Do you like shopping for your kid’s clothes?

I have a hard time with it, for several reasons:

  1. It’s costly.  A basic wardrobe for one person, twice a year, times 7=half my inheritance money annually (just kidding, I don’t have inheritance money, silly)
  2. It’s time consuming.
  3. I really don’t care what they wear (well, maybe I care a little, but I don’t care whether they wear a t-shirt or a polo shirt).

But mostly, because of the times they’ve turned into circus monkeys in aisle 5, when I was trying shoes on their docile sibling in aisle 2.  Like many tasks of motherhood, I’ve found that it is much easier to tackle the kids clothing needs when I have a plan, the following is my basic plan for calming the circus monkeys and outfitting them for their next big event.

Shop semi-annually.

I would go crazy if I had to constantly be thinking about who needs what, when, so I’ve narrowed down clothes shopping to two times a year; once in the fall, and a second time in the spring.  I get everything they need in a few weeks time and for the most part, I’m done for the season after that.

Figure out what you already have.

When that time of year rolls around, I start by checking all our closets first, to see what we already own.  When you have multiple children, you start to acquire magical clothing boxes that contain all or many of the items you need.  I also sometimes have bought a few items on clearance in anticipation of the next season or size, or have been donated something by a friend.  I look at everything and then write down what we already own, making sure to only include clothes that they will actually wear and are in good condition.

Determine what you need.

Next, I figure out what the kids actually need.  Our required clothing list is based off this article from Living on a Dime.  It’s nice because it takes into account different clothing needs for different ages and situations.  After, reviewing this, I do some simple subtraction to figure out our needs:

What the kiddos need –  What the kiddos have = What we need to buy


 Determine what they want to wear.

After this step, if I feel they are old enough to have an opinion, which might be as early as 2 or 3, I try to figure out what they will actually wear.  Some of my kids really don’t care, some will only wear skirts (looking at you kindergartner), some I am always off on (hello teenager) and some just really want to wear their old soccer jerseys all the time.  I try to listen and guide them where necessary, while still teaching them a few important clothing lessons, such as, the difference between school clothes and play clothes, the confidence that comes from trying to dress nicely and how to match colors.

Set up some basic rules.

We have had some basic clothing rules for awhile, these are the items we really do care about, which we sometimes have to remind them of as we start our shopping.  Our basic rules are that it needs to fit within a budget (see below), be modest (not too revealing, too tight, too short or have inappropriate sayings or pictures) be good quality, and fit with what we actually need.

Here is a sample of our basic budget


shirts/shorts/skirts:  $8

Pants:  $8-10

Dresses/jackets/shoes:  $20

8 and older

shirts/shorts/skirts:  $10

Pants:  $15

Dresses/jackets/shoes: $25

Buy some clothes.

We then go to the store with all this helpful knowledge and buy some clothes.  You can take them all to the store with you-but there is the monkey thing, you could also, shop online, buy what you think they might like and return what they don’t or steal away with just you and one kid at a time (this has the potential to actually be fun, especially if you add desert).  So, that’s it.  It may seem like a lot of steps to a simple shopping guide, but it will save you a ton of frustration over buying too much or too little and will save you the confusion over what to buy when.  I hope it can be helpful for you, as well.



How do you shop for your children’s clothes?

Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend, or leave a comment below or on Facebook.