or she’d select what to put on daily. However, she let me know final 12 months that she categorically didn’t like a number of the garments I’d put in there for her. And so started the routine of letting Kidwoods choose her personal wardrobe from the hand-me-down field.

Now, our course of is that I deliver up all of the bins labeled together with her dimension vary for a given season and he or she goes by them choosing the garments she needs to have in her room. I collect up the cast-offs and re-box most of them for Littlewoods and donate something that doesn’t appear value holding. Then, Kidwoods places away her personal garments, attire herself daily and likewise places away her clear laundry every week. I did occur to look in her drawers the opposite day and found that her opinion of “folding” maybe differs from mine, however, it’s her garments, her room, her chore. To date, she’s been capable of finding garments she likes out of the hand-me-down bins for each season.

Why We Purchase Used

Christmas 2018: rocking these hand-me-downs!

Our youngsters know that their garments are used and I’ve defined our philosophy to them for why we get clothes (and nearly every little thing else) second-hand:

1) It prices SO MUCH LESS to purchase stuff used.

Therefore, it’s a scenario the place we’re in a position to get the identical product for a less expensive worth. Different examples on this frugality class: MVNOs for mobile phone service, generic manufacturers, and many others. Explaining the worth of cash is a central tenet in our early monetary literacy schooling with the ladies and, as Kidwoods earns, saves and outlets together with her personal cash, she very a lot will get why it’s preferable to purchase a pair of used footwear for $2 versus a brand new pair for $40. I clarify to her that, simply as she needs to save lots of and discover offers for her cash, daddy and I need to do the identical with our cash.

2) It’s MUCH MORE environmentally-friendly.

Thrift retailer coat, hand-me-down pants, handmade hat, boots from the city dump’s free desk. Indignant rooster sourced from the coop.

We talk about how taxing it’s on the planet to fabricate, produce, ship and market new garments. We discuss how good it’s to move our outdated garments alongside to different households and the way grateful we’re for the garments which might be handed alongside to us. My women LOVE seeing youthful children in the neighborhood carrying their outdated garments and appear to know the cycle of sharing and handing down issues we not want.

3) It’s extra FUN!

We by no means know precisely what’ll be in every field for the reason that gadgets are added over time and from many alternative sources. We snort over foolish shirts and put wild pants on our heads. There’s a lightness round it as a result of we’re not invested in these materials objects.

4) It places WAY much less strain on me and saves occasions.

I’m not involved with getting them “the perfect” winter gear or “essentially the most stunning” matching Christmas attire. This protects me an amazing period of time. I don’t analysis which snow pants to purchase–I purchase no matter I discover at a yard sale.

We get what we get and, you realize what? Nobody cares. I’ve little or no stress surrounding their garments as a result of I’m not beholden to the endowment impact of contemplating the stuff I personal to be extra helpful than it really is. It’s simply clothes, which additionally permits me to engender an…

5) Straightforward come, straightforward go perspective.

“Straightforward come, straightforward go” in apply

Since I didn’t hunt for, pay high greenback for, and in any other case make investments loads of money and time in these garments, it doesn’t trouble me after they come house from college stained with purple paint. It additionally doesn’t trouble me after they (primarily Kidwoods at this level) refuse to put on a stunning costume that I like, however they demonstrably don’t. I’m certain we’d have arguments over what Kidwoods ought to be carrying if I used to be invested within the contents of her wardrobe.

6) It helps take away the give attention to outward appearances.

I don’t know if that is really true OR if this can maintain up for the tween years (I’m certain it gained’t); BUT up to now, I’ve been in a position to engender a mode of dressing that’s centered on:

  • Consolation
  • Enjoyable
  • Being activity-appropriate:
    • For this I depend upon the Daniel Tiger track, “take into consideration what you’re gonna do and decide the garments which might be best for you!”
    • All hail Daniel Tiger
  • Being weather-appropriate (combined outcomes right here; Kidwoods wore shorts and a t-shirt on Thanksgiving day. It was under freezing… ).

Since these are the weather we emphasize about clothes, we don’t give attention to:

  • How we glance in our garments
  • Whether or not or not we’re modern
  • Something associated to our dimension/physique form

7) They are often fancy anytime they need.

Kidwoods stacking wooden in type

Alongside my “straightforward come, straightforward go” perspective is my “allow them to put on no matter they need” perspective. Each of my women have been recognized to put on ballgowns to high school and I’m not involved if they arrive house stained or ripped (each of which have occurred). I would like them to get pleasure from their garments and play freely with abandon. I don’t need them to limit their exercise or their trend sense as a result of they’re involved about defending a cloth possession.

Generally, my hope is that my children gained’t have deep-seated attachments to materials possessions and I hope that this can be a good strategy to begin. By eradicating a number of the inherent “significance” from their clothes, my hope is that they view them as crucial instruments for all times, however not issues to obsess over, spend tons of cash on, or eat themselves with. Who is aware of if this’ll work. I’ll report again in a couple of years.

Additionally, shockingly, regardless of how onerous they’re on their garments, we throw only a few gadgets away. Most stay to see one other household! Or two!

Does This Imply You Don’t Purchase ANYTHING New?

Nope. As with all issues, I attempt to not be a hardline zealot. Whereas 98% of their garments are sourced used, a small fraction are bought new.

Yeah, these garments are a tad stained now, however nonetheless in rotation!

Right here’s every little thing I purchased new for them within the final 12 months:

  1. Cowgirl boots for Kidwoods as a birthday reward to interchange the pair she’d outgrown (affiliate hyperlink).
  2. Jean jacket for Kidwoods as a birthday reward to interchange the one she’d outgrown (affiliate hyperlink).
  3. These underwear for each women (affiliate hyperlink).
  4. Our matching attire (affiliate hyperlink). Awwww.
  5. These Snowstoppers mittens for each women (affiliate hyperlink). I’ve by no means discovered mittens used, in all probability as a result of all children–mine included–rip them to shreds by dragging their paws over each single rock, twig, piece of bark and sharp object they discover. These are the best possible model for staying on children and holding them heat.
  6. These base layers for ski season.
    • Previously, they’ve worn their common garments below their snow pants, however our elevated ski schedule this winter made me assume I ought to in all probability get them some correct non-cotton base layers.
    • Who am I kidding, none of this occurred to me, my good friend texted me to say that Land’s Finish was having a mammoth sale on these base layers and that I ought to get some for the ladies. She was right and I did.

Two summers in the past I purchased these swimsuits/rash guards for them, which fortunately match once more this previous summer time (affiliate hyperlink).

As you may see, I rely totally on Walmart and Amazon for brand spanking new gadgets since they’re low cost, snug and sturdy. 

When Buying Used: Focus On Depreciation

The used snow gear in query

A number of years in the past I wrote about the worth of specializing in depreciation when shopping for second-hand, which has solely turn out to be extra related as my children have gotten older and new garments in larger sizes are dearer. I used the instance of snow gear in that put up, which remains to be essentially the most apt illustration of my level.

Right here’s the maths:

Price for a New Set of Winter Gear for One Child: $175.49


Price for a Used Set of Winter Gear for One Child: $13

Littlewoods’ character in a single picture

I reference these particular manufacturers and sizes as a result of I occur to have bought these particular manufacturers and sizes from storage gross sales. Right here’s what I paid:

  • USED Land’s Finish Little Children Waterproof Snow Bibs (dimension 4T): $5
  • USED Land’s Finish Little Children Squall Waterproof Winter Parka (dimension small/4T): $3
  • USED Kamik Children’ Snow Boots (dimension toddler 11): $5

Whole saved by shopping for used: $162.49

I prefer to get every little thing used that I presumably can, however, if the considered doing that overwhelms you, contemplate specializing in sourcing used for under the most important ticket gadgets, corresponding to winter gear.

The Revolving Door of Donations

The Toddler Ennui

One other side of my “straightforward come, straightforward go” method is that I donate all of the clothes my women have outgrown. I don’t really feel the necessity to try to promote it as a result of it was free or low cost for me within the first place. So, I hand it right down to associates and donate the remaining to the thrift retailer. Once more, since I don’t have an attachment to the method of clothes procurement, I’m not obsessive about the place the garments find yourself. I don’t have to recoup my prices, I don’t have to have pristine attire go to the “proper” household, I don’t must be acknowledged for my good style, and many others. I simply want to maneuver stuff they’ve outgrown out of the home.

After they had been youthful and altering sizes nonstop, I saved bins on the flooring of their closets wherein I’d drop something they outgrew. Now, I determine outgrown stuff once I do the twice-a-year seasonal swap-out. That is additionally my likelihood to donate any duplicates/triplicates now we have, as within the case of Littlewoods and the 20 t-shirts of the identical dimension.

Along with my love of decluttering, it’s essential to me to donate their garments whereas they will nonetheless be utilized by another person. Garments don’t final perpetually and if I held onto them for, say, my attainable some-day future grandchildren, the elastic would put on out, the kinds can be abominable and the materials can be scratchy. I see much more worth in donating stuff now in order that different folks can get use out of it whereas it’s nonetheless comparatively “new.”


Kidwoods climbing a tree in our woods

In conclusion, I get virtually all of my children’ clothes second-hand as a result of it:

  • Saves cash
  • Saves time
  • Reduces stress
  • Engages my children within the strategy of studying about cash
  • Enfranchises my children to pick their very own clothes and costume themselves
  • Is method higher for the atmosphere
  • Retains stuff out of landfills
  • Is extra enjoyable
  • Decreases the give attention to appearances
  • Permits me to freely donate clothes after they’ve outgrown it

What questions do you may have about buying used? How do you supply your children’ clothes?

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