I’m not a Pinterest Mom. In fact, I am both in awe and jealous of those moms. My mother has that artsy, creative with her hands gene, but that was not passed on to me. I am the type of mom who tries to make something from the photo and description, and it ends up looking like something completely different. This applies to my baking skills as well, sadly! However, I am REALLY good at saving money on clothing, like really, really good. That gene was in fact passed on from my mother, so thanks mom.
Anything that can make parenting more affordable and easier I can get behind. As long as it’s safe, I will try it. Clothing costs a fortune for kids these days, and they outgrow it as quickly as I outgrew the harem pants fad (MC Hammer, I’m sorry, I just can’t—it’s 2019). Hopefully these hacks can save you time, money and the often-stressful experience of shopping with your kids.
Shout: This product has saved me thousands of dollars. My oldest had reflux as a baby. She would legit projectile vomit across restaurants and herself, much to the dismay of other customers and myself who had spent some of my savings on her baby clothing. I went through bottles and bottles of Shout spray her first year and I am happy to report that 99% of that clothing was stain free after washing it. That liquid is magical, truly magical. I cannot recommend Shout enough, and no, they are NOT a sponsor. This is absolutely unpaid promotion of a brand that works wonders.
Hand me downs: That brings me to my next point. When you have your first child, ask yourself if you think you MIGHT have another child. If there is even a small chance you might, save the clothing that is unstained, not ripped, not stretched out and can be worn again. Sort it by size so it’s easy to find. While others thought I was crazy saving my older daughter’s clothing, I’m laughing my way to the bank (okay, not really, because having a second child isn’t cheap even with hands me downs!). But seriously, I think I’ve spent less than $200 on clothing and shoes for my youngest because I kept so much of my oldest child’s clothing in good condition. Yes, I schlepped it from house to house and stored it for years, but it paid off! And if you decide not to have a second, or your second is a different gender and most of your clothing is gender-specific, I guarantee that it won’t go to waste as you’ll undoubtedly have a grateful friend who can use it or it can be donated to a local charity.
Ziploc: But how did I store all of that precious clothing? I’m glad you asked. I live for Ziploc jumbo bags. You fold the clothing, drop it in, and you can store the bags safely under beds, for instance. They have built-in handles too so you can easily move them from room to room. These bags protect your clothing and other items from moisture and dust. My daughter’s clothing from 7 years lasting through my third child is proof that these bags work! Lifesaver, space saver, timesaver, all of the above!
Clothing that grows with your child: My first two children are a girl and boy. They really can’t share much as their body types are different and one loves pink and one loves blue. However, they CAN share some things, despite being different weights. How is that possible you might ask? Land’s End has great shorts that have adjustable inner waistbands, whereby the waistbands have button holes and the buttons make it easy to expand or decrease the waist for a comfortable fit. Some jackets and pants even have “grow” cuffs to make them longer for growth spurts, like LL Bean’s ski pants. Along those same lines, I love 3 in 1 types of pants and jackets for different types of weather. Sometimes these products are a bit more expensive because of their “bells and whistles” so to speak, but I’ve found they are an excellent investment and last longer.
Washing shoes: We know how quickly a child’s foot grows. But one thing I wasn’t prepared for was how dirty shoes get from seemingly the first time they get worn (and smelly!). I learned a long time ago not to spend a fortune on sneakers, but between school, sports, and rain showers, it’s inevitable that the shoes will get dirty, muddy and stretched out. I’m not about to buy new shoes every couple months, so I decided to give washing them a try. Yes, throwing them in the washer works. I use my good old friend Shout, whatever detergent you want, and throw them into the washing machine on a heavy duty wash cycle. I even leave in the insoles. Sometimes I wash them twice because the shoes are THAT disgusting. I don’t wash them with anything else. Afterwards I throw them into the dryer on low heat a few times. Then I leave them on top of the dryer to fully dry. Within a day the shoes aren’t quite as good as new, but they’re like-new. They look better and smell better too.