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 season whereby I managed to dedicate two ENTIRE posts to the subject of simply me and my clothes alone:

Riveting as that was, a lot of you requested I write in regards to the clothes of the different folks in my home. In response, at this time I deliver 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 prepare since earlier than the women had been born and haven’t disembarked but. I get the majority of their clothes (and sneakers, toys, books, puzzles, and so forth) from three sources:

1) Storage gross sales.

Howdy and welcome to my backyard. Let me present you which of them vegetation we are able to stomp on.

The overwhelming majority of their clothes (and every thing else) comes from yard gross sales as a result of it’s usually one-stop purchasing AND they’ve the most effective 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, sneakers–if the ages and types/tastes line up, I refill!

Some great benefits of doing this are many-fold:

  • I get a large 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 instances.
  • I don’t need to 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 so forth. Typically it even matches! Profitable.

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 mates with older daughters who graciously go alongside their previous 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 usually, the youngsters’ garments are overpriced. Every particular person merchandise has its personal worth and, whereas $10 for a costume for me seems like an important 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 all the way down to me, I noticed early on that I’d want an ironclad System-Of-Group. It’s not really ironclad and it’s positively 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 useful. When the youngsters had been youthful, I had every thing grouped by dimension, similar to: “3-6 months,” “9 months” and so forth, however as they obtained older, the addition of seasonal subdivision has been useful.

Initially of winter and once more at first 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’ve 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. Memento field:
    • That is something Littlewoods has outgrown that I can’t bear to half with. To this point, I’ve only one field of saved clothes and I’m making an attempt very exhausting 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 worth of 1 after I save an merchandise!
  3. May match subsequent yr:
    • Something that’s large/roomy/looks like it’ll match once more goes into an appropriately labeled field, i.e. “Winter, Measurement 4T, May 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 time, Sizes 5-6, Kidwoods Outgrew”

Sisters in second-hand attire

It is a bit laborious, however I solely do it twice a yr (fall and spring) and it’s the one means I do know to maintain observe of what we’ve 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 allows me to hand-up garments to mates whose children want a particular merchandise in a selected dimension. And sure, they do joke about going purchasing 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 hundreds of {dollars}–simply–by not shopping for our youngsters 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 had been infants and, actually, I typically miss dressing them in cute outfits with matching hair bows. They don’t let me try this anymore. Now, each children choose their very own outfits and costume themselves each day, which is okay by me and leads to some very distinctive trend selections. I encourage them to put on no matter makes them comfy and comfortable.

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

The one “rule” we’ve is that you must be sure you’re heat sufficient within the wintertime. At 4 years previous, Littlewoods doesn’t have many opinions on her clothes and is content material to pick out 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 thing herself. Her mantra at age two was, “I DO SELF!!!” and that also rings true for her.

Kidwoods at seven years previous, alternatively, 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 each day. However, she let me know final yr 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 packing containers labeled along with her dimension vary for a given season and she or he goes by way 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 maintaining. Then, Kidwoods places away her personal garments, attire herself each 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. So far, 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 children know that their garments are used and I’ve defined our philosophy to them for why we get clothes (and nearly every thing else) second-hand:

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

Therefore, it’s a state of affairs 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 so forth. Explaining the worth of cash is a central tenet in our early monetary literacy schooling with the women and, as Kidwoods earns, saves and retailers along 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 avoid wasting 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. Offended hen 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 previous garments alongside to different households and the way grateful we’re for the garments which can be handed alongside to us. My women LOVE seeing youthful children in the neighborhood sporting their previous garments and appear to grasp the cycle of sharing and handing down issues we now not want.

3) It’s extra FUN!

We by no means know precisely what’ll be in every field because the gadgets are added over time and from many various sources. We giggle 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 instances.

I’m not involved with getting them “the most effective” winter gear or “probably 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 understand 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 worthwhile than it really is. It’s simply clothes, which additionally permits me to engender an…

5) Simple come, straightforward go angle.

“Simple come, straightforward go” in apply

Since I didn’t hunt for, pay high greenback for, and in any other case make investments a number of money and time in these garments, it doesn’t hassle me after they come house from college stained with purple paint. It additionally doesn’t hassle me after they (primarily Kidwoods at this level) refuse to put on a beautiful costume 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 deal with outward appearances.

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

  • Consolation
  • Enjoyable
  • Being activity-appropriate:
    • For this I rely on the Daniel Tiger track, “take into consideration what you’re gonna do and decide the garments which can be best for you!”
    • All hail Daniel Tiger
  • Being weather-appropriate (blended 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 deal with:

  • 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 fashion

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 high school and I’m not involved if they arrive house stained or ripped (each of which have occurred). I need 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 fabric possession.

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

Additionally, shockingly, regardless of how exhausting 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 strive 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 thing I purchased new for them within the final yr:

  1. Cowgirl boots for Kidwoods as a birthday reward to switch the pair she’d outgrown (affiliate hyperlink).
  2. Jean jacket for Kidwoods as a birthday reward to switch 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 very best model for staying on children and maintaining them heat.
  6. These base layers for ski season.
    • Prior to now, 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 buddy 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 women. 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 possibly can see, I rely totally on Walmart and Amazon for brand new gadgets since they’re low cost, comfy and sturdy. 

When Procuring Used: Focus On Depreciation

The used snow gear in query

Just a few years in the past I wrote about the worth of specializing in depreciation when shopping for second-hand, which has solely grow 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 continues to be probably the most apt illustration of my level.

Right here’s the mathematics:

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


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

Littlewoods’ character 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 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 thing used that I probably can, however, if the considered doing that overwhelms you, contemplate specializing in sourcing used for less than the most important ticket gadgets, similar to winter gear.

The Revolving Door of Donations

The Toddler Ennui

One other facet 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 all the way down to mates 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 should be acknowledged for my good style, and so forth. I simply want to maneuver stuff they’ve outgrown out of the home.

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

Along with my love of decluttering, it’s necessary to me to donate their garments whereas they’ll nonetheless be utilized by another person. Garments don’t final endlessly and if I held onto them for, say, my doable some-day future grandchildren, the elastic would put on out, the types could be abominable and the materials could 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 means of studying about cash
  • Enfranchises my children to pick out their very own clothes and costume themselves
  • Is means higher for the surroundings
  • Retains stuff out of landfills
  • Is extra enjoyable
  • Decreases the deal with appearances
  • Permits me to freely donate clothes after they’ve outgrown it

What questions do you’ve got about purchasing used? How do you supply your children’ clothes?

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