Monday, September 5, 2011

Mastering the art of shopping (for a toddler, that is)

I've never had, nor have I needed much of a "system" for buying clothes for myself.  I'm finished growing (& do very well at maintaining my weight), so I don't really have to replace clothes very often.  Yes, I'm a girl, & I do enjoy picking out new clothes from time to time.  I usually make sure they are super cheap so I can get as much clothing for my buck as possible.  There are a few items I am willing to spend some money on--shoes (not all shoes, though, just for work & working out), bras (I am a hard size to find so I am actually forced to buy pricey bras due to that, but I also think it's worthwhile to invest to good quality bras that give good support), & some few "classic" pieces that won't go out of style for a long time (like coats, blazers, that sort of thing).

I guess I do have a little bit of a system going on because I do laundry once a week, so I do try to make sure I have enough to get through a week & a little extra so that I'm not wearing the exact same clothes every week.  But that's about the extint of my "system" when it comes to buying clothes.

When I was pregnant I was kinda worried about clothing for the baby.  How much would I need?  What types of clothes would I need?  How much was it gonna cost me??  How fast would the baby outgrow the clothes?  That sort of stuff.

In the early days after the baby was born I was surviving solely on what little clothing I had received at my baby shower.  I had a 5 pack of onesies, a couple of drawstring gowns & a "sleep sack".  Of course in the early days there were lots of "accidents"--whether it be leaky diaper or spit up, so there was lots of laundry going on.  As time went on there were less accidents.  And as I learned my kid was gonna spit A LOT I decided to invest in tons of bibs, realizing it was so much easier to swap out a bib than a onesie.

For the first month or two I relied on those 5 packs of onesies that they sell at Wal-Mart, Target, Babies R Us stores.  Then one day my stepdaughter went to the Carter's store & came home with some really cute outfits.  She said she wanted to see her little brother in some cuter clothes & she also mentioned how cheap the clothes were.  That was it, after that I headed to Carter's & quickly developed a system.

Each time I headed to Carter's I would go straight to the back of the store.  The clearance rack was all the way in the back & prices went up gradually as you progressed to the front of the store.  I always got amazing deals & really loved the store.  I always preferred bodysuits (aka onesies) over shirts & bottoms when he was little because the shirts were always riding up.  I usually paired the onesies with shorts or pants.  That was another nice feature at Carter's.  Most everything was in blue or brown.  Occasionally red or grey.  And it was so easy to coordinate pieces together with their color scheme.

But then the day came when Lil J progressed to toddler clothes.  Carter's does sell some toddler clothes, but not much & I never really liked what they had, especially the prices.  It was much harder to get good deals on the toddler clothes.  Last year for the fall/winter clothes I was a little frantic trying to find a new store.  I tried Kohls, WalMart, & Target.  Target & WalMart seem to have the best deals, but the variety they offer seems to vary a great deal from one location to the next.

Last year I quickly bought up cheap long sleeved shirts.  Later on I found cheap pants & bought those.  And then I found myself trying to match them together.  It was a little tough.  And then he outgrew his jacket before the cold weather had ended (or at least windy weather, it's frequently windy where we live so I like to always have a jacket with a hood available for him).  But by that time they were selling summer clothes, no jackets could be found.  We did manage to find a windbreaker on the clearance rack in his size, but I made a mental note to make sure to not let that happen again. I also realized that the clothes that fit him well at the start of the season were the ones he grew out of before the season ended & the ones that were big on him at the start of the season lasted through the whole season.  And so I made a mental note to make sure he starts the seasons with big clothes.  Because when he outgrows them it's the same scenario as with the jacket he outgrew, it's hard to find replacements as they're then selling clothes for a different season.

Then came summer clothes.  I was happy to discover that most of his shorts still fit.  And it's always easy to find cheap shorts, which is nice.  And it's pretty easy to find cheap shirts as well.  Overall summer clothes were very cheap & easy.

This time around I am now finished buying the fall/winter clothes.  But I feel like I've got a system down now, I feel liked I learned a lot & improved on my past mistakes this time around.  I am feeling very accomplished & proud of myself.  This time around I started with pants rather than shirts.  I actually did this because I want the cheap pants & they can be hard to find & they tend to sell out fast.  I bought a size larger than he's currently wearing.  I can roll them up if I have to, but I am confident they will last the whole season.  After buying 8 pairs of $5 pants & 2 pairs of $6 jeans I then moved on to shirts.  Since I already knew what color pants I had to work with I was able to easily pick out shirts to match them.  (In the past I had bought the shirts first & then the cheap pants are very limited & it's harder to match the cheap pants to the shirts)  I also made sure to get a jacket one size larger than what we currently have for him, just in case he grows out of it.  And I also got a couple of pairs of $3 sweat pants, they just looked really comfy & cozy & were really cheap & I still had a little money left over to buy them.  And then recently hubby came home with a new pair of fall shoes for Lil J.  He said he got a super deal on them.  They are timberlands & will match very nicely with all the clothes I got.

The only thing left that I want to try to find is a pair of galoshes or rain boots.  He is such an outdoor kid that I don't think there's gonna be any way to keep him inside during the rainy season so I think I'll make sure he has a pair of rain boots & let him go out, so long as it's not pouring, which it rarely does.

Lil J has a long torso (just like his mommy & daddy) & so he has always been one size larger in shirts than pants & he still is.  He is currently in 3T shirts & 2T shorts (although some of his 18 month & 24 month shorts do still fit just fine & are still in his wardrobe).  So for the fall I bought 4T shirts & 3T pants.  So next spring I'm guessing I'll have to buy 5T shirts & 4T pants, unless his growth slows considerably.  He is currently wearing size 9 shoes, so the fall shoes hubby got are size 10.

I am so very happy that the shopping is done (with the exception of the rain boots) & that I now have a system down.  I will be sticking with this system of starting with the pants first from now on I think.  There will be a slight hiccup in the system because when he first goes into pants (from shorts) he will still be in the current short sleeved shirts.  But I did go through them & most do match up with the pants I bought.  It just won't be quite as perfect as when the weather gets cold & he moves into the long sleeved shirts with his pants.


(((((HUGS))))) sandi said...

I'm not sure I have a great system~I wait until we need something and head to Goodwill! LOL! I'm not good at the off-season sale thing, partly because I don't have a lot of storage space. I find when we have too many outfits I am always overrun with laundry, and we can never find what we're looking for. STILL trying to pare down!!!!

Frau Guten Tag said...

Well for me the off--season sale thing works because they start selling so early, way before the season has even started & then when they start selling for the next season the clothes that go on clearance can still be worn right then. We have almost NO storage space as well. And I know lots of people who can never get their closet & laundry organized & the whole reason why is simply that they have too much clothing. We (well hubby, J, & myself) do not have that problem at all. We don't have a lot of clothing. In my closet if all the hangers are used up & I buy something (or receive something) then something has to be given away to free up a hanger for a new item. That system prevents me from accumulating too much clothing. I did a huge clearing out of my closet after I had Lil J, lots of clothing just wasn't going to work for my new "mommy" body, LOL. But my step-daughter (who has TONS of clothing) just gave away a lot of clothes & I went "shopping" & picked up some good stuff so my closet is well filled out once again, LOL.

Danielle-Marie said...

I definitely agree with spending money on footwear for work/working out and on bras. I've had above average boobs since I was in the 6th grade and I'm not skinny by any stretch of the imagination but finding a bra that fits my cup size that isn't too wide around my chest is hard. So when I do find it, it often comes with a price tag. My system is I do one load of laundry a day...but not until after 9pm because unfortunately we have peak, mid-peak, and off-peak hourly rates for our hydro here. I do my dishes after every meal otherwise they pile up. I do exactly the same thing you do for childrens' clothing. With two babies, it's the only way we survive. I just bought the kids' summer clothes for next year. Can't go wrong at $2.50 for a top and $2.50 for a pair of shorts. I did that here in the USA (at a KMart) because in Canada we don't get as good of deals as you guys do. I guess the trick now is trying to figure out how to shop with two kids in tow haha!

Frau Guten Tag said...

Danielle: I'm actually a 32DD. 32 bands are already really hard to find & if I do find them they usually only come in A & B cups, so yeah, it's next to impossible to find bras. I usually get mine from Nordstrom. I know some specialty bra shops carry my size as well, but they are equally as expensive as Nordstrom. And at least once a year Nordstrom has awesome sales.

Lately my stepdaughter is rarely home or around, so I've actually switched my laundry routine slightly & I like it a lot better. Instead of doing 10 loads on Wednesday I now do 5 loads on Tuesday & 5 loads on Wednesday. And I still do our bedding & my stepson's bedding every other Thursday. I'm assuming at some point my stepdaughter will be here more once again & then I'll be forced back to the 10 loads every Wednesday, uuugghhh But for now I'm enjoying myself.

Yeah, shopping with the kid/s in tow is tough, but it's my only option, I typically don't buy ALL his stuff at one time, unless he is being especially well behaved, but I don't recall that happening, LOL.