How to Hand-Me- Down
Even if you don’t have very many kids, clothes can still be passed around between friends and cousins. Clothes can be expensive, and kids grow so fast. Here are a few tips to make clothes last longer, saving time and money.
- Care: An important factor in ensuring the longevity of kids’ clothes is all about how you take care of them. Now, kids can be really rough on clothes, and that of course is relatively unavoidable, but there are things you can do on your part. First of all, use the right detergents and go easy on the stain removal. Oxi Clean that is left on a shirt for too long can burn hole right through it. On jeans, you might opt to air dry instead of throwing them in the dryer.
- Buy smart: Pick a few great clothing companies, like Land’s End, Old Navy, and Hannah Anderson, and sign up for their promo emails. All three of these companies have amazing discounts and they all hold up relatively well. While your kids might enjoy a few more trendy or contemporary items, try to keep the basics classic as these don’t really ever change that much. Especially for toddlers and younger, jeans and tee shirts don’t really ever change. About ten years ago, every preteen girl wanted a shrug sweater, but she still needed a basic cotton dress for underneath, one that had been in style for the last couple of decades.
- Organize: Depending on how much space you have, you can start a stockpile of clothes to save or exchange. Use rubbermaid totes with secure lids to avoid extra moisture or bugs and rodents from getting into your storage. Label the outside with appropriate and clear labels, “Girls 6mo-8mo,” “Boys 4T,” “Unisex Coats 6x-Size 12/14.”
- Less is more: Before you fill up your basement with a bunch of clothes, go through each item and determine whether it will really be used again. If it’s ripped, has stains, or got shrunk in a weird way, throw it away. It’s also crucial to know the difference between a memory item and something that can be used again. You son’s favorite pair of overalls from when he was two might be missing a shoulder buckle, and while you can’t pass these along, you might want to hold on to them in his memory bucket or something.
- Buy classic colors: Avoid neons and really bright colors. These seem to come in and out every few years, but they really don’t have a classic look and can be hard to use again and again. Shades of blue, red, pink, and green seem to hold up really well. Lighter colors like yellow or white tend to get stained really quickly. Also, avoid buying clothes with screen printed lettering as these graphics tend to wear down relatively quickly, making the rest of the item look pretty bad. You might also opt for classic patterns such as stripes or small floral print.
- Materials are everything: avoid polyester, acrylic, spandex, and anything super stretchy or flimsy. These don’t hold up well, and tend to get those annoying pills. 100% cotton is great for tee shirts and jeans. Less synthetic fabrics not only last longer, but also are better for skin and breathe better.
In the end, it’s all about quality. The nicer the product, the better constructed, the higher quality of materials, the more likely you’ll be able to turn that family gathering into a clothing swap. And while this might seem like you are going to have to spend a lot on kids’ clothes, that isn’t the case. Lots of great companies have frequent deals and promotions, so you can get lots of high quality basics for under $5 a piece.