Sometimes I have a hard time saying “no” to free clothes for the kids.

We have been very blessed to be surrounded by so many kind friends who graciously pass their kids’ clothes that they have outgrown on down to us.  This has been a huge blessing and has saved us so much money that I don’t know if I could tabulate it if I tried.

What this means is that sometimes I say “yes” to free clothes even when I’m pretty sure my kids have enough.  I’m always quite sure that there is something that someone is growing out of or wearing holes through or staining  beyond recognition so I always just accept with thanks whatever is handed down to us and if we are unable to use it, we pass it on to someone else.  While I do very much appreciate these gifts of kindness, I have recently had to face the facts.  My kids have too many clothes.  Maybe I can continue to say “yes” to these things if I will just learn to immediately go through what we already have and balance things out by passing on more of our stuff.

What this excess of clothing translates to is me having to do laundry less often, which is sort of nice.  But then it also translates to, when I do actually do the laundry it becomes an unclimbable mountain, or should I say Volcano, in my living room.  And then if I somehow manage to get everything washed and folded, my children have an almost impossible task of trying to fit it all into their drawers.

What an embarrassingly and disgustingly western problem this must sound like, “Ugh!  We have too many clothes!!!  Woe is us.”  It makes me sick to think of how many children we could clothe with the amount of clothes we have haphazardly amassed.  While I don’t know what we would do without hand-me-downs….  They are wonderful, this week my project is to go through the kids’ clothes and weed things out.  I want each child to have just about two weeks worth of decent wearable clothes in their drawers at all times.  This seems like a reasonable amount of clothes to me.  So this morning we have gone through and removed to a bag all Summer clothes.  Bye bye Summer clothes.  We’ll see you in June!

We have also gone through and chosen over two bag’s worth of clothes to be Freecycled to someone else who can get use out of them.  I don’t know how familiar any of you are with Freecycle but it is a fabulous non-profit organization of sorts that is devoted to keeping stuff out of landfills.  It encourages re-use and a community awareness as you are allowed not only to offer things but to ask for things that you need as well.  And everything has to be offered completely free of charge.  No exchanges or bartering allowed.  Our local Freecycle group has over 4,000 members.


It’s a beautiful concept for so many reasons, not the least of which is convenience for the person who is offering stuff.  It can sometimes be a huge pain to have to bring all of your items to a place like the Goodwill or the Salvation Army when you are working on a project around your house.  We have really enjoyed the fact that we can offer something in the morning, set it on the porch and have it be gone, to someone who truly wants it, by the evening.  We’ve had people come and take big rocks and scrap lumber out of our yard because they wanted it for one reason or another.  To the person who needs free big rocks, the work of picking them up and moving them is a small price to pay and to the person who wants to be rid of such things, the advantage of not having to haul them away yourself is priceless so it’s a wonderful symbiosis that happens through Freecycle!  If you haven’t checked it out, go do it now and see if you have one in your area.  We’ve been Freecycling for about 5 years now and highly recommend it.

So I’m sitting here taking a break from this task and wondering how you all solve the clothes issues.  Do you find that your children have too many clothes?  Does it frustrate you?  What is your solution?  Do you have a “system?”  Are you incredibly organized about how you deal with clothes that your children are growing in and out of, storage, etc.  Or are you like me where you suddenly find yourself standing in a child’s room that is strewn with way too much laundry screaming  “ACK!!  Something has to be done about the madness NOW or my head is going to explode!!!

10 thoughts on “Confession…

  1. I love freecycle. We have purged many bags of clothing, toys, stuffed animals, etc, and given them to people that can really use them. I also have received items from freecycle – my deep freeze being my absolutely greatest gift from a freecycler!!! its about 20 years old, but works like a charm..

    I just can’t say enough good things about the Freecycle movement.. It’s teh best!

    Stephanie’s last blog post..Geocaching

  2. I can totally relate. I too have been totally blessed beyond all measure by recycled clothes. The other day I was horrified to discover by 22 month old girl had 40 pairs of pants!! what child needs 40 pairs of pants? But at the same time I felt blessed that she had a few ‘baby designer’ pieces which I never would have afforded. So, I did what you did and bagged up most of it leaving her and her brother with about 10 of each item. The rest I will now pass on to other friends with kids. The result is now each of the kids have 2 drawers each and that’s it! No more clothes spilling out onto the floor and baskets of washed clothes which never get worn. The purge was extremely therapeutic. Thanks for a great blog!

  3. I did well with the whole in and out of clothes…until we had another kid. I’m already trying to figure out how I’m going to keep it all organized, and the little one is only 3 months old. I can only imagine what a mess I would have if I had 4 boys!

    Crystal’s last blog post..I missed Monday photos.

  4. Ha ha! I’m definitely a ‘head exploder’ type. I *long* to be majorly organised and have everything categorized and labelled etc, but alas, it’s not my personality type. At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. My other problem, is that my two boys are not the same sizes at the same ages. I.e. My eldest boy is 3 the youngest is 6 months. But the little one, is fitting into stuff that the eldest one wore at 1! He’s a bit, er …broader than the first one see? Anyway, I too have been blessed with SO many spare clothes that yes, it’s also become ridiculous, but, then while we dont have a freecycle programme in our area, we *do* live in Africa, so there is someone needy every 5 steps you take, so it’s easy to solve my problem 🙂

    Ness’s last blog post..Best Web Hosting List Out There!

  5. In years past, I have bought more than they needed. I usually have to buy my oldest (10 yr boy) new clothes each passing season. He’s the oldest of the kids in our social circle, so no hand me downs come his way. This past summer I challenged myself to dress the kids from either passed down or thrifted clothing. I discovered an awesome thrift store and haven’t looked back. All summer shorts, basketball pants and a few jackets have been thrifted. Some new with tags! We have a few consignment shops, but I often find their prices higher than I am willing to pay for used.

    My younger son is the one with way too many clothes. Passed down from the older, a cousin, and a few friends. I actually weeded through his stuff this summer, donating or passing on, just leaving him with the necessary amount to get him through the season. I find that my kids tend to wear the same four or five things over and over…because that’s what’s on the top of the pile in the drawer.

    Our daughter wears a good deal of passed down clothing and come this winter, she’ll be wearing boys jeans…you know, ones that actually cover her bottom and reach her waist. The little girl clothes are somewhat disgraceful right now. I made most of her summer shorts just so her crotch would be covered! My kids play in the yard and get really dirty. They might as well do it in used clothes.

  6. Ooops…I think I was supposed to talk about purging and passing on. I do that a great deal because I see the need in our area. We pass uniform pieces around our school just to keep them in use. We also purge wardrobes and toys regularly. I think it helps keep the little ones humble when they see the help they can provide. I am still trying to get them down to around 10 pieces each for the basics – pants, shirts, sweats. One or two dressier things for church or special occasions…and those are often thrifted or hand me downs, too.

    One last thought….you can never have too many pairs of underwear or too many socks….

  7. My children suffer from too many clothes, too. My issue with Kyle right now is sizing if different between stores, so he has stuff that fits, stuff that’s waiting to fit, etc. The stuff he outgrows goes to my sister for my nephew. We just had a yard sale and all the stuff both boys have outgrown went to a woman having a baby this month. She gave me $25 for several boxes of stuff, so I was happy she got a great deal and I still got a little something. Everything left went to our rescue misson. Erin’s stuff is being saved until I know if my sister’s next one will be a boy or girl. Girl, she gets it all, boy, it goes to the rescue mission.

    Laura’s last blog post..Happy 5 months, Erin!

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