The clothing shuffle

(written in May 2009)
A few weeks ago, DH & I were at Payless Shoes during their BOGO sale. When we found a nice pair of all-brown gender-neutral shoes for less than six dollars, we began searching the shelves for the same shoe in other sizes (our school requires all brown or all black shoes). We were stacking the boxes five or six high when a sales lady came and gave us a funny look.

"We have seven kids," we said.

The light when on, and she began helping us look. Size 12, 13, 1, 2, 3, 4, how about 13 1/2?

We left the store with over ten pairs of shoes, two or three of which will be used now. The rest will be saved for next year, or the next, or the next. With seven kids, at some point, the shoes are bound to fit SOMEONE.

Here's where the shoes go, for now, lined up in order of size:

I've also got several boxes, not shown, of used-but-still-okay shoes, mostly sorted by size.

I like to buy early and buy on sale. I'm always looking for a clothing deal and I buy in advance. If I stay on top of it, our clothing budget stays reasonable and my kids always have clothes, shoes, and coats to wear. If I forget, like I did once in the fall when the weather turned cold and I realized I had five kids who had outgrown their coats, then I'm stuck paying whatever price the stores want to charge (that time? $150). I've since stocked up on coats ($5 or $6 each on clearance) and keep them lined up by size in the closet of our spare room.

In our old home, when we didn't have a storage space, I'd keep a box on the floor in each bedroom closet labeled, "Outgrown." In the boys' room, I had a box labeled, "Between Joey and Micheal," another labeled "For Joey to grow into," and a third for clothes outgrown by Michael. In the girls' room, I had four boxes, one of clothes the twins had outgrown and one for things they could grow into soon, and the same for Lillian. The box for outgrown clothes I kept fairly accessible so I could simply toss an item in anytime I found it no longer fit or was out of season and was going to be too small by the time it was in season again.

I don't save every item; my standard is if I wouldn't buy it if I saw it at a thrift shop, then I give it away.

At my current home, I'm blessed to have a nice storage room, with shelves for our outgrown clothes. Now I sort it all by size and by gender. I have three shelves. The top is for uniform clothes, the middle for girl clothes, the bottom for boy clothes. For gender neutral shorts and jeans, I try to just put the item in the gender of the child who will fit into it next. So, for instance, size 5 shorts Michael's outgrown go in the Girls 5T box.

It doesn't always look this nice, but since I just did the spring clothing shuffle, it's pretty organized.

How do you handle the clothing shuffle?


Wendy said…
I think it really helps when you have space to stay and keep organized. But in my situation it isn't so easy. I've always got a bag or box ready for DI all the time, and everytime I fold laundry... well if i need to donate it then I do, if it's "JUNK" and I wouldn't buy it, then I just throw it away.

So when do you have time to come organize my things.... lol ;)
Jacki said…
Hee hee- I only have boys, so I don't have to store two sets :)
Lindhardts said…
LOVE IT!! Could you please come organize my clothes? BTW My husband just met your cousin when she came into the pharmacy! So fun
Christina said…
Good point, Jacki! I find I've become more selective on what boys clothes I save, though, because it will be at least 8 years between Michael and our next boy.
swedemom said…
I used to be very organized about the clothing shuffle. But two moves back and forth to Sweden pretty much threw that plan out the window. I had to eliminate as much as I could when we returned to the U.S. a year and half ago. My oldest son is so hard on clothes and shoes that we aren't passing down anything he has.
I've kept things in boxes for outgrown clothes to pass on. Part of my problem has been that I'm not sure if we'll have more children and can't seem to guarantee that gender. With this most recent move, I was able to thoroughly sort through clothes. Brooke's outgrown clothes are a puzzle to me. I intended to send them to my sister or sister-in-law if either were going to have a girl (they are pregnant now) but both are having boys. So we are all having boys. I'm all out of baby boy clothes since I passed most of mine on! So for now, I've boxed and labeled outgrown clothes that I want to keep. I'll store them in the closet. I've sorted through kid clothes and have donated some to goodwill.
Oh guess what, I just found out that if you donate to goodwill, you should donate all types of clothes, even those in bad condition. They'll take the worn clothing and sell it in bulk as fiber, where it is recycled and rewoven into usable cloth. I thought that was cool. Not sure if D.I. does that though.
Michelle said…
I keep totes of clothes--with gender & sizes. But I am short on space in my home, so I have them stored in a storage shed outside.

I am now able to bag things for DI when my youngest 2 (boy & girl) outgrow them since we are offically "done" having kiddos. (I don't know what will happen when I have most of a storage shed empty in 10 years or so).

I also clearance/sale shop in the off seasons (right now I am shopping for next summer). I keep those clothes/shoes stored in our shed too.

I love how organized you are!
Mommy Matters said…
I just did the clothes shuffle....I'd fallen off the wagon when George & Grant came, almost 3 years ago, so you can imagine the mess I had to go through. I feel so good having it all sorted! Plus, it saves money because I know what I have, so I don't end up buying something we didn't really need.

We stockpile shoes too. DH always gets a kick out it when someone needs a new pair of shoes and I just go upstairs and then come down with a new pair. !
Mindy said…
Luckily, my girls are all close enough in age that I can just take the outgrown clothes from one closet and move them immediately into the other girl's closet. My dilemma is to save or not to save after they have all outgrown them. I am just not 100% sure if I am done having children or not so for now...I still have totes full of outgrown clothes in my basement too.

Popular posts from this blog

Meet Mr. Moby ~ A Review of the 2015/2016 Ford Transit Passenger Wagon from a family of 12

Notes on Roman 7-16 "Overcome Evil with Good", CFM study for Aug. 12 - 18

Q&A Thursday: Health Effects of Many Pregnancies