Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back to School Shopping

Back to School time is generally a stressful time for families. “So much to buy!”, we tell ourselves. In reality, I think there is a LOT less to acquire than we think.
Look through your children’s wardrobe (or your own if you don’t have school age children but still want to stay on task this month), and do an inventory of what they have that is in good repair and fits them. I know, the word inventory makes you groan, but, just imagine how much time you will save at stores getting things you may not need after you assess the situation, not to mention the money!
I went through my 8 year old’s closet and pulled out some items that needed better deep cleaning before they would be acceptable “school clothes” again. A few I felt were pants that had worn out in the knees too much, so I made them into shorts. After all was said and done, I felt that she only NEEDED new socks. Her backpack was only one year old, and still in good shape. The lunchbox was in good shape, but the Princess theme that she chose in pre-school is no longer “cool”, so I figured after 4 years, I could get her a new one, and give the Princess lunchbox to her younger sister, who is currently in love with Princesses.

Of course, every child wants a new outfit for the first day of school, and new shoes are fun too. I will purchase her those items, but really she doesn’t need anything else. To “freshen” things up, I will make her some new “hair pretties” to match what she already has so that she does have more new items to go with her current supply.

How much is “enough”? Well I figure that 10 outfits/days worth of clothes is a good estimate. Now, these are 10 days of clothes that you would be willing to have your child wear in public, I am not talking about the grungy Summer clothes that have been played in over and over.


10 days seems to be a good amount for laundry purposes. Inevitably, they will spill something, or make some other mess that will require at least one extra change during the week. This way, you will have a 1 week buffer between laundry days.

Check out all socks, (in good repair, AND the right size), and underwear too. Also, make sure the shoes still fit. We had a pair of buster browns that were great, and fit, but just needed a polishing = easy fix!

Now, if it is within your budget and desire to get an entire wardrobe for your child (or you) at this time, go for it! However, remember it is a good rule to remove an old item for every new one you add in (unless things are in poor condition, or outgrown). Keep those closets organized while you are adding to it. You may not have room for all of the things you want to purchase.

Bite the bullet, do a quick inventory (it took me about 5 minutes) with your child and see what is really NEEDED before you decide what is WANTED. Happy Shopping!

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