I generally do my “big shopping” for my kids twice a year (fall/winter and spring/summer) and I always go about it in the exact same way, so I thought I’d share that with you all – especially since I’m about to get to my spring/summer shopping!
I am honestly a very slow shopper and don’t do a ton of impulse buys. I think about purchases for both myself and for the kids to make sure that they make sense, that they’ll go with other things we own and will be a good fit for upcoming activities or just everyday.
So I thought I’d break down how I shop for my kids, get what we need and stick to a budget. Now, do I occasionally shop for random things like Valentine’s Day shirts, cute swimsuits and other fun purchases? Absolutely! But I try to make sure we’re starting with a good base of clothes that we can pull from and mix and match for everyday and this is how I do it.
Step 1: See What you Have
First things first, I go through closets and dressers. I start with Dylan’s and go through things that are too small and make a few piles of them. I decide whether I “need” to keep any sentimental pieces, and then make a giveaway pile and a trash pile. I don’t donate anything that has stains or that I wouldn’t want my kids to wear.
Then I’ll go through Jackson’s closet and get rid of things with holes in them (this kid goes through jeans like crazy!) and then pack up items that are in good condition to save them for Dylan.
This way, I can evaluate what we still need for each of them. Right now I’ve noticed that we have more pajamas, undershirts/underwear and socks than we could really ever need so I don’t have to get those. But I know I need to get shorts for Jackson, and both boys need new jeans, polos, short sleeved tees, spring jackets and buttondown shirts.
Step 2: Set a Budget
I plan to spend about the same amount of money on both of my big shopping sessions and that budget for me is usually $250 per child. Sometimes I’ll end up spending a little more on Jackson because Dylan does have some good condition hand-me-downs that will work to fulfill certain needs. I’ve also noticed that they somehow go through some growth spurts at the same time, so sometimes I’ll end up spending a little bit more.
Once I have my budget in mind, I browse around to see where there are good sales and I try to make the most out of my budget!
Step 3: Fill Up Your Carts
My go-to stores for the boys for everyday clothes are Old Navy, GAP and Oshkosh/Carters. Then I typically shop at Janie and Jack for nicer dress-up clothes (so I’ll get their Easter outfits there and outfits for our family photos, as well). I’ll also occasionally shop at J.Crew’s crewcuts for the boys but that’s honestly typically more than I want to spend on play clothes. My boys are tough on their clothes and I mostly try to buy things I won’t be really upset about if they come home with paint, food or whatever else all over them!
So I pull up tabs on my browser for all of the stores that I want to shop at and, one by one, I go through the site and put things I like in my carts. This is a bit of a free for all and I’ll end up with lots and lots of items, putting me WAY over what I want to spend (and with things I don’t actually need to buy), so then I go on to step 4.
Step 4: Edit, Edit, Edit
This is a bit of a long process, so bear with me on it. After my carts are full, I spend time looking at everything and seeing which shirts will go with pants in that cart or other carts AND stuff we already have. I’ll put things in “saved items” at various stores that I like but don’t love, so that if our orders come and I think “Ugh I wish I had purchased XYZ…” I can go back and get it.
My goal is to make the most out of my budget and the items I’m buying so I want to make sure that lots of things coordinate and mix/match. This usually means I stick to a pretty common color theme, but I’ll throw in a few fun pieces here and there, especially if we’re going on vacation or something. We actually over-coordinated so much that on “Mismatched Day” at school, it was actually challenging for us to find something for Jackson to wear that didn’t match!
Step 5: Order, Receive, Try On.
Once we get everything, I have the boys try on (or I hold up everything to them to compare sizing because what kid actually has the patience to try everything on?) to make sure that nothing is too small. Generally if something is a little big, I’ll keep it so they can grow into it. Usually everything is too long because we’re all pretty short people around here, but that’s not changing any time soon, so we go with it.
I always wash everything (sorted by color because I’m obsessive like that) and get closets organized before things get worn. And then I’ll take a look and make sure we’re not missing anything or needing more of something else!
So that’s it! Is that a bit obsessive for shopping for kids? Maybe. But it’s what works for me and I we manage to do a pretty good job of buying what we need, staying on budget and my kids dress pretty darn cute (in my own opinion!).