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Saving While Shopping

Our Old Navy Gift Card Winner (And Your Awesome Kids’ Wardrobe Tips)

By Amalah

Thanks to everyone who entered the Old Navy giveaway! Unfortunately, we can only have one winner of the five! hundred! dollar! gift card, and according to the algorithm-ninja-robots at, that person is Allison F, who has already been contacted and virtually high-fived us through email when she discovered she’d won. Congratulations, Allison F!

But luckily for the rest of us, there IS a consolation prize, in the form of a $10 off coupon.  The big giant Old Navy sale is still going on till 2/22, so click here to print the coupon. Buy your kids something adorable, or like, forget them and buy something cute for yourself. No one is giving YOU any hand-me-downs, right? So you more than deserve it, I’ll bet.

I also wanted to highlight some of the comments, since you guys literally left hundreds of awesome tips about hand-me-downs and making kids’ clothes last…and lots of good insights on shopping smart and knowing when to splurge and when to SAVE SAVE SAVE:

Shari: 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.

Julie Snow: I am so glad you asked! Your post was wonderful – I totally related 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 and I can easily find what I need to buy when there is a clearance sale.

Shauna: 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.

Jodifur: 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.

Marieke: I splurge on uniform pants for my son’s 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.

Cathy: 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.

Fabs: Unfortunately, I don’t get a lot of hand me downs, but what I do LOVE is our local consignment shop. I take a lot 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.

moira: 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.

mary d: 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.

Sabrina: 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!

Kara:  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 onesie from my son’s old wardrobe and adding a girlie iron-on applique, and, voila, convert a “boy’s onesie” to a “girl’s onesie.” Plus, if you use a large applique, it’ll cover old stains, too.

jami: 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.

Marnie: 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!

Whitney: 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.

Kate: 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!)

elizabeth: 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!

Kim: 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.

Wendy: 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.

Bailey R: 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!

Charity: 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 firstborn’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!).

kendra: 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.

Auntie G: 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.

Trish: 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.

liz: 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.


This post is Sponsored by Old Navy. Shop the funtastic Kids & Baby Sale, now through February 22nd.

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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