For most families, clothing can big a huge source of stress. Whether it’s affording to buy clothes, finding something modest, or figuring out how to store it, the kid’s closet is a challenge. But, it doesn’t have to be. Let’s embark together on operation kids clothes for a frugal, modest and organized way to manage all of your clothing.
1. Buy it
I don’t pay for kid’s clothes. In fact, I’ve been clothing my kids for FREE for years now. How do I do it? The principal is simple, I don’t pay more for the clothing than I can resell that same clothing for. Here’s what I mean.
I shop bargain places for the clothes we wear. I generally buy only high quality clothing. Sorry Wal-mart. By sticking to high quality clothes, I ensure that there is a pretty good chance that the clothing will make it through my kids and still be in reasonable condition for me to resell it. My price point on most things is $1, but I am willing to splurge and pay $2-3 for coats and dress clothes.
Where to buy—>
Yard Sales: Don’t knock it until you try it. Yes, it takes time, but if you do it right, you will only need about 1 hour on Saturday morning. (And if you are married, it’s likely that the whole family will still be sleeping while you shop.) I get amazing deals at yard sales. In fact, sometimes people want to get rid of their clothes so badly that they give me the entire bin for a very low cost. If you are looking for a very specific size, I would suggest seeking out yard sales that are advertising those sizes. You can even call or email if they have advertised on Craig’s List and ask them what sizes they have. I usually skip this part since I have 4 kids. If it says kid’s clothes in the ad, it’s worth stopping by.
Consignment sales: I used to live in an amazing community with 30 or so churches that had consignment sales each fall and spring. I would go on the half price day and would often kind all kinds of gems! Note, this is not a consignment store. This is a short-term sale that usually runs through the weekend. Try and google the terms “consignment sale” and then your city’s name to see if you have anything local.
Online Sites: Often people will have large lots of clothes on Ebay or list them on Craig’s List. This can be a great way to get super cheap clothes. I’ve also seen Facebook groups cropping up with “local kid’s sales” type groups. These groups can be great for scoring clothes and other items that are local.
Thrift Stores: As a last resort I hit up our local thrift store or Goodwill. Typically, they want more for their clothes than I am willing to pay; however, they do run sales when they have a surplus of clothing. You just have to check back often to hit these deals.
Friends: Don’t forget the power of friends. Perhaps you can start a clothing swap with your friends. If nothing else, ask a friend who is done with a size, if you can buy it from her. Chances are, she will give you a fair price and be happy to have them off of her hands.
Stores: I almost NEVER buy clothing at a traditional store, but it’s worth mentioning two of my favorites when it comes to finding something specific that you need or if you simply can’t find the time to go to the above places I mentioned. If I have to shop in a store, it will be Children’s Place or Kohl’s. Both have outstanding customer perks and coupons. If you shop with their coupons, you can get a lot of clothing for next to nothing. Just be smart about your shopping!
The secret key—>
To keep myself from needing to constantly pop into every thrift store or hit every single garage sale, I stock up. I buy at least two sizes ahead of what my kids are currently wearing. That way I can make sure that I have enough when they get to that size. After a shopping trip, I usually make notes in my phone (I use Evernote) as to what I bought for a particular size. That way I don’t end up with 30 t-shirts and no shorts.
Of course, I also buy clothes in stores when they are on clearance. Yep, that means I buy shorts in the winter. I also buy enough socks for the whole year during back-to-school sales. They are always super cheap then.
Reselling the clothes—>
I prefer the yard sale method for this. It’s just easier than tagging the clothes for a consignment sale (although I’ve done that and I’ve made very good money doing so). You could also put them up in a big lot on Craig’s List or that Facebook group that you found. Someone will come along and snag them up. I sell my stuff for the same price that I paid for it. Yep, everything’s $1. I have no trouble getting rid of it that way and let’s face it, after going through at least 3 kids, it’s probably not worth much more than that anyway!
2. Organize it for now
So now that you have all of these clothes, what are you going to do with them? I’ve found a few very helpful things for making this task less overwhelming. First, I am not picky about how my kids put their clothes away. I do teach them the best way, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter if the pants are on the right side of the drawer. I’d much rather let them put their own clothes away, than fight that kind of battle. That being said, I do have a few ways that I make it easier.
Socks: I buy only white socks. I know, such a boring mom. This way no one spends hours trying to match up socks. All they need to match up is size. And I make that easy too by purchasing a different brand of sock for each family member. That way the socks just need to be sorted by family member and put away. So simple! This one tip has probably saved me 3-4 years of my life. Ha!
Neutral Bottoms: I started this when my kids were little. The idea was so they would pretty much always match. Everything goes with jeans or khakis. Then there is no need for a war over mismatched colors when you are getting ready to go to Aunt Bertha’s house for a nice dinner. Know what I mean? If the bottoms are neutral, any top will probably work!
Throw out the dressers: Seems like a crazy idea, I know. But I much prefer to use boxes or bins for clothing. One bin for shirts. One bin for pants. Done. It really is far easier than trying to organize little tiny drawers that all come unraveled when your child takes his favorite shirt from the bottom of the stack. You can see the bins that I use above. My little guy uses one of those cube units from Target and the cloth bins inside. As kids get older, it can be tricky getting clothes in here, though. The top picture in the collage shows the bigger bins that I use for the big kids. I buy these are clearance at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Wal-mart, Target, etc. Whenever I’m in there, I just peek to see what they have. You could also use bins for the Dollar Store. Labeling is the key!
Family Closet: This is the best idea I know for organizing your family’s clothes. Simply find a space where everyone’s clothes are stored. This simplifies the laundry process and the dirty clothes issue. It also could provide a place to store future sizes, if you have room. You can find a few ideas here or here. A quick search of Pinterest will land you with tons of links for ideas. One day, I will set this up. For now, I simply don’t have a space to do it.
3. Store it for later
This really isn’t that hard. If I am buying in advance, I just throw the clothes in a large bin and label it accordingly. If one kid has worn the size, but another will wear it later, I pack it away in the same manner. I actually store my bins in the garage lined up on the wall. (You can see that in the picture above.) This keeps them accessible when I buy new things. I sometimes put them up in the attic if the time frame is far away. That’s especially helpful with clothes that an older child wear, but the younger won’t wear for 2+ years. You shouldn’t need to access that bin anyway.