Sanity Tip: Clothes Shopping

I hate shopping. I really do. I don’t care if it’s shopping for groceries, clothing, housewares, whatever: I hate it. To me it’s a time-suck between the price-comparing and the trying-on of clothes and the do-I-really-need-this dialogue that goes on in my head. And, of course, there’s the cost factor. Shopping means spending money and usually it’s for things I need rather than things I want. I’ll admit it: I’m selfish. I’d rather spend my money on dining out, music and seeing movies. Ya know, the fun stuff!


I’m always amazed when I tell someone my method for shopping for clothes for “Em” and they respond with, “Wow, I never thought to do that! What a great idea!” Perhaps it’s because I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s second nature now, or perhaps I need to share this tip with the world to help save parents, single or married, both time and money. It’s so simple, really, I’m kinda embarrassed to even call it a tip. But here goes:


Buy clothes for your kids when they’re on clearance.


I know, I know: DUH!! But here’s where it gets a bit more, well, smart: buy the clothes in the next size UP! You may have noticed that when clothes go on sale, it’s almost always because they’re going out of season. T-shirts go on sale in mid-summer when the stores are getting ready to bring in fall styles, then the prices go back up as school starts up (to capitalize on back-to-school “sales”) and then you’ll see those same shirts on the clearance rack about a month or so after  school starts back up, right before as weather starts to cool down a bit.

I don’t know about you, but my kid goes through clothes like they’re paper towels! Shirts get stained from school art projects, jeans get holes in the knees from some game a friend made up during recess, shoe laces are worn thin and broken from staying untied all day… And of course when I need to replace them, one of two things inevitably happens: I can’t find anymore t-shirts because corporate offices of stores think that September/October is cold EVERYWHERE or the price has gone way up because they’re in demand and the stores know that I need them.

So when winter is almost up, I buy long-sleeved shirts and jeans, at the end of spring I buy dresses (sometimes I even buy an Easter dress!) and tights and when summer is drawing to a close I buy t-shirts and shorts, all in the size above where Em is wearing them now! When the sale is really good I’ll buy 2 or more of the same item; really, who cares if my kid has 2 identical solid pink t-shirts?!? I put all the clothes into a storage tub with a label of what’s inside and the size.

Genius, right?

And here’s the bonus tip: because I hate they physical act of shopping so much, I usually take it one step further: online shopping. I know what Em likes to wear, I know what she looks good in, and  I know that she’ll wear pretty much whatever I’ll buy her. So I shop online during my breaks at work and I don’t have to do it later! Of course, being a single parent, this makes it even better  because I won’t have to take Em with me to the store and have her looking at the stuff that’s not on sale, I won’t have to park in the boonies, I won’t have to wait in line to buy my wares, I won’t have to get stuck in the line where the person in front of me has picked up items that don’t have a price tag and the check-out clerk has to call for assistance. I just click, click, click, go! Plus, if I spend enough money, I get free shipping, too!

So, there you have it. My first Sanity Tip:

  • buy clothes that are on sale/clearance
  • buy clothes that are 1 size up from your child’s current size
  • buy clothes online
What are some tips that you have about shopping for your child’s clothes?

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