Monday, March 15, 2010

How Many Clothes Do They Really Need?

Just how many clothes do you think your kids need? Well, I certainly KNOW my kids have more than their share and do not wear all they have. In the need to simplify I have been copying others peoples ideas of what is an appropriate amount. See what they think.

MOM #1

Toddlers and Pre-schoolers

9-10 everyday outfits
3-4 dressy church outfits
3-4 casual dressy outfits
4-5 pajamas
2 pairs play shoes
1 pair dress shoes
1 pair casual nice shoes (optional)

School Age
(including teen boys, if your teens complain about the clothes, make them responsible for them, including paying for the extras that they want.)

3-4 pairs of jeans or school pants
7-9 school shirts
1-2 pairs dress pants
3-4 dress shirts
1-2 casual dressy outfits
2-3 pajamas
1 pair school shoes
1 pair causal shoes or 1 pair of shoes for dirty work
1 pair dress shoes

MOM #2

10 pairs of underwear: This keeps parents from having to run a last minute Sunday night wash. Always pack an extra pair in younger children's backpacks for emergencies.

10 pairs of socks: Boys can usually get away with 10 identical pairs, but girls may want them in different colors. Always buy at least 5 pairs in white, and at least 2 pairs in each additional color. This way, if your child loses one sock, there is always another matching set. The third sock can replace another lost sock, or one with a hole.

5 bras or undershirts: If your daughter is wearing a bra or undershirt, it's best to buy one for each day of the week. Kids sweat, and sweat on top of existing sweat can create very unpleasant odors and a bacterial growth which can lead to an infection. Always remind them to wear a clean bra or undershirt. Undershirts are a great idea for boys in the winter months to keep their chest warm under a long sleeve tee shirt or sweater.

3-5 pairs of jeans: Jeans come in many different washes and cuts. I prefer adjustable waist or elastic for younger children to avoid the hassle of a belt. Keep a nicer pair of jeans set aside for the weekends and special occasions (school pictures, etc.)

5 pairs of shorts: In Florida, kids can wear shorts 10 months out of the year. Denim and khaki shorts are the most versatile. Soft cotton or basketball shorts are great for days when they have physical education and will keep them cool while running laps.

10+ tops: Tee shirts, polo shirts, button downs, blouses, etc.

2-3 pairs of shoes: A dark pair and a light pair of sneakers are usually all that boys will need. Girls need a pair of sneakers, and a pair or two of rubber-soled shoes, like mary-janes or loafers that can be worn with socks. If you know your child's correct shoe size, you can try sites such as or to find great deals on brand-name back to school footwear.

3-5 sweaters/sweatshirts: These are great for layering or wearing alone.

2 pairs of sweatpants: Great for cold or windy days or on physical education days.

1 winter coat: There is always a day or two where this is a must--even in Florida!

1 windbreaker/waterproof jacket/raincoat: There are many cool and rainy mornings, and one of these jackets will keep children warm and dry.

1 winter hat, 1 pair of gloves, 1 scarf: For the few really cold morning, especially if your child has to wait at the bus stop.

1 purse-size umbrella: Kids can keep these in a small pocket in their backpack.

1 new backpack, 1 new lunch box: Every child likes to have a new set at the beginning of the year!

1 new toothbrush, 1 new deodorant and a nice haircut: These are things that can help kids feel clean and fresh when starting the new school year!

  • Tips:
  • Spend an afternoon while the kids are at camp or grandma's house visiting stores like Target, Walmart, JCPenney, Belk, Marshall's, Ross, and Kohl's with your list in hand. Write down the best prices you see for the items on your list. Decide where you are going to purchase each item before heading out with the kids.
  • Once you have an idea of what the items will cost, set a budget and stick to it.
  • If you see something your child can use on clearance, pick it up. You can always return it later, but it may not be there when you get back.
  • Let your child choose from a preselected number of items. That way they feel as though they have a choice, but will stay within your budget.
  • Don't feel as though you have to buy everything in one shot. Keep the list in your purse or wallet, and whenever you pick up a new piece you can mark it off.
  • Clean out the kids' closets before bringing anything home. Make some extra cash for new clothes consigning the items they've outgrown or give them away to a charity.
  • Big ticket, or rarely used items (coats, scarves, etc) can and should be used for as long as they fit. However, replacing socks, under garments, and tees every school year (even if the older ones still fit) is a relatively inexpensive way for your child to feel refreshed and motivated to start a new school year.
  • Keep all of the tags on the items until they are worn and keep all of the receipts. I always check the clearance aisles in the weeks following my purchases. Anything that has been marked down can be price adjusted, or returned and repurchased at the less expensive price.
  • I always buy a couple of extra backpacks and lunch boxes when they are marked down to 75% - 90% off at Target. They cost me about $4 and make great mid-year replacements. They also make good donations to Metropolitan Ministries Backpacks of Hope.

What do you think? Reasonable or still seem like a lot?

I will post more on the challenge soon.....

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