How I reduced my kids’ wardrobes AND my stress…

My kids have too many clothes.  Waaaaaay too many.  Especially my nine year old daughter.  When my older kids (now 15 and 18) were younger, we were pretty broke and I couldn’t buy a lot of nice clothes for them.  My mom loved to buy them clothes and that was nice, but it was never what I liked or would have chosen.  So with my younger two kiddos, I enjoyed that we were much better off and that I was able to buy them clothes and shoes without a lot of concern about budgets or limits.

With our recent income drop (35% less) I’ve been more aware of our newly rekindled committment to be frugal in all areas of our spending.  I realized that my biggest spending issue with the kids’ clothing was the quantity, not the quality.  This thought (the thought that they have way too much) actually came to me not when I was concerned about money but when I was sitting in my room literally surrounded by clean clothes up to my shoulders.  I have been dreading organizing and putting away the kids’ clean clothes since there are about six baskets’ full and really, nowhere to put it all.  I decided that I would go through all their clothes and pare it all down to a pre-determined, manageable amount.  I also realized that it’s easier to think I need to buy them more clothing when what they have is a disorganized mess and not properly put away (aka, living in laundry baskets all over my room).

How many clothes do young kids really need?  Another interesting question, as I realized my kids really only regularly use about 25% of their clothes.  They seem to re-wear the same items over and over and most of it just sits unless they run out of that favorite 25%.  My daughter dances and she has way more dance outfits than she could ever wear.  She is at the studio twice a week for two hours each time and on one of those days, she has to wear a black leo with black dance shorts…so all those adorable dance outfits I’ve bought since she got serious about dance can only be worn in a rotatation, once a week.  She probably doesn’t need more than 2-3 of them.  I won’t admit how many she has.

I’m a numbers person, so I wanted to create guidelines based on numbers.  I knew it’d be easier to stick with getting rid of all the excess if I had firm guidelines that were logical to me.  So I set it up like this:

three dressy outfits (appropriate for choir rehearsals or going out to dinner)

three lounge outfits (the things they like to lounge around or sleep in)

for the boy, four jeans and four denim shorts

for the girl, four skorts and four leggings

for each about 10 t-shirts/tops (these get changed more often)

two bathing suits each (when they have one, it gets worn out and faded too early in summer)

two sweatshirts each

one jacket

The actual numbers will vary from family to family, based on individual needs but my overall goal was to reduce quantity to an amount that easily fits in the space we have and also can be washed and put away in a couple loads.

Mission accomplished.



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