My family is a tall one. With my 10-year-old daughter already over 5 feet, she no longer fits in clothing found in the kids' section and has moved on to adult sizes. As a baby she skipped over several size categories of clothing which left us with a lot of gifts still with tags.
Gift it Away
We do have the seasonal cleaning of the closets and drawers but in the meantime, I have trained my daughter to deal with the outgrown clothing. We have a family friend who has a daughter a year and a half younger than mine. She is also on the petite side. Since my friend's daughter was born, we have been boxing up clothing on our end and shipping it over to her. Because of the size difference, my friend is able to outfit her daughter for several seasons before our next batch of clothing is ready to go.
In our spare closet, we keep a large trash bag. Whenever my daughter gets dressed and finds clothing that no longer fit, she knows to put in the in bag for her younger sibling. Now she automatically gathers up the clothes too small for her and adds them to the bag. When the bag fills up, we box it and send it out the door.
Strategize the Distribution
Kids grow fast, so most used clothing is still in great condition. Keep clothing with stains or other damage for dusting and cleaning. Clothing that is in decent shape can be donated to our local thrift store. Baby clothing with tags are boxed up and re-gifted to others since they are still in brand new condition. It is one way to give more without having to spend more.
On my friend's side, her daughter can hardly wait to see what Auntie is sending. We've been sending boxes for over 9 years and every item is appreciated. To continue the pay-it-forward process, my friend has identified a colleague at work who is supporting her family in another country. Her colleague is grateful for the donations, as is her family that has little else.
Teach a Life Lesson
It feels good to pass down the clothing to those who need and appreciate the efforts. The process has ingrained in my daughter the importance of giving and helping others — so much so that I sometimes have to talk her down from giving away all her stuff to others. Our closets remain organized and her drawers have only what still fits. It makes shopping for her more cost-effective because we only have to buy what we need.
When donating or gifting clothing to others, make sure they are washed and dried, folded nice, and kept in a box or a bag as they are collected. This makes it easy to sort and send items where they need to go. Some items I will keep in a separate box to off-load at our summer yard sales. I admit to trying eBay to earn some extra cash, but I ended up spending more for the process than I made. I find it was not as gratifying as the giving of clothes to others and it was a big hassle at the end of the day.
When I consider the cycle we have established, I feel good about our strategy for consuming less and giving more. I am thrilled our daughter has fully realized the importance of the process and is thrilled to be a part of it. I do hope that as she gets older and pickier about brand names and styles, she will still keep her foundation in appreciating the things she gets, whether they are a hand-me-down or from the store.
What is your family's process for decluttering the clothes?