With four kids in a very small house, having an organized clothing storage and shopping system is essential, because buying anything at full price can break the family’s clothing budget for the year.
One year my oldest son wore his school shoes out sooner than expected, and I did not have a pair on hand. $35! Yes, that’s what we ended up paying for a pair of shoes that he grew out of in a few months. I learned my lesson, and I now have two shoe boxes: A Shoebox for boys and a shoebox for girls. For the boys I have a pair of shoes (sneaker style) and a pair of sandals in each size, and for our little girl….well let’s just say that she has a whole shoe storage box to herself and she is using it. The older the kids get the more picky they get, when it comes to brand names, colors etc., but so far I seem to have nailed it.
Last night I pulled out new shoes for all three boys, and they wore them inside all night. In fact, this morning they were still walking around in them, and everyone of them were thrilled with their new shoes. My fifth grader got a pair of Shaun White skate shoes, my 2nd grade aspiring shark scientist got a pair of Gymboree pull-ons with sharks on them, and our newest student in the family got a pair of light-up Spiderman shoes. Total cost: $15 for all three pairs.
Whenever we go shopping, I always bring along a copy of our shoe list, which has all shoes, colors and sizes that we have in our shoe boxes, as well as a priority list of what is needed. This way I can look for specific sizes, whenever I find a good deal.
The boys room has a big closet, and with a little creativity the frugality dad in the house created some extra storage space. We picked up lots of see through storage baskets at IKEA for $2 a piece on special, and now we have the storage organized to perfection. This year we have taken our organizational system a step further, when it comes to the two biggest boys’ school uniforms. Last year our oldest son wore his younger brother’s uniform shirts to school a few times and vice versa, so this year we picked colored hangers, and now each of the big boys have their school uniform shirts on their own colored hangers to prevent mixups.
Each of the boys have their own clothing box, where I keep clothes that are at least a size bigger than what they use currently. This is also, where hand-me-downs go. The baby has a box for each clothing size, and when I find a good deal, I know where to put it. I do not remove the tags, until something is ready to be worn. For baby clothing I try to keep everything under $2 a piece, for the big sizes I go up to $5 and less. With our oldest son, I try to keep everything except for shoes to less than $5 a piece.
A week ago, I pulled out all of the boxes, and I found new jeans, new uniform polos and more for the boys. There were no need to buy anything for the two oldest boys, as they were all set. After having been through two boys, a lot of my youngest son’s clothing has turned into play clothes/sleep clothes/home wear only, and so I did pick up some new shorts and shirts for him at Kohl’s and JCP with coupons.
How To Save On Clothes:
If you shop out of season and all year round, it is very possible to find some great prices. If you shop with coupons, you can find even better deals. This year I’ve added a new way to save on clothes, which is winning blog giveaways. This year I’ve won a school uniform giveaway, a $60 Umi Shoe giveaway, a $25 Children’s Place gift card, a $75 Gymboree gift card, and many small boutique giveaways.
This is where I shop:
- The clearance rack at my favorite stores
- Department stores: clearance + high value coupons
- The Thrift Store – Check out my Thrift Store Tips here
- Outlet Stores
- Online Deals with Free Shipping – I always start shopping at Ebates, so that I get cash back every time as well.
- Win gift cards and increase the value by shopping smart, see an example of smart shopping here.
I will pick up clothes that is up to three sizes bigger than the child wears, because as I’ve earned from experience, time flies.
Do you shop ahead?