Clothing a large family can get expensive. Real quick.
I have used a system like this for years, coming up with new ideas,
tweaked them over time and created a streamlined system that works
really well for me.
You don’t have to have a large family to reduce spending in some
important areas however. Years ago, as a single mom, my daughter and
I were able to survive on one income that was partially commission so
it fluctuated from month to month. I learned how to plan and forecast
then so every season was covered, and when the need for a new pair
of snow boots, or backpack arose, I wasn’t wondering how I would
fit it into the budget.
To take control of your clothing system (or lack of) here is the best
way to get going. This is a little time consuming initially, but once you
have it down it’s much easier to manage and will save you time from then on.
Ready to get started?
Take a look at what you currently have.
Grab a notebook that will be easy to keep with you when you are shopping
and a pen. You will want to take some notes and this is the best time to do it.
I like to bring three bins or boxes with me when I attack a dresser or closet
that needs to be brought back under control. Label them store, sell, or donate.
If you will be storing some of the items that are outgrown for hand me downs
for the next child, then set those aside in a specific stack. I will explain later.
Get rid of what they don’t like, and thus won’t wear. What’s beyond repair,
and make a note of anything that they seem to be running low on.
For us it is always pants.
By the time you have finished a dresser or closet you have accomplished three
things. The first is getting rid of anything that is taking up space and is no
longer working. Second, you have probably created some hand me down for
another child, and third, you have made note of what you need.
This part is crucial to saving money when shopping.
Purchase and label storage bins for gender and season.
Now that you have your list growing as you move from dresser to closet,
you probably also have a good size pile of donate. After you have taken
out anything that can be used for another child, create two stacks within
the donate bins. We usually know someone who can use some clothes for
their family. Maybe even their grandchildren for play clothes when they come
to visit. Once you have removed and labeled any bags of clothing that someone
you know can use, you are left with the final donate pile.
Now you have two options. If you utilize online selling, or sell items at a
local consignment shop the items in good condition that are still fashionable
(and acceptable to your local shop if they are selective on brands they accept)
go in a bag to bring in and consign. Whatever they don’t accept can be put together
with the items you were already planning on donating. There are usually a few options
when it’s time to donate clothes to your local charity, food bank, thrift store etc…
Put them in the back of your car of trunk (not the garage!) so you will be
forced to drop them off. Otherwise they will probably get lost in the garage
We keep most of the kids clothes in their dressers so their closets are great for
storing out of season, and grow into clothes. When I receive hand me downs
from friends, they are sorted according to the system above and then stored in
my labeled bins for future use. The outgrown clothes from older siblings also
go into these bins so they are ready for me to fill the dresser as the seasons
change and their current clothes are getting too small.
Selling what you already have.
The boxes and bags of kids clothing, backpacks, shoes, sporting equipment,
toys and books can be making money for you while you sleep. Not a lot, you
won’t probably get rich with this method but here is what I do.
Once I have brought in those items to consign at my local kids consignment
shop, everything that sells under my name goes onto my account. So, each
time I go in to see what they have, or find something I need, I can use the
balance on my account instead of spending money out of my budget.
Simple but fabulous right?
This has been especially helpful as the seasons change, during back to school,
and at Halloween too when the kids all want costumes and I have a $37 credit
just waiting for me.
It’s money that you made by cleaning out those closets and drawers.
And if you bought the clothes on the cheap to begin with, don’t even get me
started. That is like compounding interest to me, your money is making money.
Oh happy day.
Are you ready to dive in and find some extra money, and stuff you don’t need?
Purge a few drawers and closets, in preparation for what I like to think of as
the fun part? (hint, it involves SHOPPING, YAY!)
Next time I am going to share with you how I clothe our family of
five on a small clothing budget. This part is my favorite, I can’t wait.
I love shopping, and using this system I can afford to do it often.
My youngest just wore her cute pink snow pants recently for the first time.
They have been in my Winter bin since last June. The snow hit, and I didn’t
have to spend a dime on winter gloves, boots, or anything.
More on that system coming soon.
Do you have a secret thrifty weapon to save money (or make money) on
The Cottage Market
French Country Cottage
Create Craft Love
Miss Mustard Seed
Design, Dining & Diapers
OPC: The Humble Brag Link Party
Give Me The Goods Monday