Thursday, August 20, 2015

Clothing Our Kids Part 2 - Kids Clothing Inventory

As talked about in my last post, clothing our children is a never ending task (as they are are constantly growing) and one that is on the expensive side.
 I know it doesn't have to be, but I take pride in the way I dress and present my kids. They are a reflection of me, my parenting and our family. Plus, I believe, they deserve to look and feel good too! Every ones priorities in life are different, it just so happens that looking clean and presentable , never leaving the house without footwear on and taking pride in yourself and your appearance is a top priority for me. 
It is definitely a reflection of my upbringing. My parents taught us from a very young age that personal hygiene and appearance was important. I can't ever remember my Mum leaving the house without makeup on , or my Dad walking anywhere without shoes. But.. like I said, each to their own. If everyone was the same, the world would be a boring place!

As the kids get older, hand me downs are fewer, clothing changes and unfortunately our shops are limited where we live. I know there is always the wonderful world of online shopping, and believe me , I am a fan! However , with tall, thin children , it is nice to actually look at a garment, feel a fabric and see things with your own eyes in the flesh. So, this led me to create our Kids Clothing Inventory before my last trip away to the city.

A simple , easy to transport folder, where I can record what we have in each size , see clearly what we need and set levels that should be in the wardrobes at all times. I have assigned each child a section, with a list of each size relevant included. There are also sections for School Uniforms and footwear. 

I started with a basic, white ringed A5 file , plastic page protectors and some file dividers. These file dividers I actually made myself as I could only find them in plain, plastic and gaudy colours. I simply purchased the plastic ones and uses them as a template to cut my own from cute patterned card stock. 

The labels were made on a basic label maker. This way I can peel them off and swap things around if I wish, without too much trouble.

The School Uniform inventory covers all things, down to bike shorts that the girls slip on when they wear their school dresses.
If I have to throw something out because its stained (and it can't be removed) , I take one off the tally on the inventory. By having this file, it also means that if something gets advertised on a Buy and Sell page on Facebook etc, I am able to quickly check if we are in need of it and snaffle a second hand bargain. A bargain isn't a bargain if you don't actually need it . Now I can check!
I may be the President of our P & C , and I'm a full advocate of our Uniform Shop and it all that it does for the school, but I still have 4 kids, 3 at school. They play hard, have fun and can come home from school in a right old state ! Especially our 2 Pre Primary kids! We also live in a very transient town, where people may only stay for 6-12 months at a time. So if school uniforms are for sale second hand and are in good condition, I always try and buy them where I can. I think I have only bought about half of our uniform stock full price.
My motto is always ' Save on some, to spend more on others"

For our Shoe section I have created an inventory for boys and one for girls. These have a space to manually write the size in the top.
Our boys do actually wear the same size shoes (event though they are 18 months apart) so I just write a name before the size .
For the girls I have included Weekend dress shoes (which may be a ballet slipper from Cotton On Kids etc) and Weekend Sandals. Also Soccer /Football boots and school socks and casual socks.
Plus of course, school sandals and casual sandals.
The boys are much the same.

Again , I have included things like the Soccer/Football boots as its something that I anticipate that we will need every year. However the boots that Stella wore this year , will no doubt not fit next year and therefore Lacey could wear them when she reaches that size etc. All shoes that are too big , go into a box that is clearly marked and because its listed on the inventory, I know there is a pair waiting in that box , without even having to look.

Taking stock and updating levels etc with items in storage before a recent trip to the big smoke!

With the general Clothing Inventory , I want through the kids wardrobes/drawers and wrote down everything that we need for the year. We generally don't have a cold winter in the Pilbara and have an extremely hot summer for a good 7 months of the year so my levels would be different than that of a family in a different climate. Each small box indicates an item needed.
Each sizing even includes rain coats (as we have a wet season) , singlets , jumpers and even underwear.
I usually have a list in each child's section of their current size and sheets for the next 3 sizes up. This means that when I go away for a weekend to the city and can sneak in some shopping, or the online sales are on, I can purchase something I like, even if it doesn't come in the kids current sizes. Rather than missing out on it, I know they will get to wear it in the future and I save money in the long run when an item is discounted to just a few dollars.
I have always bought clothing on sale , in advanced sizing for the kids. But .. I seemed to buy it , stash it in a box or cupboard then when I get it all out its either too small and I've missed the boat or I have 10 T-Shirts in one size and only 1 in another! Well not anymore!
Now I know what I have, what I need and I don't over buy . Perfect. A life changer for me!

Another inventory and list before my city trip. Knowing what I need is the best thing of all.  Its hard because when people thing of a weekend away with no kids, they generally don't thinking of buying basic items, however its all I seem to do! 

For some, this inventory may seem far too organised. Some may say I have too much time on my hands (and I can assure you that time is something that is severely lacking in my life) but then again, some people may see it and think "YES!!!" I need that! 
It has changed the way I shop. Changed the way I pack for trips away. Changed the way I look at items , and instead of impulse buying, I am shopping smarter! I check what sizes are available, I see if I need it and if I do I purchase. If I don't need it , it stays on the shelf. Easy. 
I tend to stick to a colour scheme for the kids. The boys especially, as I find boys clothes so hard to find in styles that I actually like. This way, all their clothes mix and match. 
I may like a red top , but know that it doesn't go with the rest of their clothing and therefore I don't buy it. Easy.
You may think that only 5 T-shirts isn't enough, but when you wash everyday like I do and its usually back in the wardrobes the next afternoon , I think 5 is just fine. Again, everyone is so different. Find a system that works of you . It may be trial and error, but you'll get there. This has taken me years to figure out and implement. But I am loving it ! 

If you haven't already, check out Part 1 of my Clothing Our Kids posts. 
In Part 3 I will be covering my favourite places to shop, both bricks and mortar stores and online. 

Is a Clothing Inventory something you may be interested in? 
Shall I pop my lists up as printable? 
You could always try your hand at making your own too! 
I'd love to hear more about the way you keep track of your kids clothing, sizes and storage!