Downsizing Clothing - Questions (adults + children) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 06-12-2013, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I read about ppl that have only a few items of clothing and would really like to downsize my clothes further as well. But I have two problems that seem to pop up when I'm thinking about doing it:

 

1. I constantly get stains on my clothes. I have a three year old and he somehow manages to "kiss" me/my clothes with his dirty mouth or touch me with dirty hands - mostly food stains.

 

2. The clothes seems to wear out really fast if I only have a few T-shirts in rotation. Which leads me to the question: What's the normal lifespan of a piece of clothing?

 

The same with my son. What is your attitude around stains/play outside in the grass etc. I don't want to hover over him, but I have a really hard time letting him play when he is wearing his "nice" clothes and we happen to stop at a playground. Right now, I just silently say 'good by' to his nice pants when he starts playing on a hard surface on his knees. Do you have a secret stain remover that is not toxic that you can recommend?

 

What is your experience? What do you do? Please enlighten me!

 

Thanks, mamas!

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#2 of 15 Old 06-12-2013, 09:59 AM
 
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I think I fit into this category, but I've never been a clotheshorse, so that may be why. 

 

I tend to have enough clothes in rotation that I can make 5-7 work outfits (I do work FT in a professional setting) for each season, a couple of nice casual outfits for weekends and such, plus jammies and lounging clothes.  I find that clothes generally last me between 2-3 seasons/years, but often I'm tired of them so I do a ruthless purge twice a year (at the end of winter and summer) and give away a good majority of the ones I can't stand to look at anymore.  I find that this way I can purchase things that are a little trendier/cheaper because I know I'm not stuck with them for infinity.  I'm also starting my second pregnancy and DS is 17 months, so the last couple of years have been unpredictable, size-wise (and I get rid of the stuff that's too big/small if I haven't had it on my body in a year, too).

 

As for DS, I sort of do the same.  I try to have enough school/play clothes in his current size so we can get through a week without having to do laundry if I don't have time.  So, again, 5-7 outfits that mix and match - I buy pretty much everything at Carter's on sale with coupons so I don't spend huge amounts of money, plus - he's at school - I don't want to worry too much about him spoiling his clothes.  We do attend church and have events that require nicer clothes, so I keep 2-3 "nicer" outfits, but those come off the minute we hit the door at home.

 

The bonus is that laundry never piles up because there just isn't enough to pile!  AND our drawers and closets are uncluttered to boot.

 

As for stain remover, I know this isn't "natural" but I use Dreft Stain Release spray - it's the one "non-crunchy" laundry item I use because I never had any luck with the natural products and this stuff gets everything out and has since DS was a newborn - from spit-up to poo to grass to tomato sauce, you name it and it gets it out.  I can live with myself for this one.

 

Hope this helps.

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#3 of 15 Old 06-12-2013, 10:52 AM
 
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My husband and I each have a moderate to small sized wardrobe. However, we only bring out about 3 outfits per season and wear only those clothes until the weather changes or we are tired of them for the time being or they are ruined. So we live with a very minimal wardrobe on a daily basis.

 

The benefits to this have been:

 

We do our laundry a few times a week, as soon as one or two small loads has accumulated. We never let dirty clothing sit around, so staining and clutter is less.

 

We tend to really value and notice each and every item that is is current circulation. Instead of putting a soiled shirt in the laundry, we tend to spot wash immediately, knowing that there is only one other shirt available for the next day. Same with mending.

 

We tend to want to wear out our clothing, because it's less attractive to pull out a "new" shirt from backstock than to just get all the life possible from what is already in circulation.

 

We have relaxed standards about what is acceptable. I don't have any problem with a slight stain on clean clothes on a clean person. Same with mended clothing. We don't aspire to anything and don't believe that people should be judged by their clothing.

 

We buy the very best quality clothes we can afford, even if it means getting them slightly used. Silk, linen, wool, and good synthetic blends do not stain as much (and are lower in pollution and water use) than cotton. We don't have much cotton clothing.

 

Although I espouse natural products in every way possible, for stains a spot wash with a small amount of standard laundry powder (without bleach) is a very good treatment.

 

I don't buy light colors and solid colors that show stains quickly.

 

****

 

Since you are a mother of a young child, I expect that the lifespan of your clothing will be much less than mine, since I have an "empty nest." I think that drawing from a backstock would be a good way for you to begin to address the issue.

 

I also feel that children, even young children, can be made very much aware that clothing is an essential and costly resource that needs to be cared for. Your son could learn to change into play clothes when he feels the urge to get active outdoors. I don't see anything wrong with dressing him in playclothes if he is going to a playground, or explaining that if he is going out for lunch in nicer clothing that a playground visit isn't appropriate for a young gentleman out to lunch: play is great and can definitely happen after his luncheon activity is over. This isn't really about the clothing, it's about learning to self-regulate.

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#4 of 15 Old 06-12-2013, 07:19 PM
 
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For the most part my family's clothes last a long time and stay stain free. I don't think I do anything special. Many are hand-me-downs and cheap (Walmart type brands).

I think the trick is the type of clothes. Lots of denim. Stay away from solid white.

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#5 of 15 Old 06-12-2013, 08:10 PM
 
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For myself, I do tend to spend more money for quality items, but they last me FOREVER.   Seriously I have dresses, skirts, sweaters and shirts that are 8 + years old.

 

My T-shirts last for years.  I only wash them when they are truly dirty... maybe twice a month?  

 

For the kids, I buy everything second hand, and even then it gets passed down between my boys.  I don't fret about stains (unless it is really obvious).  If you are trying to downsize kids clothing, I would keep a dress outfit for each (only to be worn for dressy occasions) and then not worry about the rest (as far as wear and tear).  If you shop at thrift stores or consignment, it's much less painful (to the pocketbook) to replace them as needed.

 

Torn pants (knees especially) simply get turned into shorts, torn shirts get cut up into rags, etc.  I don't fret over my kids playing.. and they are pretty hard on their clothes.  I let kids be kids and just comfort myself knowing that it's not really costing me money since many are hand me downs and the others were thrift shop.

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#6 of 15 Old 06-12-2013, 11:44 PM
 
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How do you dry your clothes? We have to use a dryer in winter and I find that shortens the lifetime of everything massively.

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#7 of 15 Old 06-13-2013, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all your input! By reading your responses, I realized I'm expecting too much! My clothes does last more than 3-4 years sometimes. I air-dry all of them as well. I guess, I just have such a hard time finding things that fit that I'm super upset when something nice gets stained and I have to head out again to find something that can replace it.

 

The thing is though, we don't live in the US. Where we are, there aren't any thrift stores (and almost no second hand stores either) that sell inexpensive children's clothes greensad.gif  Oh, how I miss thrift stores!!! I also don't have any hand-me-downs anymore since we moved away and I pretty much have to buy everything new. I don't know what all the wealthy people do with their kids clothes; there are enough here for sure! I need to befriend one with a son slightly bigger than mine winky.gif Rant over redface.gif

 

Anyway, I guess, I just have to encourage my son to change into play clothes. I like the idea of increasing his awareness that clothing cost money and needs to be treated well.

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#8 of 15 Old 06-13-2013, 04:51 AM
 
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I do shop on ebay for some clothes, there seems to be ebay worldwide. Maybe it could be a resource for you.

 

I am also living outside the US for part of the year and there are very few options for buying clothing. This is another reason I have a backstock of clothing, because clothes aren't handy around every corner throughout the world. I think that the US is very spoiled in terms viewing consumer goods as somewhat disposable. This isn't the case for much of the world. I do think that as social justice increases, the glut of cheap consumer goods will decrease and we will return to a more (to me) sane approach to living.

 

Maybe if you find something you like, buy one for now and one for later (in a larger size) for your son. When my daughter was a child, I would buy items that were a good value even if they were too large, saving them for the future. As a PP described, we altered many clothes both for fit and for longevity. I bought and shrunk several good quality used women's wool sweaters in a hot water bath and hot dryer and she wore them most of her elementary and middle school years. They were soft, warm, washed very well, could be discreetly mended, resisted stains, and looked really nice. Just an example of thrifty tactics you can use. It takes effort but for me it's worth it because it saves a lot of money and waste, removes my family from the consumer treadmill, and doesn't contribute to the widespread exploitative labor practices of garment manufacture.

 

Very good question and discussion on this thread!

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#9 of 15 Old 06-13-2013, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just have to share this. Today, I went to the one and only thrift store here that sells children's clothes. And guess what, they had several items that were in good condition for a reasonable price. I bought 2 really nice rain jackets one size up for fall or even winter since they are fleece lined, a couple of sandals/water shoes since he is soooo hard on shoes and they are so so expensive, 1 T-shirt and 1 sweat all a size up for the end of summer or next year depending on how he is going to grow. I've never found so many items there smile.gif   I guess someone must have just unloaded a bunch of stuff.

 

Any idea how to disinfect shoes without chemicals?
 

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#10 of 15 Old 06-13-2013, 09:06 AM
 
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I started wearing aprons at home.  I am so often cooking that most of my clothes were getting oil stains on them that were hard to get completely out.  Wearing an apron has been a huge help!  While I do live in the US, and have easy access to clothing stores and thrift stores, I have a hard time finding clothes that fit so preserving the ones I have are important.

 

Also, the kids have play clothes that they change into when they get home.  These stay on a hook in their room and get re-worn even if they're dirty.  Wash them once a week.  School clothes are for school.

 

I have also learned that each child is different.  My oldest can play hard all day long and rarely gets dirty or has food stains on her clothes.  Even from when she was young.  The youngest seems to attract dirt and stains, no matter how clean her environment.

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#11 of 15 Old 06-13-2013, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by OrmEmbar View Post

I started wearing aprons at home.  I am so often cooking that most of my clothes were getting oil stains on them that were hard to get completely out.  Wearing an apron has been a huge help!  While I do live in the US, and have easy access to clothing stores and thrift stores, I have a hard time finding clothes that fit so preserving the ones I have are important.

 

Also, the kids have play clothes that they change into when they get home.  These stay on a hook in their room and get re-worn even if they're dirty.  Wash them once a week.  School clothes are for school.

 

I have also learned that each child is different.  My oldest can play hard all day long and rarely gets dirty or has food stains on her clothes.  Even from when she was young.  The youngest seems to attract dirt and stains, no matter how clean her environment.

 

My son is just like your youngest. He just came in from playing outside with his dad and has gotten a grass stain on one of the knees - I'm going to google for grass stain removers, but if anybody has any idea please let me know! This just started this summer - I'm changing him 3 times a day - i swear!nut.gif

 

Btw, I wear a apron to cook and eat too - most of the time and each time I forget, I'll get a stain for sure

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#12 of 15 Old 06-14-2013, 01:01 PM
 
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Black t shirts are my favorite. I have several comfy Target tees that cost me like $6 each and I wear them all the time, and the black ones in particular never seem to show stains so they can stay in rotation for a long time. 

 

As far as my 2 year old goes, she doesn't get "nice" clothes, haha. I guess we have a couple of dresses to bust out when we are doing something special, but I don't expect those to last more than a couple of wears. Everything else is just leggings and t shirts, so pretty much every top goes with every bottom. Dark colored pants don't show the inevitable grease stains, and I don't expect her shirts to be stain-free either. If it is too disgusting for her to wear out in public I'll try spray-n-wash, or just toss it out, but I don't spend much on her clothes. 

 

Since you don't live in the US I don't know if they'll ship to you or if it would be worth the cost, but thredup.com has good, used, brand name clothing for significantly cheaper than new (if not quite as cheap as thrift shops)

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#13 of 15 Old 06-23-2013, 06:19 AM
 
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I also agree that we don't really keep nice clothes for the kids... One or two nice outfits per season and that's it. I usually buy twice as many clothes in a season than I have out at once and if one gets mangled I pull the new one out. Barring unexpected growth spurts it works out well. I shop online mostly, stores are expensive and thrift stores not practical in this area.
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#14 of 15 Old 07-02-2013, 07:04 AM
 
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Thanks for starting this discussion, xDaisyx. If it's not too late to answer your question about disinfecting shoes, I don't know if this is what's supposed to be done but I've put shoes in the washer with laundry detergent and in the dryer before.

 

I don't know if Habitat for Humanity is in your country, but if you're looking to give clothes away, I've found that they're a good charity to give clothes away to. Also in the area I live (Florida) and probably other parts of the US too there are clothes and shoes drop-offs at random locations, like in parking lots and at gas stations.

 

Oread, black T-shirts are a good idea for stains but how do you stay cool in them? That wouldn't work here, except maybe on rainy days with the air conditioning on.


May God bless you and His Blessed Mother Mary keep you!  :-)

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#15 of 15 Old 07-04-2013, 06:51 PM
 
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wow! I've tried to get my daughter to have play clothes and school clothes but she wont have any part of it... she especially likes to wear her fancy dresses. We live in the country and there is no way for her to play anywhere without getting completely filthy... luckily my mom buys most of her clothes and loves to shop so they get replaced regularly and we get lots of hand me downs so I dont really worry about the $$ but it still bothers me to have her wear something for 5 seconds and come back with a stain

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