This week the 4 Moms of Many are talking about organizing, shopping for and managing all those clothes.
Managing clothing is one of my least favorite tasks. It seems that no sooner do all the children have a sufficient number of nice outfits that 7 of them will put holes in the knees of their ‘going-out’ jeans and 3 of them will stain one of their nice shirts. However, since I haven’t been able to convince anyone in my family to simply forego clothing altogether we just keep on doing the best that we can.
Limit the amount of clothing
Here are our basics for each child:
- 2 pairs of pajamas
- 2 Sunday outfits for boys and 3 for girls
- 3 pairs of nice, going out clothes
- 5 pairs of everyday clothes (I’ve learned to designate one of these outfits as a ‘backyard only’ outfit, otherwise all of these get way too worn out.)
Most large families deal with a lot of hand-me-down clothing. Here is my strategy:
- Pull each item out of the hand-me-down bag/box and evaluate it’s condition and style. If it’s not in nice condition or not something your children would wear, place it back into the bag/box to giveaway.
- If it passes the condition/style test, sort it by season, gender and size.
- Now it’s time to find out which of these items of clothing your family needs. Pull out your clothes storage boxes that correspond to the gender, size and season of your ‘new’ hand-me-down clothing. If the box is full, I take a quick look to see if there is anything in the box that I’d like to swap out for something that’s nicer in the handed down clothing. If the box isn’t full, I just put the ‘new’ clothes into it.
Don’t store too much
Since we’ve been blessed with both boys and girls spanning a wide range of sizes, we simply aren’t able or willing to store clothing from the time Amber (15) wears it until Bella (1) is able to wear it. Besides something that is 14 or so years old often won’t be in wearable condition. God has always provided our family with clothing, so rather than store an item for several years before it’s used again, we pass it on to someone who will be able to use it and trust that God would provide more clothing for our family when they are needed.
My rule of thumb is that I keep what a child will be growing into within 1-3 years. If no one will be wearing an outfit in the next three years, we pass it on.
Shop second hand
’cause if you spent lots of money on their clothes, you might not survive stunts like this.
If you follow my system for sorting, storing and limiting clothing, you should have a list of items that your children need. Depending on where you live, yard sales can be the best source for children’s clothing. Here are some guidelines that I use for shopping (and buying) at yard sales.
If yard sales aren’t an option then consignment stores often provide nice clothing at discounted prices.
You may be interested in how I clothed our entire family for years on $25 per month.
Have a plan for laundry
Here are several different laundry systems for large families (click link for a description of each system):
- Three basket laundry system
- Laundry day
- Personal responsibility laundry system
- Room by room laundry system
- Family closet
Now it’s your turn to share your tips for managing clothes. Please play by these rules:
- You must link to a specific relevant post on your blog.
- Your post must include a link to at least one of the 4 Moms blogs.
- The post you link to must be completely family friendly.
If your link is deleted, you probably didn’t follow one of the rules above. Please feel free to add your link again once you have fixed the problem. If you don’t know why your link was deleted, please ask.
Be sure to visit the other 4 Moms of Many to see how they manage all those clothes:
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.