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Hand-Me Down Clothes System

Making the Most of a Hand-Me-Down Wardrobe

By Amalah

I have a lot of little boys in my house. Three of ’em. I also have four nephews and a ton of friends with little boys. This means I have approximately three million tons of little boy clothing. Three. Million. Tons. Barely exaggerating.

I’m sharing a few tips, tricks and general ramblings about hand-me-downs and how to keep them awesome — money-saving for you and exciting for your kid.

1) Stay organized.

Your efforts to recycle a wardrobe are doomed to miserable failure if you don’t keep the clothing organized. I’ve learned this one the hard way, repeatedly. This winter I determined that all the size 6-12 month clothing we had was off-season and summery. So I bought some warmer clothes for the baby and then literally tripped over a mislabeled box in the basement as I was pulling the new stuff out of the dryer. We had plenty of clothing for him, but for some reason had it in a cardboard box (labeled “COATS”) far away from the other hand-me-downs.

The best and most space-efficient way to store a lot of clothing is to separate things out by size AND season, then use those vacuum-sealed space-saver bags. I like to also include a written list of the contents and put it on top, so I can scan the bags if I’m looking for some specific (sweaters, hoodies, socks, etc.). But I also keep several roomy plastic bins in the kids’ closets for tossing outgrown or out-of-season clothing in between the big sorting/organizing extravaganzas. This way I can keep all usable clothing in one place so I’m not perpetually trying to permanently store stuff only to find yet ANOTHER stack of 2T shirts the minute I seal a bag up.  When the plastic bins are full, that’s when it’s time to sort and store. (And usually time to pull out the next size/wave of clothing anyway.)

2) Be honest.

You probably don’t need to keep every. Single. Thing. an older child wears for his younger siblings. Particularly if you’re getting hand-me-downs from other friends and relatives. Some of it might not be to your taste, or maybe always fit kind of strange, or is looking a little worn or stained. Do I really desperately need to hold on to allll these saggy-butt cotton jammies? And if you never put it on your kid the first time around, you probably won’t put it on the second or the third. (Ask me about my box of immaculate shoes with laces that never stayed tied or were a pain in the butt to get on!) Your stash of clothing can rapidly become more of a hoard, so don’t feel guilty about donating stuff your kid technically COULD wear again, but probably won’t. Better to give the clothes off to someone who will, for sure.

3) Sun solves almost everything.

It happens every time, especially with baby and toddler clothes. I lovingly pack clean, nice-looking clothing away and then pull it out much later to find it’s yellowed and gross. Spit-up and poop stains that I swear weren’t there before…are. For organic baby-related stains, let those clothes dry outside in the sun (or at least on a hanger rigged up in front of a sun-facing window) and they’ll look as good as they ever did before.

4) One shirt, two seasons.

You know this style shirt for boys? The kind that’s meant to look like they’re wearing a tee over a long-sleeve shirt?  They’re everywhere, in every possible style. They’re also the most easily recycled shirts in the world — just snip the long sleeve part off and you’ve got a perfectly-usable short-sleeve shirt.

I do this for three reasons: 1) the seasons change but my child’s clothing size has not, 2) my hand-me-downs are the right size but the wrong season (i.e. I need spring stuff in 3T but all I mostly have is winter), and 3) my children absolutely DESTROY the cuffs and sleeves of their shirts — particularly white ones. After a few months of messy preschool art projects and snacks, the cuffs and elbows on a lot of their long-sleeve shirts are hopelessly stained and worn out. But buying the faux sleeve style means I can still reuse the rest of the shirt. (Then I add the cut off sleeves to my emergency scrap fabric pile…you never know when they’ll come in handy.)

5) Know when to spend money and when not to.

After I had my second boy, I had a brief spell of “I’m buying nothing but AMAZING clothing for my first because I can use it all again! Wheeeeee!” I was justifying this because up until that point (he’d just turned three), he was remarkably easy-going on his clothing. I was able to pack away most of it. But then…I don’t know. Preschool. Three years old. A lot more rough-and-tumble going on at the playground. Suddenly his clothes were wearing out before he even outgrew them. And I realized that there was absolutely no increased chance that the $25 pair of jeans would last any longer than the $10 pair. Sure, maybe the less-expensive jeans were a bit more worn in the knees, but guess which ones he was bound to be wearing when he got his hands on a permanent laundry marker?

Things I will “invest” in are now pretty much limited to outerwear — a good coat (be it winter or spring) will last like nothing else, and is absolutely worth the money. I also don’t skimp on shoes (though I do love a good sale on good brands)…not because I have much luck reusing them from kid to kid anymore, but ill-fitting shoes are never a good idea, and as quickly as kids’ feet grow, I’ve learned that buying super-cheap shoes can mean I’m buying a second pair in the same size because they’ve worn out so fast. (And I HATE THAT.) And once a year I do splurge on nice holiday clothes for my boys. Coordinating sweaters and shirts and such for photos. These have all held up beautifully and I’m now able to buy just one outfit for my oldest and let the younger ones wear hand-me-downs that still technically match. Because the holiday stuff? Is always pretty much the same year after year.

Everything else is bought to be worn hard and played-in hard. If it lasts — and so much of it does, despite the cheap price tag — bonus. If it doesn’t, at least I know I’ll get my money’s worth and not be annoyed that I overpaid for something that got destroyed in art class.

6) Boost the hand-me-down inheritance with some personalized new stuff.

While I suppose it’s true that little boys don’t care about their clothing to the extent that many little girls do, I do buy clothing that I know my oldest will like. Especially in the graphic tee department. He liked trains, so I bought him a lot of cute train shirts. Snoopy, Smurfs, Star Wars, etc. When he went through a Harry Potter phase he insisted on every shirt being red. It’s not fair then, to just expect my younger son to be just as excited by these clothes. He didn’t like Thomas or Elmo, but he loved Yo Gabba Gabba and fire engines. So I always try to pick up a few inexpensive t-shirts that I think will excite him, and be something he enjoys wearing. He gets to pick out his own shoes (be it at the store or from the hand-me-down box) as well. I basically try to give him control and choices whenever possible, even if it’s just handing him two pairs of mittens to choose from.

Right now he’s pretty chill about wearing everything that comes out of the hand-me-down boxes. It’s all new and cool to him. Sometimes he declares that he doesn’t like something, and if I think he means it, back in the box it goes.  Life’s too short to fight over a pair of track pants, even if I know they were barely worn twice. Plus hey, I’ve got a whole other little boy to dress in a couple years, maybe he’ll think they’re awesome.

Now, we’d love to hear you make the most of your kids’ wardrobes.  Where do you save and splurge? 


About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Olivia

    February 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I’m into buying cheaper clothes, or thrifted, and if it lasts to the next one, fine. If not, no biggie. I also bought a fair amount of neutral and “boy” clothes for my daughter and that is helping us fill out a wardrobe for our soon to be born son. The other thing I do is watch for the end of season clearance pricing and stock up on clothes one size up. For now, my daughter fits pretty well into the clothing size that corresponds to her age so that’s working well.

  • Bev

    February 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    All of this sounds so familiar! I have 2 little boys (3 years and 18 months), most of my friends have boys, and I have many nephews of various ages. Clothing that I passed along to my friends once my oldest had outgrown it was returned in a similar blue storage bin a year later for my youngest to wear. I started out thinking that I would never have to buy my little guy clothes because we have so much from his big brother, only to realize that the little guy is already picky about what he likes (and doesn’t) in clothes. Add to that destroyed pants from too many knee slides, enthusiastic painting, and various unidentified stains, I’m always looking for deals on clothes. I buy a few nice things – special holiday outfits, or outfits for family events – but I look for cheap and comfy. I live for sales – I bought a cute shirt for $3 last week (at Old Navy, to be honest)! Everything that is in decent condition gets saved, and I either keep it for use by my younger son, or it gets passed along to another young boy.

  • Michelle

    February 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I have two boys and five nephews. All the kids are under age 6, so my sisters and I have had pretty good luck passing hand-me-downs between our families! I have always bought my boys new shoes, because I think it is important to have well-fitting good shoes for active boys. We live in California where it never gets too cold, so we have not needed to invest much money in coats/winter wardrobes. My boys love to have “cool” shirts, so they get a kick out of picking out new shirts with their favorite characters on them every now and then. I have a lot of fun seeing them grow and pass on clothes because when I see my little nephews wearing the clothes again I remember my little guy in that onesie!

  • Joan

    February 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    The greatest thing about the giveaway is that you won’t have to worry about hand-me-downs. At least for a season!

  • doug

    February 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Our daughter is the oldest and tallest of all of our friends’ kids. When clothes leave here, they go thru at least two, and sometimes as many as 4 other girls before they are officially retired. It’s really fun to see the stuff hang around for a while.

  • Krys

    February 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I shop the end of season sales for my daughter, and try to pick up clothing that can be layered, so it can be worn into cooler/warmer seasons. I like Old Navy’s clothes because they’re typically good for layering, and they always seem to have a color theme in mind, which also tends to help extend her wardrobe. Cool giveaway!

  • Alli

    February 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I may not be quite qualified to enter yet, but desperately want to win! I am a self-proclaimed “super saver” expecting my first child and could make $$$ at old navy go a LONG way!

  • Buffy

    February 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I am just a few weeks away from being a new mom. I am lucky enough to be part of a great community of friends who all take a role in making aure we all have what we need for our kids. I have just been gifted 2 huge crates of clothes for my baby girl- to-be. The last mom to have a baby girl got these clothes, and over her daughter’s first year, she kept them sorted by size and season, added new stuff to the mix, got rid of the ones that were in bad shape after her girl used them, and then passed them on to me. I’ll do the same for the next year for the next friend who has a girl. It is a tremendous help and shopping in the crates is really just as exciting as shopping in the store! You find that there are some new or nearly new stuff never been worn, and outfits you loved on your friends’ kids that now you get for your own.

  • Julie Snow

    February 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I am so glad you asked! YOur post was wonderful – I totally realted to ALL of it! I have five boys ages 3 to 15. I keep track of everything in an Excel spreadsheet I call Clothing Inventory – it is so helpful because I have less “digging” through bins to see if there is ENOUGH of something or whatever. I take it shopping with me nd I can easily find what I need to buy when there is a clearance sale. I can email it to you if you’d like. It took a long time to put together and you would just have to plug in your kid’s stuff. Anyway – good to relate! And YES I would LOVE to win the old Navy contest!

    Visit me at

  • JanM

    February 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I save by buying second hand for most things – pants, jackets, hoodies. I also buy longsleeved white onesies and t-shirts and layer them under summer clothes like t-shirts and sundresses.
    But I tend to splurge on good shoes and winter boots, especially since I live in a cold climate.

  • Shauna Amondson

    February 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    This is awesome! I think keeping a fairly simple color scheme for the basics and then splurging here and there on something bright is a fun way to do it.

  • Marnie

    February 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    The great thing about hand-me-downs for younger kids is that they just love them – the clothes are softer because they’ve been washed more, and the kids think the clothese are special because they were given by a favorite relative or older friend. Plus, I get to see some of my favorite outfits on another little girl who I love!

  • Susie

    February 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I was given soooo very many baby blankets and other things that I had too many of or no use for at my son’s shower. I was also blessed with gift receipts! So, I was able to exchange many things into an entire wardrobe for my son’s first year. And when we have a second child, a good portion of things can go either gender (or my daughter will wear green!). In addition, we are blessed to be surrounded by thrift stores, which is where most of my wardrobe comes from, so I’ll be able to share that shopping style with my munchkins. 

  • Elizabeth

    February 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I shop end-of-season sales and buy ahead. I have two girls with January birthdays, so that makes hand-me-downs work well. The Hanna Andersson stuff is more pricey than some brands, but they seem to wear it forever because of the fit, and it holds up well. I bought a clearance raincoat there for $15. My oldest wore it for three years, and by the time she outgrew it her little sister was ready for it. I think I’ll get 6 straight years out of it. 

    I am guilty of buying the little one new things so she’ll have some of her own stuff, and also so I can put them in coordinating outfits. Because apparently I haven’t outgrown playing with dolls. 

  • Christine E.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I save on  t-shirts and pants.  I splurge on things like sweaters (because i love them so… and they dress up an outfit) and shoes (because they need to be a special fit). 

  • Ashley

    February 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Our first was a girl and though I tried to buy “gender neutral” clothing, she looked like a boy until I stopped and bought girl clothes around 6 months. But at least it paid off when my second was a boy. Now, do you think he will enjoy purple? I did save some of the nicer clothes just in case some of my sisters someday have a baby. It’s just to hard to part with them all.

  • heidi

    February 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I am the master when it comes to this (4 boys). Winter BOOTS along with coats get splurged on because they don’t wear them enough to get worn. Those get handed down. And as the boys get older (11, 13, 15, 17) I’ve found the jeans can once again get handed down (but I still don’t spend a lot – Old Navy baby!) shirts get handed down but pants? Like track or athletic? Never make it through more than 2 kids. Honestly? 90% of their wardrobes come from ON.

  • Jenny

    February 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I really need to be better about #2, I have so many hand-me-downs that I just don’t like, and never put on my child, and yet I feel the need to keep them. Otherwise my sons wardrobe mostly consists of thrift store/goodwill finds.  I never thought I would be big into those places, but after finding so many things brand new (with tags even!) it’s hard to justify buying things at full price. I do love me some Old Navy though. 

  • Marieke

    February 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I splurge on uniform pants for my sons school because they last, and last, and last. The cheaper ones may be half the price but they only last a third as long (this is no exaggeration) But I love getting lots of tshirts (short and long sleeve) on sale for cheap — my son has big opinions on what kind of cool things should be on his shirts and this way he has a lot of options.

  • Chayary

    February 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I have two and two, so we do a lot of hand-me-downs.  I store it all in plastic bins with lids, labeled on the outside size\gender.  I don’t separate by season, partially because so many things can be used for different seasons, partially just to keep things a little more simple.  
    I wish the kids would just outgrow things\seasons change on one weekend a year, helpfully marked on the calendar so I could get a babysitter and do all of the switchover in one fell swoop. The constant needing to get rid of too small stuff and replace with the just right stuff, as well as the months of the year where I need the next season one day, but still need the last season other days, stresses me out!!!

    Also, I feel totally validated by your philosophy about spending money on clothes.  I have one friend who is always telling me to buy expensive stuff so that it lasts, the cheap stuff falls apart, etc, in the long run expensive is cheaper.  I totally agree with you, I want my kids to play hard, and I don’t want to be frustrated with them when they ruin something because it needed to last.  And I don’t want to feel guilty if I don’t like it anymore, and don’t want to put in on the next kid, or if the styles aren’t the same, or  what the kids like.  I do a lot of target, chldren;s place, old navy, clearance, of course 🙂  A few “nice” pieces here or there (nice being department store, usually, nothing designer or super expensive), as needed, especially for my oldest daughter….I also love “once upon a child”, where i can find the same brands that I buy, most of it in perfect condition.  And it’s fast, because it’s sorted by size and item.  So if I need boys pants, I go to that size, pull a few out, and done.  No wandering a store looking for stuff.
    Anyway, thank you for validating my basic policy of saving “investment” type of thinking for purchases other than children’s clothing.  The crib–well that baby has been used nonstop for 6 years at this point, and looks the same as it did the day we bought it (if you overlook a couple of stickers), that was worth paying for a good quality one.  
    And I do love seeing the younger kids in familiar clothes, and so far they are too young to have any complaints. 
    If aynthing, they like it.  My four year old will say when I pull out the new to her stuff when she grows into a new size: “The clothes got big enough for me to wear now, right mommy?”

  • Ang

    February 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I only have one very young little boy so I am taking notes on when to save and when to splurge. My only contribution is that shopping at consignment stores has saved us some $$. At this age (6 months) he definitely outgrows things before they wear out.

  • Fabs

    February 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Unfortunately, I don’t get alot of hand me downs, but what I do LOVE is our local consignment shop. I take alot of our outgrown clothes there and get credit in return to buy “new” to us clothes. So much fun. Sometimes I rack up enough credit that I’ll get cash and go buy new clothes at the store if I’m not finding what I need at the consignment shop.

  • Suzy

    February 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Hand me downs are great. Before I had my daughter, my sister-in-law gave me tons of them from her two daughters. We save on her day-to-day wear for school. If they come home with a set stain or messed, it doesn’t bother me because I know that I didn’t invest a ton in them. We always splurge for the holidays and on shoes.

  • Beth

    February 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    We have alot of boys in our extended family so we have alot oh hand me downs. This would be great!

  • Kim Kas

    February 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I’m terrible at buying my daughter clothes. I just go to the store when she needs something and buy whatever I’m drawn to. She’s getting ready to turn 2, so I assume she’ll want more say in her clothing in the future, but so far, she wears whatever we put on her. I don’t wait for sales (though I don’t shop at expensive places to begin with), and I don’t bother with stocking up at the end of the season. I’m lazy, is what I’m saying…

  • EmilysHollow

    February 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I don’t have a lot of people to get hand-me-downs from, so I buy a lot of clothes second hand via sites like eBay or ThredUp. I specifically look for descriptions that promise everything is in decent condition. For now, I’m saving my favorite old clothes, and swapping or donating the rest. So far I think I’ve been able to save quite a bit of money on clothes so far. I even got some good winter coats and boots second hand. 

  • Robyn Adams

    February 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Love Old Navy and hand me downs!!! Kids out grow clothing so fast that the clothes are usually in good condition!

  • Shari

    February 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    We definitely splurge on shoes. A trip to the pediatric podiatrist for an ingrown toenail negates the savings on cheap shoes!!! We try to save on most everything else – LOTS of hand me downs.

  • Mami2jcn

    February 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I buy clothes for my daughter in a larger size so she can wear them longer.  She doesn’t have hand-me-downs because she has older brothers.  I try to buy essentials for her like leggings that I can pair with different tops.

  • [email protected]

    February 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Our kids’ wardrobes, except for shoes, are almost totally comprised of hand-me-downs.  Most of them are on their sixth kid by the time they get to us (lots of male cousins in the family)–but their moms buy super-high quality clothes and then take great care of them, so you can’t tell at all that they have been well-loved.  (Also, at this point there are so many of these hand-me-downs that my kids often don’t even get to wear anything once!)

    Before we moved to our current location (we just did an international move) and didn’t get so many family hand-me-downs, I filled in the gaps at our then-town’s huuuuge semi-annual consignment sale.  They were ruthless about the condition of their consigned clothes, and I always went on the last, “half-price” day — so it was always a bargain!

  • jodifur

    February 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    School clothes I try to save on because they come home ruined, a lot.  I also love consignment stores for some of the more expensive stuff, like a sport coat that he will probably have on for 10 minutes.

  • Michelle

    February 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Save: tshirts and pants…Splurge: nice coats! Always save on mittens and hats as well….and I splurge on my daughter, since she’s the only one I’ve got. 🙂

  • Carrie

    February 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I have a boy and a girl so hand-me-downs are not happening. I splurge and buy a whole line of mix and match clothing for my daughter. Then I can easily create outfits and my husband can usually manage to do the same (sometimes. Dear god, is that man blind?). I’m trying to think of ways I save. . . but I guess I don’t. I do use a lot of coupons and I don’t buy my son anything very expensive because he is old enough that he ruins things before he outgrows things. I was so mad last year when his Hanna Anderson pants ripped well before his Old Navy pants had to be retired. I couldn’t believe it.

  • Kristy

    February 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Buying ahead at end of the season clearance sales, name brand consignment sales, plus I get tons of hand me downs from fellow moms at church.

  • Sarah

    February 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Local “Mommy Markets”! I have purchased a variety of barely used clothes for $1 a pop. Even better than my local consignment shop.

  • Liz

    February 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I find that if I buy my little guy t-shirts in a slightly-too-big size (e.g. last year he was technically wearing 3Ts but I bought mainly 4T t-shirts), he can get 2 seasons out of them. I also fake the shirt-under-a-shirt look and stretch the wear on the t-shirts by actually layering a cheap, thin long-sleeved shirt under his favorite tees so he can wear them year-round till they get gross or he outgrows them. His clothes are either destined to be worn by the new baby due this summer if we’re cooking a boy, or his new baby boy cousin due in April, so thanks for the hand-me-down organizational tips!

  • Jay

    February 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I’m lucky to live in a place where the climate stays pretty similar year-round, so “seasons” aren’t too much of an issue for me (except that hand-me-down tank tops and shorts won’t get much wear). I have boy-girl twins, and organization is by far the key. I have plastic see-thru boxes with girl 12-18, girl 18+, boy 6-9, etc. And I also have a big bin in their room for things to get tossed into as they are outgrown….and when it’s full, it’s time to pack it away / give it away and pull out the new stuff. Managing their wardrobe feels like a full-time job sometimes!

  • Sarah

    February 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I hear you on the hand-me-downs! I have them coming from both sides of the family – more clothes than we need to be perfectly frank. But its great, because we have only needed to buy occasional items (and shoes). I have stuff sorted by size & type, and have a 2 1/2 year old and a 3 month old. So as soon as the 3 month old is done, they are going out the door! (Hopefully someone I know has a boy soon! I already have an entire box of stuff that is too small for the 3 month old)

  • Amy

    February 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I buy ahead at the end of season sales for seasonal stuff (snow pants & boots, bathing suits). We also get a lot of hand-me-downs for our daughter and when buying to round out her wardrobe, I try to go gender neutral so we can reuse for our next kid (exp: once we hit a certain number of PJs, I move to the boy’s section) Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Cathy

    February 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I use hand me downs and consignments to keep my five children clothed, but I give boxes of clothing to friends and family instead of saving them for my children if there is more than a five year gap before someone can wear them. I would rather the clothing get used than be wasted in storage.

  • Joanna

    February 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I have boy-girl twins, so they’re not wearing each others’ hand-me-downs, but we’ve gotten lots of hand-me-downs from relatives and I shop community consignment sales a lot, and a lot of these same principles apply. Except my boxes are labeled by size AND gender 😉

  • Liz

    February 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    End of season sales are the best time to get good quality things like nice winter coats. I live in Colorado so the “end of season” sale in January is great for us since it will sometimes snow into May. Clearance racks are also my best friends! I almost exclusively shop sales racks for kids clothes.

  • Nessa

    February 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Our 2.5 yr son is the first grandchild, so his wardrobe is still somewhat provided by friends and family-thank god! I supplement with the deals where I can find ’em by season. Baby boy 2 is coming in 1.5 mos, so thankfully I don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe and what doesn’t get used will go to the next baby cousin b/c we are done w/2. I will have to take Amy’s advice on tagging the bins with sizes AND seasons though, as I’m in process of digging through mine to see what I’ll be able to use for a march/april infant when my first was a june/july infant. I also rely heavily on REWARDS and will sometimes wait to buy the kids clothes until I have some. Definately sign up/get credit cards where rewards are offered-Old Navy, Gymboree b/c they also send coupons! YAY!!

  • Stephanie

    February 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I have a 2 1/2 year old girl and another one due in 4 weeks. Looking forward to reusing a lot of her cute clothes even if the seasons don’t quite align (but we live in California, so it shouldn’t be a problem)!  My problem is the sorting right now of my daughter’s old clothes. It’s a nightmare!

    I love going to the semi-annual kids consignment sale to pick up some new-to-me clothes. And pretty soon I’ll be selling our old clothes too!

  • duchessbelle

    February 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t have kids but I usually splurge on nice-ish jeans and save on basic tshirts, things that I know I can always fine (white v-neck tee, for example)

  • Megan

    February 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I loved your advice on knowing when to spend money and when to save.
    I’m a first time mom of a 6 month little girl and before she was born I over spent on outfits now that I see how quickly she grows out of stuff or stains it with puke or poop I’m learning it’s ok to spend less.
    I have been giving a friend who is due in march all my daughters out grown clothes, I’m only keeping a few key pieces I just can’t part with.

  • Abby

    February 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I’m big into sharing hand me downs – My son seems to be getting his wardrobe supplemented by his older cousin! I spulrge on a few sets of good solids pants (like jeans) and jammies, because they get used all the time. The rest I pick up as we go, when they’re on sale, and tkaing into consideration what I’ve been given by others. And I’m a big believer is sharing the wealth, what he outgrows will get passed on to another baby! (either sibling, cousin or friends baby!)

  • Kristen

    February 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I’m pregnant with my 2nd so hand md owns are about to (hopefully) come into play. I sort by size but I feel like I need to make note of seasons or it’s going to be a big ole mess.

    Love Old Navy!

  • Angela

    February 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Thrift stores, consignment shops, Craigslist, rummage sales and end of season sales. I’m always on the lookout for quality pieces for my son to grow into. I refuse to pay retail for clothing that will just get stained, and grown out of in 15 minutes. The things I do splurge for I will use coupons and combine them with sales.

  • Emily Murphy

    February 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Consign, consign, consign ~ special occasion & play clothes!  I find that the best play clothes are the ones I’ve spent little money on, are in decent shape and I absolutely don’t care if they don’t make it through a season.  As for special occasion, they’re usually worn once, so they’re in excellent condition.

  • Alyssa

    February 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I love hand me downs and I love handing them down again  🙂 I save on t-shirts and leggings and splurge a little on outfits for special occasions, coats and snow boots since we live in a colder climate. I shop consignment and Old Navy a lot – especially scouring the clearance racks for the next size up or pieces that can be layered. 

  • Mairi

    February 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I spent a lot of time at thrift stores picking through faded clothing I didn’t like before I realized that clearance racks were often just as cheap or cheaper and as rough as my boys are, new is the way to go. I also buy for the next year so my younger can get some stuff that’s just his without breaking the bank.

  • Em

    February 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I have three boys (4.5, 2.5 and 10 months) and I actually find that baby GAP is SO MUCH more likely to survive and get handed down than Old Navy! We have Old Navy pajamas that only lasted one kid, but baby GAP stuff that has been handed down to us by other families that is still going strong on our third boy.

  • SharonL

    February 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Old Navy quality of construction holds up to all the washing I do everyday!  That prize would be wonderful for my girls 5 & 12!

  • Laura B.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    My boys wear mostly second hand clothes, so adding some new things to the mix would really spruce things up for them. As my first son gets older, I’m realizing that it’s harder to find used clothes in his size since at that age, boys just ruin their clothing! Needless to say, this would be a wonderful prize for us!

  • Christina

    February 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I’ve bought a ton of stuff for my son at large church run consignment sales, they always have very nice high end stuff, which I never buy new. I wish we had hand me downs almost all of his older cousins are girls. We’ve gotten lots of baby toys from them though!

  • LibraryChristi

    February 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    We’ve gotten a lot of hand-me-downs, too. But I still have had to supplement my daughter’s wardrobe with items. I try to stock up during clearances and on good-quality consignment items. I do splurge from time to time on some things (like on-sale Tea Collection – sooo soft and pretty!) For the most part, though, the only splurge is on shoes for the exact same reasons you mentioned, Amy.

  • Molly

    February 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I hand down everything and have some folks who hand down things to us. I only keep the sentimental things that will someday be made into a quilt.

  • Moira

    February 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I definitely splurge on coats and shoes (my son has wide feet). But shirts? No way. He is HARD on shirts.

    Also do the reverse of your layered tee look – I actually layer the tees. He can wear all his 2T summer t-shirts over plain long sleeve Ts and thermals.

  • Rebecca

    February 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I shop a lot at bargain stores and also organize according to size. I also love end-of-season sales, especially the spring/summer ones because it is warm 80% of the year where I live.

  • tadpoledrain

    February 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I don’t have kids.  For myself, I just buy terrible cheap clothes and then wear them forever.  Forever and ever.  Usually until they have holes.  Because I’m classy like that.

  • Emily B

    February 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    With just one boy now and forever, amen, I don’t worry too much about clothes that will last for another to wear them–but I do like for my child not to look like a ragamuffin so there’s that balance too!  Winter coats and shoes are definitely worth the money–our son usually has one pair of shoes at a time, not a huge shoe wardrobe–pair of sandals (Keens) for summer, then a pair of Velcro tennies (Vans, so awesome) for cold weather.  Rain boots and snow boots as needed.  Added bonus to one pair of everyday shoes–no morning dilemmas over which to wear, and we always can find the two shoes.  Although a couple weekends ago he wanted to leave the house with a rainboot on one foot and a Vans on the other.  Okay, whatever.  It looked odd but he was happy!

  • Zoë

    February 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I have one son (7 yrs) and two girls (4 yrs, 17 mths). Of course, I have many hand-me-downs from my big girl to her litlle sister, but my best tip for saving money on clothes is having a Nanny (my mum) who knits gorgeous sweaters and finds beautiful clothes in London (it helps to have a friend who has a kids boutique – hello discounts) and a Granny (my MIL) with a sewing machine who gets a kick out of making dresses for my girls. I also get my staples from Old Navy and Carters, so I don’t mind if those get trashed at daycare, and save the good stuff (GAP and those designer dresses from London) for the weekend.

  • Katie R

    February 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I love the double layered shirt look for kids. It makes it very easy to mix and match a season appropriate wardrobe. As for hand me downs, I only bother to keep quality brands, knowing that the cheaper brands aren’t going to survive very long in our house!

  • Liz

    February 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I’m oh-so-lazy when it comes to dressing my child–thankfully, she’s the first grandbaby on both sides of the family, so I haven’t had to purchase a lot for her.

  • cassie

    February 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I’m starting to sew my own, and rely on gifts for nicer stuff!

  • Alexa

    February 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I have two girls with opposite season birthdays – January and June, so I do what I can. Generally somethings are a little too big or for outfits that I loved we layer. I just did a big clothes overhaul this weekend and donated a lot of stuff. What I’m finding is that I don’t need to keep that much. I just need to hold on to my favorite things that fit well. On top of the hand me downs, my girls are still the only grandchildren so the baby is still getting a decent amount of new things too.

  • Gina

    February 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    We’re also big on hand-me-downs and reusing things.  And I never thought to cut off the sleeves of the long-sleeved under short-sleeved t’s, but that is perfect!  My preschoolers, like yours, ruin those sleeves!  I love that my little guy will still get to rock his superhero t’s once I cut off the yucky sleeves!  Brilliant!

  • Sarah M.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I splurge on shoes and save on everything else. fingers crossed for this giveaway!

  • Franca Bollo

    February 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Yay to free stuff!

  • Stacie

    February 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I have watch for deals for my two girls and have had a lot of luck at garage sales/consignments…but it would be so nice and a special treat to buy some clothes that aren’t last season’s styles! We love Old Navy

  • mary d

    February 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I have 2 boys almost exactly 4 years apart. I ditch the stuff I never liked the first time (consign if nice enough, donate or throw away if not) and save the rest. Then when I pull it out (bins everywhere labeled “3T summer”, etc) I take another look.

    When either of them outgrows something, it goes into a paper bag in the toddler’s room. When the bag is full, I sort into “keep, consign, donate, toss” immediately.

    My older son loved trucks, tanks, etc. The younger one has a thing for puppies. So we supplement his hand-me-downs with clothes with puppies.

    Shoes I do not save — everyone deserves new shoes and especially since shoes form to their feet, the younger guy needs new ones. But coats I do.

    I’m finding, like you do, that as they get older, there’s less to save for the next one — it gets worn out before being outgrown. I find the same thing at the consignment sales — not as much there to choose from for the bigger kids.

  • SarahB

    February 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve only gone through one size of baby clothes yet, but I noticed that I felt like I needed to hang on to everything, but after a couple of months of my baby in the next size up, I had a clearer head about what we used and didn’t and what I really loved and didn’t and could pass items off more easily.

  • Debra

    February 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I also splurge on coats and boots.  My eldest is a girl and then I have two small boys.  I did try talking my middle boy into wearing his big sister’s coat but even at three he seemed to mind that it was bright pink. 🙂
    I love shopping at local thrift stores, particularly “Once Upon a Child”

  • Melanie Lee

    February 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Great Post! Thanks for the tips

  • Jimmy

    February 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    My son is the seventh grandbaby on my side of the family.  All the others are boys except for the oldest girl. We are generally flush with hand-me-down clothing.  If it’s coming our way for free we aren’t bashful about being picky.  If we don’t like it, we donate it or pass it along.  Everyone is aware of this, and seems cool with it (I’m guessing because the clothes keep coming). 

    When we do shop for baby clothes, we go to consignment shops (especially the ones in nice neighborhoods – like Wiggle Room in Bethesda) for a few reasons:

    1) The people donating clothes there often have the money to buy nicer clothes for their kids than we ever would in a million years.  

    2) Since everything is donated at the consignment shop, we get those nice clothes for a lot less money than the retail price – even if they have never been worn (and we’ve bought stuff there with the tag still on before).  

    3) We can “sell” back the clothes we no longer need or the hand-me-downs that didn’t fit our “style.”  When you do this at consignment shops you build up a store credit that you can then later use to buy other clothes.  

    At this point we rarely buy things full price.  If we must retail shop, we go online and try to find good deals.  

    An important tip about consignment shopping (or any clothing shopping for that matter): shop often, buy infrequently.  That is, try to go shopping on a regular basis to see if there is anything out there you like for the price you’re willing to pay. But don’t feel the need to buy something every time you go.  You find better and cheaper stuff this way.  

  • Cheryl

    February 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I do a combo of things…hand me downs, end of season sales, good regular season sales, second-hand, whatever works. With a new baby girl on the way, this would be very helpful since my other two are boys.

  • Chinyere

    February 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    In the beginning when my daughter didn’t know any better, we dressed her in her brother’s hand me downs (yellow and green is very “do-able” for a girl). But now, being five and 7, this no longer works. She is verrrrry girly and since he isn’t growing as quickly, there is very little to hand down. We save by shopping EVERYTHING on sale. As long as it is quality and not cheaply-made clothing, this works just fine. They get to have a couple “special” items for their wardrobe. For my son this means a Devin Hester (football) and Derrick Rose (basketball) jersey, and an animal print fur vest and shiny pink cowgirl boots for my daughter. Everything else is pretty simple.

  • natalie

    February 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Love hand me downs, consignment stores and of course, Old Navy!

  • Sabrina

    February 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I agree, splurge on coats and shoes. I’ve been known to remove girlie embellishments from my daughters old clothes so my son could wear them! Ha, don’t know if I can get away with that much longer! 🙂

  • Randi

    February 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    My boys have older cousins as well, so we also have a lot of hand-me-downs. Which is great for not having to spend a lot of money, but sometimes it’s nice to go out and buy new clothes on them. I would absolutely love to “shop til I drop” at Old Navy!

  • Eileen

    February 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I sell clothes we don’t need any more at consignment sales. And anything I make at the sales, I spend at the sales, so clothes for the kids cost me basically nothing. Another benefit of consigning – you usually get to shop early, so you get the good deals first! Also, whenever I go to a store, I hit the kid’s clearance rack and can usually find something worthwhile for just a buck or two. Shoes are the one thing I splurge on.

  • Nancy

    February 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I buy clothing big. Then I know that my 7 year old will have time to wear things, as will her 6 year old sister.

  • johannah Steffens

    February 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Have 1 son we did and do(depending) hand me downs. I also buy from thirft stores swaps and ebay when saving money for clothes.I do love splurge,but do it w/ clearance items,sales coupons/codes. When clothes get outgrown i either give them to someone else who might need them, donate back to thrift store or sell them on ebay for some extra cash to use towards new clothes. If do have clothe(s) that can’t part w/ i like upcycle the item into something new

  • Jessica V.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I have two boys and do a lot of the things that you do to save clothing. I was a total shopper with my first – so we have a TON of stuff that my youngest can and does use, but I also get a kick out of getting a few new pieces for him. If I see a fun, bright colored t-shirt that catches my eye (and is cheap), I’ll pick it up. Shirts get so stained and faded that I don’t feel bad about adding to his wardrobe occasionally. I also love the idea of snipping the sleeves off of those “double sleeved” shirts to extend their life into warmer seasons. Every few months I cull both of their drawers and pull out the bins of hand-me-downs to see what I need to put into rotation, set aside for the younger one or donate altogether. Then, I pack up a box of the best things that my youngest has outgrown and ship it to my cousin who also has 2 boys. So our clothes get a lot of use out of them!

  • Amy @ Binkytowne

    February 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I shop Gap and Old Navy for things that can be handed down between brothers, socks, tee-shirts, holiday sweaters. For pants it’s EBay all the way. They burn through the knees way too fast to purchase at full price!!

  • Lizzy

    February 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    We have been blessed in our church this year with many surrogate “grandparents!”  I have a few hand-me-down things, but these extra grandparents love shopping for little ones so much, I’ve not had to buy a thing, and my kids are dressed to the 9’s!  I have in the past splurged on things like Easter dresses, or Christmas picture clothes.  

  • Melissa

    February 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    We don’t know anyone to get hand-me downs from. It would be nice. Thats why I give my daughter age 3 and son age 9 months to the local womens shelter. I’m sure they like our hand-me downs. 

  • Weatherb

    February 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    2 girls, 2 years a part both born in the summer!! Bonus!!! My oldest is 95% for height and went
    Through clothes so quickly that when Sis came along two years later and is only 60% for height I had so much saved up that I had even forgotten what I had! I will splurge on outerwear and pretty dresses that can be used multiple times. I buy new tights and leggings for each girl since the get stained or holy real quick. Love me some Old Navy and Target. Good stuff without breaking the bank!!

  • sara

    February 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Love this post! I have a 6 year old boy, almost 5 year old girl, and a one year old boy. Not knowing if/when we would have the third child, I saved EVERYTHING. And, I was super organized – everything in boxes labled by sex, size and season. I was so proud of myself. Once #3 came and he turned out to be a boy, I just went to the girl boxes and got everything ready to sell at a local consignment sale. I also do 80% of my children’s clothes shopping at consignment stores/sales or eBay. I like to think I’m saving $, but really I just use it as an excuse to buy more! I do allow myself to splurge on new special dresses for my girl, or super cute shirts for my sons, especially the baby. While I LOVE to see the baby wearing clothes my first wore, I don’t want to have everything a hand-me-down. (Though, I love the idea about cutting sleeves off the layered shirt!) As my 6 year old grows, it gets harder and harder to find nice 2nd hand clothes, so I’ve been trying to find bargains and sales for new stuff. Was just looking at Old Navy and thinking about summer wardrobes! Thanks for the opportunity to win a great prize!

  • Kim Q

    February 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    We have 2 girls, so we also follow most of your rules for hand me downs. We try to get clothes that suit their unique personalities whenever possible, whether that be a simple t-shirt or a more splurgier dress. The hand me downs we saved from my first tend to be things for babies, where they don’t care what they wear, and the things that have “survived.” Our splurge items are generally shoes and things that either they or we love. (We live in Florida so the winter coat thing is not such a big deal here.)

  • Cammie

    February 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    My kids swap clothes with their cousins.  We sort clothes by size in marked bins a switch a the beginning of each season.  We are lucky that Grandma loves to shop the end of season sales, so everyone benefits! The kids love seeing each other in “their” clothes!

  • Rebecca

    February 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I put mine in organized bins according to size and sex. I like the idea of keeping an inventory though…. 

  • meghan

    February 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I don’t have kids yet, but last week I went shopping with my friend – a mother of twin boys – and we loaded up on items for her sons. All at Old Navy.

  • Kira

    February 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    We are all hand me downs all the way. Sorry kid #2.

  • EBR

    February 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Hahahaha… Our secret? Gi-Gi! (that’s grandma) she spoils our boys rotten.

  • RebeccaF.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    A former co-worker of mine was my hand me down source until she left and went to work for another company. Her daugher is 18 months older and I was always grateful when she brought in bags of clothes for my daughter esp with my husband was out of work. An Old Navy gift card would help so much with everyone’s needs right now!

  • Alana

    February 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Now that I have had a boy and a girl, my next baby will cost me nearly nothing! right?

  • Anika

    February 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I try to buy for next year during the current year clearance sales to save money & I love to get hand me downs that are in good condition. These 2 things have saved me tons of money. I only have one boy so far & I need to do a better job @ organizing his old clothes. Thanks for te suggestions.

  • Kate

    February 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Thrifting and hand-me-downs all the way!

  • Jenn Lewis

    February 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I pretty much buy all my baby’s clothes second-hand, or get them from one of my brother’s four kids. Since I don’t spend too much money on his base wardrobe, I feel fine splurging every once in a while on something really cute.

    The only problem I foresee with this is if our next baby is born in a different season than his brother or cousins, we’ll have to spend some dough to make up for that.

    Other than the sun trick, I find soaking clothes in Oxyclean to be particularly effective at removing those unfortunate stains.

  • Mir

    February 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I am all about buying used (or clearance) at least until the growth slows down. My teen now gets new clothes—sometimes not even on clearance—because she can finally wear stuff for longer than 6-12 months before outgrowing it. The fast-growing tween can still enjoy his hand-me-downs and Goodwill finds. 😉

  • Cora

    February 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I find myself buying clothes for my 7-month-old daughter at end-of-season sales… and she’s my first, so it’s kind of a hard balance to strike! I have a few boxes of hand-me-downs from friends that cover her as she’s still in the awkward between-sizes stage (though honestly, she’s long and skinny so clothes never really fit her properly anyway), and if there’s any gaps to fill, I shop the sales. I live in CO where you never really know what the next day is going to bring you so generic short-sleeved bodysuits are our #1 item, and we layer a hoodie over the top if we need to. So this basically leaves us able to use all the options from end-of-season sales regardless of the season 🙂

  • Trista

    February 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I use I have scored so great like new clothing there. Also its nice to pass on some of our in good conditions clothes there as well. We do a lot of sales and buying things that will mix and match that way 6 pieces looks like 12 outfits.

  • Jennifer

    February 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I have clothes from my first child that fit my third.  I really don’t get any hand me downs for my little boy so I try to do a lot of thrift store shopping.  I don’t buy a whole lot of new.  

  • jana

    February 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I spend on my daughter, who is the first girl on both sides for some time; I scrimp on my son, who is the last of many, many boys. It balances out, I think!

  • Springsteen fan

    February 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Now that they’re older, I splurge on one pair of shoes per kid (can’t believe I bought Uggs for the 2nd grader!! what’s wrong w/me?) but I scrimp on almost everything else so that means plenty of Payless, Target, Old Navy, Lands End, etc. Preferably with a nifty promo code and free shipping!

  • Heather

    February 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I always shop end of season for big ticket items- like great winter coats for the kids. We need good coats here in Central NY, but I’ll be darned if I’m spending top dollar for a coat my kids will wear 5 months a year.

    We’re also big into layering. Leggings under skirts, long sleeve tshirts under short sleeve t’s- the kids love doing so and I think they look adorable. Win!

  • Courtney

    February 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    My second lives in handmedowns-I love those clear bins from Target that I can label with the age/season. Still, with two boys, I love buying new “matching” stuff!!

  • Sarah Ford

    February 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    No kids…but for myself…I always splurge on pants, as a good pair of pants are hard to find. I save when it comes to shoes honestly. My boots I’m wearing now I’ve had for like 5 years 😐

  • tehamy

    February 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    The tip about the long sleeve shirts is awesome! My boys are exactly two years apart and have been the same size, for the most part. It’s becoming apparent that my younger son is gonna be a little bit longer than my older son. So far though, we have been able to re-use most of the clothes from our older son. We’ve just supplemented with some new shirts here and there.

  • Clarissa

    February 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I now have my second boy and we have done pretty good with the hand-me-downs. But my older son was born in summer in Hawaii and the new baby was born in winter in Virginia, so I did some winter clothes shopping for the little guy. That’s ok, though. I try and shop sales, outlet, and clearance whenever possible. We don’t have any hand-me-downs from cousins because they are all girls. I store our outgrown clothes by size in plastic bins, and I think I am going to add inventories, too. That’s a great idea!

  • monstergirlee

    February 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I was pretty organized between my first and 2nd kid. I’d keep the Costco sized diaper boxes and kept one in his bedroom, and as I’d change out sizes, thrown them in the boxes. Also kept an oversized Sharpie to lable the boxes, put them in the attic. As my 2nd came along, I’d go “box shopping” for needed sizes. So much fun!

    Thanks for a chance to win!

  • velocibadgergirl

    February 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I have sorted all my little boy’s clothes into big plastic totes with labels on them. I also went through and culled stuff that I just didn’t like and sold it on Craigslist because I realized it was stupid to buy yet another big tote to hold clothes my second kid probably won’t wear, either. If I have a girl next time around, I think she’s going to be stuck wearing a lot of boy clothes. Maybe I can accessorize with pink shoes and a head bow? No, even then I don’t think I could justify a head bow…

  • bridget

    February 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    so far we’ve been able to reuse everything from the first on the second, but i totally totally agree about the shoes. the second one gets his own brand news shoes — the first just trashed all the shoes he ever wore in a major way. but we’ve also been lucky — we have a bunch of friends and family with boys, so we have a lot of hand me downs too. my brother just found out they are having a boy, so he said the clothes they buy my kids are going to start to get way fancier so that his baby will look great when the handmedowns get back to them. ha!

  • Karen

    February 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I save by buying the good brands used — ebay is my friend. And once in a while I splurge on the really good brands whose sizes somehow miraculously span two+ years. 

  • Clarabella

    February 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I have loaned out clothes to many friends who’ve had babies, but I have “tiers” of storing clothes as my son grows: give away, THROW away, keep forever, lend out. Sometimes they come back, sometimes not.
    I just shop as he needs it, hitting as many sales as we can, but his grandmothers are a BIG help with the clothes. My mother alone would buy him a new wardrobe every few months if I’d let her.
    The shoes are what kill me. He needs a new pair almost every month. Oh! And the pants this year, because he’s grown 3 inches. We are going through pants like no tomorrow! Phew.

  • Kari

    February 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    We have a lot of hand-me-downs. I love the tip about packing things in vacuum-sealed bags instead of boxes.

  • rachel

    February 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I don’t have kids yet, but I know that when my brother and I were little, my mom kept the gender-neutral stuff of mine to give to him, and other wise let the grandmother’s fill up our closets. My grandmother can still look at pictures and point out all the outfits she bought me!

  • dawn pierson

    February 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Great info, I have 2 girls who are 18 months apart. I love it because they can share their clothes and shoes. We stock up when we find great deals on basics. Like leggings and tshirts

  • Lindsay

    February 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I totally do that long-sleeve under short sleeve thing for my oldest, but I just buy some inexpensive white long-sleeve shirts to make his t-shirts from summer last longer.  Now that I’m having my second boy (in the same season, thank God!) I imagine I’ll be doing A LOT of reusing.  Thanks for your tips!

  • Ashley

    February 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I have two boys (3 & 8 mo.) & we are still trying to figure out the clothes thing.

  • grammargeek

    February 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Because I was hospitalized for the last two months of my pregnancy, I didn’t get to set up my own nursery. As a consequence, I’m finding things that my eight-week old daughter never wore but is already too big for. So I’ll just have to have another baby ASAP. Waste not, want not, right?

  • Lauren

    February 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Here’s a question for you: how do you handle the hand-me-downs you inherit from other people’s kids? I’ve received tubs full of clothes from other people (and I’m so grateful), but organizing and staying on top of it all is making me nuts. Plus not everything is in season and, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t like it all. Do you take stuff and toss/give away things right way and then put it in storage for later? I tend to throw everything of a certain size into the drawer because I feel guilty and then don’t use half of it. So silly.

  • marcy

    February 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I’ve been trying to keep things very well organized for the future. I just organized everything by size into IKEA magazine boxes that look great stored in her closet. And I try to buy off season clothes too.

  • Betsy King

    February 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I give hand me downs to friends and so far the karma has come back to me with great hand me downs from them! My daughter is proud to wear her big brother’s stuff. You just gotta keep sifting through things or you’ll miss stuff! Great give away! 

  • Kirsta

    February 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I love hand-me-downs! I usually buy mix and match tops and bottoms for my boys, and I try to do the same for my daughter, just to make things easier. Thankfully the boys are both summer babies, and the have older cousins who are willing to share. Now if only I could find someone willing to share with my girl so she wasn’t so expensive to cloth!

  • Erin

    February 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I don’t have a lot of family or friends who live nearby with babies or children so I actually stop by our local Goodwill to find a few nice play clothes. The Goodwill by our home has a lot of nice children’s clothes.

    For everything else I get a lot of clothes at Target and keep an eye out for shoes when they go on sale. With a girl and a boy I don’t keep a lot of hand me downs but do keep a few select things for any future children.

  • Craftimamma

    February 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I splurge on nice sweaters and fancy dresses for my 2 girls, although I ALWAYS buy on sale. I found some beautiful cashmere and cashmere blend sweaters on sale at Calypso Kids in NYC in 2005 and my youngest is still wearing them today. Same with Makie NYC, beautiful, classic clothes, almost affordable when on sale. Crewcuts too can have great sale offerings if you’re fast (black silk ice-skating print party dress from major sale in 2006 still in use!). I figure if I splurge on my oldest, my youngest will get the benefit. Those pieces are keepers and find their way into my good friends hands once we’ve grown out of them. I have used felt patches in the shape of hearts and butterflies and some embroidery skills to patch well-worn clothes, as well as patches made from other worn-out favorites but my girls grow so fast, it’s not too hard to keep clothes around for two rounds.

  • eden

    February 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Save- a nephew of mine is only seven months ahead of my son. We let my sis know ahead of time that we would love her hand me downs, and everything my nephew grows out of comes right to us. 

    Splurge? One year photos, and memory making type events or milestones get their own brand new outfit!

  • Anna S.

    February 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I try to save on everything. My daughter’s preschool has this awful black playground mulch that stains everything. So, I keep aside “weekend clothes” and “school clothes.” If I splurge on something, it goes with weekend clothes, but then I feel guilty for spending so much on something that I won’t let her wear every day. I probably should spend more on shoes, but it’s hard to justify when they get so filthy at school.

  • stacey

    February 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I’m with you on the winter coats, try to buy a few sizes too big so that they will last a few seasons. I just bought next years coats on clearance (from old navy actually) So far, this is working, but I also have young girls who seem to be easier on clothes than little boys and who knows if a growth spurt will ruin my well laid intentions. To change between seasons I try to just work with layers. Today that summer

  • Diana

    February 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I love this. I organize in “keep because who knows and I love this piece” and “give away to other mom” Currently the keep pile is bigger, but I will eventually re-sort. I really need to get those space-saving bags, great idea.

    My best friend lives in Germany and has a boy almost exactly one year older than our son. We went through her boxes of clothes when I was pregnant, which we then packed and sent to our address here in the US. 3 months later she went through her things again and sent me another bag. I love that the clothes are different than what we get here. Also, they never shrink, or change color, or anything, since they have all been washed and worn before. She also buys a lot second hand, so I bet over 70% of what we have from her was already second hand. I stock u on things we need more of, like footie sleepers, but I try to resist anything too expensive – this boy is already in 6m clothes at 3.5 months, and he is not slowing down with the growing!

  • Audrey

    February 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I’m still on my first kid, but I am saving hand-me-downs with future children in mind. One thing we do to make our son’s newborn footie jammies last a bit longer when he was too long for them but not chubby enough for the 0-3month stuff was cut out the feet of the NB jammies. Then we just put socks on his little feet that were sticking out the bottom of the jammies and we were good to go for a few more weeks.

  • Angela Kennedy

    February 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I have two boys and have reused as much for the youngest as I can. Everything you just said rings true for me. They are 20 months apart and I’ve found that they can both wear some of the same things like socks and hoodies. I hope to take advantage of this for years to come!!!

  • Courtney

    February 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I agree, we splurge on winter coats (we get the 4-in-1 or 3-in-1 so he has a big heavy outercoat and a lighter fleece-type coat). Do diapers count? We splurge on those. Otherwise, we are big Old Navy family–probably 75% of J’s shirts are from there, and half his pants. The other stuff we either get from Carter’s or Gymboree or when they’re on MAJOR sale, or are a gift from the ILs. We are lucky that the ILs love to buy clothes for J, so we get a lot of his clothes from them.

    We did accidentally buy J a pair of skinny jeans at ON a few weeks ago, and after mocking them and saying I’d never put my kids in them, he looks totally adorable in them. Hipster toddler FTW!

  • -k-

    February 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Not sure what’s left to say.. “Hand-me-downs” from consignment shops and freecycle as much as possible!

  • Babs

    February 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I buy $$$ for special occasion clothes for our oldest girl. I spend $$ for nice pants and $ for anything that will probably be ruined before it gets too far. Since I have basic sewing skills I do often cut pants that have been ruined off and sew on a cute hem of ruffles or something for shorts.

  • Kim

    February 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I am lucky, for many reasons, to have three daughters all born about the same time of year – one of them being that I have had to buy very little for the younger two.  However, I do stock up on basic long sleeve tees and leggings to make those summer skirts/dresses/graphic tees wearable year round.  This tactic has become especially important now that my 4 year old is developing a strong sense of fashion – and it does not involve wearing pants.  Ever.

  • DeAn

    February 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I always buy a good coat but buy it a size up so that my girl can hopefully get at least two years out of it.

  • Nicole

    February 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    What great advice, the cutting the sleeves out of the layered look tops is so smart!  I need to invest in the vacuum sealed bags, but never think to look for them when I’m out.  The kids resale shops around here are pretty hit or miss, but they definitely have more boy clothing than girl clothing.  We too reserve the spending on nice coats and shoes.  

  • kakaty

    February 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I have a girl and a boy so hand me downs are hard. But I do what I can – PJs, jeans, rain and snow gear… I buy quality and gender neutral so I can keep it for the 2nd kid.

  • Kelly

    February 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    My coworkers and I all share clothes for our babies! The garbage bags full get passed from person to person, once one kid out-grows them and and then a new one is born 🙂

  • Allison

    February 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Like you, I splurge on good shoes. I try to save on pretty much everything else, and thanks to coupons and sales that’s pretty easy to do. Am fighting the urge to splurge on more cute hats for my three week old son, as hats seem to be some of the cutest boy accessories.

  • jan

    February 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Like you, we splurge on outerwear and sneakers (but try to hit up sales for those, too!)

  • Michael Garvey

    February 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    My wife is like an air traffic controller, coordinating boxes of maternity clothes, baby clothes, toddler clothes, etc. among our closets and her sisters’ and friends’. All our kids are growing so quickly, it isn’t weird if an outfit only gets worn once or twice otherwise.

  • Katie R

    February 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I have #2 on the way and as soon as I find out the gender need to go to the dreaded (slightly organized) bins to see what I will need – everything for a girl and just a lot for a boy since it’s a different season than my first. I outlet shop for clothes and try to just do one round per season so I don’t overspend – boys are messy and grow fast!

  • Erin

    February 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    When I got pregnant with my second baby, due in the same clothing/age season as my first was I was so excited about the prospect of hand me downs! I loved my son’s clothes and couldn’t wait to use them again.

    So of course I’m having a girl. I went through his old clothes looking for anything we could reuse but aside from a few plain white onesies it looks like I did a terrible job of buying neutral for baby clothes! Oops.

  • Di

    February 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    this was a perfectly-timed post. i am hopeless at keeping all the clothes together. also my second son is huge and my first was wee, so a lot of the stuff never fit anyway. i know this is crazy, but my oldest has shoes from a huge store that everyone complains about but goes to anyway for the cheap prices (starter brand) that he wears EVERY DAY and they are totally amazing. my husband bought them because of course we’d forgotten to buy shoes right before preschool started, and lo and behold they have lasted and his feet seem ok. i’m keeping an eye on them, but for now i am thankful the cheap shoes turned out to be the best he’s ever had. as for clothes, i pretty much only buy from the gap/old navy site. thanks everyone for the many clothing storage ideas!

  • Suzanne

    February 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Love Old Navy.  I had 3 girls in a row, so hand-me-downs happened!  However sometimes things didn’t work for the right size and season, or of course, the fashionista didn’t approve of her sister’s clothes.  Now they are all teenagers and share what fits.

  • Heidi

    February 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I splurge on attractive tops for my sons, then economize on pants. Both my sons probably have 3x as many shirts as pants. My reasoning is that tops are what people notice, whereas they can wear the same pants several times a week without it being obvious. I also have given up on buying cute sweaters for them, since they very rarely wear them.

    Regarding storage, I differ from Amy and store items I’m saving for my younger son by type of item (such as “short-sleeve shirts” or “long pants”) rather than season or size. Sizing can vary quite a bit from one manufacturer to another, and I’ve just found it more efficient to be able to go to the storage container and grab items that appear to be roughly the same size. In fact, I’ve sometimes been surprised to learn that my son could wear an item sized quite differently from his age, thus meaning that he gets more wear from something he could have outgrown by the time he’s the size appearing on the tag.

  • Kimberly

    February 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I have the benefit of getting hand-me-downs from my nephew for my oldest son. His father (my brother) loves shoes and so we are fortunate to have a collection of sneakers and dress shoes that were hardly worn. Now pregnant with my second boy, I am always thinking about hand-me-downs.

    I splurge on sneakers, especially since my son wears them every single day. I also buy quality pants. My MIL splurges on fancy clothes for special holidays, ie Easter, Christmas.

    I save on everyday wear such as long-sleeve Ts and socks. My mom buys me PJs on clearance. They get pilled and washed so often, they look terrible second time around. Best not to bother with the expensive kind.

  • Rachel N

    February 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    We’ve got two girls, one of whom is super girly and the other who is not so much. BUT, the super girly one HATES for things to match and is the younger of the two, so she pulls random pieces out of the older girl’s hand me downs and creates new outfits.

    We also splurge on good quality shoes and outerwear that will last. Otherwise, I have to say I go for fairly cheap clothes, because my girls grow like WEEDS. They don’t wear them for longer than 4 or 5 months before they outgrow them. So paying a ton for clothes is silly.

  • Kate F

    February 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    We have made out like bandits at the twice-annual sale organized by a local suburb’s parenting group. Especially for infant stuff, so much of which is given as a gift and never worn–we really, really cleaned up and  I barely bought anything new except onesies and PJs. Now that my son is a toddler the options aren’t as good, so I’m trying to be saavy about sales at places like Gymboree, where coupons and clearance can combine to crazy effect (as in, $80 for $450 of fall clothes at the end of last winter). Now we will see if #2, due at the same time of year, is another boy….

  • Heather

    February 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I’m right there with you– I pay more money for good shoes and outerwear, one special holiday dress for Christmas and Easter (but I usually end up using a coupon or finding a sale!) and then the rest I buy inexpensively. When I packed away the clothes from my oldest (and currently only) child in anticipation of a someday sibling, I made sure I weeded out anything that hadn’t held up or I didn’t like the first time around, to save myself the trouble in the future! I also made sure I labeled each box by size AND season, so I can take a better estimate of what I have when its time to pull the out again! 🙂

  • Michele

    February 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I am expecting my first in May and plan do use as much hand-me-down gear and clothing as possible. I’ve gotten a good start by wearing almost exclusively used maternity clothes.

  • Kathleen

    February 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I am lucky to receive hand-me-downs for my son and daughter from family members and friends with older children, but each season I buy 2 or 3 pieces of new clothing from Old Navy for each of them.  Usually I’ll buy a special dress for my daughter and a handsome outfit for my son… I am a single mom and have very little money so when I do get those special outfits for them it means a great deal to me.  And I make sure to save all the clothes my kids grow out of to pass on to the younger generations!

  • Christine

    February 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Hmm….I really don’t splurge much at all — maybe if it’s a special occasion I might a little, but I really can’t justify spending a lot of money on items that will be outgrown so quickly. I do try to shop end of season clearance sales, but predicting what size my kid will be is challenging. I’ve also learned – the hard way – not to buy something ONLY because it’s a good price. It still needs to be functional and something my daughter is actually likely to wear! We do a lot of leggings and tights for my daughter — I am constantly buying those! She wants to wear a dress every single day, so she has tons of short sleeved cotton dresses – we layer with the tights or leggings and long sleeved shirts in the winter!

  • Hillary

    February 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I’m not a mom, but I love Old Navy!

  • bessie.viola

    February 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I have a little girl who LOVES clothes – particularly dresses. I try to buy dresses to last, as they can often have a second life as a long tunic-style shirt once she starts getting too tall. I tend to splurge on outerwear and shoes, like Amy wrote – I swear by Stride-Rite for shoes and Osh-Kosh for outerwear (though you simply cannot beat the cuteness of Old Navy’s dress coats! Hot pink peacoat this year, and I die a little every time she wears it).

  • Anne

    February 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I am planning on doing a lot of clothing-swapping with friends and relatives to get the most out of kids’ clothes. (I’m currently pregnant with my first!)

  • Nicole

    February 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    My first was a boy and my second is girl. I refuse to buy the girl pants, so she gets all her brothers pants. Most of their clothes are thrifted. Every 6 months or so, I purge and donate anything that they’ve outgrown.

  • Sarah

    February 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I have to say, I’ve had a lot of luck at local thrift stores–I don’t buy anything that doesn’t look brand new, and then I don’t feel bad when my kiddo gets holes in the knees!

  • Melissa

    February 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I have one son. EVERYONE I know has girls. So my hand-me-down strategy has been one-sided, thus far, just saving his clothes (organized by size, in clear bins, sometimes with a list of contents). Perhaps I’ll get to use them on a second, or I’ll have a nephew. If not, we’ll have a sizable Goodwill donation, and that’s great, too.

  • Lindsay

    February 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I have two boys, and my younger son is almost always in hand-me-downs!  The only thing I seem to need to buy new is jeans because they wear out the knees so quickly.  I’ve been using iron-on patches on the inside to try and make them last longer.

    My youngest is, um, thicker than his big brother, so we might be in the same size before too long!

  • Natalie

    February 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I have a 5 month old boy and two older nephews, so 90% percent of my little guy’s clothes are handmedowns. We do not shy away from them, but I can’t help buying him a few new things because baby clothes are just so dang cute – even boy clothes!

  • Nicole

    February 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Save: especially for the toddler, on anything he wears to school. It all gets ruined anyway. On fancy dresses for the little girl, since they usually get worn once, I try to buy used.
    Splurge: pj’s, which last for years if you get the right ones. Shoes as well.

  • Miriam

    February 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    My daughter gets a lot of her clothes as hand me downs from her cousin. But that doesn’t stop me from buying anything cute that I see. I love Target b/c their clothes are always appropriately priced. And you can’t beat Old Navy when it comes to all of the cute superhero tings. My husband is obsessed with Batman and I’m pretty sure Old Navy knows that by now. My daughter has an entire drawer of Batman clothing. (and a Wonder Woman onesie, b/c, come on.)

  • Becca

    February 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I had a boy, then a girl – so beyond the gender neutral sleepers I didn’t really get to do hand-me-downs for them.

    I did get heand-me-downs for them, and pass on their good stuff to others – two piles, friends and family (knowing their taste preferences) and Goodwill. Now my babies are 13 and 10, I’ve recently done a complete purge of baby/toddler clothes to go from 5 boxes (large large boxes) to 1. It felt good, and incredibly sad at the same time.

  • meekasmommy

    February 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    My daughter is my first, but her (girl) cousin is EXACTLY one year older – so not only do we get her hand-me-downs, but they are IN SEASON! YAY! we splurge only on the things we don’t have handed down – socks (worn through by the first), shoes, and… um… yeah. that’s about it 😉

  • Kristin Freeman

    February 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    What an opportunity! I have two fine grandchildren who love, super love things from Old Navy and they both have birthdays coming up…would love to win the draw! My daughter, their mother has a list of families she passes their clothes to and she knows all the best garage sales, church rummage sales and thrift stores where she can snag Old Navy and other top brands to dress her children in style for way less…then she has money to shop for special things at Old Navy!!

  • souphead

    February 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    i’m on my first kid. she’s 7 months old (on Sunday). i buy a ton of Old Navy for her, especially during sales. my BFF buys her more expensive special outfits for holidays and stuff. At first I was giving all of her too-small stuff to a friend who had a daughter 2 1/2 months after me. Then I realized we still might have another kid so i’m putting her clothes in bins as she grows out. i figure i’ll start really organizing when i’ve filled 2 bins. thanks for the great tips!

  • Kate

    February 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I have a 16 month old daughter, so I have saved all of her (very gently used) clothes in bins. She has a 3 year old girl cousin that is the best dressed kid I know, and we’ve been the lucky recipient of all of her hand-me-downs. Unfortunately, after 2T size, she started getting hard on her clothes and the hand-me-downs will stop soon!

  • The Mommy Therapy

    February 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I have two boys and then a little girl and feel like I am constantly swimming in all of their clothing. For my oldest, I try to shop resale stores for outerwear and nicer pants, otherwise I mostly stick to Old Navy and deeply discounted Gap.

    My middle son doesn’t mind the hand me downs, but I too try to do graphic tees that fit his personality, and I have had to buy more elastic waist pants due to his more ample middle than his big brother.

    What throws me the most is the little girl hand me downs that I receive from three different people. I am grateful for them, for sure, but since I didn’t purchase them I am constantly overwhelmed by the quantity and trying to figure out what goes with what. I try to sort all of hers by size and season as I get them and be totally honest with myself if I know I simply don’t see myself putting it on her. Some things are cute, but just not her. When purchasing new things, I try to stick to solids mostly so everything can blend more easily together and I know I’m more likely to use it all.

  • Amy

    February 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Yeah I have SOOO much clothes in storage from our 2 year old son — just in case for baby #2. I’m hoping for a girl, but there’s no way I’m buying all new clothes. I figure the sleepwear and many other things can be worn from boy to girl.  (Maybe not the stuff that says “I’m All Boy!” lol)

  • Kara

    February 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    For old stains that appear after storage, I have had good luck with a paste of Oxyclean.

    I’m currently trying to find some ways to use some of my son’s clothing for my newborn girl. One thing that has worked is taking a onsie from my son’s old wardrobe and adding a girlie iron-on applique, and, voila, convert a “boy’s onsie” to a “girl’s onsie.” Plus, if you use a large applique, it’ll cover old stains, too. 🙂

  • Carreyk

    February 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I buy a lot of Old Navy. A lot. A lot.

  • Judi

    February 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    pretty much the same as you – since i have a girl who is just as into shoes as her mom (whee!), i will ‘splurge’ on shoes. but even then, my splurge is still under $40 and i’m well aware i could be splurging way more. no thank you!

    i tend to just watch sales and stock up when i see a great sale or come across a killer coupon code. and (for real, not just saying this) – old navy is aaalways one of our faves, so this gift card would be AMAZING!

  • Lindsey

    February 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I just have one son. I used to bag everything up and give it to a couple of friends who have younger sons. More recently, we take it all to a local charity. Fortunately, none of my friends really need the hand me downs but I know that they will go to good use for a family that does.

  • Sarah

    February 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks for the post! Any tips on hand-me-down maternity clothes? I was just given/ loaned a ton, but have no idea how to adapt them for the season …

  • Wedge

    February 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    our pile of saved clothes from my 3 year old is reaching epic levels… spilled out of the top of his closet, into the floor of our walk in closet, which is threatening to not be walkable soon. It’s like an episode of hoarders.

  • Ris

    February 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I love the idea of thrifting and swapping–it’s easy on the wallet AND the environment. It’s also a nice feeling to be able to pass along something you didn’t use but know someone else could!

  • Melissa

    February 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    The snipping the sleeves idea is genius! I have an older girl and a younger boy, so we don’t do too much handing down, but I also believe in buying inexpensive clothes. We splurge on shoes, because my kids have my same weird hard to fit feet as I do, and fancy holiday dresses for my girl.

  • sarah

    February 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    As long as it is still in good shape I save it!

  • Mel

    February 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Our son just started getting hand-me-downs from a friend’s son, which is awesome. After us, boy clothes go to my SIL or several other friends, depending on what size I have to give away. We’re due with Baby Girl in two months, and my SIL gave us three big bags of clothes for her. I love the sense of community that I get from sharing any kid’s stuff, not just clothing.

  • Kristen

    February 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I just have one son, but I do most of his clothes shopping at a great local consignment store, so it’s like getting hand-me-downs. I spent good money on a good coat that (I hope, I hope) will last him at least another winter, and I buy Stride-Right shoes. Everything else I buy as cheap as I can-though I will splurge on a t-shirt once in awhile that I know he’ll love (mostly superheroes.)

  • Mama Meka

    February 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Thankfully we have neighbors with two girls 3, and 4 years older than my little one, so we benefit from all of their growth spurts and fashion explorations. Lately we’ve been benefitting from lost of winter pjs and socks, but we could sure use some new shirts for the spring.

  • Christine`

    February 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I get a LOT of hand-me-downs from friends and I shop the consignment shop. (Tommy Hilfiger toddler pants for $3.00? I’M IN!) But so far, coats and mostly shoes have been new, as well as socks (the hand-me-downs have been cheap and not stayed on his feet.)

    And then I hand the stuff down to other friends and the thrift store when we’re done (no younger sibling for us.) It’s a great cirlce of clothing. 🙂

  • Lesley

    February 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I like to save on most articles of clothing for my 2 year old boy and infant daughter. I tend to spend a bit more on name brand shoes for my son, because I feel like they are more comfortable for him and better for his growing feet.

  • Jamie

    February 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I have a 2 year old, and Ive tried to be good about labeling his clothes so I’ll be able to use again, but have definitely been lazy about it. One of these days I’ll get to organizing it all….

  • Rachel

    February 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Older boy has 2 older cousins. Younger boy has those plus his brother plus his new cousin. And yet, I still end up buying some new stuff bc the seasons and sizes dont work out.

  • Ally

    February 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    We have two boys and one girl and no one to give us hand-me-downs. We also live in a small town with only a walmart. I have to order everything online and actually find shopping at Gap, Carters, and Children’s place to be the best. I often get free shipping and can find shirts under $5 and pants under $10. 

  • Lisa

    February 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Hand me downs are the best!!  I’m working on pulling out stuff I stored away, by size and season, for my 10 month old.  The stuff I was given for my almost 3 year old was in such good condition, they’re being worn for a 3rd and possibly 4th time.  Nothing beats hand-me-downs!  Well, other than new clothes 😀

  • Jennifer

    February 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I have an 11 year old daughter and a 4 year old son – and no one to gift us hand-me-downs.. So, lucky for them – they get all new clothes… Unlucky for Mom!!!

  • Heather

    February 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    God help us if we don’t have a girl next time; we have an impossible amount of clothes. IMPOSSIBLE. Sigh.

  • jami

    February 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I am a huge fan of hand-me-downs, both giving and getting. I was dismayed to realize early on that even the non-girly stuff I bought my daughter had girly details and looked silly on my son. Luckily, I have younger nieces and a nephew, and all my kids’ clothes get a second life. We happily accept the few hand-me-downs that come our way (though I draw the line at ripped or stained stuff). If something is really not the kids’ style (e.g., my son will not wear anything with pictures or words on it, and he generally only wears stripes), it’s perfect for stocking emergency backpacks at school.

    I store all outgrown stuff in storage bins labeled by size, and it’s worked great so far!

  • Meg

    February 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I believe in ‘paying it forward’ — give hand-me-downs to others and they will give unto you. I have had to buy very few clothes for my first girl, and now the second is wearing third-and-fourth-time around clothes that still look sharp. We get enough new stuff as gifts, etc. to keep things fresh and we also have wonderful thrift and second-hand shops around. My best advice to new parents — ‘don’t buy stuff!’ Kid stuff is lying around everyone’s house who has kids and they are thrilled to unload it on you. You use what you can, and pass along what you can’t, and having kids is suddenly nowhere near as expensive as you thought it would be.

  • tiffany

    February 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Genius ideas!

    I have a 3 year-old daughter and like most moms I enjoy seeing her dressed up in dresses with cute flats and skinny jeans with hip gym shoes. However, my daughter will not wear the cute flats or the hip gym shoes. She will only wear her purple Crocs. It doesn’t matter if she’s in a dress or jeans or sweat pants or leggings, It’s Crocs all the time. I also have a one year-old son and I’m debating whether to someday buy him a pair of Crocs in the future, for fear he will only wear them and obsess over them too. But boys tend to be more relaxed about their clothes, right? Or do they care?

  • Kate

    February 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I rely exclusively on hand-me downs for my two boys (internal, and from friends) and I shop ON or thrift stores for my daughter; because all three kids have strong preferences (not always clearly defined before a shopping trip, unfortunately!) about styles and functionality, it is so nice to never spend very much on clothes! Garage sales have been a great source for us, too.

  • Angela

    February 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I have a boy who is an only child, but I have a nephew who is getting good use out of all of my son’s hand me downs. I keep all of his old clothes in space bags and plastic bins in the basement, and once the clothes come back from my nephew, I am going to sell them in a garage sale or donate them. He will be out of luck when it comes to 3T jeans, since those all ended up with holes in the knees!

  • Rebe S.

    February 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I don’t have any kids, but I have a thrifting problem. I am totally obsessed with buying clothes, but as a college student, I am also tragically poor. I hit up the local Goodwill weekly. Being able to buy NEW clothes at a REAL store would be amazing.

  • julie w

    February 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Because I have twin boys who are the oldest in our extended family, I create loads of hand-me-downs but don’t have the advantage of a ready-pipeline of hand me downs…One way to save on clothing is to shop my mother of multiples club consignment sale. and anything that survives my two boys is resold at the next sale. I like the sleeve snipping idea!

  • Misty

    February 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Wow, we keep hand me downs and rely on Grandma’s clearance bonanzas to get us through. No spreadsheets though. I have spreadsheet organizational envy.

  • Dawn

    February 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    For my 5 year old daughter, I actually end up handing down her clothes to my week-older niece since Noelle is so tall and Ky is so…not. My son is 2.5 and got some things from my almost 4 year old nephew but most of that went to my other twin nephews who are 5 months older than my son. And now my son is taller than the twins (no hand me downs there) and almost as tall as Kar (so again, no hand me downs.) There is something inherently unfair about all of this. But I love to get good solid pants as they are both so hard on their pants and a little less splurgy on the tops. Shoes are the one thing we don’t scrimp on (says the mommy who just got them both new shoes after close to a year. Yeah, I don’t know either.)

  • Marnie

    February 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I have 2 kids, 1 boy and 1 girl, with a 3rd on the way. I keep all of their clothes in storage bins that are gender-color specific and labeled with size and season. Example, green bin for neutral baby clothes (we didn’t know the sex before, I add big stuff as well if there are t-shirts or whatever that work for both), pink for girl, blue for boy. I’m a visual person and this helps when I’m reorganizing. Number 2 is a girl and we frequently go into the blue bins when we’ve reached a “when did this growth spurt happen, why don’t your clothes fit???” emergency. As we prep for number 3, I know the green tub is my first stop, especially for those messy early newborn days!

  • Adrienne

    February 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I’m a new mommy with a 2mo old daughter. I’m still finding my way so there are free tips and best practices coming from my end. We didn’t splurge on clothing for the little miss and it would be nice to buy some items she can grow into. Fingers crossed.

  • Vanessa

    February 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I live for hand me downs!

  • Jenifer

    February 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I’ve also used the sleeve-snipping trick – glad I’m not the only one. I’m hoarding a ton of clothes from my daughter until I see what pops out this time around (baby #2 due in March.) If it’s a boy, Goodwill will be getting a truckload!

  • Whitney

    February 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    My key to staying organized… using the diaper boxes the kids were in. I only used disposable diapers with my oldest, but I bring them down from the attic one at a time and keep them in a closet. 0-3 month clothing… they go in the size 1 diaper box. Very easy to know what I have and what size is appropriate.

  • Melissa

    February 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I’m terrible at managing even the off-season great deals I find for my only child! Definitely need to organize, so that we can find our stuff and then hand down the good pieces to friends and family!

  • cck

    February 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I’m all for hand-me-downs.  I’m expecting my first, but with all the gifting, I’ve been organizing pretty heavily.  I love the idea of space saver bags!

  • Amy T

    February 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I’m lucky to have been given a lot of hand-me-downs for my twins. I have much more for my boy than girl though. What I do for them to save is buy things like socks and plain Ts or onesies that they both can wear (i.e. all white). I splurge on few clothing items and save that for better quality food or gear!

  • Melanie

    February 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I save on everyday clothes too, but I love to splurge on holiday clothes. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving – I use any excuse to buy something pretty!

  • Kate

    February 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    When my second boy was born, I stopped buying the cute sweater vest sets and precious outfits. They never get worn the first time, much less the second. It’s all about basic, comfy knit pants and t-shirts. (Except for the occasional sweater vest, because, SO CUTE!)

  • Brigid Keely

    February 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    We’re some of the first of our cohort to reproduce, so had no access to hand me downs, and then all our friends who had kids after us mostly had girls and a million girl hand me downs so… we can’t really give away our clothing either. :/ At least not yet. My sister in law just got married, perhaps children will come soon?

    We’re lucky that we live in an urban area that has a lot of thrift stores. One chain, “Unique,” has everything half off on Mondays. I go in and stock up then on shirts, pants, etc. We got a great winter coat this year for only $2.00 at a time when clearanced coats at Target where about $20.00. That’s quite a savings, you know?

    One thing I buy new is footwear. Wearing used shoes is really bad for the feet, because the original owner’s feet wear out the foot bed that the new owner’s feet don’t match. It can cause gait problems and pain. So that’s our splurge, I guess.

  • Rachel

    February 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I like to splurge on things that will last and get lots of wear but things that have a short lifespan or can’t be worn very often are in the save category. I.e a coat is worn almost every day va a cute sweater worn only a few times

  • lisa

    February 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    wow. that would be a LOT of old navy clothes.

  • Erica Douglas

    February 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Hand-me-downs! My mom saved most of my clothes and my daughter’s birthday is only two weeks after mine, so our season are close (although my daughter was bigger at 7 months than I was at a year). My older cousins have only daughters and they’ve passed many clothes on to me. Two of my colleagues were pregnant at the same time and we all had daughters; one colleague was on her last baby so she’s handing on most of her daughter’s clothes as well. For the few new things my daughter needs, it thrills my aunt’s very soul to pick out baby clothes, so we are all set.
    I enjoyed Old Navy maternity clothes, so I would use part of this gift card on clothes for me. My daughter is ridiculously tall for her age, 99th percentile, so I would splurge on new long pants for her.

  • Liz

    February 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I like to reuse and recycle and my son got lovely clothes handed down from his older boy cousin. I think baby girls don’t care too much about what colour sleepsuit they’re in but I’ve found that sewing on a few appliqué flowers/butterflies etc makes some of the dungarees, jeans etc into cute girl clothes for a younger sister. The money I save I can use to buy super snuggley bamboo bodysuits 🙂

  • sara m

    February 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I love to shop Old Navy for “bridge” pieces between the seasons. I hate it when they outgrow a size when it is too cold to go into the bigger spring/summer clothes or too hot to break out the winter gear!

  • Kim

    February 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I have an older daughter and younger son, so hand-me-downs between them are a bit harder to work out, though I have convinced my daughter to go gender neutral on snow pants, snow boots and sweat pants so that they can all be handed down. I tend to buy off season at clearance sales, and then splurge on one or two “special” things per season. I don’t cheap out on shoes for the same reasons Amy listed, though I do look for good brands on sale.  

  • Jenn

    February 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    We love some hand-me-downs in our house. Half of it gets covered by a bib all day long anyways!

  • Elise

    February 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    My mom taught me the tricks of bargain shopping and I hope to do my best to keep it up when this baby shows up!

  • Emma

    February 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I only have 1 2 y.o. so far, but my save $ solution is thrift stores, thrift stores, thrift stores. I often buy unworn clothes with the tags still on them for maybe 25% of what they would have cost new. A gorgeous warm winter coat was our best find I think. The only things I’m buying new are socks and undershirts.

  • Nikki

    February 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Ooooohhhhh… An Old Navy gift card would go a long way!

  • Andrea

    February 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Swap them with siblings/friends. There I always some clothes to give and clothes to get.

  • Jenn Shock

    February 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I am getting ready to have baby boy #2 and big brother will be 3 when he is born. I’m so glad you brought all this up since I am about to start going through the bins of baby clothes my oldest has outgrown. 

    Target, Old Navy and Children’s Place are my go-to’s. They are all reasonable and if you catch a killer sale you can really rake in the goods. I’d say baby brother is going to have a lot of great clothes that big brother left behind.

  • Jessica

    February 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Of course I save on clearance racks and the occasional thrift outing, but finding a baby who is about 6 months older than mine has been the best.  Hand-me-downs!!  I splurge on outfits that I know will only look cute for one picture — red skinny jeans for example.  Not practical on a 6 month old, but also sort of awesome.

  • Lisa

    February 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I have three girls so everything gets saved, marked with size and season in grocery store bags and put in the giant container in the garage. My oldest now only wants to wear one of two dresses every single day, so I guess that means everything will be in great condition to be handed down!

  • katy

    February 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    i feel like we are organized with our hand me downs…and now baby three is a girl! So all my organization is being donated 🙂 Well, not all of it!  I am glad it is organized even if we wont be using it!  She surely could use some new clothes 🙂

  • Katie

    February 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I say buy for quality. Even if it costs slightly more, it’s usually more likely to survive longer in the long run.

  • Laura

    February 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I agree about staying organized.  I have bins and bins of girl clothes I have been given from many friends that are 3+ sizes too big.  Lots of great stuff, so I do want to keep it and use it.  What i do is label each bin very well, all over the place, so I cannot miss it.  And I try to keep to one size per bin since she’s out of the month clothing.  

    I hit up the church consignment sales a bunch too.  I figure I’ll spend money on the kids when they get older and care more about if their clothes are new or not.  You can really find some great things if you shop early.  And this allows more money for MY clothes!  🙂

  • JEn

    February 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I am all about the hand-me-downs from friends, and since I have two girls, I splurge on quality pieces for them that will get lots of wear from them both! I save on things like t-shirts and tops because they get most of the wear and most of the stains!

  • elizabeth

    February 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    In thinking about clothes purchases when you have boys and girls, i try to make the big, expensive purchases (nice winter coats, car seats, etc) gender neutral. My daughter only wants to wear pink legging, and that’s fine, but for a winter coat i’m going to spend 100 dollars on, yellow or green is just fine!

  • Linden

    February 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    With a boy and a girl, we don’t get to use many hand-me-downs within our family, but we do have family and friends with older kids who have been very generous with the loaners.  It is a HUGE job to keep everything organized and keep track of what needs to go back to whom.  And it is a great feeling to move the box of too-small-for-my-youngest on to the next family…and out of our house.

  • Dayna

    February 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I have a 13 year old boy, 10 year old twin girls and a four year old girl. The difference in ages/sizes makes it hard to recycle wardrobes but this is what we do…
    When the boy grows out of hoodies/sweatshirts, they get passed on to the twins. They all play sports and are always looking for something to throw on to run outside and shoot hoops. The girls also wear boys’ basketball shorts and sometimes sweats so a few pair of them have been recycled. The twins are different sizes so virtually all of the bigger ones clothes are worn the next season by the smaller. I make sure that she gets some new stuff too and allow her veto power. At 10, they are starting to develop their own style so this trend may start to wane. As shoes go, only the softball cleats and rarely worn dress shoes get passed on. My best advice to parents of tweens/teens who are into expensive brands is to find a consignment store that carries those brands. I think Plato’s Closet is a chain but we have a local independent place that only takes really nice stuff and I have scored a fat ton of Hollister, American Eagle, Polo, etc. for thrift prices. As for the 4 year old, the only thing I save from older sisters is stuff that’s in really good shape. Snowpants, boots, sporting equipment (sliding shorts, cleats, etc) and all the holiday dressy stuff. Trying to work out a 6 year program for the overall wardrobe is more organization than I can handle.

  • Liz

    February 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Having a boy and a girl and no older kids to hand things down to us, we tend to be the ones handing clothes down. I try and keep things super organized for the recepient by grouping like items in ziploc bags and labeling them accordingly. At least white onesies are unisex! I’ve saved a few dollars that way!

  • emily

    February 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    As geeky as it sounds, I REALLY appreciate this post. With a second boy, I need all the help I can get with organizing the hand me downs.

  • JenVegas

    February 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Organization is totally key! I learned early on that organizing by “age” was a bad idea. I should have organized by the weight category on the tags because I was constantly finding clothes my kid COULD have worn if only I’d realized that he was wearing 6 month sizes at 4 months old….We had a very generous friend hand-us-down like 4 space saver bags of clothes that I immediately re-organized based on size and season. But just a few months before this generous donation I had bought a whole bunch of jeans and tees on super sale in a bunch of different sizes to put away for springs and summers. At $10 a pop it was sort of a steal, now we have A LOT of clothes though. So, even though I don’t feel like we’ll need to buy my son any clothes for the next 2 years I’ll likely see what’s available the next time I see some clearance sales and buy some clothes for future use. I totally agree with you Amy, shoes and coats are no place to skimp. I bought The Kid a $50 reversible spring/fall jacket back in September that I’m almost sure he’ll be able to wear for a couple of months when spring hits Chicago. And while I always look for shoes on sale I wont skimp on where I buy them. I wore too many uncomfortable shoes growing up to put my kid through that too.

  • Shera

    February 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    We have been blessed with so many hand-me-downs. My fancy storage system for the clothes that don’t fit yet and the clothes I’m saving for future kids are piles and piles of garbage bags!

  • Lindsay

    February 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    We save with a little help from my friends (and co-workers!) … All of the women in the office pass down baby clothes when the next becomes pregnant. it’s a nice way to pay it forward!
    And i’m always on the hunt for a local swap or consignment event. 

  • Brooke R.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I essentially have a set of play clothes that are cheaper and a set of more expensive, less practical clothing for when we go out of the house and will be seeing people. It’s not a hold fast rule (see Tea leggings sale) but it is most often the case.

  • Ally S.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Second hand stores are our well as buy/sell pages on Facebook. Splurges don’t happen often, but Old Navy or The Children’s place.

  • Lisa

    February 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! My daughter has hand-me-downs from my older niece and our baby boy will have hand-me-downs from my older nephews! Awesome!

  • Stephanie

    February 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I have a 4-month-old son, and I’m trying to keep his clothes organized in case we have another child down the road. Thanks for all of the great tips and for the chance to win a great prize!

  • Kim

    February 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Twice a year, the local mothers of multiples has a consignment sale. Love getting barely used clothes for a fraction of the price! I also found that organization is very important with clothes, especially since I have 3 girls under the age of 3. 

  • Nicole

    February 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I love hand me downs! I air dry most of my girls’ clothes, which keeps them nicer. I spurge on one or two pairs of jeans every year. Xoxo

  • Liz

    February 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I love consignment sales!  I buy most of C’s play clothes there.  I don’t feel so bad if she trashes a $2 outfit, but I would have a meltdown if she trashed a $35 smocked dress.  I have kept her nicer things and consigned the rest.  What I have kept is piled in storage bins in her closet.

  • Susan

    February 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I have a boy who is strictly t shirts and jeans. He really doesn’t care what he wears. Where I am getting scared is I have daughter who is soon to break free of 6 years of wearing a uniform. Yikes. Her cousin (who we used to get hand me downs from) is extremely petite and my daughter has surpassed her in height even though she is 4 years younger. Again. Yikes.

  • Bethany

    February 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    As a mom of 2 little boys we are all about hand me downs. But I do love to add to their closets with fun new items from Old Navy each season!

  • Leslie

    February 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Like so many of you, I’ve been blessed with a ton of hand-me-downs for my daughter. Before she was born, I lovingly washed them, packed them up in labelled boxes and then…discovered OVER AND OVER AGAIN as the months went by that there is no $#)&%$ standardized sizing system for baby clothes. As a novice, I believed those sizing guidelines were the gospel truth. As a result, I’d reach for a box of 6-9 month clothes only to realize that some brands run small and I’d missed my window of opportunity. Now, I make sure to pull down the storage bags more regularly to see what’s coming up in the rotation.

  • Melissa

    February 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Shopping consignment for smaller sizes that barely have any wear and buying new for my older daughter in the off season for next year.  

  • Susan:)

    February 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I live with my two nieces. We were lucky in that my brother had two daughters first, so we inherited tons of baby clothes from them! I do like to buy new clothes for the girls too. I always browse the clearance racks and check out what’s on sale, and if something is a good price I’ll get it even if it’s two or three sizes up. I’ve gotten some beautiful dresses for my older niece this way, even though she had to wait a couple years to wear them. The wait is shorter than you think! She’s wearing clothes now that I bought on sale two or three or even four years ago, and she loved them. And Amalah was right, if you didn’t use something with the first kid, it’s not likely you will use it for the second! Also, we got a lot of clothes from the cousins that we just couldn’t use because they were the wrong season for the size they wore. But I also discovered that the size and age don’t always match, and that the kids can wear bigger sizes in some things and still be comfortable. For instance, my older niece is four, but tall for her age, so she wears anywhere from a 4t to a 6 or a small. She loves wearing longer dresses and we just tie up the straps on top. She’s been able to keep wearing her favorites a lot longer this way.

  • Jenn

    February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Now that I know I’m having a second boy, I wish I’d splurged more on shoes. His latest pair is from Walmart and the velcro started wearing off within a couple of weeks! They are cute though. He’s not at the age where I’ve had to worry about wearing out clothes yet, but I still try to be frugal about it. Love Old Navy jeans and socks, shirts I just get from wherever when I see a cool one.

  • Sanzi

    February 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I am not into the whole pink/ princess trend… but seemed to get alot to that for my 3 month daughter. 
    I loved your tips… already started with the space saver bags and #6 is brilliant- best way to give her some unique style 🙂

    BTW Old Navy’s have some pretty cute stuff… I love to use their boys t-shirts and onsies to offset the girly wardrobe “)

  • Teresa

    February 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I am only on my first kid, so I don’t have a lot of experience with this yet, but I am trying to label sizes as I pack up. I also got rid of stuff I didn’t like the first time around. 

  • Heather

    February 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Well, I saved all of my first son’s clothes for my second son. That worked out pretty well. The main thing I splurged on was cloth diapers, which I didn’t use on my first. Now that I have a baby daughter in the mix, I saved all of the gender nuetral stuff for her (whatever wasn’t totally trashed after the two boys got done with them) and gave the rest to two friends who happened to be having baby boys. Now I get hand me downs from my SIL from her daughter. What I splurge on for my baby girl is once again, cloth diapers, but this time in girly colors! The other thing I will probably get new is dress up clothes and shoes. I do try to shop sales though, and the grandmas just can’t help themselves with the cute girl stuff too ya know.

  • KI

    February 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    $500 goes a looong way at Old Navy!

  • Emily

    February 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I save by buying most of my work clothes at consignment shop, but I definitely splurge on my daughter!  I always try to look for a good sale, but when it comes to her clothes sometimes it’s too hard to say no even to a full price item!

  • Wendy

    February 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I try to save on winter stuff by buying at the end of the season ($5 snow pants? Yes please!) and since my kid is brutal on the knees of pants, I try not to spend more than $10 on pants. I’ve splurged on a few t-shirts for my son that I know he’d freak about but I very rarely pay full price.

  • Christy

    February 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I only have one kid right now, but I’ve saved almost every piece of clothing she’s worn in her three years. I keep telling myself that some day I’ll have another kid (probably another girl) and I’ll need all of this pink. We’ll see.

    When she was first born I got hand me downs from friends and family, but we’ve moved away from all of them so we’re on our own now.

  • Stephanie

    February 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I LOVE Old Navy. Single mom of twin girls here. Couldn’t keep them dressed without Old Navy!

  • Robyn Foster

    February 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I have four kids, and three of them are boys. I’ve been sorting, labeling, and storing clothes since 2002. One of my favorite tricks for off-season clothes is to buy each boy a new long-sleeved gray tee, and then they layer it under short-sleeve tees. If seasonally the hand-me-downs don’t work, that’s my quick solution.

  • Jennifer H

    February 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I have two boys and another on the way–we have a TON of little boy clothes, but, like you, I still like to have a few new things among all those hand-me-downs. 

  • Ginna

    February 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    My kids are lucky to have great hand me downs from the kids of my friends. We do buy new shoes, and make sure that their outerwear is in good shape (often bought used). They grow so quickly, it does seem silly to pay much for their clothes!

  • mere

    February 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    My kids are lucky enough to get hand me downs from friends and family. The only thing we splurge are on shoes!

  • Shannon

    February 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I save by having lots and lots of friends who all seemed to have had families of girls, which works out well for our little girl! Having the basics down lets me splurge on a few really cute outfits that I would never have bought if we needed more basics to keep her from being naked.

  • MelissaC

    February 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I have been the recipient of some excellent hand-me-downs. I try to go through the box and determine my keepers right away. Then I figure out where my gaps are. For me its usually body suits and socks. But knowing I only have to buy those things is great!

  • Sky

    February 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I am a clothing hoarder: I still have everything saved for kids I _might_ have.

  • Leslie

    February 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I save by buying future clothes on sale, and taking hand me downs on just about anything i can manage. Shoes are the one thing I splurge on because shoes should fit well. 

  • Jen

    February 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I buy nearly all my kids clothes second hand through consignment sales, thredup or ebay. And since I have twins, we don’t have a lot of hand-downs, more like sharing. I then resell nearly everything I can that is in decent shape. So if we ever had another kid, we’ll be starting over. The one thing I splurge on is coats and shoes. We got awesome LL Bean coats in 12-18M which have these sleeves that you can clip a thread and they open up another couple inches. We are on our second winter with the same coats even though my kids are wearing 2T-3T everything else.

  • elif

    February 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    We love hand me downs as well as used clothes. I also buy sale items at the end of a season one size up and so far mostly good. Shoes are always tough but as you point out, they wear through the cheap stuff before they size out, so I do shell out the cash. Thanks!

  • Michal

    February 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    My girls are 7 years apart and both are peanuts that tend to wear out there clothes before they outgrow them (my oldest is almost 11 and still wears an 8 slim/small). If I know for sure that something a little more expensive will last longer, Im all for it! The catch is that I have bought $30 jeans that only last for a few months while their ON jeans have lasted years…

  • Kate

    February 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I’m only 5 months along, but I have friends with several boys apiece, and of course everyone under the sun is buying the kid stuff already. I’d love to be able to buy clothes (and diapers, and wipes, and toys, and everything else) without having to listen to someone else’s ‘opinion’ but you know? It’s free. Screw it. When I finally do get to shop on my own for our boy, I’ll be buying at Goodwill, local thrift stores, and end-of-season sales at the local outlets. No sense in paying full price for something that he’s just going to outgrow/tear up, right? What lasts will be saved for the rest of our children, whenever they get here.

  • Amanda

    February 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    comment, FTW!

  • Kammi

    February 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I have a little boy and two older nephews who have four older boy cousins. I have boxes and boxes of hand-me-downs so this post is great.

    Love the tip about sorting by season, totally going to implement that and I’m going to give those space bags a whirl.

    My favorite thing about hand-me-downs is that it allows me to only buy the outfits I really love. There’s a lot of boy clothes that are just, eh. But when I found something that is really cute or matches his interests, I just buy it and don’t feel guilty or like I have a budget because I save sooo much already.

    And my favorite hand-me-downs are hats. Love, love all the hats.

  • Liz

    February 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I have a girl and a boy so not much gets handed down. But with baby #3 coming, there’s bound to be something that can be reused in the future!

  • Rachel

    February 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I’m pregnant and expecting my first – a boy – in May. lucky for me, my sister-in-law has two boys, one born in April and one in October, and she’s giving me all of their clothes, so hopefully their 6 months difference (plus a few years) will mean Il’l have every size for all seasons 🙂 But if not, wow – an Old Navy gift card would be AMAZING. Thanks for posting Amalah!

  • Emily H

    February 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I have friend who has children that are close in age to mine. We pool our cloths and they go back and forth. Some cloths may get destroyed but grandparents and friends are always gifting clothing. There is still plenty to go around and since things are floating back and forth there is not an issue of storage.

  • Rebecca S.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Yes, I hear you about not keeping everything!  I am drowning in baby clothes–need to pass at least some of them along asap.  But for the new sizes, new Old Navy clothes would be phenomenal!!

  • Cathy

    February 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I usually try consignment stores first and then sales. I splurge on 1-2 items for my daughter a year…usually a super-cute dress, but not fancy. If I splurge, I want to see her wear it. My son only likes to wear sweats and tees, so I never splurge on his clothes anymore. 

  • Jill

    February 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I have two boys born in different seasons, but as my 6 month old has gotten older and clothes sizes stretch (6-12 instead of 3-6) I’ve been able to reuse a lot more things.  I read some of the previous comments, however, and am suddenly terrified of having two teenage boys and the cost of their wardrobes.  I have a feeling jeans for a 14 year old are going to cost a lot more than the $10 I pay for my 3 year old’s jeans.  Yikes.

  • Laura A

    February 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    We have gotten a LOT of hand-me-downs. When things stop fitting I put them into a box at the bottom of her closet and when it’s full I label it and store in the basement.

  • Alissa

    February 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I shop consignment sales, plus Grandma buys oodles of clothes on ridiculous clearance after the season is over.  When I buy pants they are ALL adjustable waistband, for my super tall skinny kid who has no ass.  So if we have another, I at least know that we’ll have pants that will adjust to whatever size said supposed second child may be.

  • Amy K

    February 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I only have one child, an almost three-year-old girl, so I probably spend a little more than I should on her wardrobe just because I don’t need to worry about buying for clothes for siblings. I do purchase a lot of her clothing during Old Navy sales, and that’s what I send her off to preschool in, so when she inevitably comes home covered in paint and mud I don’t spend much time fretting about perfect stain removal techniques and all that. Shoes are what I really splurge on, mostly because she has super-wide feet and only decent brands like Stride-Rite seem to fit.

  • LivLaughEat

    February 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I save because Grandma would love to buy the Tyrant’s entire wardrobe…and I let her, because, why not? To fill in the gaps (sometimes Grandma’s choices are cute but impractical), I shop at Old Navy, Target, and my local consignment store (where I’ve actually found brand new with tag name brand clothing for pennies on the dollar).

  • kate

    February 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    About to have our first baby (a boy) in two weeks, and almost everything new he has was a gift. Everything we BOUGHT is used. I have a really hard time spending full price on something that’s gonna be spit up on and pooped and peed on…and eventually scuffed up, It amazes me how nice some consignment clothing is for kids anyway….so many people bring in clothes that have obviously only been worn once or twice, or sometimes not EVER….and instead of spending $18 on a onesie at Gymboree, I can spend $2.50 on something similar at once upon a child. Wahoo! 🙂

  • Sara

    February 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I have twins – so they share most items. I also buy sedond-hand occasionally. And I splurge about 4 times a year just because I love to.

  • Alitia

    February 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I save money by buying my 15 mth old sons clothes from a consignment store. I love their selection and prices. All the clothes are in really great condition and are what was just in the stores within the last 6 months! I do splurge on holiday and birthday outfits as well as the occasional shirt that I know will make his day to wear.

  • Jenni

    February 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I just recently had my first baby, but I’m following the system my mom used when I was a kid. Scour the clearance racks now for next year’s wardrobe. So, when I found out I was pregnant over the summer, I started stocking up on clearance sleeveless dresses, swimming suit, etc. My little girl is all set for 0-3 months and nothing cost over $4. I know I’ll eventually have purchased some things that won’t fit, but I won’t have wasted a bunch of money.

  • Natalie

    February 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I have three aunts, my mother and my grandmother who all buy clothes for my 3 year old who is the only child in the family…and yet we still never have socks or really nice neat clothes. At this point I just buy all ‘play’ clothes because they all end up being play clothes in the end anyway and let the rest of the women in the family buy the nicer stuff, since that is what they like buying /tend towards anyway!

  • Sarah

    February 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Love me some Old Navy for little boy clothes! My two little guys are spoiled by my MIL and we have twin friends that are a year older that give us hand-me-downs, so I actually don’t get to shop for many clothes for them. Since we had our second boy though, I have splurged on a couple of coats, shoes, and jammies that I know will get lots of wear by both boys. I also LOVE to thrift and find bargains at garage sales, so basically we have a metric ton of clothes…looking forward to getting rid of some of them as the baby outgrows them.

  • Kate

    February 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Thrift stores, sales, and grandmas!!!! I have tried buying ahead but I am not great at predicting sizes for the next season yet. I also love the sales and coupons at Old Navy!

  • Melissa

    February 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I’m about to have my first, a boy, so I haven’t gotten a chance to put hand-me-downs into action yet. However, as I’m buying things, my approach has been to buy as many gender neutral things as possible. Of course, I can’t pass up super cute boyish things, and I know I’ll get plenty of blue boy items as gifts… but when I can, I try to pick items that a baby girl could also wear.

  • Samantha

    February 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Our town has some awesome second hand stores for children. We buy almost all our daughters things that way….it’s how we ended up with a beautiful 60 dollar dress for 1 dollar!

  • NinaN

    February 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Our first two children are girls, so lots of hand me downs happening there. But the third is a boy. We’ve had unisex/boy pajams that we were able to hand me down again. We’ve received some hand me downs from friends. But the best was trading diaper boxes full of clothes with a friend who had a baby girl.

    I also check the thrift stores (but I am super picky there). And I never buy an item that isn’t on sale. I hate paying full price! Especially on kid’s clothes!

  • Kirsten

    February 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    We have a ton of hand me downs too but I always splurge on shoes ( my 2 year old gets blisters from cheap shoes – the little prince!) and anything that I deem absolutely irresistible. I make myself wait a week or two and if I can’t stop thinking about the thing, I let myself get it for them.

  • Gwen

    February 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I received a years worth of hand-me-downs from a cousin. So much of the stuff was never worn and still had tags on it. I sorted thru the piles and kept my favorite things and donated the rest.

  • Kate

    February 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Both of my little ones have cousins of the same gender and one year older.  They’ve been decked out in hand me downs almost from day one.  It’s been great for our budget and the kids learn the importance of passing things along and re using where possible.

  • KateMc

    February 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    There are a few things I do to save on clothes: Jeans get turned into cut-offs or capris in spring and summer. I also try to buy a size ahead if I can, mostly on shirts because my daughter is tall enough that she can get by with longer shirts, and then I can get two seasons’ wear out of them. Old dresses are cute over jeans, so those get extra wear too.

    I buy most of my daughter’s clothes at Target and Old Navy. I’m pretty much always happy with the quality and selection, and I don’t have to spend a ton of money. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever “splurged” on much!

  • Ashley

    February 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I have a girl and a boy, and it actually surprised me how few of her clothes could be handed down to him. Not that wearing girly clothes would have killed him, but even jeans aren’t cut the same for boys as for girls! (And most of them have lace or hearts or flowers on them anyway. What is that all about?) Of course, now she’s four and he’s three and he’s pretty nearly as big as she is anyway. No hand-me-downs for us!

  • Holly

    February 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I’m pregnant with my first, and so far I have only bought two  onesies.  We’ve been blessed with hand-me-downs from friends and coworkers, and gifts from friends and family.  I was amazed because ours is pretty much the first boy in our immediate family and circle of friends, but people have been so generous.

    I imagine when Baby Boy gets older, we’ll have to start buying our own and I’ll definitely be heeding the advice of the other commenters.

  • Bethany

    February 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I don’t plan on buying clothes for my boys until they’re in their teens. I know several boys just ahead of my first who have given us lots of castoffs 🙂

  • Kimberly

    February 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I like to splurge on a few special pieces and then buy classic shirts and pants in the sale bin!

  • Andrea

    February 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I hit up the grandparents for some nice things, like a new coat or boots (is that bad??) and get tons from Old Navy and the consignment stores. Love, love, love Old Navy styles best, too – much cooler/cuter than what’s at the Gap these days.

  • Kate

    February 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    For babies, I’m a fan of sturdy, gender-neutral clothes, like Hanna Andersson sleepers, that can stand up to multiple sibling use.  And I totally agree with the commenters that say they splurge on coats and boots.  It’s no fun to be cold or wet! 

  • Jessy

    February 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Handing down between genders is my problem/mission. I have one boy and then two girls. I’d like to reuse some of his stuff, but it’s tough to convince my 3 year old to put on anything that isn’t pink.

  • Amy

    February 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    CLOTHES! Ugh. Having one boy and one girl and planning to have one more kid someday but (obviously) not knowing the gender has me stuck in hand-me-down hell. I splurge every once in awhile on something I LOVE for one of them, but other than that it’s hand-me-downs galore.

  • Steph

    February 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    We’re expecting #2 and hoping to be able to reuse all of the clothes I’ve stored away…girl, please!

  • Amy

    February 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    No strategy yet, but this helps!  Expecting our first in late June/early July, and have already been gifted a metric fuckton of baby clothes.  Just thinking about trying to wash and organize all of them is panic inducing!

  • Melody

    February 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Would love to win this!

  • Heather

    February 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I loved hand me downs as a kid! I’m expecting my first and hope we will be on both the giving and receiving end of the deal. 

  • Chris

    February 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I splurge on coats and shoes. We’re lucky to have hand me downs from others, but a nice coats and good shoes will last much longer than the cheapo versions. But I love swapping used clothes!

  • Erin

    February 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    I don’t have a strategy yet, as I just have one daughter, but I did return a lot of the super-girlie pink stuff we got as shower gifts and exchange it for more practical sleep-and-plays in neutral colors, so we can pass them along to any future children.

  • Melissa

    February 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    So far my son has grown at a pretty average and predictable rate so I’ve been lucky to purchase a lot of his clothes a year ahead from the after season clearance racks. It has saved us a TON of money. 

  • Bonnie

    February 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Great giveaway! I hope I win. I also try to shop at the end of the season for next year’s sizes. Since I have a boy and a girl, I love the idea of finding gender neutral items – like solid colored shirts that can work for both.

  • Aly

    February 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    The end of season sales are key!! Also, i try to separate play vs fancy clothes by age/size. The key word here is try….. 🙂

  • C

    February 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I don’t have kids yet (pregnant with my first) so I don’t have any tips to add, except: if any of you want to hand down to me, I’m game! 🙂

  • Meredith

    February 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    We have one son whose old clothes are in Tupperwares filling our basement.  If we have a girl next time, we are excited to hand me down to a new nephew due soon.

  • Erin

    February 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I like to wait until the end of season sales, where I live we don’t get too much change in the climate so when all the winter clothes go out it’s still in the 80s. Right now all the winter clothes are on sale and we have yet to reach any temperature below 65 for the last month & half, so I’m stocking up on winter attire for next year.

    I also keep certain pairs of shoes as nice “dress” shoes, nice “going out” shoes and then “rough and tumble” play shoes. My kids would wear a pair of new shoes out in a week if I didn’t keep play shoes as just play shoes. I also try to keep any of their nicer clothes from becoming play clothes, that way they have something nice and clean to wear when we go out, even if it’s just to go shopping.

  • Angela

    February 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    *gulp* I didn’t think about #4 – snipping sleeves off the ‘layered’ shirt. Way too many of these shirts come in white sleeves and I’m trying not to buy so many of those because it gets dirty so easily. I’ve tossed several to goodwill muttering the whole time of how it’s a waste of $$ and my kids arms are monkey-ish. I feel silly that I could’ve reused those for summer! 

    I like to sell the good ones at once upon a child and then use the money to splurge on good items. I feel like we should splurge on coats, shoes, extra gloves, good snowpants, and jeans. After one season of heavily abused snowpants, I decided I would never buy cheap quality and invest in good high quality gear to make it last longer. Jeans are the same, I want jeans that doesn’t thin out easily around the knees. 

    I also have a catch-all box – I just toss clothes that doesn’t fit any more. I also have another box that I toss clothes that still fit but not appropriate for a particular season to be pulled out for next season. No hand me downs but I do also have another box of too big items. 

  • Erin

    February 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I’m so hoping that my next baby is also a girl because I have SO MANY cute newborn clothes that the first never wore because she was too big for them from the get-go (10 pounds). I bet you had a similar situation with Noah being so big — I hoe you got to use some of those outfits on Ezra and Ike!

  • Diane

    February 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Since I live in Florida, I don’t even bother buying too many long-sleeved shirts for my kids. I get them each a few, then a couple of plain white or other solid color ones, and I layer them under their short-sleeved shirts. It works SO well, and I never have to really change over the wardrobe from one season to the next. Well, “season”, I suppose. We have hot, way hot, and not so hot.

  • Katy

    February 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Good advice! Now I just need a second kid to use all these old clothes I’ve been saving!

  • Rachel

    February 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    My group of friends collectively owns two bins of maternity clothes that get passed around and around.  Everyone adds a little and removes things that are too worn so when I got it back the second time, it was a fun surprise to see how much had changed over 4 years.   

  • Michele

    February 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I just have one so far, but I’d like more. I have so many plastic bins of clothing taking up space in the basement that it’s starting to cause fights. Gotta get me another baby soon!

  • Jaime Thomas

    February 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I have an older boy and a younger girl, and she wears a lot of his clothes. Of course, she’s only 1 1/2 so as she gets older that may be more of a challenge. But I’m big on consignment sales. There’s a big one close by, twice a year, an that’s when I stock up for the coming season.

  • Kandi

    February 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I don’t usually comment, but am a faithful reader. Had to take a shot  for a chance at the Old Navy card. My son (8) wears nothing but Old Navy jeans and half his shirts come from there, too. Keep up the good work/advise. Love your blogs. <3

  • Tara

    February 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    All great advice. I’ve tried to be really good about sorting and packing and labeling #1’s stuff so we can reuse for #2 (and #3… and #4? Maybe?) With my luck, we’ll have all girls after this one and I’ll be unpacking just to donate!

  • Liz

    February 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Ahh, I love the idea of keeping the tote in the closet for clothes they’re outgrowing!  I keep mine in the basement, which means ever time I do laundry I’m taking like 2 outgrown items BACK down to the basement.  I blame my children that I haven’t thought of this idea sooner.  They steal all my brainpower.

    As far as splurge/saving…I’m definitely more concerned with saving so I’m all about end of the season sales.  My oldest has been pretty predictable size-wise so I’ve been able to stock up at the end of each season for the next year.  This way, she’s getting high quality clothes at rock bottom prices.  

  • Erin

    February 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I look forward to eventually saving money by passing down my daughter’s clothes to future children, inclduing boys — I try to buy a lot of gender neutral stuff for that exact purpose.

  • Mouse

    February 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    We’re suckers for graphic tees and buy them for both boys when we come across ones that match their interests and personalities.  We also haven’t recycled many shoes as the first one was very hard on his.  Otherwise, we reuse the clothes we have on hand and supplement with Target or Old Navy clothing when seasons don’t match up or not enough pieces survived.

  • Hope

    February 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    No kids (yet!) but this was a seriously helpful post. 

  • Christine

    February 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I have a boy and a girl, so even when I’ve put something away thinking she might wear it, by the time she’s that size it’s so obviously boyish compared to all her other stuff… But I make the most of what I buy by scouring the end-of-season sales for next year’s clothes, and making good use of the thrift store. My community also has a twice-yearly clothes swap where you can just bring stuff and take stuff for no charge – best thing ever!

  • Suzy Q

    February 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve bought tons of stuff for my niece and nephew over the years.  They’re all grown up, so now I buy for friends’ kids and grandkids. Kid clothes are so cute!

  • roo

    February 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I only have the one boy– five months (almost six!) But I still get a lot of handmedowns– my community has a listserve where parents pass along things they don’t need, which has been great. I wash everything, sort through, pick out what I want and pass on the rest.

    That, coupled with doting grandparents, and a sister with two boys, means I have yet to buy a single item for him to wear.

    I do like shopping, and it’d be nice to pick things out for him, but it’s baan a great way to save money in an expensive time.

  • Meghan

    February 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    My girls are only 9 months old, but I have started buying clothes for the next size during the end of clearance sales. Some of the hand me downs we have gotten are hideous so we just donate them. Luckily their grandmother has pretty much single handily clothed these girls – making it easy on us.

  • Candace

    February 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Spend on shoes, save on jeans.  My toddler can wear a hoe in jeans faster than he grows, so it doesn’t pay to spend big.  The consignment store is where it’s at. Shoes, though? With flippers for feet, we can never get them second hand. 

  • Mary Hanson

    February 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Hand-me-dwons have saved us or my two little ones. (2 and 4) Without my sister keeping as much for us from her own son, I don’t know how we would have done it.

  • Jennyroo

    February 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    I save on jeans… with 3 little boys, I have learned the hard way that torn knees and grass stains don’t know the difference between $40 pairs and $10 pairs of jeans!

    I splurge on pajamas, A few pairs of nice, soft, organic cotton pajamas can last and last (and be handed down to the next brother in line) and always makes me feel good to snuggle them in after a bath.

  • Leslie

    February 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    My second boy is due in two months and I am SO glad I read this post before his arrival!  I have definitely had the “I’m buying all nice new things for my oldest because they’ll be worn twice” mentality, so I’m glad to have a little perspective to only do that on certain items.  Great post!

  • Lori

    February 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I started packing away the old clothes in a tub, labeled for the next kid. My mother-in-law buys tons of stuff from goodwill, half of which I re-donate. But some finds are great and worth it! I spend good money on shoes but might see what I can get away with on baby/starting to walk shoes cheaper for the next kid

  • Kimberly

    February 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Love the cutting off the sleeves idea! Thanks Amy!

  • Kaelie

    February 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I do the same thing with sorting clothes by size & season & then adding a list as I go. We lucked out with so many lent and hand-me-downs for our first, and now I’m wondering if we’ll get to use them again for our second.  Sometimes the hand-me-downs aren’t in great shape, but for the younger ages I think it really takes at least a few kids (or messy ones) to wear out the clothes. 

  • bouncy

    February 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I really have to get better at organizing my little boys’ clothes. God, how I hate going down to the basement!
    Great advice, as usual!

  • outraged

    February 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I have two girls, with two different body types and interests in clothes. The older one will wear anything, the younger one: only dresses. Once they started going to school (Age 2) I started buying a lot of cheap (but cotton) shirts from Old Navy, Target. I still buy a lot of their clothes from the GAP, but only on sale or with a sale coupon. The GAP stuff is usually pure cotton, looks good and washes really well. They destroy everything they wear to school. I only recycle nice dresses, coats, hats/gloves, gently worn special item. Shoes/jeans/t-shirts! Forget them. They get destroyed before they grow out of them. Like Amy, I used to keep boxes and boxes of the old stuff, only to discover that most of them were too old/worn/stained/ugly to be reused. I have learned to be more selective, and honestly I just buy a lot less.

  • Jo G

    February 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I have two boys, 2 1/2 years apart… One winter, one summer.  But that really wasn’t an issue after 2t.  I saved everything from my first son, including things I didn’t care for.  After having to re-sort things when I was looking for clothes, I started reevaluating what I wanted to keep of my older son’s when I was packing it up.  If I didn’t like it the first time around, I wasn’t going to like it the second. 

    When packing clothes away, if it was a shirt with matching pants or pajamas, I would fold them together so when I unpacked it again, both pieces were together.  This also was useful when I gave clothes to a friend, she knew right away that this shirt went with those pants and didn’t have to search for the other piece.

    Now my boys are at the ages that their body types don’t allow hand me downs and the bank account is taking a hit!  My second son is particularly hard on clothes and needing a husky while my older son is too thin for slims.  But!  I recently discovered Old Navy’s Skinny style jeans, with adjustable waist, is thinner than their slims!  Love them!

  • Cin_D

    February 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    I have a girl and a boy, and am lucky enough to get hand-me downs from my nieces and my friend who has twin boys.

    My kids are small for their age, so I save by supplementing with pieces that are a little too big, and then they usually get 2 years out of them.

    I splurge on all the silly holiday t-shirts! They are just TOO cute, so I grab a few of them. I also let the kids pick out their own holiday outfits, they’re usually a little expensive, but then they love to wear them.

  • Elizabeth

    February 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    My little one is due in May, so I don’t have any first hand experience with saving and splurging on clothing, but I am looking forward to all the hand me downs from friends and family.  We haven’t bought any clothing for him yet, and I hope we don’t have to for quite a while.

  • Ashley B

    February 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    I have a girl and boy and another boy on the way. My sister has been generous with hand-me-downs for my son, which has been wonderful. I buy the super-cute, nice clothes that I want to buy for him, but otherwise use all the old stuff for everyday wear. The only thing that we don’t re-use are tennis shoes. I wish we had a source of hand-me-downs for my daughter, but she’s so picky that she probably wouldn’t wear any of it! I’m excited to get to re-use so much again for this little babe and am trying to stop myself from buying new stuff for him, but that’s easier said than done. Baby clothes are just too dang cute even though I know he’ll only wear each one once!

  • Erin

    February 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    You would think that, as the oldest girl, I would have been exempt from hand-me-downs.  But NO, my mom found a cousin who was 5 years older than me, and thus most of my clothes were half a decade out of style!  Great savings for her, not such great looks on me.

  • Liz

    February 9, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    I have only one daughter, who’s 9 months old.  So I’m saving everything “just in case”.  Still, basic bodysuits and things like tights (she’s a chilly baby and wears a lot of tights) I wait for good deals and multi-packs.  I don’t really expect those to stay in re-wearable condition.  But my daughter is the only grandchild to four excited grandparents who have been very generous and thoughtful with quality clothes!  

  • Stephanie

    February 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I try to buy only a few new “staple” pieces every year.  I supplement with awesome garage sale finds or hand me downs.

  • Christy M.

    February 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    My boys are 14 months apart, and I am totally overwhemed by THE CLOTHES. The hand-me-downs are awesome, but the baby is gaining on the toddler… They may be wearing the same size soon!
    The vacuum seal bags are a great idea… Thanks!

  • Cecilia

    February 9, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I love hand-me-downs! We get most of my son’s clothes from the slightly older (but quite a bit taller) boy down the street, whose mom has excellent taste in clothes I think. But we do buy some things new – especially pajamas and shoes, because those just get worn out so quickly. I love Old Navy’s pajamas, and I love their summer stuff too – swimsuits, flip-flops, cute summer shirts, etc.

  • Bailey R

    February 9, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    We’re military, and base has a store called the Airman’s Attic. If you’re a certain rank or under, you can get up to ten items  of clothes, per week, per child! We’re expecting our first, and I’ve already browsed through. Half the clothes are new or nearly new, also FREE! So I won’t worry if he destroys them, or out grows them in two seconds. If you have access to something like this, take advantage of it! (It’s also been a lifesaver for maternity clothes and other baby gear) I need to remember to ask my MIL how she bags up clothes. She has baby outfits of my husbands that are in damn near perfect shape! 

  • Mary

    February 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    I splurge on coats, and fancy dresses! LOVE hand me downs and I am lucky cause I have 2 girls, so little one is getting a ton of her big sis’ clothes!!

  • Charity

    February 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Hand me downs are great, but you can’t plan too much for your next children. My second son is sensitive to polyester, and yep…half of my first born’s wardrobe was fleece and now is going unused. I was SO sure I would get more use out of things, but have had to buy so much more all cotton items for my second son that I thought I would have (and their birthdays are two weeks apart…so it should have been so easy!). 

  • cassie

    February 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I am blessed with two nephews older than my soon &a sister with excellent taste in baby clothes. I treat the clothes with care, but nothing special to be sure they last. And, every once in a while, I buy nice stuff that I like because I haven’t had to buy everything else.

  • Kim

    February 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I rarely spend full price on any clothing pieces. My kids wear hand-me downs…..I do a lot of thrift shopping too. I love it. I am also a big alter-er! You can change old things up to give them a new life very easily!!!

  • Danielle

    February 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I work with kids and have been fortunate to get lots of hand-me-downs clothes and toys from some of the families I work with. But I do like to pick up cute dresses for my little girl when they’re on sale.

  • Heather Ben

    February 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Splurge on their dresses. Considering mostly it’s just a one time thing (uniforms at school) don’t really get much bang for the buck.

    I also have big tubs of clothes. Agree, you must separate by size!

  • Solducky

    February 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I shop end of season clearance and try to guess the sizes for the next year. But I splurge on good shoes and socks for them! I think those are really important.
    soluckyducky atgmail dot com

  • Auntie G

    February 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    I buy exactly what I want for holiday pictures/dressy clothes. Good socks that actually stay on baby’s feet are worth the money. Otherwise, with two boys, and TONS of hand-me-downs, I…spend money on my own clothes instead. 🙂 We have SO many clothes for the boys that they really can’t get to it all before outgrowing it, so I try to cull and donate regularly as well. Also, I am WAY less stressed if there’s a poop blowout or an art project gone awry…if I can’t get it clean, out it goes.

  • Lynnette

    February 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    We’ve mostly saved by shopping clearance or consignment for my 2.5 year old girl, but not much in the way of hand-me-downs. My boy, due in May is the recipient of two huge bags of gently-used infant clothing, so we are saving big time. We splurge on pajamas, because the cheap ones wear out too fast and don’t feel very nice. Otherwise, Target, Old Navy and Children’s Place are my go-tos for everyday playclothes. $500 at Old Navy would be great for my entire family!

  • Homa

    February 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I save on newborn clothes – I only splurge when I know they won’t grow out of things in mere weeks. Some brands are cute but suffer from wash wear fast. For girls I like tunic or dresses that can last through a growth spurt. For boys I like to go a size up in shirts since baggy can still be cute. And no tiny socks, ever. Such a waste of money! Oh, I buy gender neutral PJs so my son or daughter can wear them. I try to do that with shoes, too.

  • Elizabeth

    February 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Piles of too small, wrong season clothes go throughout my house.  Organization is a good thing, but keeping three kids in the right size and season takes a lot of work and one of my least favorite things is taking out the too small or wrong season clothes.  

    I like to buy new here and there, somethings are just too cute to pass up.  Pants and shorts are good to pass along but new shirts go a long way.

  • Kelly

    February 9, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    I save by having an upscale thrift store nearby; I splurge on school uniforms 🙁

  • Margaret

    February 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Hope for another boy to reuse the clothes!

  • EMO

    February 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    My splurge is on nice coats and shoes for Max!  I have been very fortunate to inherit a lot of great clothes from friends and family. Also, Freecycle has come in handy a few times…people giving away some of their baby clothes for free.  I highly recommend it as a good resource for offering/taking things you do/don’t need.  Thanks for the fabulous giveaway!

  • Carolyn

    February 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    We lucked out and had our first child (a boy) right as 3 of our friends (with boys) were done having kids! Almost everything we have for our baby is a hand me down, and I LOVE it! We buy new things only when we don’t have any appropriate clothes in the right size (when he outgrew his 3 month pants, all we had in hand me downs were shorts, so I obviously bought him some pants). We plan on having more children, so I keep a bin in his room and every time he outgrows something, I toss it in the bin. When he’s outgrown all of a certain size of clothing, I label the bin, put it in the garage, and get the next bin ready! 

  • Leslie

    February 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I’ve learned to appreciate hand-me-downs as a way to find out what works for both the baby and our sanity. Certain major brands fit well, others seem to run wierdly large, and particular styles look a little wacky on our sorta short toddler. This then makes it a lot easier to avoid a meltdown over being too broke to buy an outfit that would honestly not look so great when worn, anyway. Mostly 🙂

  • Bethany

    February 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

    I buy a lot of thrift store clothing and shoes, especially if they are going to be play clothes. I only have one son, but i was able to save a lot of his wardrobe, and it’s all stored in size and season tubs.  I know I wasn’t diligent about sorting, so I hope that in my nesting phase with my next one I can get it all organized the way I wish it was now!  

  • Erin

    February 10, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I try to shop primarily at consignment stores or the sales sections of others. Just like you, I find it fun to mix and match the hand-me-downs with cheap new stuff.

  • Kelly Atkins

    February 10, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Holy smokes! Fantastic. I was looking at Old Navy’s end of season sale just today for my 3 year old little man. Such great stuff. We buy from their sales often, and supplement with hand me downs and consignment store finds. You can find great stuff on eBay too, if you’re patient. I also sometimes sell his outgrown “good stuff” on eBay or give away to friends to continue the hand-me-down cycle…

  • Erin

    February 10, 2012 at 1:45 am

    So far the key to my daughter’s wardrobe has been a very generous friend who gave us several crates full of little girl clothing and shopping sales, clearance and the Hanna Andersson outlet! My girl is a tall one so we’ve been able to give some hand-me-downs to others in her playgroup (while also saving some for any future siblings she might have). What an awesome giveaway!

  • Chris

    February 10, 2012 at 2:32 am

    My son was born in September and I outfitted him through 12 months entirely at garage sales this summer! I plan to do the next this coming summer. 🙂

  • Brecka Lewis

    February 10, 2012 at 4:44 am

    I would love to win. I’m in the middle of my first trimester of the barfing and have done some tentative online window shopping and old navy has some cute stuff.

  • Lorri

    February 10, 2012 at 4:56 am

    I’ve been lucky enough to have the first grandchild on both sides, so I haven’t had to spend much on clothes at all! That is coming to an end now as I had another baby at the same time as my sister so the grandkid number jumped from one to three in a matter of weeks.

    Anyway, I love thrifting and nearly new sales.  My weakness is dressing baby boys in the most old fashioned old man outfits possible, so I’m always looking for sweater vests and teeny tiny collared shirts!

  • Dolores Adair

    February 10, 2012 at 5:33 am

    I saved on shoes by buying low cost or sale priced shoes because I have a boy and he’d go through shoes like they’re going out of style. That way, I had more to put toward his outfits and I always had comments about how cute he looked. No one really paid attention if the shoes weren’t top notch.

  • Bethany

    February 10, 2012 at 5:42 am

    I never thought of cutting off those inevitably-stained-and-tattered long sleeves from those shirts! Brilliant!

    (And hooray for Old Navy sales and giveaways!)

  • Paula P

    February 10, 2012 at 6:20 am

    We deal with the whole mix of sizes in various places as well, and we only have one kid so far! Hooray for giveaways!

  • Gina M Maddox

    February 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I try to hit old navy’s clearance and save on clothing for the next season. I will splurge on something that is high quality or on a special occasion.  Thanks for the chance to win!
    gina.m.maddox (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Kim

    February 10, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I try to spend more on stuff like jeans and pants, and save on shirts that’ll just get stained/etc. I try to save on things like swimsuits too – things they won’t get a TON of use out of. And I def spend money on shoes- daily wear ya know!!

  • Molly Perkins

    February 10, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I also use your plastic bin trick when my baby outgrows stuff. We call it “the next baby box.” It started the day he was born, because he’s GIANT and was born practically outgrowing the 3 month sizes. So all that newborn clothing needed to be stashed immediately, and we figured if we threw it away our next kid would be tiny just to spite us for throwing out the cute stuff.

  • ariel

    February 10, 2012 at 8:03 am

    My 2 best friends, who are sisters (and live in a 2 family home together) just each had their second babies. They were thrilled to each have a 2nd boy/girl respectively so they could start buying “nicer” clothes since it would be used 2x! I think I’ll share this article w/ them so they keep that instinct in check.

    Thanks for the great suggestions!

  • maya

    February 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I tend to shop with promo codes when stores are having their quarterly sales. Also, both my boys are Winter babies, so that helps the sizes stay on season. 🙂

  • danielle

    February 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I love the tip about the sun! I was disappointed to see stains all over the baby clothes when I pulled them out for my second!

  • Trish

    February 10, 2012 at 8:47 am

    If Spacebags are not in your budget, I love reusing plastic packing materials from pre-made curtains, bedding and other items that come in plastic envelopes for storing clothes. Air can get squished out of them easily, and they are sometimes a better size for tiny baby clothes, too.

  • Amanda

    February 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Despite my insistence that I wasn’t going to buy new clothes for my second, and that she could just wear her brother’s hand-me-downs as a baby, I do find myself picking up more cute girl’s clothing than I thought I would.  Especially the holiday outfits. But she is wearing a bunch of his old jeans and cords and pajamas.  And sometimes, I’m not willing to give up a super cute boy’s outfit that still is in good shape, and I spend a day correcting strangers as to her gender.

  • Kayla

    February 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

    My baby is only five months old, but he’s a BIG baby, so we’ve already gone through a LOT of clothes. I save AND splurge at the Gap…their stuff is true to size, very soft, and durable. My baby has a rather large head, and their neck openings are more flexible than the cheaper alternatives, so the clothes last longer (and therefore I get my money’s worth). They tend to have really awesome sales, but if what I need isn’t on sale, I buy the bare minimum anyway (“need” being onesies and pajamas) and then wait a few days for a discount coupon to show up in my email. This is the main reason I’m entering this giveaway, lol, because Old Navy cards can be used at Gap, too. 🙂

  • Cheryl S.

    February 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

    First, I LOVE hand me downs. Sadly, I just lost my source reacently (she moved!) I also love consignment shops. Great clothes, great price and you can even make some money consinging some of the stuff back to them! Finally, I agree with you on outerwear. I buy a really good coat a size up and she can wear it for at least two winters!

  • Kimberly Kelly

    February 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I always try to buy decent quality clothes, but either at consignment stores, or with huge discount coupons at Carters.

  • Kendra

    February 10, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Mom to Mom sales!! I find a ton of deals on clothes there that my daughter can wear at school and not worry about getting art projects on them. Also, as Amalah says, being organized helps tremendously! It is tedious but saves time when you are looking for something later.

  • Jackie

    February 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Hand-me-downs are an amazing start to a wardrobe. I love some of the special dresses that have been given to us for our daughter. For other items we need, I try to shop early, even up to a year if I find a great deal. I got my daughter’s $60 winter coat for $10 at a clearance event, got it one size up and saved it for the next season. 

  • Leah B

    February 10, 2012 at 9:39 am

    We were lucky enough to receive a ton of hand me downs when we had our little girl. It has been amazing, but I agree that the storage/sorting is very important. That way I can just look in the attic, see which bin I need to grab and be done with it! We make sure to buy good outwear and typically in a gender neutral color [hoping for a second SOMEDAY – not now].

  • Ann

    February 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I have two girls, and my niece is 8 months old than my oldest, so we have TONS of clothing passed along. It’s a great way to give your little one some style when you can mix and match the new and old pieces.

  • liz

    February 10, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Since my son never seems to get any wider, though he grows taller all the time, we make his winter pants into summer shorts by cutting off the legs just above the knee and sewing a hem.

    He’s got a boy cousin who is 6 years older and a boy cousin who is 8 years younger, so our hand-me-downs tend to be of the “classic wear” variety. Suits. Coats. Plain tees and shirts. But generally we bring his out-grown stuff to our church to give to the local abused women and children’s shelter.

    We love Old Navy and shop there often! One time, I turned around and couldn’t find him…he was standing with the mannikins and it was hard to tell that he was there!

  • Jennifer

    February 10, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Resale shops!

  • Leslie

    February 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I feel a little bad when I think about how little we’ve spent on our 13-month old’s wardrobe – between gifts and hand-me-downs from friends, it just hasn’t been necessary. We’ve even lucked into new, cute seasonal dresses. New socks, shoes and bathing suits are where our money goes. Keeping too-big and too-small clothes organized is key – I’ve always had a bag or bin in the closet for too-small clothes and these in turn are handed-down to friends or donated, while a select few are kept “just in case.” Most of Evie’s new clothes come from the Carter’s Outlet near my mom’s office – at prices like that, Nana just can’t resist.

  • Laura

    February 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

    My cousin has an older buy and younger girls and I have the opposite so we do a lot of great trading off! I definitely benefit from her shoe addiction- 4 or 5 pairs in each size!

  • Jessica C

    February 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Two words: season neutral.  If one kid is born in a different season or grows at a different rate, those first couple years can be a big time wash. We do a lot of layering to make up for it. But when you’re buying clothes thinking they’ll be handed down, remember the size/season issue! 

  • Kailee

    February 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Great article! Especially timely for me, we just found out we’re expecting our second boy. They’ll barely be a year apart, so they’re might not be so much of this “storing” and “organizing” you mention.

  • Miriam

    February 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

    3 girls at our house with a spread of 7 years between oldest & youngest. I’ve reused many many items and some will even survive to be passed on to my nieces next. Regarding Old Navy- I’ve done well with their kids’ coats, and Halloween costumes!

  • Hillary

    February 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I also love getting bags of hand me downs from friends and then mixing and matching with stuff from cheap kids brands. My daughter also loves graphic prints, and Old Navy delivers! I never ever skimp on shoes. They need to be solid, supportive shoes, even if they cost more than $30. Same for winter boots and rain boots. Thanks for the post!

  • lesliele

    February 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I would say that 99% of my son’s clothes were purchased second hand or thrifted. THAT is my big tip for mom’s who are doing the hand-me-down shuffle. If your hand-me-downs aren’t looking the greatest, go to the thrift store! They have SO many things that have been donated and have never been worn, or worn once. Make sure to check snaps and zips, and you should be good to go!

    If thrifting isn’t your thing, there are MANY second-hand kid’s clothing stores where you can get name-brand stuff for cheaper than new! It’s a great way to get the look you want for less money.

    As for basics, likes socks, etc. I like to shop Old Navy online. They have the best socks and sweats for my son, and have frequent sales every season. Also, by using my ON card, I get points toward $5 gift cards! Win-win!

  • Rebecca

    February 10, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I only have one child, so no hand me downs yet, but I have found tag sales to be another great way to not spend too much money on clothes that are quickly outgrown!

  • Jessie

    February 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I was excited to have a second boy, NO CLOTHES SHOPPING HOORAY FOR HAND ME DOWNS! He was even born the same month as my first, so score on him having clothes for all the seasons, right?! Well, not really since he was only 3lbs when born, and now at 6 months is still wearing newborn/0-3 clothes 🙂

  • Melissa

    February 10, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I save the oldest’s clothes if they’re still in good shape and a style that will still be ok when the youngest is ready for them. So far it’s worked out pretty well. They both get new clothes often enough from the grandparents too, so they’re really set, no matter what I do with the hand-me-downs. I love Target clearances for finding cheap deals for both girls.

  • Julie

    February 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Garage sales!!!  Although, I will say, around me, there are always tons of baby clothes and not so many clothes for my 12 year old.  One year, this house I stopped at had a pile of clothes thrown on the floor on a a tarp and I spent about 45 minutes sitting on the ground sifting through brand name clothing that I would have never been able to buy.  Spent about $10 and got 10-15 things! 

  • Stephanie

    February 10, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I was actually kind of bummed to hear we were having a girl after our first boy for this reason. While *I* have no problem dressing her in blues and darker colors, other people (ahem, nosy family members) have much stronger opinions. And yes, with the weirdly just appearing stains! I swear I was careful to sort out the stained clothes and NOT store those but when I opened up the boxes, half of them were brown and yellow (and weren’t before)!

    We have some new additions, but she’s still wearing a lot of her brother’s clothes. They were cute too. 🙂

  • SarahC

    February 10, 2012 at 11:52 am

    We love hand-me-downs. I’m due in May with my second girl and I’m already combing through my daughter’s old clothes and am surprised at how much I can salvage given that she was born in winter and this new one will be born in late spring. I was careful not to keep any stained or worn out clothes. And knowing how many onesies and sleepers I had before makes it so much easier for me to know where I need to beef up my second daughter’s spring wardrobe.

  • VandyJ

    February 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    We have found most of the clothes for my oldest at yard sales and second hand stores because, holy cow, clothes are expensive new.  My youngest gets the hand-me-downs from  the older one with a few new things thrown in for good measure.  And it’s new unders and socks no matter what.

  • Catherine O.

    February 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I have 3 boys, too! It seems that all they wear are hand-me-downs! When we do buy new stuff, we rarely buy things full price since there’s always a sale somewhere or coupon to use. 

  • mary lou

    February 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I only have one son but I am hoping for another! I plan on only using the clothes that I really liked and buying a few things for the new baby to supplement my stash of baby clothes. 

  • Roseanna

    February 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    No kids yet… but for myself, I’m trying to refrain from buying “almost” right clothes just because they are on sale, and taking good care of them so that they last longer.

  • Don

    February 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Mom to Mom sales!

  • Holly W.

    February 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I just have a 9-month-old, though he’s the youngest of five grand-boys in my husband’s family, so he’s got clothing galore. We did buy him one nice sweater for winter and one awesome pair of jammies, but other than that, haven’t had to do too much purchasing yet. My favorite are all the hats he wore as a little one and now that it’s winter 🙂

  • Katie S.

    February 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I have one boy and one girl, born in the fall three years apart. The baby girl has worn a bit of her older brother’s hand-me-downs, but I am mostly saving every. last. piece of clothing for one day when my sisters have kids and they might need it. It’s… a lot of dang boxes. But I swear someone will need it eventually.

    I buy pretty much all their clothing from Old Navy, and Target. I use coupons, and buy things on clearance. I splurge on pretty much nothing. Accessories, I guess. My son loves cool hats and rainboots and mittens, so while those are splurges because they’re fairly unnecessary (we live in So Cal) they aren’t actually expensive, and they are fun. 

  • Poem

    February 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    We have AMAZING childrens consignment shops where I live. (Especially the ones near the really expensive subdivisions!). I get a lot of clothes from there, many still with the tags on!

    I ‘splurge’ at local boutiques and flash sales like Zulily and Totsy.

  • Holly

    February 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I only have 1 girl, but I’ve been saving all of her clothes as she’s outgrown them – basically by size, put in boxes in the basement. I’ve also been buying several sizes up as I see them on sale – and her growth has been pretty predictable, so I’m comfortable making that leap for seasonal clothes (even in CA!). If our eventual second child is not a girl, whomever inherits her wardrobe will have some cute stuff! Probably 90% of it is Old Navy actually! Love it!

  • Sarah

    February 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    How do I deal with the hand-me-down issue? I live in Florida. Very little seasonal weather change, s’all I’m sayin’. A couple of sweaters to wear over the short sleeves in case of a chilly morning, but mostly it’s shorts and tees, tees and shorts.

  • Debbie

    February 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I buy most of my kids’ clothing at seasonal consignment sales. I recently started selling at thse too so I usually make enough back to cover what I buy. I also like to shop clearance racks for off season buys though this can involve some guesswork on sizes. Our splurge is shoes. We learned the hard way too that cheap shoes are not worth it.

  • Rebecca H.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I only have 1 baby right now (a boy!) and most of my friends have girls so I haven’t received many hand-me-downs. However, I am saving all of baby’s clothes that he outgrows for future babies. He’s been growing like a weed so he’s outgrown some things before he even had a chance to wear them! The next baby will have a nice supply of great condition clothes! But with the fast-paced growth of current baby, we could certainly use some new things (from Old Navy!)!

  • MA

    February 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Be the last of your friends to have a baby…they’ll be so happy to unload their clothes on you.

  • Amy

    February 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I buy some new things, buy some from outlets, and some from thrift stores. I saved clothes from my 1st child to pass along to my second child, but they aren’t the same sex. Therefore, my son wears pink sometimes…which can be cute depending on what it is. 🙂

  • Kat

    February 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I usually buy their clothes the year before at the end of the season and hold onto them in a tote until they fit. Shoes and outerwear I spend a little more on and make sure to test the fit on the kids before buying.

  • Joslyn

    February 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    My husband and I love to trade within our family. Our daughter was the youngest, at 16 months, until last week. All of or newborn clothes went to the new baby. We do buy sweaters and jackets new, as well as anything the hand me downs are short on. Right now, we need shirts for her. That gift would be amazing.

  • dregina

    February 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    The mothers of multiples group here in Austin has great swap get togethers and are willing to share with us non multiples!

  • Pamela

    February 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Sadly, I am best able to save money when I pay the least amount of attention to the sale emails I get in my inbox.

  • Sam

    February 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I was wondering why there are 430 comments on this post and then saw the giveaway! Anyway, we like hand-me-downs too. So useful!

  • Melissa

    February 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    With twins, we don’t benefit from hand-me-downs…but we have gotten a lot of gifts! We do buy secondhand clothes at consignment sales and I’m willing to buy quality stuff at those prices.

  • Susan

    February 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I had no idea there were so many consignment stores and one-time consignment sales in my area until I had kids – and then I realized they are everywhere! I am able to stock up on barely used clothes for pennies, including shoes and winter gear, as well as to sell stuff we’re done with for a few more pennies.

    My MIL insists on buying at least one new outfit for the boys each season (which they almost never need) so I encourage her to shop at Kohl’s end of season sales.

    Ebay is a great place to buy barely-worn high-end kids’ shoes – I bought two pairs of Stride Rites for each of my boys for less than $30 total (after getting their feet sized at the SR store).

    I am also blessed to have friends with older boys who pass along their hand-me-downs, but as you mentioned, the amount of 3T-4T that is in good enough condition to pass on has dwindles (and the 2T clothes I have saved for my 17 month old are certainly worse for the wear now that they has been worn by by two or three toddler boys).

    I stretch the life of short-sleeve t-shirts by layering over long-sleeved t-shirts or onesies, but I love the idea of cutting off the ratty sleeves. Soaking stained clothes in a bucket of dissolved OxiClean has removed many a mystery spot…

    I have four large Rubbermaid bins in my guest room closet labeled with the size and season of the clothes inside, and I have a cardboard bin in my youngest’s closet that outgrown clothes go into before being transferred into the storage bins.

  • Sarah van Loon

    February 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Same as you mentioned – splurge on (well-fitting) shoes, save on t-shirts and other clothes that will most likely be outgrown quickly!

  • Melissa

    February 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I have 3 young boys, each 3 years apart. I saved everything from the first thinking we’d have more children, but didn’t really organize it much. When I found out I was expecting our 2nd boy, I went thru the effort of organizing ~ lots of clear bins were required and I sorted by both size and season – winter jammies with sweaters and jeans, summer jammies with short and t-shirts.

    Like Amalah, I have a bin that stays in the closet – my to be sorted bin and I have also learned to invest in good outerwear. I think I have snow pants, heavy winter coats and snowboots in every size from 18 months to 6 now!

    I do look forward to the day that my youngest – now 3 weeks old – moves to the next clothing size so I can pass the smaller sizes on to another =D

  • Megan

    February 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I buy nice coats and shoes and everything else is Carter’s sales and Consignment stores! I also like nice jammies, those get worn a lot! Now if I can figure out what to do with all my girl clothes now that I’m having a Boy!

  • Laura S.

    February 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Woot! Old Navy gift card FTW!

    But seriously, I purge my (first of one, so far) son’s clothes every season and consign a bunch of stuff that I ended up not being a big fan of or fit funny or was a gift and I hated. Consigning, both buying and selling, is such a great way to recycle clothes and amp up a wardrobe of a quickly growing child. If it can be washed/wiped down with a lysol wipe and rinsed, I will buy it used. Only exception: shoes. Every child walks differently, so why would you buy or use shoes that one child has already worn into their foot pattern? It could be uncomfortable at best for your kid, or at worst, affect his natural gait. The exception to this is of course soft soled shoes for little ones that never really get used anyway.

  • Ruslana

    February 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Definitely splurge on shoes!

  • Christine

    February 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I try to shop sales, but make sure I love nearly everything we buy or I know I won’t end up dressing them in it. 

  • Samantha Jo campen

    February 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I buy two good pairs of shoes. Like you said, buying a cheap pair will end up costing you the same amount when you have to replace them. Slightly outgrown shirts get used for pajamas too.

    Samanthajocampen at gmail

  • Judy

    February 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I have a toddler son and a preschool daughter. We do a mix of used clothes from consignment shops with a couple new outfits to make up the kids wardrobe. Works well for us.

  • A

    February 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    The only things I will not hand down are underwear and footwear. Otherwise my oldest daughter even gets a few hand-me-downs from friends or freecycle although most of her clothes are new (looooove the discount clothes racks/bins!). My younger daughter’s wardrobe is probably 80% hand-me-downs, 15% from her grandmama and 5% “OMG she is completely out of socks/underwear/etc.” so I buy them new. My son, on the other hand, has a few hand-me-downs from the girls (like gender neutral jeans) but has mostly new clothes because we don’t know anyone with boys older than he is.

    I would love to win this contest, love Old Navy!!!

  • Kerri

    February 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I scour the sale racks and shop all the end-of-season sales.  I absolutely refuse to pay full price for anything.  The clothes will ALWAYS go on sale at some point.  

  • Maggie

    February 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Sharing with friends is the best way to make those short worn clothes last the longest.  Both my kids are very fortunate to have friends that are both bigger in size to receive hand-me-downs from and smaller so that we can pass on clothes.  I also shop the end of season sales since that is usually when the clothes match the actual weather.

  • Kirsten B

    February 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    No kids yet, but one on the way, and I’d love a chance at the gift card!

  • Laura w

    February 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I have two year old boy/girl twins  We get tons of girl hand me downs, so I just buy her a few special pieces that I can’t resist! For my son, I buy last season sales for the following year.  
    I love old navy- they live in old navy t’s and shorts! 

  • Krista

    February 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I received a wardrobe from my sister in law for my daughter and it has been a lifesaver. As a thank you present to her, because she and my brother plan on more children I’ve organized all the clothes into plastic see-through bins, organized with girl stuff on the bottom and “neutral” stuff on top in case she’s digging through for a new baby that’s a boy after her two girls.
    Sign me up for the Navy giftcard, that would be awesome!

  • jessica fantastica

    February 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I don’t have kids or siblings so I’ve never experienced hand me downs…and I’m FOREVER ALONE 😉

  • Amy J

    February 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I buy good stuff on clearance (we have not reached destruction stages yet). Don’t have anyone to hand things down to me.

  • Christina R.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I splurge on stuff I know my boy will love and shop sale/clearance as much as possible. He’s almost 3, so I know the hard-on-clothes-stage will probably be starting soon!

  • Erin

    February 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Buying ahead at end of the season clearance sales, and waiting for semi-annual web sales. Love Baby Gap and Old Navy bodysuits and wait for sales so that I can stock up.

  • Amanda

    February 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I have two boys and have managed to finally get fully organized with the hand-me-downs. This would figure, as now I am pregnant again with a girl…time to start fresh with all new clothes!

  • Katie

    February 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I buy gender neutral clothes and pieces that can easily be layered to make sharing among kids easier.

  • Jenn S

    February 11, 2012 at 12:05 am

    I save by shopping end of season sales…always a tad dicey though since the things we buy for him for “later” he may end up being too big to fit into!  I always splurge on quality socks…they’re just so CUTE!

  • Kat

    February 11, 2012 at 12:16 am

    I splurge on a good coat and a good pair of jeans. I’ve bought a few pairs of jeans that didn’t hold up or the dye smelled so badly that I learned my lesson there, and a good coat that will hold up through late fall, winter, and early spring is really important where we live. I save on shirts, jammies, and sweatshirts. My son grows so quickly It’s not worth spending a lot.

  • Rachel

    February 11, 2012 at 12:19 am

    I do two major shopping trips a year at the local children’s consignment store. One for long pants and long sleaves in the fall, and one for sun dresses in the spring. I always get new shoes though since she wears them out so completely.

  • beej

    February 11, 2012 at 12:24 am

    My method is to never buy it if I’m going to care so much about taking care of it that I can’t enjoy my kid wearing it. Although I do have a few nice dresses for my two girls that I allowed myself to splurge a bit on and am willing to maybe not throw them in the dryer in a fit of endless laundry induced rage.

    I generally buy the older babychild a coat a year in advance on clearance and the younger babychild gets the hand me down. That way even if the coat doesn’t make it to hand me down status, I still only spent upwards of 15-20 dollars on it and won’t mourn the loss.

    And say one thing for Old Navy, they don’t let me down in the durable, wearable, affordable categories. 

  • jen

    February 11, 2012 at 12:42 am

    I too shop consignment stores for clothes…more specifically for jeans because they tend to have plenty of wear left in them for a 10 yr. old. I also hand down my 10 year olds clothes all the time but I am guilty of buying that cute piece that I come across at the store, but it always has to be on sale. I hope I win the Old Navy sweepstakes…my teenage son is in need of spring/summer clothes!

  • Melissa B.

    February 11, 2012 at 12:55 am

    I love Old Navy and I love dressing my 16 month daughter in the stylish clothes from there. Would love to win this gift card!

  • Chelcie

    February 11, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Old Navy has the cutest styles and I love how you can buy color-coordinating outfits and accessories all in one store.

  • Yarbi

    February 11, 2012 at 1:24 am

    We get hand-me-downs from older girl cousins and lots of new clothes from grandparents.  We rarely buy anything.

  • Angela N

    February 11, 2012 at 1:28 am

    I don’t have kids yet but when I do… i will definitely be going the used clothing route! My friend has two daughters, so maybe if I have a girl… 🙂 I think labeling boxes/bins is key… rather than just *intend* to label “in the future” which is what I usually do with boxes…

  • Sara M

    February 11, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Between my two boys and my nephew, my sister and I have clothes from newborn to 5T for all seasons. We use clear bins labeled with the size and seaon and swap when needed. I just had my third, a girl, so now we get to find new clothes!

  • Emily

    February 11, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I pretreat stains with Country Save (my cloth diaper detergent) -right next to the tub while my little man is in the bath- before they go in the laundry. All of his clothes have stayed pretty much stain-free and ready to pass on!

  • Heather

    February 11, 2012 at 9:03 am

    My second little boy is due in June. I have kept all of older brother’s clothes, but I’m afraid they’re not as organized as Amy’s! It would be great to win, and not have to go spelunking through all those boxes!

  • Shelby

    February 11, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I love that you give your sons choices on and additions to the hand me downs. As the youngest in my family I always had stuff in my closet I refused to wear! 

  • Heather

    February 11, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I’m not sure how sunlight works, but for me there’s nothing like a good washing in bleach. I use the non-chlorine kind and have been amazed how little the colored areas of the outfit fade. The key is (especially when the stain is on white fabric) to wash it the first time after the stain happens with bleach. I buy accessories, pajamas, etc at resale. I have bought a few nicer things at resale that look hardly worn and get them home and realize why they are hardly worn, because the fit is strange somehow. So for special things I try to shop end of season sales, and for playclothes I mostly shop Old Navy!!! Also agree with Amy about sorting according to size…when my daughter was a baby I kept a tupperware bin in her closet at all times and as I noticed something was too small just threw it in the bin. When the bin was full I would label it with her age and it went to the attic. So handy!

  • Sarah

    February 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I save through buying everything I can at thrift stores. My splurge is a have to- my two year old has hobbit feet and rarely do wide-wide shoes show up at thrift stores.

  • kjasus

    February 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    i have to shop at thrift stores for my son because he goes through pants like crazy. after a week or two of wearing them the knees get holes in them! i will splurge on items i know won’t wear that quickly, like coats and sweaters and shoes.

  • Amy

    February 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Snipping the arms off the layered shirts is genius!

    I have gotten a fair share of hand-me-downs, but not enough to make a complete wardrobe. Grandma has mostly filled in the blanks, but whenever I have had to buy something I go to a children’s consignment shop and always find cute, brand name clothes for next to nothing!

  • Stacy

    February 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I shop consignment sales twice a year.  My boys are 4 1/2 yrs apart and pretty different size wise, so I only keep the things I really loved or are in great condition.  The rest gets sold at consignment sales to fund that season’s purchases.  I usually fill in with 1-2 “quality” pieces (I love Mini Boden) and then some fun shirts or pjs that they will love.

  • abby

    February 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    My oldest is a girl, and then I had a boy, so hand me downs are non-existent in this house. Oh! Except everyone always gets gender neutral grey New Balance tennis shoes, so they can be passed down to little brother or their younger cousin.

  • Kathleen

    February 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Consignment shops for the saving. One of the shops here does these huge sale weekends where people can set their own prices and you can find shirts for a buck and pants for 3-5. Just like Amy, we suddenly need a lot more pants for a 3yo boy – between potty training and knee blow outs!

    Splurge- coats and shoes, if I have to. I try to buy next year’s at the end of the season. Sweatshirts, which cover those shoulder seasons in Colorado, are also worth the splurge, since I’ll be staring at the same ones for months on end.

  • Nanette

    February 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I save by buying a TON of my daughter’s wardrobe from Old Navy, and I splurge occasionally on brands (during sales) that I know have a great resale value. 

  • Heather

    February 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Im all about consignment and mom to mom sales. As well as thrift stores. If I spend 1$ on it and it doesn’t last? Who cares. And if I can re-consign it, all the better. We are big on Old Navy and Kohls for some of the basics we don’t find used.

  • Sarah LeMarbe

    February 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I have received A ton of hand me downs from family and friends , and I second the sun trick. If something is in good shape other wise but slightly stained there are many great laundry tricks. To brighten dingy whites, boil a large stock pot and add some RIT whitewash. Yes RIT, with all the dyes. Boil and soak for awhile, then launder. I have a lot of luck with a few other products too, fels naphtha for ground in dirt stains (cuffs, socks, knees), peroxide for blood, and dawn dish soap for greasy stains. Old toothbrushes are your friend. OH and super helpful for any new stain ZOUT! Right by the spay n wash stuff, red bottle.

  • Chrystal

    February 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Im getting ready to have our second girl. Ofcourse their birthdates will be 6 months apart so they will be complete opposites as far as clothes go for each season. Still, I managed to find two rubbermaid bins full of clothes that should work for this one. I’ve also been making a few things myself.

  • Mary

    February 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    We’ve been lucky to get a lot of hand downs. That plus 3 sets of grandparents leaves us pretty set on the clothes front.

  • Karen

    February 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    This is so great to read!  Just yesterday I attacked my daughter’s closet and organized everything into bins based on size.  I also made a pile for Goodwill, but that was so small because I kept talking myself out of donating any outfit that some potential future daughter might someday wear.  You’re right, though – I don’t need to feel bad about not keeping everything!

  • anash

    February 11, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    my family has many kids so we save by getting hand me downs! Thanks for a super giveaway!

  • Sarah

    February 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Hurray for second chances for clothes

  • Michelle

    February 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I’ve got 3 little girls and had a lot of the same experiences.   One thing that’s great is the tunic/legging trend. My girls are thin so I can really stretch a dress wearing plus a really cute 6-12m dress makes an adorable swing top for a toddler. 

  • jenn

    February 11, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I tend to buy up a size, so my daughter can wear dresses, tops, and skirts for longer than a season.  We don’t get a lot of hand me downs b/c almost all of our friends have 2 girls, and my daughter is pretty tall. 

    The past few years we’ve been buying winter coats every other year–first year we buy it in a bigger size and usually it lasts for 2 seasons.  

    I am still a sucker for shoes and Tea Collection stuff, so our “savings” don’t really help that much.

  • chandra

    February 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Hand me downs are wonderful! This is our first baby (well, he’s 1 and a half now) and I have no idea how we could have afforded to clothe him without the kindness of our friends who are fellow parents. Great tips in this post!

  • Katie

    February 12, 2012 at 12:40 am

    My current problem….I have boxes of beautiful little girl hand me downs from my stepdaughter—and two baby boys!  And because hope springs eternal, I can’t quite bring myself to part with the girl stuff.  Yet.

  • marta

    February 12, 2012 at 1:25 am

    I’m lucky to have a cousin with two girls just a few years older than mine. Jackpot! Biggest challenge is when my daughter goes on crazy strikes like “no buttons or zippers!” Are you kidding me, kid?
    When my second child came along, a boy, I thought I’d be spending tons of money on clothes, but my timing couldn’t be better… all my friends are done having kids and eager to empty their closets. And they say there’s no upside to infertility 🙂

  • Adrienne

    February 12, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Love Old Navy!

  • Karen

    February 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I spurge on a couple new dresses every so often. We get so many clothes that are gifts and hand me downs that I don’t really need to buy anything. But sometimes I want my daughter to wear something I picked out and wasn’t given to us.

  • Lisa

    February 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    We’re expecting our first, a daughter, in May. My sister gave us a bunch of hand-me-down infant sleepers and onesies in yellow and green, but I wanted at least some girly clothes, so I started looking around at thrift stores and consignment shops. So far, I’ve mostly bought separates and outfits in pink and brown. My hope is to have a lot of comfy items that can be mixed and matched so we don’t have to waste a lot of time finding that ONE pair of pants that matches a given shirt. Since everything is so reasonably priced secondhand, if our second is a boy or if a lot of items get ruined, it won’t be a big deal.

  • Shelly T.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I’m really into consignment stores and consignment fairs. You can find a lot of great stuff that is still new, with tags on and everything, but at a great price. I try to buy what’s on sale in anticipation of the size my little girl will be wearing when that season comes around. Then I supplement with sales for current season stuff and clothes for daycare. Good outerwear and special occasion clothes I’m always on the lookout for. And as always, sometimes it is just great to splurge a little for something cute that I know she’ll wear a lot.

  • erin

    February 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Good quality pants are a must, especially with boys. All the crawling, digging, mud wrestling, fake sword fighting they do  can really put pants to the test. I love Old Navy denim and athletic style pants. I buy a lot of seasonal items from consignment stores to save money, too. 

  • DCGirl

    February 12, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I keep a box under my older son’s bed for clothes that make it past him in relatively decent shape -then each season I go through them and put in attic. Younger son’s outgrown clothes go straight in donation box, no keeping them “just in case” 🙂

  • Sam

    February 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I have been blessed and 90% of my sons clothes are hand me downs-the rest, I follow consignments sale ads. Especially in nicer areas consignment sales are AMAZING. Last spring I purchased 13 outfits for 40$. 

  • Shelly

    February 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I looooove Old Navy for my kids !

  • camille

    February 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    We’re lucky to have hand-me-downs from loads of people for my son, not so much for my daughter. To maximize use of the things we do get for her I buy only solid colors…nothing patterned (or super-obviously so). She has gotten a number of multi-peice outfits that I’ve been able to expand into a fuller wardrobe by pairing the separates of these with other items. Bonus points for getting them at consignment and Goodwill!

  • Jessica

    February 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    What a helpful post! As the mom of two boys I definitely am all about hand me downs. Love the idea of cutting off the long sleeves of those double layer boys shirts to make a short sleeve shirt – I think I’m going to go do that right now for some of my 4 year old’s dirty sleeves!

  • Kat

    February 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Good ideas! I used those vacuum seal bag, too, just had a real hard time letting go of the stuff that I didn’t really need. I love going to the Goodwill, i can always find something there! Oftentimes I get a bigger size t-sirt for my boy. I doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit perfectly and i get a lot of wear out of it.

  • AmyM

    February 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I splurge on shoes and cloth diapers, save on everything else. Consignment is great!

  • lynette

    February 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I handed down everything with 5 boys in a row but now we have a girl – this would be great!

  • Krista

    February 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I love the vacuum bags. We’ve loaned a lot of clothes my son wore to friends and its great when looking for a particular size/season.

  • Joanne Schultz

    February 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    I think it depends how old your kids are, how you can save money. When they are under 2, they are growing pretty quickly, so why not just scout out thrift stores & garage sales for clothing. As they get older, clearance racks hold a wealth of bargains- buying a size or 2 larger works when it’s the end of the season- just save them for next year!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • jennie

    February 12, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Between hand-me downs and gifts from Grandma, we’ve only needed to fill our six-month-old’s wardrobe with a few unifying staples–and those we’ve picked up at the thrift store. I pass along anything I know we won’t dress him in, store away the clothes that he has yet to grow into, and used the baby shower/Christmas to score everything we needed for the next six months in cloth diapering. 

  • barbara wright

    February 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I don’t splurge – EVER. I love Kohls. When they have their clearance stuff 40% off and I have my monthly percentage off coupon (my neighbors and I check out who has 30% off that month – LOL), I save a bundle. My kids were always in year-round school, so what was end-of-season for Kohls was just what my kids needed right then!

  • Kim Z

    February 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I am about to have my first baby, and  have been trying to keep my clothes spending to a minimum. Stumbling on a good second hand store has been a lifesaver. I look forward to being able to contribute to their supply and do some real “exchanging” there soon. 

  • barb

    February 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    hand me downs from family are the best. and sales. and all the coupons in the mail.

  • Stephanie V.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    We are all about basic bottoms and some personality in shirts. Shoes – comfy trainers and sandals for solid 4 year old play. Sales are key to keeping cost in check for growing kids. I often buy one thing a size up when on sale in case an overnight growth spurt surprises us! Splurging is only for very special occasions.

  • ninfalis

    February 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I buy some things a bit bigger so the fit longer. Before I know it, my kid has out grown something.

  • RaChelle

    February 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Yeah for Old Navy! Would love to stock up for summer!

  • Laura

    February 13, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Hand-me downs all the way, baby. But a few nice new things once in a while 🙂

  • Andy

    February 13, 2012 at 12:23 am

    I have an older daughter and younger son so I thought I would never get to have hand me downs for my son. Then she threw us for a loop and spent two whole years insisting she was a boy and would wear anything that even slightly resembled girl clothing. We went with the flow with it and the bonus was that I got those hand me downs I never thought I would get. I kind of miss that phase now, but an embracing the girly stuff now that it’s allowed. I’m dreaming of the damage I could do with that gift card!!!

  • Cari Runia

    February 13, 2012 at 12:45 am

    I usually check the sale racks before the normal-priced clothes…  And I make sure to buy good basics, as well as really fun, key pieces.  It’s surprising which clothes become my kids’ favorites… My daughters get attached to frillly dresses or skirts, and my son has his fav star wars tshirts that get worn ragged!  🙂

  • Amanda

    February 13, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Well, I’m going to be a first time mommy at the end of this month, so I don’t have too much experience when it comes to clothing. We are having a boy who has only girl cousins, so we can’t count too much on hand-me-downs :). I will say I love Old Navy and shop there all the time for our soon-to-be-baby boy. They have such amazing deals and I never have to feel bad for buying things at such a great price!

  • Eleanor

    February 13, 2012 at 9:56 am

    With five little ones (one boy, four girls) from ages 9-19months, clothes is a daily problem, joy, puzzle, and chore. Fortunately we have a lot of hand me downs for the girls (the twins are 7, then we have a 4 year old and 19 month old). But finding sales and staying up with them growing out of their clothes has been difficult. Now they are getting picky!!

  • Katie

    February 13, 2012 at 10:03 am

    We didn’t find out if our first was going to be a boy or a girl. Although we didn’t do it for this reason, we ended up with a whole wardrobe of gender neutral baby clothes. Now that I am expecting our second, it feels GREAT to know that we have all the “under 1” clothes set, regardless of the new baby’s sex (another surprise). I store everything by size in copy paper boxes… they seem to be just the right size for each set of clothes, they are super durable and easily stackable in the closet, they have nice reclosable lids….and they are free from my office. 🙂

  • Tiffany Hearn

    February 13, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I don’t splurge, I shop all the sales and look for coupons in the Sunday paper. I love shopping online and using online coupon codes. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! My family loves Old Navy!

  • Jacqui

    February 13, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Save and Splurge… for my first i used a lot of hand me downs in the “newborn” phase which lasted much longer than i anticipated. so i splurged and bought some newborn in preparation for number 2 and my guess is it wont last nearly as long! having two girls will make the saving and sharing easier. Simple color combination pieces where lotsa of items match one another works well in our house!

  • Meg T

    February 13, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Great post! We have been really lucky to get some great hand-me-downs, but I like to get them one really good pair of shoes per season or size. Thanks!

  • Sarah

    February 13, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I love shopping clearance and goodwill! And when I splurge I go to Old Navy – I love their stuff – and so reasonably priced, too!

  • Jenn

    February 13, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I exchange hand-me-downs with several friends (one saves her girl clothes for me and I give her the boy clothes, another takes my girl clothes, etc.). I used to buy a lot at consignment stores, but as they get older, there is less available. I also charge everything (and pay off each month) on a gap credit card, which gives me points to buy the kids’ stuff at Gap and Old Navy.

  • Dawn Taylor

    February 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Love Old Navy stuff. My boys fit perfectly in their jeans, which is saying a lot. We have a twice yearly multifamily consignment event here that we participate in and have been blessed with

  • Jackie

    February 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I love shopping the clearance racks and buying ahead. It’s great to have two boys to save on money by using hand me downs. So far my youngest hasn’t cared.

  • Nerwal

    February 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    With twins, I count on hand me downs to keep my son clothed. It’s saved me tons.. unfortunately, I don’t have many friends with girls, so she gets the new clearance stuff. 

  • Gaby

    February 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I save on virtually everything in my son’s (and soon to be sons’!) wardrobe because of the generous amount of hand-me-downs passed amongst family and friends. I have honestly hardly had to buy my 19-month-old anything. I think we’ll splurge on shoes because my husband insists on it, and although I grew up with cheap shoes, I want better for my boys.

  • Rebecca

    February 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I am expecting my first so I don’t have brilliant tips yet, but I am already grateful for hand-me-downs from my friends!

  • Stacey

    February 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I have an 11 month old son (my first), and I’m foolishly saving absolutely everything just in case we have another boy. It drives my husband bonkers. But after those first few months of life after you see just how dang fast these kids fly through sizes, I was a big fan of buying ONLY as much as i needed to get through a week. By the time I was sick of an outfit, it was time to move up a size anyway! But I do agree Amy – the investment in outerwear is important! We have a 15 minute walk every morning to get to daycare and boy is it cold! And my best hat investment ever was buying one that velcros under the chin so he can’t take it off!

  • Cee

    February 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Well, we are big fans of Old Navy, especially girls leggings and graphic tees.  Other ways in which we’ll save is to use local consignment shops or Goodwill.  I’ve learned to hem pants, and we’ve also made good use of hand-me-downs from family members.  When our daughter was little, for example, she wore a lot of green, orange and blue onesies and outfits from her year older male cousin.  We often wait for sales and coupons when purchasing new, and we tend to buy a lot of soft cotton tops and leggings, so that they can double as pjs when they get too worn.  We also recycle her clothing into other things, like smocks for paint play, etc.

  • Phillipa

    February 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I actually just went through this. I have a 5 year old that has outgrown most of his stuff but does not have an older sibling. Most of his stuff was new. I now have a 1 yr old who is wearing not only my older son’s clothes, but those from his cousin who is a yr older than him. I keep some, and the stuff I don’t like gets donated. I am now expecting the third boy – eep – in 2 months and so I have a few boxes to be stored downstairs, but pretty much as soon as Emmett grows out of them, I will just transfer them to the next one’s dresser. Each child gets at least one new pair of pants and one shirt or sweater on their birthday and Christmas.

  • Becky

    February 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Thrift Stores for everything…except for shoes. My oldest is 6 I am finding it is harder and harder to find clothes for him there, aparently boys wear clothes out. 😉

  • diane

    February 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Oh, i really wish I’d known about the sun trick when my kids were younger! That would have prevented some clothes from being thrown away. Oh well… anyway, now that my daughter is a teenager, it gets harder to save on clothes, she likes all the expensive brands! we do wait for sales and use coupons. We also hand down her jeans and nicer outfits to several of our friends who have younger daughters. My son usually wears his clothes out so we are unable to pass them down… He is the smallest amongst his friends, so he gets a lot of the hand-me-downs. i do try to buy him some less expensive shirts that I know he’ll like so that it doesn’t seem like all he’s getting are hand-me downs.

  • Susanne

    February 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I’ve been saving pretty much everything for our future second child. Not sure how its going to work out yet so I don’t have any tips. But I’d love to win a gift card to buy more clothes to add to the pile!!!

  • Emily

    February 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Absolutely, pass on anything you didn’t put on your first kid, unless it was totally becuase it was the wrong season. If you didn’t like it the first time, you won’t like it the second time. Even better, you will forget you ever had it. So, if it turns out you would like it the second time, you will never know. You will get more hand me downs to replace it.

  • Kim

    February 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I never really have splurged for my son. I don’t really get a great kick out of it, and he certainly doesn’t care. So it’s second-hand stores, saying yes to every hand-me-down ever offered, and letting the grandparents fill in the rest! Luckily, he’s the only grandkid on both sides, so grandparents definitely get us a long way!

  • Kelly Todd

    February 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    As a mother of two boys (Shout out to Noah and Liam!) I feel confident to comment on the subject…. I totally agree with you regarding the organization. The clothes WILL BEAT YOU if you aren’t on top of the (organized) chaos.

  • Jennifer Y

    February 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I’m all about hand me downs for when we have a baby (hopefully soon) I would splurge on staples, jeans or shoes but only one or two items since I know they grow out of them so quickly. I’d love to be able to buy our baby a whole wardrobe form Old Navy and have some to spend on my godsons too! 

  • Karol

    February 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Love this post! We’ve got one little boy, but he’s got an older cousin and a cousin who is the same age. So there’s lots of clothes exchanges. My sister must have thought I was so strange in the beginning when I was in my “oh, I’m only going to buy quality stuff” stage. Now I’m in the “thanks for the clothes. No worries about the small dirt stains. Because, really, who gives a fig?” stage. It is so much better this way. They outgrow it in 2 seconds anyway. That said, we’re not adverse to some new clothes from Old Navy. 🙂

  • Molly

    February 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I love Amalah AND Old Navy!

  • Stacey

    February 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Even though I only have one baby now, I’m hoping for a second soon. I sort & space bag everything by size…but it didn’t occur to me to write down the season. I think this isn’t as big a deal for me since I live in LA. I pretty much only buy things on sale, all of baby’s nicer clothes come from Grandma 🙂

  • Holly C.

    February 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I save by bargain shopping and sales for the basis. I always splurge for a few items that make an outfit special. my mom always treated us to one special item each school year and it meant so much to me, thanks mom!

  • Laura S

    February 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I totally agree about passing on those items that you didn’t like the first time around.
    And about the shoes, it is really important that kids (well, everyone really) wear shoes that fit correctly and support the foot. So while you can sometimes get a great price on a good pair of shoes it’s worth the splurge if you have to pay more to get the best shoe.

  • Suzanne

    February 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I had a GAP pair of jeans that lasted me 10 years and made my butt look good for all 10 of ’em. Now my go-to maternity jeans are Old Navy. My point is this: I ADORE both stores and wanna outfit my soon-to-be-born kid with the Cuteness!

  • patti

    February 13, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Wow! I feel like I know you because I share the exact same philosophy on hand me downs & shopping! I too have been burned on the “packing away” & missing the season or the size and I am so bummed when I finally find the box that has been taking up space. I too found that when my oldest boy hit 5, the pants were ruined by day 2 or 3 with holes and would never be passed down. This made me think–why spend alot on the athletic pants & jeans that will be ruined pronto. I buy the clothes big for the kids and I gotta say they wear them until I say “flood”. I’d love to win & get their spring/summer wardrobes underway!

  • Missie

    February 14, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I keep a bag in our laundry room for clothes my daughter has either outgrown, doesn’t like, doesn’t look quite right in, etc. That way, after it’s been washed and folded, it goes in the “Get It Out and Give It Away” bag right away instead of being brought back into the Abyss, otherwise known as her room, never to be seen again. Or to be seen on a morning we are running late and she decides she LOVES this shirt from two years ago. I find it keeps me organized and helps her room stay cleaner. It also cuts down on her choices of what to wear, which I think is key in clothing related first grader drama. Anyone can be overwhelmed when she has 43 shirts to choose from…

  • rebecca

    February 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I love this advice, especially about adding personalized stuff.  My 3 year old doesn’t mind the hand-me-downs, but she doesn’t love them as much as her Harajuku Mini shirt. 

  • Sharon

    February 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Some great ideas here! I’m lucky enough to have a great community of friends that share things. A bunch of us have girls around the same age. My daughter (six months old) is the youngest. I know that if I see something on the oldest (2 years old), it will probably make its way to my house in the next year or so. I also only buy stuff on sale (for the most part), but look for high-quality things that will last so we can use them for our future kids. I try to buy gender-neutral stuff in case we don’t have another girl. But I do splurge on the occasional dress or holiday outfit for my daughter.

  • Brittany

    February 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I have two stepsons age 12 & 8. I use my older son’s hand me downs for my younger son. I also shop at thrift stores & yard sales in the summer. I am currently pregnant with my first baby & we have been buying clothes used & on sale whenever we can. I tend to buy new clothes for special event such as pictures, or speical treat every now and then.

  • autumn

    February 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I hit end of season clearance sales for the next year – that has worked great for my daughter however my son is wearing 6-9 month clothes at 3 months old so I’ll be using the cutting long sleeves tip come summer.  Also consignment shops are great for both buying and selling.

  • LBH

    February 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Living in Texas means that you don’t really need WINTER winter stuff (i.e. sweaters, thick, heavy coats). I’ve taken all that stuff that I inherited from well-meaning friends and used thredup to trade for more Texas-friendly stuff. I’ll give you this awsome down jacket for 27 size 3t t-shirts, please!

  • Elle

    February 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I’m so lucky for grandparents. Since my baby is the first grandson, the grandparents have been great sending clothes in every size. BUT there are times when we want to buy clothes with some more personality. We splurge mostly on super unique tops, but definitely save money and buy inexpensive onesies and pants. Sweatshirts were a must-buy and were definitely worth the money. I find that I’m saving everything right now, but I definitely see myself using your guide when it comes to hand-me-downs and using clothes for the next baby.

  • becca

    February 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I have 3 boys so I am really into making things last. I have designated play/get dirty clothes and shoes when I know they’ll be a mess. It helps especially in the shoe department that way I can spend more on quality shoes for church or school. I definitely hide stained clothes in layers if possible (under t shirts) so they keep getting used. 

  • Marilyn

    February 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    We get a lot of hand me downs. What a great topic.

  • Lisa Garner

    February 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I splurge on jeans because my children will wear them out faster if they are not good quality but tend to shop sale on shirts and coats.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  • Claire

    February 14, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Learning to knit, believe it or not, is a good investment. The clothes you make almost always last much longer than store bought items, and will be great for your kids to pass down to THEIR kids when they’re old enough 🙂

  • Heather

    February 15, 2012 at 12:53 am

    There is a local children’s clothing consignment store that helps keep my four girls well-outfitted with brand name clothing. I trade in clothes that we are bored with, so I just pay the tax on the clothing I do find. For the essentials like long sleeved white shirts, socks, etc., I shop end-of-season clearance sales.

  • Rebecca

    February 15, 2012 at 5:22 am

    My younger daughter gets a lot of hand me downs from her older sister, but their tastes are diverging, so she’s willing to wear less of her sister’s clothing each season. I buy them both a small amount of good quality staples (jeans for one, skirts for the other) and fill in with sale stuff when we see it. They don’t mind wearing the same few things over and over, as long as they love those outfits, and the periodic addition of a fun new top or cool leggings keeps their wardrobes feeling fresh for relatively little money.

  • Tonya Dean

    February 15, 2012 at 7:08 am

    We buy most of our clothes at yard sales and thrift stores.


  • Crystal F

    February 15, 2012 at 7:19 am

    I’m just a huge sale shopper. I don’t buy anything that is not drastically reduced. They wear it for such short periods of time there is no sense in paying a fortune for clothes. I like to wait for online sales and then look for coupon codes to make it even better. thanks for the giveaway!

  • Jen M.

    February 15, 2012 at 8:37 am

    With two boys who are close in age, I feel justified in splurging on outerwear such as coats and boots. Pants are usually not able to be handed sown, but shorts and shirts are. My youngest is a girl and our first niece was born recently, so I have a good excuse to splurge on my daughter too now that I have someone to hand her clothes down to.

  • addrienne mertens

    February 15, 2012 at 9:29 am

    no opportunity for hand me downs here. but i do shop the second hand stores and clearance. sometimes i splurge on the coat. this year i didnt get a fancy warm coat because it wasnt that cold this year. he has a wool sherpa lined jacket hes been wearing. as far as style goes i find used and new items and mix them together. its so fun shopping for my son age 9. he does the layered look.

  • Elizabeth

    February 15, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Consignment shop for saving on clothes. I agree with splurging on coats/jackets if I can’t find a good one in the consignment shop!

  • Terry C

    February 15, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I buy when things are on sale. I don’t like paying full price if I can help it. I was able to do the hand me down thing with my 2 boys but still bought some new things. They outgrow their clothes so quickly I don’t like to  pay  a lot for anything.

  • Annette D

    February 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I am a bargain shopper. I wait for sales and look for deals. I bought my son a new jacket on Christmas Eve from Old Navy for 60% off. He loved it and I was thrilled with the price!

  • Jenbug

    February 15, 2012 at 11:50 am

    My kid style tip? Pick your battles. Have lots of options, but know when to give in and let them wear whatever they want. A happy toddler makes for a happy home!

  • Alejandra Hernandez

    February 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I have two daughters born in different seasons and have the problem of needing spring clothes in the same size that I have winter clothes.

  • Leslie

    February 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I only buy clothes that are on sale and never spend more than $10 any any one item. I just scored 5 long sleeve shirts for a $1 a piece for my daughter! I also take her plain shirts that have stains on them and sew flowers on top to hide the stains. That way she can wear it longer and it’s fun to create new items!

  • Sister Sister

    February 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I have 2 girls and a boy right behind. I am a minimalist, so I try to buy a lot of gender neutral styles and colors of pants and tops, and accessorize with belts, shoes, hats, and etc….to make it boyish or girlish.

  • Allison

    February 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I bought my daughter’s summer wardrobe at the end of last summer and am really happy with it.  Now I’m just hoping she can fit into it when the time comes!  My previously petite little girl has gone through some crazy growth spurts!

  • Dena

    February 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I have an 8 year old girl and a 4 year old boy, and it’s definitely more challenging to pass down clothes girl to boy, especially once they’re out of that baby stage! Even the jeans without decoration are cut more “girlish” and narrow so it’s hard to re-use them in a sturdy boy. What saves us is that my good friend has an 8 year old boy and a 6 year old girl. We give her all of our old girlie stuff, and she passes along all of her boy’s hand-me-downs to us!

  • Mandee

    February 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Thankfully, my son has been dressed by the generosity of the grandparents! However, I do like buying the special shirts or amazing deals I find sifting through the clearance racks. I will even buy something a size or two bigger that I know he will use in the year to come, if it is the right price. He is still young, and his clothes hold up pretty well so I have been able to share hand-me-downs with friends. I will spend good money on shoes; we have a hard time finding ones that fit his foot correctly. Some of the more expensive brands seem to fit better and we get a lot of wear out of them.

  • tonya

    February 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I’m terrible at organizing my girls’ clothes and need to take this advice to heart! I end up buying new clothes for the toddler and then BAM, find a box of them, poorly labeled.

  • Laura

    February 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Thank goodness for the generosity of cousins! About two thirds of my son’s wardrobe is hand-me-down. The biggest problem I’ve had is with the elastic waistbands of hand-me-down pants–my toddler looks like he’s auditioning for an Eminem video! So that’s one thing I buy new when I can.