I’m a BIG proponent of stocking up on kids clothing when I see a good deal. I buy clothing for my whole family for the following year at the end-of-the season closeouts. I also stock up on kids’ clothing at garage sales during the summer months. I save a ton of money by doing this.
But while I save money doing this, there is a risk involved. If you don’t time it just right, your kids may outgrow the clothing before they get a chance to wear it.
Here are some tips to help you stockpile children’s clothing:
Know your child’s current growth patterns. Yes, kids go through crazy growth spurts, but you have a rough idea of how fast they grow. For example, my kids always seem to be about one size ahead of their age when it comes to shirts, but one size behind when it comes to pants. This helps me guess what sizes they will be in during the next year’s season.
Know how the different brands run for sizes. I’ve noticed that certain brands (like Target’s Circo brand, for example) tend to run small. Pay attention to how different brands fit and you’ll have a better chance of the item fitting next year.
Stick with classic clothing. Avoid character shirts or trendy clothing. Styles change, and characters can fall out of favor with your child. I also stick with themes for winter clothing. It makes mixing and matching from one winter season to the next a piece of cake.
Stick with quality clothing. Make sure all the zippers and snaps work. Make sure no buttons are missing. If the item is used, look to see that there are no stains or tears. Check the quality of the fabric. If it feels thin when it’s brand new, it will be practically transparent after a few washes. Check the care instructions to make sure that you’re not buying a high maintenance garment (i.e. dry clean or hand wash). Buy the best quality at the best price so that you’ll be able to hand the clothes down to other children or sell them at a sale.
If you’re buying new items on clearance, save the receipts and don’t cut the tags off. Some stores will let you return the items later if they don’t fit. But if the store will not take a return, you can sell the item online or in a consignment store. You’ll make back your money (or maybe even make a profit) because people like to buy new things at a bargain price. That’s what you did, after all! You could also give the item that doesn’t fit away as a gift.
Keep an inventory. You need to know what you have so that you know what you need. I find it very useful to sort clothing by size, but you need to find a system that works for you. I keep a list of things I’m looking for in my purse, so that when I come across a good sale I can focus on what we really need.
Do you stockpile clothing for your kids? What are some of your tips?