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How to minimize the clothes your children own

by Natalie George August 22, 2016

How to minimize the clothes your children own

How do you buy for kids? Where do you get good quality clothes? How many do you have? What styles?

I shared some of my ideas about clothes with book club members and many of them asked that I write a post to share my suggestions and ideas. 

As a family of 6, we have lots of clothes, in many different sizes. Because we have so many kids we want to buy clothing that is well made with strong, quality materials so that they will hold up and can be passed along. With that said, usually this type of clothing costs more money up front (though savings in the long run can be significant). In an effort to minimize what we purchase and make it more affordable, I have made a condensed list of what we need each season and how many of each piece we purchase.

Here is how I lay it out.

When purchasing or making clothes for my children for the year I look at two separate seasons (instead of four). Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Of course there can be overlap in there but I lump them together. 

For each season, I first consider any instrumental pieces that are required specifically for that season.

Fall/Winter - Rain Jacket, Rain Boots, Winter Jacket, Snow Pants, Snow Boots, Hats, Mitts, Scarves

Spring/Summer - Rain Jacket, Rain Boots, Summer Hats, Sandals

Those are the key items I need for these seasons. I find that if my kids and I are better prepared for the season we are more likely to enjoy them and spend time outdoors together. I look through all the sizes I have in storage from my older children and then make a list of what I need for the upcoming year. If I have purchased well and we have properly stored our items, I will not need much since most of the items can be passed down.

After considering our seasonal items, I then make my list of clothing I need for each season and for each child.


2 Sweatshirts

1-2 Hoodies

4 Long Sleeve Shirts

3 Short Sleeve Shirts

5 Pairs of Pants/Leggings

2 Dresses/Skirts (for girls, OR 1 extra Pant for boys)

6-8 Pairs of Underwear

4-6 Pairs of Socks

3 Pairs of Pyjamas



1 x Sweatshirt (hopefully still useable from winter)

1 x Hoodie (hopefully still useable from winter)

2 x Long Sleeve Shirts (hopefully still useable from winter)

5 x Short Sleeve Shirts

5 x Shorts (girls can also substitute skirts in here)

2 x Dresses/Skirts

6-8 Pairs of Underwear

4-6 Pairs of Socks

3 Pairs of Pyjamas


I create a chart in excel and I include the child's name along with the size they are going to be wearing. I usually try to buy up a size so that it will last longer (I can often get two years out of the clothing as opposed to one). Sleeves can be rolled up and pant legs can too! 

 Child Size Sweaters Hoodies Long S. Short S. Pants Dresses Undies Socks
K 10


Again I will go through all my items in storage and fill in the blanks and check off what I already have available, then I will make my purchases for the items I still need. 

After I have made all my purchases I confirm with my list to ensure I have all the pieces. 

Obviously there is some flexibility in this list. This is what we find works best for our family. We are doing laundry  Therefore, we do not need many pieces as we wash frequently. We do our best to hang our clothes to dry which helps preserve the quality of the product, ensuring that it lasts longer.

In our next post, I will discuss how I choose brands and styles of clothing. I will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of shopping second hand (yes with 4 children there are indeed drawbacks!). 

ps. All these tips apply to my own wardrobe too!

Natalie George
Natalie George


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