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Sorting helps with hand-me-downs

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
We've been working on the winter-summer changeover in the Blaylock house. I can find this very frustrating because of the sorting and trying on. To minimize the yelling and tears – from me and them- I discovered a few strategies that help tremendously.
The first thing I try to do is not keep anything from the previous year that was definitely too small or no one liked. If I have the plan of passing it down, I will keep it in a Rubbermaid box and clearly label it with the size and gender of the clothing. I've found one of the keys to a quick and easy changeover is labeling boxes clearly.
When I'm ready to do the sorting, I've discovered a method that works well for us and minimizes number of times something has to be tried on. It works like this: Have several laundry baskets ready and labeled "too small/don't like," "too big," "keepers." I have one child, usually the smallest, try on the clothes and we separate them as they go. The next child only has to sort and try on clothes in the "too small/don't like," and the "too big" baskets. The last child, usually the largest, only has to sort and try on the "too big" basket. This way we aren't doubling up on trying the clothes on. The "too small/don't like," is bagged up, labeled and given away as soon as possible.
All that's left is inventory. I take the "keepers" and decide what is going to be play/work clothes, school clothes, and church clothes. After this, I have the girls come back one at a time and we count how many outfits they have in each category. If more than one girl likes the same outfit, I only count it once. I decide what we need and make a list for yard sales and shopping.
Shopping becomes a whole other problem. One of the major problems I have when I shop, either at stores or yard sales, is deciding if it will fit. As we all know, you can't go by the manufactures sizes, so my solution was a measuring tape. In my planner, I keep the measurements of each of the kids.
When I go shopping I take along my tape measure. I just measure the front or back of a garment and double it. This isn't perfect, but it's usually fairly accurate. You can also trace their feet for buying shoes. Remember to update your measurements every few months or whenever you notice your kids' clothes getting too tight or too short.
We do occasionally hit a snag when it comes to shopping. I've discovered that my oldest daughter and I don't shop together well. Our tastes are different, our method of shopping is different, and we have a serious problem "meeting in the middle." My solution? Her dad goes shopping with her. This also alleviates the problem of Daddy saying she can't go out the door in an outfit, because he was the one with her when it was bought. No problem, right? Well, not always. The last time John and my oldest daughter went shopping, they came back and my daughter was trying on each outfit for me. She came out wearing this incredibly short black dress. I looked at it and said, "Did your dad see this on you?"
She replies with, "Of, course."
I reply with, "OK, then."
Then a few days later she came upstairs dressed in the short black dress. John takes one look at her and I hear, "Young lady, you are not leaving the house with that dress on. Just where did you get that thing at anyway?"
My daughter looks at her dad as if he's lost his mind and says, "What?! You bought it for me!"
John stops, "Did I see that on you before I bought it?"
"Yes, you did."
Of course at this point I'm laughing too hard to say much, but I finally choke out, "Well, what were you thinking?"
John turns to me and says, "Did you wash that or something?"
"Nope. That's how it looked when she tried it on for me after you got back from shopping last time." Moral of this story? Daddy learned to pay a little more attention!
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