Poll: How many outfits?

One thing about having a bunch of kids: lots of people feel inspired to be charitable.

I get offers for free babysitting all the time because people think I need a break.

People bring me food, especially for the kids. Snacks, treats, juice boxes. I wonder if they think my kids aren’t spoiled enough.

And I get bags and bags of gently used clothing. My sister, in witnessing mysterious bags appearing at my front door as if by magic, suggested I get one of those metal drop-off bins. Sometimes I feel I need one!

I’m not complaining. I know how blessed I am. Last winter was the first time I ever bought a winter coat for one of my kids. Usually, if my child needed a winter coat, I would just start asking around. Winter coats were one item that my group of friends and I shared. Whenever one of my kids got a “new” coat, we would also get a litany of the previous owners. I loved it, and felt like we were already participating in the communion of saints! Thank goodness my kids were (and still are) too young to care that it wasn’t brand new.

Right now, I am waist-deep in clothes. I’m trying to inventory the kids’ fall/winter wardrobes. I’m getting rid of worn, ripped, stained or ugly outfits. I’m sorting the sizes into piles and separating those piles into warm vs. cool seasons. And soon I’ll begin deciding if each kid has enough shirts, pants, sweaters, and pajamas. This is quite a chore for one kid…and then I have to multiply by 5!

But because of the bags and bags of donations, I rarely have a problem with not enough clothes. Usually I have a problem with too much clothing. And I really don’t want it all. Even if I had the room, even if every outfit was adorable, comfortable and hardy, even if I could go a week without doing laundry (yeah, right), even then…I think it is greedy to hoard all these outfits when there other children who could be wearing them. Even with baby clothes I’ve learned that I don’t need to save every onesie and every set of pajamas for future babies…because I always get more clothes anyway.

So I reduce, reuse and recycle and share the love. And the question of the week, as I sort and filter, is how many outfits does a child need? Not uniforms for school, not chinos or dresses for church. Just everyday clothes, going out to play clothes, rainy day read-a-book clothes.

I asked my husband and he said 6 outfits. I think, given the option, I would do more so that we could go away for a week and come home to at least one or two clean outfits. A friend suggested 10 outfits…or at least 10 shirts and maybe fewer pants. That sounds a bit more reasonable.

I want your opinion. Tell me what you think! How many outfits do you plan for your kids?

5 thoughts on “Poll: How many outfits?

  1. I can’t come up with an answer either. And being here in NJ, we need “seasonal” items….My 2 younger kids are beneficiaries of others’ generosity. Unfortunately I don’t have any friends/relatives with teen boys who might donate to Big Brother. He gets everything new. Little Brother gets very little new–he has stuff from Big Brother AND the Boy Next Door (Middle Sister’s age).I have also gotten much less obsessive about what I save–rather than pass along to friends/relatives with kids younger than mine–since I have also received more baby stuff than I could use, “gently worn,” when Little Brother came along.

  2. 10 sounds good to me, but I’m at the beginning of my however-many kids, so I’m watching this feed, let me tell you! 🙂

  3. 10 sounds great, as I never want to do laundry more than once a week and we will go through more than one outfit on several days. (My boys have a habit of getting muddy/wet outside, yet don’t like to be dirty!) I know what you mean by inheriting way too many clothes. I appreciate the generosity as well, but at times I have felt that I could open up my own Goodwill out of the garage!

  4. I just posted on a board about this exact same thing…literally just minutes ago.I have 8 children, 13-g, 12-g, 11-g, 10-b, 9-b, 7-g, 4-b, 2-b.We too are often given MANY clothes, and I am grateful, but why do two boys, 9 and 10 yrs old need 40+ t shirts? We are going thru the great pare down, especially because we are looking at moving in the next several months as well. I am going to try for 5 outfits each. We rarely travel, and hotels have washers and dryers, so if I need more, I’ll wash. If we all have 5 outfits for every day, thats still 50 outfits of clothing in our house!!! That is still plenty-o-laundry here, and like you, we homeschool, so if they have to wear their jammies while something gets washed..no biggie!

  5. i am a mama of 6…8yr twin girls, 6yr grl, 5yr boy, 3yr boy and 6mth boy…

    and BTW; i am totally obsessed with sweet children's clothes…and order/simplicity in my home! so the motto is: more people, more love; less stuff, less work!!!

    in the girls' closet it is a free for all. fortunately they are all about the same size, this may not last forever, but now, they must share everything. only exception…if a piece of clothing is given to one by name, that girl, by name is the 1st to wear it; then the piece becomes part of the “girls' closet”.
    they all wear uniforms to schoool, we have 9 outfits, 6 sweaters.
    we attend a “casual” church service so they can mix and match skirts, shirts and dresses. the closet has 6 skirts, 6 pairs of jeans, 6 pairs of shorts, 9 or 10 dresses. oodles of painties and leggings, 5 sets of jammies…12 shirts per season, oh yes, and 4 swimsuits.
    as far as shoes go…since my eldest are twins, i buy a girlie and a unisex style of keens for them to hand down to little sis and the brothers for school and another set of the same for summer shoes. then formal shoes, we end up giving one of the twins' pair away.
    my boys just wear keens to everything, play and formal. keens last forever!!! thank you God!
    that way there are at most, 2 pair of shoes per child in the house at all times. oh yes, the porch doesn't count!!! we have an array of galoshes lined up by the front door for muddy/rainy days.

    now the boys…at least one pair of overalls, no more than 2 (LOVE THEM) 6 play, 3 formal, 4 nice shirts per season. 2 sweaters, 1 jacket. 3 play pants, 2 formal (as in cords or chinos), 1-2 jeans, 4 shorts. 2 jammies, 1 swimsuit and oodles of undies and socksies.

    and duh, 1 coat! we love hand-me-downs…don't get so much for the girls…maybe because they are older…
    and can i just say man, boys are so much more rough on the clothes than girls!!!
    thanks for the fun ladies…i love tuning in and you've all been such help…i love cleaning out and getting rid of!

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