Buying and Storing Ahead

storing and buying aheadMuch to my kiddos’ dismay at times, they have to be clothed (at least when leaving the house). Every parent knows how expensive this gets … parents of girls I think get hit twice as hard here.

A good baby or kid sale can be a landmine. It can also be a waste of time and money if you don’t hit your child’s projected sizes right. The best sales are usually clearing out the current season’s merchandise, and unless you are lucky enough to live somewhere that’s 72 and sunny all year (ahem, San Diego residents, we’re all jealously looking at you), guessing what size your kid will be when that season hits again can be a little difficult.

Once your child is wearing 12 month sizes or larger, it gets a lot easier to guesstimate your child’s growth rate. They are no longer growing quite so fast, and the sizes start covering a lot more ages. A couple tips for buying for seasons ahead though: first, with outerwear, I always size up. I usually buy winter and rain coats for my kids about two sizes larger than I think they will wear, as they are an easy thing to wear when they’re a little big, and babies and toddlers in particular aren’t very hard on outerwear (that comes later) so it should last. I do the same with pajamas as well.

Second, don’t go crazy just because your local Gymbo has a bin of shirts marked down to $1.99. Overbuying is one of the harder things to figure out when buying ahead. In case you anticipate sizes wrong, even at $1.99 buying twenty t-shirts that only get worn for a month is probably not the best deal around.

Overbuying and under-buying are both very easy to do as well if you don’t have the larger clothing organized. Buying things here and there as you see them on sale is great, until it comes time to use those clothes and you realize your child has 17 pairs of shorts, two pairs of underwear, and a sweater to wear. Likewise, without the clothing organized, it’s easy to misplace items that get grown out of before they are ever worn. If you have closet space, you can buy or make tags dividing up the clothes between sizes. If you are using boxes or drawers, be sure to clearly label each one. You may also want to consider keeping a list of what you need and what you have purchased in what sizes. This is easy to store in a smartphone and helps you buy just what you need.

Personally, I have always lived in places with seasons so I almost never buy any seasonal shoes ahead. Feet size growth has never been something I can project. Everyday shoes like athletic shoes I’ll pick up, but sandals and boots are a no for me.

Finally, all of this (particularly the organization part) applies to hand-me-downs as well. Keeping things well organized by size helps prevent things from getting forgotten. With hand-me-downs, you also should be using a critical eye on the clothing you save for later. If something is stained or torn or extremely faded, chances are you won’t be reaching for it once your next child is wearing that size. Better to get rid of it now and save the storage space for items that will be worn.

Meaghan Howard is currently enjoying being a stay-at-home parent while living with her husband and two young children overseas. She enjoys traveling, running, and the world’s most amazing sport ever, dragon boat. 

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