Monday, August 15, 2011

Announcing the New Tri-Mom...& Clothing a Bunch

When I wrote my Tri-Mom's post two weeks ago, I announced that we were looking for a new Tri-Mom!  Allyson and I reviewed the applications and are pleased to introduce the third Tri-Mom this week: Christy from A Living Homeschool.  Christy is a relatively new blogger who homeschools her 3 children using a Charlotte Mason style of education.  She also blogs at ¢entsible Saving$

Be sure to hop over to  Allyson's blog to see what she shared about this week's topic and to see if she has had her new baby who is due any day now.  (I'm thinking Thursday would be a good birth day since it is also my birthday!) And, of course, go meet Christy who joins the Tri-Moms today!


Clothing a Bunch

Hand-me-downs are my friend!  Truly.  With five young children to clothe, I can't imagine the bill if we bought new for everyone.  My sister, Bekah, is three years older than my daughter, Maddie, and only about two sizes larger, so when Bekah wears a pretty dress (or sparkly shirt or fuzzy boots), Maddie can dream about wearing the same item in two years.  Alaine is six years younger than Maddie but also more petite.  However, between Maddie's old clothes and hand-me-downs from cousins, she is still clothed primarily in hand-me-downs.

At the end of each season, we box up anything that is still in good condition and store it in my parents' attic.  Stained, faded, or stretched items (or even things we think will go out of style) don't make the cut.  Twice a year, the three girls (Bekah, Maddie, and Alaine) have a fashion show of sorts as we unpack each labeled box.  They try on and model and dance around the room, showing off their "new" clothes. 

My clothing-storage system for my boys is different.  Instead of sorting by size, I sort by child.  I keep three large storage containers in our shed.  When Gavin outgrows a shirt, I throw it into Owen's  box.  When Owen outgrows a pair of pajamas, I toss it into Benjamin's box.  Each season, I dig through each boy's entire box to see what fits.  Things that are still too big stay in the box and items that are too small, move into a younger brother's box. 

I've found that my boys are harder on clothes, especially pants, so we have to do a little more shopping  for them in order to fill the gaps in their wardrobes. Knowing their tendency to wear out pants, I keep my eyes extra-peeled at yard sales.  Last year we were blessed to find a huge stack of boys' pants for a quarter a piece!  At only $2 for the lot, even if only 1 pair of pants fit, it was still far cheaper than buying new. And on our way out to dinner for our anniversary last weekend, we stopped at an evening yard sale and picked up a few more pairs of pants for fifty cents-- some for this year, some to save-- so instead of needing pants this year, we are a little short on shirts! 

Even with a bit of shopping, though,  the hand-me-down system is a tremendous money-saver.  This month I have been going through all the kids' clothes to see what they have and making a list of what they need.  I discovered last week that, of my five children, only Benjamin needs a coat for this winter.  (Last year he wore out a coat that the boys had worn for a total of five years!)

A few years ago, I gained new perspective on all this saving and handing down.  Though I still save what my kids have outgrown and pack it away for another year, I give away more, too.  It is easy to hold on to it all in an effort to ease my future worries.  (If the clothes are in the attic, I don't have to worry about what they will wear or how I can afford to buy what they need.)  But if someone can use a pair of jeans now, I don't hesitate to pass ours on.  If someone needs a coat for the winter, why not pull one of our out of the boxes to give to them?  I'd rather see someone be blessed by our abundance than hoard it for the future.

The results of this attitude have blessed us beyond measure.  Each time I begin to stress about how we are going to clothe everyone, someone surprises us with a bag of clothes or passes on a pair of shoes, a pile of socks, a swimsuit, or a winter coat their child has outgrown. 

Give, and it will be given to you. 
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over,
will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
~Luke 6:38~

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In an effort to simplify, we have eliminated the Tri-Moms link-up.  Always feel free to weigh in via the comments, though!  Be sure to visit the other Tri-Moms, Allyson and Christy for more of the clothing discussion! 

Up next: September 6
  Lesson planning/organizing the school year

Fall Schedule of Topics
September 20: Getting the whole family involved in homeschooling
October 4:  The joys and fears of our children growing older
October 18: Traveling with children
November 1: Thanksgiving crafts and recipes
November 15: Teaching the meaning of Thanksgiving

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  1. I love the idea of the girls' fashion show. I'm sure our girls will be like that in a few years.

    We have also struggled with the balance between hoarding and helping others. However, because of God's faithfulness in providing in the past we are now much more inclined to give clothing to people when we know they need it as opposed to keeping it stored for a couple of years until our kids will use it.

    I love the feeling of giving clothes away, probably because I know what a blessing it is to receive them.

  2. We rarely get hand me downs, so I am always grateful when we do.

    My MIL buys a lot. A lot, a lot. I am grateful for her too.

    And I probably give away too much. The packed closets and attic space haunt me...and so does the weight limit when moving with the military!

    As are so organized.

  3. Happy birthday kristen. Your mom said you were wise and she's right. Your system of buying and storing is good stewardship... wise.

    Blessings, Debbie


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