4 Moms on buying and storing ALL THAT CLOTHING {linky}

4 Moms, 35 Kids

This week’s topic is frighteningly broad, and leaves me with 2 options: I can pick one aspect and beat it to death or I can skim over everything, trying to cover too much at once and leaving you feeling entirely unsatisfied.

Maybe there’s a third choice: try to make my post so entertaining that you won’t notice you didn’t really learn anything useful.  Oh, I like that.  Let’s do that.  Wait, does it work if I tell you the plan?

I’m kidding – or stalling, if you prefer to call it that.  Actually, I have LOTS of experience with mass quantities of clothing for mass quantities of people.  The question is whether you should follow my example or learn from my mistakes.  There’s a fine line, and believe me: when it comes to clothing for 12 you don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side.  You could spark a revolt, or a mass outbreak of nudity.

The trick is maintaining the general sanity and the clothing at the same time.  Not every day can be Nude Fasting TV Day.

Buying All Those Clothes

Buying is the easy part.  We love thrift shopping for everything but underclothes.  Shopping for secondhand clothes requires a bit more of a time investment, and nicer shops may have prices that rival those of some new clothes, but you’ll usually find much better quality, more variety, and it’s a good way to avoid pieces that are too trendy.  By the time it’s on the thrift store rack, you’ll know if the newest style is going to last more than 10 minutes.  We have a new way of handling clothing purchases and other personal expenses for the older girls, and I can’t wait to tell you about it in an upcoming post.

Did you know that Goodwill offers gift cards and accepts returns?  It’s just like shopping at any other store now, and in this new thrifty era even the social stigma is gone – not that some of us ever cared about that.

Buying becomes even easier when friends make it entirely unnecessary.  I do my best to let others know that we are never, under any circumstances, insulted by offers of hand-me-downs.  We love it when our friends cull their closets and give us that skirt we’ve been eyeing since the first time they wore it.  One time the Long ladies sent us some hand-me-downs, samples, proto-types, etc, and Oh My Word We Had Fun Were Blessed.  Can you imagine the riches that come forth when they make room in their closets for new creations?  We can now.

Storing All Those Clothes

Storing clothing for a big family is a much bigger challenge, especially when your home is smaller than the standard-issue McMansion.  In our home, the children usually store their clothes on the floor or under the bed.

Yours too, huh?

Well, that’s not the officially sanctioned plan.  The clothes are supposed to be stored in fabric bins on cubby shelves or hung in the closets, and we really do love our current setup.  The bins won’t hold up forever, especially when kids overstuff them with wadded up jeans, but they are cheaper and easier to replace than a busted drawer.  They also make for a cute, flexible system that can be expanded, rearranged and redecorated as desired.

Actually, that photo is from months ago when we first set up the system.  That’s when I loved it.  Now you don’t want to see it, though even at its worst it still looks far better than dressers ever did in our house.  Let’s just say my kids have the pack rat gene.  I don’t know where they got it.  Why yes, I do have 3 broken sewing machines and a serger which I have never learned to use.  Why do you ask?
Link up and tell how you manage clothing for your family!

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  1. Excuse me for interrupting.
    Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Chili Butter.
    Over on Pioneer Woman.
    I’m now returning to my regularly scheduled activities.
    (Doesn’t that sound delicious, Kim? That has to be my next bacon-wrap appetizer try….)

  2. Commenting Again… I love your writing, Kim, and thank you for the opportunity to link up with others!

  3. I’ll publicly take the blame for the pack rat gene. It took 15 or so years to transmit it to you but it’s all my fault.


  4. I have only four children, but I too spend a lot of time wondering how to keep all the clothing organized! I am a positive maniac when it comes to seasonal change overs. Inevitibly, I end up having some shorts that are in the laundry and don’t get packed away for the winter or vice versa. I have also slimmed down everyones’ hand-me-down wardrobe to what will fit in one good sized dresser drawer, with a shared drawer for underwear and jammies. I love hand-me-downs, but when my three year old had something like forty t-shirts, I thought it was getting a little crazy! Besides, I also use the “womens” dresser in the boys’ room as a changing table, as it’s just the right height(and the baby loves the mirror!). Eventually we’ll probably do a family closet like the Duggars do, if we have lots more children. And Kelly Crawford from generationcedar had the idea to use a small storage room to store the extra/excess clothing and organize it like a thrift store on hangers/ bins. And from there, select the children’s wearing clothes for everyday. That way, if something wears out, you can go to your own stock to add to it, without having all of it in circulation at the same time.

  5. SOCKS ??????

  6. Kim, I don’t think your linky is working??

  7. I love those fabric bins! Yes, we have some pack rat tendencies too – it seems to be a gene passed from one generation to the next. Now with a smaller house, I’ve really worked to “just throw it away or donate it”! With 8 kids it keeps everything more manageable if I only keep the bare minimum!

  8. Just wanted to share : I too love the fabric bins and plastic tubs for organizing but after Christmas I had half a room full of cardboard boxes so I searched on Pinterest.com cardboard box storage. Oh. my. word. There are SO MANY examples of how to cover boxes in fabric, ribbon, paint, etc and they look EXACTLY like the expensive bins and baskets you buy! I wanted to share this because you had mentioned that your fabric bins wouldn’t last long anyways. Maybe this could help with the cost of replacing them when they get worn out : ) I have made several now (including 2 that I spray painted the bottom half, added scrapbook paper to the top half and tied a pretty matching ribbon around center. Spray painting boxes works awesome. I was doubtful but very pleased) and absolutely LOVE them : ) Have a blessed day! Thanks for the article!

  9. That pack rat gene is a tough one to overcome, and is rampant in our home! My sewing machine is not broken and I’ve actually used my serger at least once, but they get not nearly the attention they should, and let’s not talk about all that scrapbooking stuff!

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