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Spring Cleaning: Kids’ Clothes

Spring Cleaning: Kids’ Clothes

My husband and I spent the weekend sorting through bags and bins of kids’ clothes. At one point I looked at all the shirts, pants, pajamas, dresses, shoes, jackets and so on, and wondered how did this happen. Where did we get all this?

For many people’s standards, I’m not really a big shopper. In fact I would estimate that more than 80% of the items are hand-me-downs. Don’t get me wrong. I feel extremely lucky to have family and friends keeping my children clothed. No way would we have had the “summer of the sundresses” without my mother-in-law’s best friends’ granddaughter.

But I do question whether all these clothes are really necessary and worry about the potential message it sends to my children. Already Olivia (age 6) has her favorite outfits and is not really happy when I’m past due on the laundry (most days…or even weeks) despite her packed closet with untouched clothing.

Maybe I’m thinking too much into it but I wonder: Is this teaching her not to understand the value of clothing or material possessions in general? Does it actually make the outfit selection process harder because there are just too many choices? And don’t get me started on the disorganization factor as she leaves a hurricane of clothing as a result of rummaging to pull together her daily outfit.

As I looked at the immediate task in front of me and my husband – sorting through new clothes we generously received from a friend for Owen (15 mos.) and preparing bins of Olivia’s old clothes for a friend’s daughter – I realized there is a bigger task ahead that could carry a good lesson with it.

Olivia’s closet needs a major overhaul this spring. And rather than me sorting through it alone, she’s going to participate. She can help sort items for handing down, select those we’ll give to charity, and choose a more reasonable amount of clothing to keep. While thinking about writing this post, I stumbled upon this Keeper of the Home blog  post about a mom’s experiment to lessen the amount of her kids’ clothes.

Back to School Clothes ShoppingShe offers this list:

  • 7 casual outfits
  • 3 dressy outfits (probably 2 casual dressy, 1 fancier)
  • 3 pajamas (maybe 4-5 for the toddler)
  • Plus, their current assortment of underwear and socks, and seasonal jackets and shoes.


It seems just about right – if only I can commit to laundry every few days! How about you? Do you find that your kids have too much, just enough or not enough clothes? What is the right amount? And how do you tackle the clothes beast?


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