Practical Dad

August Preparation:  Clothing

One of the key times for clothing inventory is August, when the Fall wear comes in and hits the racks.  And with money tight, this is the time to work through the clothing to see what's really needed.  This includes what's in the closet and drawers, as well as any clothing that is tucked away from friends and older siblings.

 How do you handle the job, especially if you have more than one kid in the mix?

  • Start the process with the youngest child.  As clothing is shifted down the range from old-to-young/large-to-small, starting with the eldest means that hand-me-downs will sit at the next level until those drawers are cleared.  Starting with the youngest means that that space is already cleared for the additions.
  • When you begin with each child, make sure that as much of the clothing is out of the hamper and away as possible.  This assures that the inventory is complete as possible and that you don't wind up buying three more pairs of jeans because three were in the washer when you did the job.
  • Verify what size clothing the kid is presently wearing.  While different brands of clothing can vary when they're supposedly the same size, it's unlikely that if Junior is solidly in size 8, he's going to fit into a size 6 from another manufacturer.  Knowing that, you can start by removing the now-small sizes.  That clothing can go into whatever pile is necessary, whether for another family or charity.
  • Sort types of clothing - long-sleeve shirts, pants, etc. - into separate piles.  Junior doesn't have to try everything on, but select one or two from each pile for a try-on and then use these as templates for sizing up the remaining items.  
  • After Junior has tried the sizing clothes on, you can lay them out on the bed and use them as a template for the other items.  This can account for most of the clothing except for the items that might require Junior's efforts, particularly in regards to the waist size.
  • Remember that this is not going to be an exact process.  Kids don't grow at constant rates and you can't know when something is suddenly necessary.  Consequently, don't bag things that are a little big, such as pants that are longer than would be acceptable on a thirty year-old Dad.  Junior's liable to fill it faster than you expect.  I know of kids who grew two inches in the course of a month.
  • After the clothing has been sized and sorted, the old clothing can be moved to the next spot and the usable clothing can be stored away until it's time for use.  Then you note what you actually need and take care of procuring what's necessary. 
  • You want to consider where you're going to keep the usable fall/winter clothing until it's needed.  You might not have the closet or drawer space with the summer clothing in use, but make sure that the box or bag is clearly labeled and accessible when the time comes.

This process continues up the age range until the work is process is complete.  You can then maximize your time by shopping for several kids instead of wasting gas, time and money by making multiple trips for individual kids.

It can appear daunting - especially with multiple kids - but the time spent now is more than worth the time and money later.

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