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Here in Ohio we’re seeing the change of seasons in all its colorful beauty. But, with that, also comes the oncoming drop in temperatures, and surely, most children have outgrown (or WORN-OUT) their clothes from a full year ago.

Depending on the individual child and their age, they’ll grow at different rates from one year to the next. The impact of this growth on an existing wardrobe can range from the requirement for a ‘partial’ modification (where most items still ‘fit’), up to a ‘complete overhaul’ (where virtually everything has been outgrown).

Particularly in the latter situation, one of the first reactions can be panic and stress – especially if you’re the parent who’s responsible for finding and financing these ‘modifications’.

Before pulling out your credit card and rushing out on a panic shopping spree with your child / children, here are 5 practical tips to consider to save both your purse and your sanity:

1. INVEST THE TIME to go through each child’s existing wardrobe.

If the idea of this task is stressful for either party, consider breaking it down into smaller manageable parts – A. Concentrate on one child’s wardrobe at a time.
B. Break the exercise up over several sessions or days.
C. Spend 15-30 minutes per session going through a particular section. Perhaps jumpers 1 session, and long pants the next etc.

2. AVOID GUESSING whether an item fits or not.

This includes ‘calculated guesswork’ which is the exercise of ‘holding an item’ up against the body. If it’s been several months since a child has worn an article of clothing, take the time to physically get them to TRY EACH ITEM ON. You’ll be amazed at how much more accurate your assessment will be by basing your judgments on practical testing and not calculated guesswork.

3. If you have children of the same sex, consider WORKING THROUGH THEIR WARDROBES FROM OLDEST TO YOUNGEST.

Working in this manner means that ‘pre-loved’ or outgrown items from an older sibling can be passed down to the younger siblings and included in the items they will try on, along with their existing wardrobe. The benefits of this exercise are two-fold: 1. Younger siblings can find themselves with an ‘instant brand new’ (to them) wardrobe. 2. Minimizing the requirements for any one child’s wardrobe can result in a significant saving in time and money.

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4. KEEP ONLY THOSE ITEMS you (and particularly your child), feel confident your child will wear.

Depending on the age, personality and maturity of your child, if your child appears uncomfortable wearing a particular item, ask them to consider if they will wear it or not. If the answer is a resounding ‘no’, or their body language relays the same message, seriously consider removing that item from their wardrobe. No matter how much attachment another person may have to an article of clothing, if the person to whom it belongs is not going to wear it, the truthful fact is, it’s likely to end up on the floor in the back of a closet. Learning to respect your child’s preferences and choices is an exercise that, long term, will not only save you heartaches, but save your well-earned money as well.

5. SELL OR DONATE items of clothing that can’t be used by immediate family members or relatives.

Occasionally there may be an article that has particular sentimental value that you may wish to retain as a keepsake. However for the most part, clothing serves its purpose when it is being worn and used. If an article is no longer being used within its current location, why not allow another individual to experience this pleasure. Not only is it a wonderful feeling to be able to give something to someone else, — it can be also be an extremely liberating feeling to not only clear your physical space, but also clear the emotional energy attached to holding onto something that is not fulfilling its purpose.

Although the above tips require an investment of your time and energy at the outset, you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts in both the short and long term. Armed with accurate information about your child’s existing wardrobe well before you part with a single cent will help ensure that you invest your time and money into the most appropriate and needed items for that particular child.

And as an added bonus, remember our children are children for such a short time. So why not take advantage of this opportunity when going through their wardrobes – celebrate the fit of your child’s clothes as a measure of their growth from the previous year!

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