What’s In, What’s Out: Cleaning Out Your Children’s Clothes

kid toy on mattress

Kids grow so fast that most of the time their drawers and closets are at least half full of clothes they can’t or won’t wear again. I swear it seems like every other month there is the same amount of clothing, but fewer wearable pieces. For my highly active 6-year-old, it’s generally due either to him growing like a weed, or the “worn knee syndrome” that seems to plague almost all boys. My beautiful 4-year-old daughter is quite the girlie girl, and very careful with her clothing, so her wardrobe options are more often than not affected by her growth spurts. My 2-year-old, with all his artistic creativity, is quite talented at getting more food on himself and the floor than in his mouth, which of course directly results in his clothes becoming works of food art. For all of us that have growing, “worn knee” plagued, artistic youth in our midst, cleaning out their clothing can become a regular item on our bimonthly to-do list.

When tackling this undertaking, one thing that needs to be done is to pull out all the permanently stained pieces. These garments are great for all the messy craft or cooking projects. They are also perfect for running around outside in the mud or dirt. In either case, the neater, unstained clothes are protected from potentially being ruined. Also, the amount of time spent treating stains is significantly lessened. But if the items are too bad off, or too small, there is no point in saving them.

Another thing to look for are the clothes that are ripped or holey (but not church worthy). Again, determine if the items are salvageable for messy activities. Another idea for those people that are, or know someone who is, talented with scissors and a needle and thread is to make alterations. Pants with a worn knee (or two) can be cut off to make a great pair of shorts. Long-sleeved shirts with holey or worn sleeves or cuffs can be altered into short or no-sleeve shirts. The possibilities are limited by creativity and sewing skills.

The next thing on the clothes cleaning agenda is getting rid of the things that are too small. If there is a younger sibling, family member, or friend’s child that can get use out of it, then use the age old tradition of “handing it down”. This concept has been great for my two best friends, my sister, and myself. Our children, mostly boys, range in age from 15 to 2. As the older kids outgrow stuff, the younger ones inherit them. We keep passing things down until there’s either no child to pass it to, or it becomes unwearable. If the “handed down” clothes are still a bit big for the next child, we put it away until they are able to wear it.

Now that the child’s closet and drawers have been cleared of all the garments they can no longer use, there is probably a good amount of free space. The sharing clothes tradition comes in really handy at this point. It’s great to know that the opened space can potentially be refill with decent clothes that the child can actually wear. That means less clothes to buy, which is nice on the wallet.

Cleaning out your child’s closet may not be one of the most enjoyable things on your to-do list, but it can have a few benefits that make it worth spending the time. Benefits like uncluttering your child’s clothing space, uncovering some great clothes that are still wearable, and helping to maximize your clothing budget.

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