Shopping for Kids Clothes: How Much Do They Need?

Shopping can be fun, but it can also be a chore if you’re constantly having to pick up items for you and your kids. A great approach is to schedule two major shopping days each year, one at the start of Spring, the other in early Fall. With an organized list, a large-scale consignment sale, and a few good stores, it’s possible to condense your shopping time and stick to a budget.

Decide on your shopping day; if there’s a large consignment sale, pick that day. In Southeastern New Brunswick, the largest kid/baby consignment sales are hosted twice a year by the Moncton Multiples group. There’s also a similar sale twice a year in Saint John, and in the Fredericton area, check out the twice-a-year sales organized by the Fredericton Area Moms of Multiples.

A day or two before, go through your kids’ closets and any bins of clothes you’ve saved for the upcoming season. Find out what fits – and ditch what doesn’t!

Measure your child – inseam, sleeve length, shoe size, even head circumference. Check their sizes against the general size charts, so you know what to look for – maybe they fit into a 2T but are near the end of the size range; in that case, you want to plan ahead for a mid-season spurt and buy some smaller 3T items. Some folks will shop with shirt and pants that fit well to compare sizes, or a piece of yarn with the lengths marked to measure. For shoes, trace the outside of one that fits if you’re not bringing your child with you to try them on. (Click here for tips on buying kids shoes!)

Make a list of what your child would wear in a week, then add in two play outfits and one dress outfit. (See our shopping lists below for inspiration.)

Start your shopping day at the consignment sale (here are some tips for that!) or by visiting your favourite consignment/second-hand store (Moncton is full of great shopping options, including the well-kept racks at Lollipops and Gumdrops!) with list and size information in hand.

Shop, shop, shop!

Review the list and spend the afternoon picking up whatever you didn’t find in the sale racks – new shoes, a funky hat, underwear, or whatever else is still on the list.

Finish the day confident you shouldn’t have to go clothes shopping for several more months.

You can always use this same one-day method shopping retail, but you’ll save money shopping second-hand – and could even come out with money in your pocket if you sign up to sell through consignment! People who sell through the Moncton Multiples Consignment Sale and Grapevine Events average a few hundred dollars profit each sale, enough to finance the next season’s wardrobe, for sure.

Clothing Lists

Here’s our list for Spring/Summer. Consider this a minimal list, though not a minimalist’s list: you might want to add a few more of certain items, based on your family’s preferences and routines (warmer PJs for camping, soccer gear, sundresses, etc.). 

This list was created with young children in mind; perhaps yours won’t get their clothes as dirty, or perhaps you are more minimalist, so decrease the numbers as you see fit, as well. This is just meant to get you started!

2 swimsuits
1 SPF swim shirt
1 sun hat
1 other hat
1 rain jacket
1 Spring/Summer jacket
2 pairs splash pants
1 pair of rain boots
1 pair of sneakers
1 pair of sandals
1 pair of casual/dress shoes
1 pair water shoes
9 pairs of underwear
8 pairs of socks
1 dressy outfit
2 ‘who cares if you rip it, drop paint on it, roll in the mud in it’ outfits – one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, one long sleeve shirt, one short sleeve shirt
2 sweaters/hoodies
4 long sleeve, light weight shirts
6 short sleeve shirts
4 tank tops
2 pairs of jeans/khakis
2 pairs of pants
6 pairs of shorts/skirts
4 pairs of long sleeve, light weight PJs
6 pairs of short sleeve, short pants PJs

Here’s our list for Fall/Winter. Again, consider this a minimal list: you might want to add or skip items, depending on your family routines (bathing suit for swim class, outfits for travel to warmer areas, etc.).

2 winter hats
1 lightweight/fall hat
4 pairs of mittens/gloves
1 scarf
2 snowsuits
1 rain jacket
1 Fall jacket
2 fleece jackets/outdoor sweaters/hoodies (two total, not two of each)
2 pairs of splashpants (great if one pair is lined)
2 pairs of snowboots
1 pair of rainboots
2 pairs of sneakers (one pair for indoors at school/daycare)
1 pair of ‘nice’ shoes
9 pairs of underwear
8 pairs of socks
5 undershirts
1 pair of long johns (pants & top)
4 tights (for dress/skirt wearers)
2 ‘who cares if you rip it, drop paint on it, roll in the mud in it’ pairs of pants, 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 short sleeve shirt
1 dress outfit
1 casual outfit – better than every day wear, not quite your Sunday best
1 fancy sweater
10 long sleeve shirts (4 light weight, 6 heavier)
4 short sleeve shirts
6 pairs of jeans/cords/khakis (substitute 2 or 3 for 3 or 4 warm skirts)
4 pairs of sweatpants/leggings
3 long sleeve dresses
4 pairs of long sleeve, light weight PJs
6 pairs of fleece PJs

What are your tips for keeping the kids’ clothes from overflowing the closets and breaking the budget? Share below!

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