The weather here in Northern Indiana has been crazy the last few weeks. We had several days of record breaking high temperatures, making it feel like July in the middle of March! I’m not complaining (and even did some imagining of what it would be like to live in an area of the country where it is usually this nice and warm in March), but it did leave us scrambling a little bit to dress our kids in weather appropriate clothing.
All the sudden they went from wearing winter coats and snow boots, to needing t-shirts, shorts, flip-flops and sunglasses — almost overnight.
Luckily, we had a few things in storage, and were able to supplement a little to get them through, and I wanted to share a few of my tips for dressing young kids in cute, and affordable, clothes.
Buy Used 1 of 5I would say that 90% or more of my kids clothes are used. Buying used clothing for kids just makes sense, because they go through them so quickly, and it's really easy to find high quality, used children's clothes. My kids have been known to ruin clothes on occasion, and when they're used, it doesn't bother me nearly as much as if I had bought them new. Besides all this, buying used saves both money, and resources, because they don't require brand new materials, energy for production and manufacturing, or transportation from across the globe. I shop kid's consignement stores, mom-to-mom sales, thrift stores and garage sales and usually find more than enough clothes to outfit my kiddos in brand name, quality, and cute clothes each season.
Photo Credit: John Beagle/flickr
Accept Hand-Me-Downs 2 of 5We have been blessed to receive the majority of my son's clothing, since he was born, from friends who have passed their older boys' clothes down to us. There have been seasons where I have not had to buy any clothes at all for my son - including shoes, socks, and outerwear! And we also get some nice clothes for my daughter from my sister-in-law who has two older girls. I cannot even begin to calculate how much money this has saved us! Accepting hand-me-downs from friends and family is a great way to build your child's wardrobe for free! And if you have clothes that your kids no longer wear - consider blessing another family by handing them down!
Photo Credit: Emily @ Live Renewed
Shop Sales and Clearance 3 of 5Now, I realize that there are times where you may need (or want!) to buy new clothes for your kids. There are so many darn cute kids clothes out there, that are so hard to resist! But, of course, just because you buy something new, doesn't mean you have to pay full price for it. Many high-quality retail stores offer regular sales, and special coupon or clearance sales, where you can snag really great deals for great kids clothes. Subscribe to email lists, and follow some of the deal blogs, to make sure you know when these sales are coming so you can get there early and get the best selection.
Photo Credit: Mark Hillary/flickr
Buy Ahead 4 of 5As you shop the consignment stores, garage sales, and retail store sales, always be thinking a season or two ahead for your kids. This is the main reason we were able to get through the two week heat wave without having to run out and buy all new clothes for our kids - we had already been setting aside clothes in storage boxes for the next size and season, as we bought them, or received them from friends. It's so nice to just be able to pull down a box of clothes that are ready for your child to wear when their size, or the season, changes. This goes for shoes and outerwear too, because those can be some of the more expensive items if you have to run out and buy them new.
Photo Credit: Rubbermaid Products/flickr
Clothing Swap 5 of 5Another great idea for getting new-to-you free kids clothing, is to host a clothing swap with your friends. Get together a group of moms, preferably whose kids are different genders and ages, and swap clothes that your own kids are no longer wearing. You get to clean out your kid's closet and get rid of their too small clothes, and come home with a new stash of clothes for your kiddos to wear!
Photo Credit: Twice Is Nice Children's Resale
What tips do you have for dressing your toddler for less?