A mom writes:
I am curious about how much clothing you have per child? I am going nuts over here with the amount. God provides! We are so very thankful — all our clothes have been hand me downs. But, they just keep coming! I know that I can say no thank you but I think to myself, maybe there is just one or 2 or more outfits that we really need in a big huge bag of 20! So, for free, I think-hey, it’s worth it!
So, anyway, my question is: do you have a set number of pants/shirts? Do you have the kids in uniforms? With all the changes of the seasons, we have such a huge amount of shorts/t-shirts/pants/shorts sweaters etc … the list could go on. Do you have any type of system that works for you?
Yes, I have a system. It’s called the Whine-About-It system. And it really works for me, but my family and friends sometimes grow tired of it, so I don’t necessarily recommend it for everyone.
Seriously, I have tried lots of systems and failed at pretty much every one of them. We too get many hand-me-downs and some of them I have been so grateful to receive, as they arrived at just the right time with just the right kinds of clothing for the kids, saving us a ton of money.
But. I learned the hard way that I do sometimes have to say “no thank you” because my kids do have enough to wear or because the items people are offering would be things I would need to store for a very long time before they saw any use. A mother’s time and energy are valuable commodities and you need to figure that cost into the “price” of a free bag of clothing. If your kids have enough to wear, is it really worth the time and energy to sort through a giant bag of hand-me-downs for one or two extra items? You just might be better off saving your sanity by declining the clothing and allowing someone else to benefit from it.
As tempting as my idea of paper pants might be, in the end, we must admit that kids need clothing. And we mothers need to acquire it, organize it, and launder it. The more kids we have, the bigger that job is going to be, even if we do limit the number of outfits each child has.
And one more thought about storing clothing: A few years back, I opened some old bins and discovered very old baby items I had saved and never got around to using again. They were nice when I packed them in the bin, but when I opened it years later, they were in awful shape. Clothing does not store well forever. If you have kids’ clothing items that you know you won’t have a use for in the next 18 months or so, is it really worth holding on to? Just so that it can “go bad” in bags or storage bins? Better to pass it on to someone who could use it right now. When the time comes, if you need clothing in that size, God will provide it. He always does.
How about you? How do you handle kids’ clothing?