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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Life Cycle of Kid's Clothing

The clothing in my house goes through a lot of stages and I couldn’t help thinking about the life cycle of my kids clothing while I was doing laundry. and more laundry... and more... you get the idea.

I have some friends who pass down their clothes from sibling to sibling and others who buy new clothes and the give it away when their kids grow out of it. I consider this to be the normal life of kid’s clothes. In my effort to recycle and be cheap thrifty frugal I have come up with a system for kids clothes that seems to work for us.

  1. New” – I think half of my kids clothing is new and the other half are hand-me-downs (love them!)
  2. Wear, wear, wear – hopefully they don’t get paint stains prematurely… Some days the kids change clothes more than once and that makes for a lot of laundry. Any pants that were only warn a couple hours while not doing heavy playing or messy eating gets warn the next day since I consider those clean.
  3. Next there are a couple of choose-your-own-adventure variables
                Stained – If I cannot get a stain out, these get demoted to pajama/play clothes status
                Destroyed – Bummer! Holes and too much wear & tare from laundry with cheap fabric make for either retirement, recycle or pajama status. (My kids wear a lot of shirts and sweats to sleep in.  It’s not like anyone sees their night clothing other than family!)
                Too small – If they last to this point that’s great then there are other options for them.

     4.   Pajama or play (you know… the messy kind with paint and mud) – any closes that make it in the stained or destroyed category above gets demoted to this category.
     5.  Kids grow fast! What happens when clothes are out grown:

Retirement – make its way out of the closet and into the recycle or trash bag
Hand Down – I save a couple pieces of special clothing or ones that look like they are new. Boy stuff I hand down to my cousin, who gives it back when her boys grow out of it. Girl stuff I just save since I don’t have anyone to share it with. The idea is that I can help out my siblings when they have kids or you never know.
Recycle – Here is a pile of fabric I can use for silly projects and house rags.
            Re-purpose – This is a fun one if the option is available. If the top of a onsie fits but the bottom doesn’t snap (even with a onsie extender) you can cut the bottom half off, hem and then you have a pajama shirt. Or a pair of pants that fit their waist still but look like they are anticipating a flood, can be cut and made into shorts.
Sell – Anything that isn’t sentimental to save or too trashed to trash gets sold. It is really nice that there are resources like craigslist to do this. I take a picture of a bunch of stuff, put it in a giant box and call the lot $20. Or if I am able to have a yard sell, I try to sell things for $1 an item or bundled for a little less. This gives me a little more money to buy more clothes or shoes that I need to buy.

I think that about covers it. If there are any other ideas out there on how to stretch the clothing dollar for kid’s clothes, love to hear them!

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This was shared on Frugally Sustainable and Cheerios and Lattes!