How many clothes do a toddler and grade schooler really need? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 08-09-2010, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am overwhelmed by the amount of stuff and clothes the kids have. Have made good headway on things like toys and books. Really want to cut back on clothes and store them more neatly. Does anyone have some kind of guidelines as to how much/what they need (a "camp" type list would be great, lol)?

My other issue is storage for them. Ideally I'd love to use something like a sweater bag for 7 complete outfits but we don't have much closet space (2 small ones for 4 people). Right now I have matched up outfits stacked in their shared dresser, but the drawers are deep, the stacks topple and the drawers get messy. Ideas on how to start and how to keep it all looking organized?

I was thinking

8 prs underwear and socks for older DC
2 pr jeans
3 school dresses and 2 fancy/church
5 pr shorts/skorts
8 t shirts
1 hoodie
1 rain coat
1 pr rain boots
1 pr sneakers
1 pr sandals
1 pr dress shoes for church
3 pr pjs
winter coat and boots and snow pants and mittens and hat

more underwear for just potty trained toddler

I don't want to go too bare bones but I'd love to have stuff actually get worn and I'd love for laundry to be cut down. How does everyone track clothes for kids that are actually worn? This is all so new to me, come from a long line of shoppers and non-purgers.

Thanks for any advice. I'd be so excited to get this under control before school starts. Would also love for kids to learn good habits about stuff and their space and time.

With "extras" when is it worth it to try to sell vs. donate? To consign any of it I'd have to wait until spring at this point. So ready to live a less is more life, you all inspire me!
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#2 of 21 Old 08-09-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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#3 of 21 Old 08-09-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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How often do you do laundry? If you're going to a laundromat once a week, then you need 10 outfits per child. If you're doing laundry daily, you need 3 outfits per child. Twice a week, and 5 outfits per child is good. And even if you're doing laundry daily, a child in school may need at least 5 school outfits so she doesn't get teased for "always wearing the same thing all the time."

I count on two pairs of underwear per day (change undies when getting on pajamas and again in the morning when getting dressed.) You need at least one extra outfit per person, in case you get a little behind on laundry, or somebody vomits or spills something all over themselves on laundry day.

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#4 of 21 Old 08-09-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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And even if you're doing laundry daily, a child in school may need at least 5 school outfits so she doesn't get teased for "always wearing the same thing all the time."
I don't have any kids in school yet, but I remember my gradeschool days with horror! My careprovider was very clean, very organized and kids pay attention. We didn't get many school outfits.

I can't wait to read more suggestions, though! My dp and I already had a psuedo-argument about how many clothes is too many clothes for our unborn!

"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bank balance smaller, home happier, clothes dirty, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for." ~A.U.
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#5 of 21 Old 08-09-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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I go about this process very differently. I just have my DD choose her favorite outfits that fit now and will fit soon and aim for having enough to wear for any given two week period. Everything must fit easily in the given space! (We purchase much more thoughtfully than when DD was a baby, but accept all gifts -- some are hits and some are misses.)

We re-wear clothes (two uses for many items) and change panties and socks daily. She is in school, so one pair of bottoms might have 2-3 different tops that look good with it. She'll wear the bottoms twice every week, but trade off the tops.

I do laundry daily, but only one load. By the time all the laundry is clean, it is effectively the same as doing laundry once a week. The two-week guideline is because I don't want to be forced to do laundry every single day no matter what. Life happens and things get behind once in awhile. Less stress is my goal in simplicity. We live in a small house, so space helps keep things to a minimum as well.

As for your deep drawers and stacks, here is what I did. We used DD's deep drawers for the out of season clothing and the shallow drawers for in season clothing. Her closet is tiny, so we added some hooks...two rows, one low for her and one high for us. She can almost reach the higher set now (age 9).

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#6 of 21 Old 08-09-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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I'm still working on paring down my 1 & 2.5 year old children's clothes so can't really give advice there but I have lots of experience with giving them away. I used to sell them at a local consignment store but it was quite a pain for how little money I got for them. I had to drop them off in the morning and pick up anything they wouldn't take later in the day. I now freecycle all the clothes I purge and it is so easy. I post it and it's usually gone the same day. Also I don't even have to meet the people or arrange a pickup time since I just leave it out on my porch for them. Another alternative is dropping the clothes off at a charity store, of course.
I find that it just feels so good to see things leaving my house, and it builds momentum for me to keep purging, so it's worth not making money off the items. I do sell on kijiji anything that I consider worth my time, like a snowboard, pool cue, cloth diapers, etc. But even then it depends on my state of mind at the time... always considering what is less stressful for me and how much I need the money.
Have fun!!
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#7 of 21 Old 08-09-2010, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here - we live in an apartment and the washer is in the basement. We probably do laundry once per week or so. I think 10 days worth of clothes with an extra or two is a great starting goal. That helps.

I like the idea of having each pick favorites and once we get to 12 for school, I'll pack the rest away for a bit. If no one misses them, off they will go.

Unfortunately all of their dresser drawers are deep, think I'm going to experiment with rolling outfits. They can help me put them together. Having the underwear and socks and clothes all together seems to help. I also wonder if there is something I could put in the drawer, like a divider, that would serve the same purpose as a weekly hanging organizer. Hmmmm...

Totally inspired, off to get started. We live in the city and I think I'll just put stuff in a box at the curb unless it is in super condition. I usually sort by size and label the bags. I may try consigning one more time but it never seems to amount to much $.
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#8 of 21 Old 08-09-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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WHere do you live and what are the seasons like?

I wouldn't sell unless they are brand names (Gap, Children's Place, Hanna Andersson) good enough to sell EUC on e-bay, unless you really, really need the money so that it's worth the money.

I personally save my old clothes not only for another kid, but also, I plan to give mine away to another parent that may put as much effort into dressing their kid for less as I do.

Also... sweaters? I see one hoodie. We wear one sweater a day in winter.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#9 of 21 Old 08-09-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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drawer organizing: the container store has nice ones that are white plastic dividers. Yes, I like the idea of rolling clothes, and also 'stacking' them front to back instead of on top of each other. If you have drawers that are too big (I do in my kitchen) I roll up a towel and stick it in the back space that never gets seen.

I agree with 12 outfits, a couple maybe doing double duty for church? Also, there are dress shoes for kids that look nice enough but feel like tennis shoes/play shoes that can also be worn for school. I also make sure that several tops go with several bottoms (esp for the toddler) so if there is a need to change pants, there is another pair to go with the current shirt. I learned that the hard way.

I'm glad you made this list! I have been shopping for my toddler DD, wondering if I had enough clothes. It feels like too many, but she probably has 10 outfits. DD also has 'go to daycare/get stains clothes and normal clothes for when she is with us. I also noticed that DD wears her clothes much longer than DS (his boy clothes were in great condition after he was done wearing them) and if the quality is not good they look terrible after a couple of months, her clothes fit over a couple of seasons, a dress one summer is a shirt next summer.

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#10 of 21 Old 08-10-2010, 01:40 AM
 
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Rolling clothes is a wonderful solution for many situations. You may even find that turning them upright works well in the deep drawers (rolled end facing up/down vs. front/back).

Your thread inspired me to assist DD in going through all her clothes today. The drawers all close, but they were a wreck inside! I emptied one drawer at a time and had her try on nearly everything she owns today. Then, I helped her rearrange the categories so they fit the spaces better. We gave her deep drawer dresser to grandpa for her bedroom there, which doubles as a guest room. She only has four shallow drawers now plus one cabinet with two shelves. We use the cabinet for out-of-season clothes and extra blankets. I rolled everything, except the panties and socks. She had been stacking her panties and socks on top of each other, which ends up in a mess. I showed her (again) how to stack them and then turn the stack sideways (90 degrees) and put it in the drawer so you can see every pair. She had forgotten how much easier that is. In any case, I thought she might need a few pieces of clothing before school starts in September, but this "exercise" today showed us both that she is covered for a while now. The only thing she needs are a pair of sturdy sandals she can wear to school (able to jog around the track and do daily exercises in them) since it is still rather warm here well into November usually. The only sandals she has now are not school-appropriate, but we cannot find what we need locally thus far (three shopping trips and a dozen stores).

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#11 of 21 Old 08-10-2010, 05:25 AM
 
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That would probably be enough summer stuff for us but I would defiantly want more cool weather wear. For one thing we tend to get wet more and things take longer to dry. I would want several more pairs of jeans.

10 days worth of outfits sounds good to me, though I also have a couple of extra sets to keep in the car and in DSs preschool bag. We still have the occasional accident to deal with.

DD tends to have more clothes than DS since she has more variety. Sometimes she's having a dress or skirt phase. Sometimes trousers or shorts. I also find it harder to keep tops and bottoms that will go with more than one or two outfits.
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#12 of 21 Old 08-10-2010, 08:59 AM
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For my 3.5 year old, who is in half day preschool, I have 10 "school" outfits. Five bottoms, with 10 shirts - two shirts for each bottom. I wash all throughout the week (because I don't have a lot of clothes, personally) but on Sundays I iron 5 outfits for him for the week and hang them in his closet where he can't reach them.

I have two rods in the closet - on the top rod I hang his school clothes. I let him pick his outfit each day, but he can only pick from what is hanging there.

On the bottom rack, I have a couple of pair of play jeans and shorts, and play shirts. I would say we have about 6 shirts and 4 bottoms for weekends and if he needs to change clothes after school.

He only has two drawers in his 5 drawer dresser - he shares with the unborn baby (who has very few clothes, I am so proud!). He has a small 1/2 drawer with his underware and socks - 10 pair of underware and 6 pair of socks. The other drawer has his pajamas. We have 4 pair, two short, two long. They get worn 2 or 3 times before washing. I need to get a drawer divider for that drawer, because 4 pair of pjs don't take up enough room to warrant a drawer alone.

I used to use one of those canvas hanging shelf things with 6 shelves the size of those square baskets. This was when ds and I were in a 1 bedroom apt with only one closet. I put his clothes in there and it only took up about 10 inches of actual closet space.

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#13 of 21 Old 08-11-2010, 05:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnysandiegan View Post
Rolling clothes is a wonderful solution for many situations. You may even find that turning them upright works well in the deep drawers (rolled end facing up/down vs. front/back).

Your thread inspired me to assist DD in going through all her clothes today. The drawers all close, but they were a wreck inside! I emptied one drawer at a time and had her try on nearly everything she owns today. Then, I helped her rearrange the categories so they fit the spaces better. We gave her deep drawer dresser to grandpa for her bedroom there, which doubles as a guest room. She only has four shallow drawers now plus one cabinet with two shelves. We use the cabinet for out-of-season clothes and extra blankets. I rolled everything, except the panties and socks. She had been stacking her panties and socks on top of each other, which ends up in a mess. I showed her (again) how to stack them and then turn the stack sideways (90 degrees) and put it in the drawer so you can see every pair. She had forgotten how much easier that is. In any case, I thought she might need a few pieces of clothing before school starts in September, but this "exercise" today showed us both that she is covered for a while now. The only thing she needs are a pair of sturdy sandals she can wear to school (able to jog around the track and do daily exercises in them) since it is still rather warm here well into November usually. The only sandals she has now are not school-appropriate, but we cannot find what we need locally thus far (three shopping trips and a dozen stores).
Would something like 'Keens' work?

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#14 of 21 Old 08-12-2010, 03:36 AM
 
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We have probably 2 weeks worth of clothing for each girl. I do this so if there is a reason I can't do laundry or it would be a push to do it Im covered for a decent period of time and I don't have to worry about it. Both their clothing fits comfortably in one closet (both the hanging and folded clothes) and I have enough room to add in the clothing for the baby we are having in Feb (whenever I decide to wash his/her clothes which won't be for a REALLY long time, Im a procrastinator!). I do have a TON of extra T-shirts for my oldest since she gets dirty quickly and I don't really want her wandering around with flour/potting soil/wet mud etc and getting the rest of the house dirty. Id rather change her and deal with a little extra laundry than have to clean up the mud/food/whatever from every room of the house.. did I mention she gets DIRTY??

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#15 of 21 Old 08-12-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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Keen's are too wide for my DD. She has a narrow foot, which is rather challenging. She is 9 years old (fashion-conscious) and is between sizes 2 and 3, but can also wear ladies size 4 (correlates to about kids 2.5). Ladies size 4 is actually perfect for her narrow foot, but extremely hard to find. We happened upon one pair of Reefs in Hawaii on vacation and they are the perfect size and comfort and shape, everything. Except they cannot be worn to school.

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#16 of 21 Old 08-12-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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Tevas? Keens are definitely wide--that's why they work so well for DD1.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#17 of 21 Old 08-17-2010, 05:00 AM
 
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Tevas? Keens are definitely wide--that's why they work so well for DD1.
Thats why they work for DS too.....and DS could care less about fashion LOL

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#18 of 21 Old 08-17-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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Yep, I ended reading a bunch of reviews on several shoes sites with DD next to me last week. We found a pair of Tevas that met her criteria and the school's (and the reviews indicated best for narrower feet). I found them on sale at REI online (not carried in stores, though) and ordered them. They should arrive to the store (free shipping) this Friday. If they work, great!!!! They were more expensive than we usually spend, but hopefully her feet are slowing down a bit in growth and they will last longer??? If they don't work, then we return them right there in the store and aren't out any money. And then she'll just have to wear her tennis shoes during the school day and change shoes.

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#19 of 21 Old 08-17-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kittysmama View Post

My other issue is storage for them. Ideally I'd love to use something like a sweater bag for 7 complete outfits !


I think I am going to adopt an approach similar to this

Dd has entirely too much underwear and not enough socks. A bazillion T-shirts, but only 2 prs of jeans that fit at the moment. Her shorts are just about right at 5 prs. As for dresses..I think she has one sundress.

If I were to sit down and plan her wardrobe for us this would be good:

5 pants
5 sweaters
7 t-shirts
12 socks
12 underwears
5 shorts
2 mud pants
2 snow pant
2 winter jackets
3 prs mitts
2 hats
1 scarf
2 shoes
1 rubber boot
(and her riding clothes/boots)

(and I keep a dress shirt and pants in my closet for dressier social occasions)

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#20 of 21 Old 08-19-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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Yep, I ended reading a bunch of reviews on several shoes sites with DD next to me last week. We found a pair of Tevas that met her criteria and the school's (and the reviews indicated best for narrower feet). I found them on sale at REI online (not carried in stores, though) and ordered them. They should arrive to the store (free shipping) this Friday. If they work, great!!!! They were more expensive than we usually spend, but hopefully her feet are slowing down a bit in growth and they will last longer??? If they don't work, then we return them right there in the store and aren't out any money. And then she'll just have to wear her tennis shoes during the school day and change shoes.
Just wanted to follow-up and say the Tevas arrived a day earlier than expected at the REI store (less than 5 miles away) AND THEY FIT!!!! WOO HOO!!!!! This particular sandal (girls Tirra) has a narrow footbed (more so than even the other Tevas in the store) and three adjustable straps. Such a custom fit and rather cute for this type of functional sandal. DD loves the color (lime green) and says they feel good. She said the style will grow on her, but she is happy she has sandals to wear to school for the next few months. I am happy they fit and have extra length (footbed) and the straps are so adjustable. These should make it to next summer, too.

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#21 of 21 Old 08-20-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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Yay! So glad they worked! I have a pair of Tevas that both girls have worn... they've gone through two summers and look practically new. And that's with three months at the ocean.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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