Monday, October 6, 2008

How To Afford The Shirts On Their Backs

Operation: Clothing Recover was a success. I was able to locate the boxes that contained my girls' fall and winter clothes over the weekend and have washed and folded most of their new cold weather wardrobe. Today the temperature is supposed to be 82. Sigh.

Going through the boxes, I came across a ton of the girls' old clothes and items they used when they were first born. I found all their cute little preemie clothes and it was amazing to see how tiny they really were. When I first put them in outfits at the hospital to go home in, the preemie clothes were even too big. So now to see them 27 lbs and growing, it is amazing. Especially Peanut. She was a mere 4 lbs 1 oz at birth and went down to 3lbs 13 oz during the first couple of days. Now, she is a solid little girl who can hold her own and is quite strong. Who would've thunk it?

They have a ton of outgrown clothes that I have been stashing away in boxes. Hoarding, if you will. I don't want to get rid of anything until twindada and I have made the decision on whether we will try to have another one. (Notice I said, one. I think Helene over at I'm Living Proof That God Has a Sense of Humor is awesome and her 2 sets of twins are adorable. I just don't know if I could do it all over again, but it isn't really left up to me, now is it?) Life has been way too busy to think about making our lives even more busy, so this topic of conversation is definitely on the backburner.

Going through those boxes got me thinking about what I would do differently if I were preparing for a little one or next time there is a baby shower gift to purchase. I received so many adorable outfits and items that were completely needed and almost everything was used at least once. At least I tried to get the girls in everything that I was given at least once.

I received a ton of preemie clothes, 0-3 month clothes and 3-6 month clothes when we had the girls and at the baby showers my family and friends graciously threw for me. I did receive some clothes that were 6 months and up, but very little. Now I am so not complaining about what I received because those first 6 months, you need as many onesies as you can get your hands on especially if you have little ones that spit up regularly (as both of mine did.) But I found a serious drought in baby clothes when the girls were ready for 6-9 month clothing and I was scrambling to the store to find stuff.

Luckily my sister-in-law has saved me a ton by handing down my niece's outgrown clothing. (She is a little over a year older than Peanut & Jelly Bean.) This has meant so much to me and we have been so appreciative especially because my little niece has some fabulous clothes, they are well taken care of and there is plenty to clothe both of my girls without us running out. Thanks, twinaunt!

So, what is a mama and dada to do when they have to dress the little tykes? Here are the options that I have found, but let me know if you all have come up with other ways to find affordable clothing as your tots grow.

1. Before the bab(ies) arrive, register for clothing in sizes up to 12 months. Also, communicate your wishes to family and friends so they know. On the baby shower invitations, you can ask people that if they are going to be buying clothing to buy certain sizes so that you can get a variety.

2. Ask, Ask, Ask! Ask family and friends if they know anyone looking to get rid of their old baby clothes. Sometimes people hold on (like us) until they are absolutely sure they are done, but once people have closed up shop on the ole' uterus, those boxes are doing no good in their attic. Some people may try to sell at consignment shops or at garage sales, but other people don't want to mess with the hassle. Also, some people are afraid to offer their used items because they don't want to offend a new mom. Please. Accept any item you can get your hands on. You will get plenty of brand new items, too. (Also, pay the favor forward. I plan on dropping a huge lot of clothing on some new mother one day. If I can't find someone in my family or friend's circle, then I will donate to my church.)

3. Garage Sales or Consignment Shops? There is not a wrong answer here. Both places have excellent deals on baby and children's clothing if you are willing to hunt for it. Since I am a bargain shopper, I opt for garage sales, but be ready to devote time to this option. You will need it.

4. Sales, Clearance Items, etc. Hit the end of season sales for the following year's clothing. With prices marked off considerably, this is an ideal way to get the more expensive items like winter coats, shoes and Christmas dresses/suits. Don't forget, too, about outlet stores that have designer label clothing marked down from what you would pay at the mall.


Helene said...

You have some really great ideas! It does get expensive to clothe children, esp when it's double the kids!! I experienced the same thing you did when my 1st set of twins were born...everyone gave us preemie and newborn stuff. When the kids hit 6 months, I barely had anything for them. So now when friends have babies, I make sure to get them outfits for the 6-9 month stage and the 12-18 month stage, based on the seasons of course.

I've gotten some really great deals on craigslist and e-bay on clothes. And my sister gives me all her daughter's clothes for my daughter. I'm never one to turn away hand-me downs! Some friends and I have constantly been talking about doing a clothes/toy swap but we have yet to figure a date. But the idea is to gather a bunch of your kids' clothes and toys' that they have outgrown and bring it to the swap and they everyone gets to pick and choose what they want from everyone else's stuff. It's a great way to find "new" things for your kids!

On having another set of twins, trust me, you'd be able to do it all over again!!! It was SOOO much easier the 2nd time around...of course, after we got over the shock and awe of it, we were amazed at how smoothly the 2nd set were compared to the 1st!!

Channah said...

The Children's Orchard chain is a great place to pick up gently used clothing and items for your kids. I love those stores! I picked up a $30 Hilo Hattie boy's outfit there for $3 last time I was there.

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