Before I had kids, I swore I would have the most styling baby on the block! He or she would always be dressed for success and everyone would comment on his/her adorableness. Well, I will say that Kylie had a larger wardrobe than I as an infant. Being that she was the first grandchild, everyone bought her clothes and being that I was working at the time, I enjoyed a trip or two to the mall with my little diva. Needless to say, I decided to stay home and we had another and then another and well...you know the rest and life got a little more expensive. That being said, I had to learn to cloth my kids for less.
Here are my suggestions...
1. Welcome and enjoy clothes from others. It came as a shock to me to find out that many mom's are leery of seconds. They use excuses such as, "they are out of style" or "my kid will only wear new". Well guess what...that is all a bunch of hogwash if you ask me. Lets be real for a minute. A) Your kids don't really care all that much what they wear (especially the boys). B) They will get them dirty. So why not enjoy clothes from a friend. Fortunate, my best friend and I have had our kids within months of each other. We keep a bin per size of clothes for boys and girls and swap back and forth what we need. It has been a huge help in eliminating the need to buy new clothes.
2. Only keep what you need and share the rest. I don't know about you but I get overwhelmed when I cannot fit anything in my kids dresser. You know, once you have done all the laundry and you realize they have 7 pairs of dress pants/ 10 pairs of jeans/15 shirts/ and 1,000 pairs of underwear and mismatched socks. It makes me scream just thinking about it. So get real and only keep what you need. Realistically we do our kids laundry once a week. That means they only really need 7 pairs of pants/shorts/shirts/socks etc. BUT we also like a little variety...right? So I keep different items...for example (I just cleaned out my sons drawers) 4 pairs of sweat pants 3 pairs of play pants 3 or 4 pairs of jeans and 2 or 3 pairs of dress pants, 7 pairs of PJ's, 10 play shirts, 7 nice shirts, and a few polo's or button down shirts, also 3 sweatshirts and 3 or 4 sweaters. Now I am not saying this is for everyone and it may vary by season but this is more than we really need right. So go sort through your kids drawers and only keep the best of what you have. Donate the rest to someone else who may need it more than you!! By the way...I still am not sure on how many socks and underwear one really needs. We tend to go through quite a few these days...not sure why.
3. Use online swapping sites I have never participating in one, but if you don't have anyone who can pass items down to you, this may be helpful. For example, ThredUP is a site where you pass on some of your old items in exchange for ones in the right size. They send you boxes and you do the rest. There is a small fee for shipping but it beats actually buying clothes.
4. Participate in a clothing drive. Luckly, I am part of a mom's group that LOVES to trade clothes. We meet twice a month and always have a table where people can bring in their old clothes and pick up ones they need. It is awesome. I also know a lot of local organizations will host clothing drives where you can either drop off clothes and/or buy used clothes at an extremely reduced price. Most of these happen in the late spring or late summer so make sure you keep your ears open for one.
5. Shop at second hand stores. Why not? In my town, there is a little second hand store which is pretty particular about what it carries. I have found SO many useful items there over the years. BUT, it is a hit or miss thing. They carry a lot of nice, designer named clothes but maybe not all the ones you were looking for. But remember, don't just look for the kids, look for yourself as well:)
6. SALE RACK! If you do need something particular (like a yellow shirt for your sons team sport) then shop sale racks. You will be surprised. Recently, I was browsing at target and came across a boys spring jacket for $2.00 and totally grabbed it! Cooper needed one and there it was! YEAH. I know a lot of people shop at the end of the season for the next year. That is another way to save money.
6. Pray! Matthew 21:22 says, "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” God knows what we need so why not take it to him. True story, a friend of mine was in need of some mud boots for her son. She asked around and looked everywhere for it. She then talked with her children about asking God to provide for these items (at the time her daughter wanted some footy pj's). They spend some time in prayer over these items and after a few weeks they went to a church rummage sale. While there, they found ONE pair of mud boots in the exact size they needed (and I believe they found the PJ's too). God know! If we bring our request to Him, he will provide. Maybe not with what we have in mind, but he will provide!
Okay so you ask if I buy clothes for my kids...truthfully, very rarely. I am pretty good about only buying what they need. Right now, we are in need of some rain boots for my 6 year old and I am doing some extensive browsing and praying about it right now. This may be an item I need to purchase in the near future and I am okay with that. It is more about living with less so that others can just live!