Lets discuss about how to style your kids up while keeping the costs down.
Uniting forces with my new husband and his children several years ago, my little tribe of three became a family of seven. With five kids (four boys – poor Charlotte) in major growth phase and the added complication of shared care, the kids seemed to be growing out of clothing between visits and some items would simply disappear in the trek between homes (yes, there is a black hole for clothing – and there are well dressed kids in there, albeit for odd socks).
Kids clothing was costing us a small fortune. We were forced to get creative with the clothing budget, and five years on, I finally have it nailed. Shopping for my five kids is a fine-tuned system that hums along season to season.
In a nutshell, I purchase the best quality clothing I can within my clothing budget, I take good care of what we have (and teach my children to do the same) and I resell my kids’ clothing to recover costs.
Here are some tips for you:
1. Buy high quality clothing for less
Save on good quality kids’ clothing by shopping at warehouse sales and clearance stores.
If you have sons who skin the knees of their pants doing I-don’t-know-what on the carpet, you’ll certainly appreciate good quality brands. But let’s be realistic – your boys won’t wear out a pair of $80 Levis before they become ankle-freezers. Don’t spend good money on jeans that won’t go the distance – pick up tough, brand name pants at warehouse sales for under $10.
If you have a stepdaughter, you’ll know that the best way to buy love is with clothing.. only kidding. I love shopping with Charlotte. She’s a girl. She needs a wardrobe every fashionista would aspire to.
Super-organised parents know the seasonal clearance schedule – I’m not this kind of parent, but I do try. Be ready to shop ahead for the next year, stockpiling winter coats and jumpers when they hit the sales late September and shopping for the following summer in Feb.
My best source for inexpensive, good quality kids clothing is fashion warehouses. Staple clothing items for kids don’t date, boys especially. Even if your kids are stylin’ like Beckhams or rockin’ the mini Stefani look, you’ll find heavily reduced, cool clothing in warehouses and clearance stores in your area.
They may be a season or two old, but there’s usually a complete range of colours and sizes, and some pieces have come straight from a major department store.
2. Look after what you’ve got
By taking care of your clothes, you can stretch your dollars by giving items a longer life. Invest in a decent stain remover and attack stains early so they don’t set in (my husband will laugh at this – I’m so good at giving advice).
My kids have learned to come home from school and change from their uniforms into play clothes. They can chill out in duds that have seen better days – roll in the mud and even paint if they like – but good clothes are saved for the weekends and outings.
When they’re too small to wear beyond the house, long pants become shorts and long sleeve tops become t-shirts by simply cutting them short. Often they don’t even need hemming – that’s the fashion, right? Works for me!
3. Resell clothing when you’re done
Choose your best-quality items to resell on eBay. By doing so, you’ll recover your costs – and if you purchased them at warehouse prices in the first place, you can actually do quite well for yourself.
Donate the rest of your good quality clothing to your local op-shop. Someone else will appreciate it! (Of course, spare them the tatty and stained gear.)
So that’s how a family of seven puts food on the table AND maintains a wardrobe of stylish threads. It’s an art I’ve perfected over the years, and I have great pleasure handing over $70 at a warehouse sale for a huge new stash of good quality clothing.
Charlotte has more clothing than all of us, and it hasn’t broken the bank. That’s what step-mums are for, right?