How I’ve Saved Hundreds of {Dollars} on Garments for My Youngsters







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

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

Riveting as that was, various you requested I write concerning the clothes of the different individuals in my home. In response, at present I convey you a deep dive into the closets of my kids, 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 have been born and haven’t disembarked but. I get the majority of their clothes (and sneakers, toys, books, puzzles, and so on) from three sources:

1) Storage gross sales.

Hey and welcome to my backyard. Let me present you which of them crops we will stomp on.

The overwhelming majority of their clothes (and all the things else) comes from yard gross sales as a result of it’s typically one-stop procuring AND they’ve the very best costs. If I occur upon the yard sale of a household with women barely older than mine, I sometimes purchase 90% of what they’re promoting. The garments, toys, books, sneakers–if the ages and kinds/tastes line up, I fill up!

The benefits of doing this are many-fold:

  • I get a large discount. 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 should go to each single storage sale on earth. Whereas I take pleasure in 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 a virtually full wardrobe in no matter measurement(s) they’re promoting. I get the snowpants and the coat, the boots and the sweaters, and so on. Generally it even matches! Successful.

2) Hand-me-downs.

Second-hand ski gear!

I gladly and gratefully settle for all hand-me-downs provided to me. I’ve a number of native associates with older daughters who graciously go alongside their outdated garments to me.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 really like thrift shops, however too typically, the youngsters’ garments are overpriced. Every particular person merchandise has its personal worth and, whereas $10 for a gown for me seems like an incredible discount, $10 for a gown 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 greatest. At a storage sale I would purchase snow pants for Kidwoods to put on subsequent winter similtaneously a swimsuit for Littlewoods to put on that week. Since I’m on the mercy of no matter I discover/is handed all the way down to me, I noticed early on that I’d want an ironclad System-Of-Group. It’s not truly ironclad and it’s positively unfit of being a Correct Noun, however it works. Principally. Right here’s my secret:

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

That’s it. Not magic, however very practical. When the youngsters have been youthful, I had all the things grouped by measurement, corresponding to: “3-6 months,” “9 months” and so on, however as they obtained older, the addition of seasonal subdivision has been useful.

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

  1. Final yr’s hand-me-down Halloween costumes

    Give away:

    • That is something Littlewoods has outgrown, something Kidwoods detests and something we now have an excessive amount of of. For instance, Littlewoods–for unknown causes–had 20 t-shirts in final summer season’s wardrobe, so I donated half of them.
  2. Souvenir field:
    • That is something Littlewoods has outgrown that I can’t bear to half with. To date, I’ve only one field of saved clothes and I’m making an attempt very arduous to maintain this at a minimal.
    • Since my youngsters are each women and solely 27 months aside, they’ve worn all the identical clothes so I get two for the value of 1 after I save an merchandise!
  3. Would possibly match subsequent yr:
    • Something that’s massive/roomy/looks like it’ll match once more goes into an appropriately labeled field, i.e. “Winter, Measurement 4T, Would possibly Match Littlewoods Once more Subsequent Yr”
  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 clothes

This can be a bit laborious, however I solely do it twice a yr (fall and spring) and it’s the one manner I do know to maintain observe of what we now 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 packing containers. Thus, these snow pants I purchased for Kidwoods to make use of subsequent winter are already within the “Winter, Measurement 8” field.

This technique additionally permits me to hand-up garments to associates whose youngsters want a particular merchandise in a selected measurement. And sure, they do joke about going procuring in my basement and sure, I deserve it. BUT, I really like with 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 1000’s of {dollars}–simply–by not shopping for our children new garments for the final seven years and we’ll proceed to reap these financial savings for so long as doable.

What About Child Preferences?

This was not a difficulty when the youngsters have been infants and, truthfully, I generally miss dressing them in lovely outfits with matching hair bows. They don’t let me try this anymore. Now, each youngsters choose their very own outfits and gown themselves day-after-day, which is ok by me and ends in some very distinctive style selections. I encourage them to put on no matter makes them comfy and pleased.

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

The one “rule” we now have is that you must ensure you’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 all the things herself. Her mantra at age two was, “I DO SELF!!!” and that also rings true for her.

Kidwoods at seven years outdated, however, has very particular notions about what she’d prefer to put on. Up till final yr, I simply put issues in her drawers for every season (as I do now for Littlewoods) and she or he’d select what to put on day-after-day. However, she let me know final yr that she categorically didn’t like among 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 convey up all of the packing containers labeled together with her measurement vary for a given season and she or he goes by means of them choosing the garments she desires 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 preserving. Then, Kidwoods places away her personal garments, clothes herself day-after-day and in addition 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 packing containers 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 all the things else) second-hand:

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

Therefore, it’s a scenario the place we’re capable of get the identical product for a less expensive worth. Different examples on this frugality class: MVNOs for cellular phone service, generic manufacturers, and so on. Explaining the worth of cash is a central tenet in our early monetary literacy training with the ladies and, as Kidwoods earns, saves and retailers together with her personal cash, she very a lot will get why it’s preferable to purchase a pair of used sneakers for $2 versus a brand new pair for $40. I clarify to her that, simply as she desires to save lots of and discover offers for her cash, daddy and I wish 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 focus on how taxing it’s on the planet to fabricate, produce, ship and market new garments. We speak about how good it’s to go our outdated garments alongside to different households and the way grateful we’re for the garments which are handed alongside to us. My women LOVE seeing youthful youngsters in the neighborhood sporting their outdated garments and appear to grasp 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 various sources. We snicker 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 very best” winter gear or “probably the most lovely” matching Christmas clothes. 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 already know 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 beneficial than it truly is. It’s simply clothes, which additionally permits me to engender an…

5) Simple come, straightforward go angle.

“Simple come, straightforward go” in follow

Since I didn’t hunt for, pay prime greenback for, and in any other case make investments plenty 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 gown that I really like, however they demonstrably don’t. I’m certain we’d have arguments over what Kidwoods ought to be sporting if I used to be invested within the contents of her wardrobe.

6) It helps take away the concentrate on outward appearances.

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

  • Consolation
  • Enjoyable
  • Being activity-appropriate:
    • For this I depend upon the Daniel Tiger tune, “take into consideration what you’re gonna do and decide the garments which are 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 concentrate on:

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

7) They are often fancy anytime they need.

Kidwoods stacking wooden in type

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

Basically, my hope is that my youngsters gained’t have deep-seated attachments to materials possessions and I hope that this can be a good option to begin. By eradicating among the inherent “significance” from their clothes, my hope is that they view them as vital 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 number of years.

Additionally, shockingly, regardless of how arduous they’re on their garments, we throw only a few gadgets away. Most reside 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 all the things I purchased new for them within the final yr:

  1. Cowgirl boots for Kidwoods as a birthday present to switch the pair she’d outgrown (affiliate hyperlink).
  2. Jean jacket for Kidwoods as a birthday present to switch the one she’d outgrown (affiliate hyperlink).
  3. These underwear for each women (affiliate hyperlink).
  4. Our matching clothes (affiliate hyperlink). Awwww.
  5. These Snowstoppers mittens for each women (affiliate hyperlink). I’ve by no means discovered mittens used, most likely as a result of all youngsters–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 youngsters and preserving them heat.
  6. These base layers for ski season.
    • Prior to now, they’ve worn their common garments beneath their snow pants, however our elevated ski schedule this winter made me suppose I ought to most likely get them some correct non-cotton base layers.
    • Who am I kidding, none of this occurred to me, my pal 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 season (affiliate hyperlink).

As you’ll be able to see, I rely totally on Walmart and Amazon for brand spanking new gadgets since they’re low cost, comfy and sturdy. 

When Buying Used: Focus On Depreciation

The used snow gear in query

A couple of years in the past I wrote about the worth of specializing in depreciation when shopping for second-hand, which has solely change into extra related as my youngsters have gotten older and new garments in larger sizes are costlier. I used the instance of snow gear in that put up, which remains to be probably 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’ persona in a single photograph

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

Complete saved by shopping for used: $162.49

I prefer to get all the things used that I probably 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 facet of my “straightforward come, straightforward go” strategy 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 all the way down to associates and donate the remainder 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 clothes go to the “proper” household, I don’t should be acknowledged for my good style, and so on. I simply want to maneuver stuff they’ve outgrown out of the home.

After they have been youthful and altering sizes nonstop, I stored packing containers on the flooring of their closets wherein I’d drop something they outgrew. Now, I establish outgrown stuff after I do the twice-a-year seasonal swap-out. That is additionally my probability to donate any duplicates/triplicates we now have, as within the case of Littlewoods and the 20 t-shirts of the identical measurement.

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 without end and if I held onto them for, say, my doable some-day future grandchildren, the elastic would put on out, the kinds could be abominable and the materials could be scratchy. I see much more worth in donating stuff now in order that different individuals can get use out of it whereas it’s nonetheless comparatively “new.”


Kidwoods climbing a tree in our woods

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

  • Saves cash
  • Saves time
  • Reduces stress
  • Engages my youngsters within the strategy of studying about cash
  • Enfranchises my youngsters to pick their very own clothes and gown themselves
  • Is manner higher for the surroundings
  • Retains stuff out of landfills
  • Is extra enjoyable
  • Decreases the concentrate on appearances
  • Permits me to freely donate clothes after they’ve outgrown it

What questions do you could have about procuring used? How do you supply your youngsters’ clothes?

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