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Simplifying Kids' Clothes

Back story: About twice a year, my Mom and I head to the Christian Ministries here and buy the kids' seasonal clothes. It's only a $1 per item there. I also don't have to worry about those clothes, making sure the kids don't get them dirty, etc. Those $1 clothes are for playing and living, they don't have to be perfect.


It's a long day when we go. We have to go through rows of kids' clothes, find everything that is Eowyn's or Gideon's or Esmond's size, and then the big kids have to try on everything. It's hot and sticky and exhausting. But worth it because we've gotten most of their clothes for the next 6 months for less than one outfit from the store. We do also buy new things for church or for birthday gifts, but these are their day-to-day clothes.

In the past, we've just bought everything that we liked and that fit. Because it's only $1! It won't break the bank.

Well, my kids' floor looks like this:



Awful, isn't it? Mortifying actually. I have been progressively purging my house for the past, oh 4 or 5 years. YEARS. I keep thinking I'm getting it all out, but I keep finding more stuff. I need space around me, places to put things, and peace. The kids' closet/toy room is chaotic. Even though I have purged toys every year, it's still chaotic. And I realized as I looked at the floor we can't actually see, that maybe my kids' have too many clothes.

Ya think?

So when I realized that, I decided that the next time I went to Christian Ministries, I would not buy everything that fits and that we liked. I would instead, limit the kids' to about 1 week's worth of outfits. We (are supposed to) do laundry every day, so a week's worth is enough for us.

The tricky part then was deciding what items we needed to try to find, and how many. I took a rough inventory of each kids' wardrobe and just spit out some numbers. Gideon was easy. He already has several t-shirts, so I limited him to 2 more t-shirts, 2 dress shirts, and 3 nice shorts. He already has plenty of play shorts. Esmond needed everything, so I said 5 t-shirts, 2 dress shirts, 2 play shorts, and 2 nice shorts. Eowyn was allowed to get 2 dresses, 2 skirts, 2 shorts, and 5 shirts.


There is one more thing I considered. I wanted to make sure the clothes matched. When you buy everything, you're bound to find several things that match when you get home. But when you're buying only a limited number of things, it's nice to make sure that everything has something to go with.


So at the store, we worked our way through the rows of clothes, looking for things we loved and that would fit. Eowyn picked out her skirts and shorts first, and then when those definitely fit, she found shirts to match them. Gideon went the opposite way and picked out the shirts first. It took a little extra thought, and we weren't able to find everything on the list (like another dress for Eowyn, or nice shorts for Esmond) but it was so worth it.


I don't know why I didn't think about this before. I simplified my clothes, why not theirs? I want it to be easy for them to put away their clothes and easy to find outfits that match. Because obviously when the drawers or the hampers are so full there's no room, they just throw their clothes on the floor. And that's not ok.


11 comments

  1. It's true that you don't need that many kids' clothes. If you do, the newly-washed ones go on top of the others in the drawer when you do laundry and they're the only ones that get worn, anyway.

    P.S: I love that there are Legos mixed in with the clothes all over your kids' floors.

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    1. Thanks Jenny, you're right!

      PS Legos are mixed with everything in my house. They are everywhere. Next post will be how to sell all the Legos.

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  2. My little guy is only one but I'm already struggling to keep his wardrobe simple! I think what you pointed out of making sure the items match makes a lot of sense. That gives you more outfit options to mix up a small wardrobe. Thanks for sharing on Thank Goodness it's Monday!

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    1. It's so hard when they are little because there are so many cute outfits, and everyone wants to give the cute little outfits. Because they are so cute! Thanks Heather!

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  3. OH my gosh! I need to do this! That picture looks just like my house right now. Ugh! The clothes situation gets out of control! Thanks!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one! Although I may be the only one displaying it on the internet for everyone to see.

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  4. Great post! All our clothing is pretty much second hand too except for an occasional special occasion item. There is a lot less stress on the farm when you know the items costed a dollar and seeing them coated in mud isn't so depressing :) Thank you for sharing this downsizing and frugal concept on the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week. I will be pinning this :)

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  5. I am also good at finding the clearance clothing...it's only a buck or two. Well, the money adds up and the clothing adds to mess & clutter. Great post!

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  6. We've struggled with this too. When you have too many clothes, they don't wear them and just make a mess getting to the 5 things they LOVE. I wrote a post with a printable checklist of what we try to keep as inventory for our kids simple wardrobes (http://www.walkinginhighcotton.net/2012/08/5-days-of-organizing-back-to-school-simple-wardrobes/) but I still find that it takes constant maintenance. We're in the middle of doing a spring cleaning purge. First everything that doesn't fit, then we winnow through even the stuff that DOES fit to get to reasonable amount. I'll keep extras in an under-the-bed box for the boys because they can DESTROY clothes pretty quickly. {smile}

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  7. This is great, I usually go to the op-shop (second hand store) every few months to find clothes for the children. It is hard to find stuff for my 9 year old daughter but easier for my 7 year old son, although you really have to look hard to not get clothing with heaps of logos on them. Thank you for sharing this great concept at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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  8. Wow, a $1 a piece. I also shop for nice second hand clothes for my kids that is around that price range. I also think my kids have more clothes than they need, but purging is really hard, it is really hard deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Thank you for sharing this at TGI Saturdays.

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