My Family

My Family

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pssst....Wanna Know a Secret?

Come closer, and I'll tell you.


Are you sure??

It's a that's guaranteed to....
Wait, I won't guarantee much of anything...
But it's worth reading.

Deep breath...
(No, I'm not pregnant.)
Here goes....

My kids wear second-hand clothes.
In fact, they've been doing it their whole lives.

Can you believe it?
I have bucked the system.
Given up on buying clothing at full price for my children, and tried to corner the market on organizing and "saving" clothing for the next child who may or may not fit into it as their size varies as quickly as (and sometimes quicker than) the seasons change.

Wait, I do have one retail place that I still shop...The Children's Place...and only when they have their clearance sales...and even then I have my limits.
Pants have to be under $10, unless we've had multiple knee and seat injuries to a high number of the owners current pants...and only then can I be FORCED to order something in the $12-15 range.
Shirts are generally $2 or 3, although I will go up to $5 if necessary.
You can almost always find a current coupon for 15% off (try CouponCabin), and if you sign up for Children's Place birthday club, you get a coupon for 20% off the month of your child's birthday. (That works well for us...although we now have 3 July birthdays...and I think you can only sign up 5 kids...(so not a whine there!) ).

Our family has been incredibly blessed by my mother who sends boxes of clothing from her local DI on a periodic basis.
It more than meets our clothing needs, and often we are able to bless others with the bounty that she sends.
In fact most of it is high items that last kid after kid after kid.
If for some reason we need something more, I try Childrens Place (great quality!) and then will make a stop at a second-hand store in Mesa (when or if I am in that area).
It truly has worked for us for the past 12 years.

Up until about 1 year ago, I had no limit on the clothing in my children's drawers.
It was insane trying to keep up with the laundry, let alone put everything away.
Now I have general limits that I try to stay in (give or take one or two).
No more than 7 pairs of pants or shorts.
No more than 7 short or long-sleeved shirts (dependent on the season).
Think about even that...14 x 9 = 126 major laundry items per week...and that's not counting pj's, underwear, socks, towels or sheets.
That's a LOT of laundry.

So, I throw down a challenge.
Clear out your drawers of the "extra" clothing that your children never quite get to, and pass it on.
Find a family that has children near your children's ages, and pass them on, or find a store or mission that takes donations.
Lighten your (literal) load, and clear the space for other things in your home.
See how much you can save by changing how and where you shop.
(Trust me, there is nothing much around here (kids clothing-wise), and if I can find ways to do it, I'd be willing to bet you can do it too!)


Corki Ann said...

you are and always have been the bargain queen since I've known you. I need some lessons. I try, but sometimes I find myself focusing on wants more than needs. We never did get together so you could teach us your budgeting secrets.
Our budget is now tighter than ever, so I need to take this advice-especially because my boys were born in different seasons, and Easton doesn't have anymore hand-me-downs!

Real said...

You know, I don't have the time to go thrift store shopping. I can spend hours going from store to store and not find anything nice or that fits. And our DI costs just about as much as Walmart anyway. So I've basically given up on thrift store shopping.

And my mom sends us oodles of stuff that she picks up from thrift stores, but it's all "play clothes"--nothing really nice. And even if it is high enough quality, there's no guarantee that it's the right size or that the kids will like it enough to wear it (they usually hate it all and refuse).

So for us, the answer has been the opposite. Spend a little money on a few nice, new things. I wish I could get my mom to do the same because I feel bad for all the clothes she gives us that go straight back to DI.

I'm totally with you on limiting the number of clothes, though. And it works for the boys, but I think my girls' clothes have figured out to mate and multiply...

SalGal said...

I wish I could do this, but the clothing that ends up at our Goodwill or Salvation Army stores is just... wretched. At least for boys.

I have been pretty successful at passing down shirts, but pants don't often make the transition to the next kid.

Kristine said...

Real and are both so right on the points you bring up...a lot of it depends on the kind of quality that thrift stores carry...and for some reason the one I have frequented in Mesa (yes, that's 4 1/2 hours away from us) has always had impeccable quality clothing (and their most expensive items (and that means they typically have the brand new tags on them, are $6.98). It's the only second hand store I frequent...and I don't feel like I can give up my time to do yard sales either. I guess I really need to count my blessings that my mom finds such nice quality things too.
Real, could you talk to your mom about the clothing she gives sounds as if she is well-meaning...LOL about the girl's clothing!
Salgal--I was pretty sad when boy #3 for me had very little in the way of hand me downs. The knees on jeans between the years of 4 and 7 just can't be made thick enough.
The shirts are easier to find...that's when the CP clearance comes in really nice. Their jeans are that thick quality that more people used to have. A lot of people I know swear by the Sears "Kidvantage" program that gives you a new pair of jeans if a pair wears out. You just need to live near a Sears to have that work for you...and I don't live near much of anything retail-wise...

Kristine said...

Corki-e-mail me @ pnkjohn at yahoo and I'll give you my ideas on how to find and frequent a good thrift store.

Kari said...

Good idea!!

takemetohawaii said...

I've been thinking I need to do the same thing. My children have an insane amount of clothing. I do only buy on sale, clearance stuff. I need to visit the 2nd hand stores more often!

How did you find my blog? Just curious. :) I'm glad to find yours, too! Looks like we have quite a bit in common.