General ramblings

Small people’s clothes

April 21, 2013

Small people have a habit of growing.

Most inconsiderate.

So while I get ‘new’ clothes because I want some, I don’t very often need them, but the Small people do, as they are starting to run out of clothes that fit!

We very frugally and cleverly had 2 Smalls of the same sex, which makes things a little easier, as SmallSmall has inherited a lot of his older brother’s clothes. But our foresight wasn’t that great, as they were both born in different seasons (BigSmall is an October baby and SmallSmall is April!) so sometimes we have the right size clothes but not the right clothes if that makes sense.

Anyway, I have been keeping my eye out for bits and pieces in the charity shops, and I started to notice… the selection is rubbish! Most shops have a very small rail dedicated to the children’s clothes, and it’s always a big jumbled up mish-mash, and there’s just not that much stuff.

Which I think is wierd. The number of kids there are out there, and the speed with which they outgrow things, should mean that there should be LOADS of secondhand clothes floating around.

So where does it all go?!

Various people have suggested to me that children’s clothes often get handed down through families, and then on to friends/cousins who are the appropriate age. Which would make sense, but doesn’t really help me out!

I think that maybe a lot of the good stuff ends up on E-bay (other internet auction sites are available :)) and I guess I really should have a trawl through and look.

And there is also a relatively new phenomenon. The children’s nearly new markets. The NCT have been running these for a while, and they are like a bun fight-elbows out and every man (or more usually, woman) for themself! In our area, independent Nearly New sales also seem to be springing up everywhere, and provide a great opportunity for people to get rid of all their outgrown clothes and toys and make a bit of spare cash, and also for people to buy good quality things for their children. Have a look and see if there is something similar in your area.

Buying secondhand for kids (well for everyone really) makes a lot of sense. They often grown so quickly that you can pick up stuff that is barely worn, and if they are going to grow out of something quickly (or nail it outside in the mud!) you don’t want to have spent a fortune on it!

If I had my time again and I knew what I did now, then the Smalls would have been Make Do and Mend babies! You end up with so much stuff, and you get pressured into buying all these lovely shiny new things and clothes, and they are up in the loft  within 6 months as the baby has outgrown them. There is so much stuff out there if you know where to look (just not in the charity shops!)-car boots, nearly new sales, E-bay, Preloved.co.uk, and Freecycle (people are often giving away bundles of clothes and kids toys on Freecycle) and as long as you give it all a good clean and sterilise it if necessary, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t save yourself some money, do your bit to save the planet, and STILL have the best dressed baby!

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  • Reply Antonia April 23, 2013 at 7:04 am

    All our clothes get passed on to either my sister, who conveniently has two boys a couple of years younger than my two, or to friends (she won’t put them in red-they’re gingers). The hardest thing is finding trousers that last, power slides and tree climbing have a habit of destroying knees….
    Don’t forget recycling projects like Bag 2 School as well.

    • Reply Jen April 23, 2013 at 7:22 am

      Not sure how many of BigSmall’s current trousers are going to survive to be handed down! I have a pair sat here waiting to be patched as we speak 🙂

  • Reply Hattie April 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I think you’re right – loads are handed down. We’re still being offered lots (especially since we started politely reminding people that we’re in the market for hand me downs) and I’ve always stuck our initials on the labels of J’s old clothes with marker pen and cheerfully handed them over to everyone from relatives to the postman. We get 70% of it back when they don’t need them anymore and Smallfarmfuture’s right – karma sends a lot more your way!

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      I am loving the idea of second-hand Karma…!

  • Reply Smallfarmfuture April 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I have a theory about this. The more clothes you pass on to others, the more bags of clothes magically get offered to you! Some people are a bit nervous about asking if you want second hand clothes (lest it offends!), so it’s worth raving about any clothes you get so that word spreads that you’re a happy recipient of hand-me-downs! (:

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Great theory! I’ll test it out 🙂

  • Reply joelleharris April 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    The children’s clothes sales are definately not new! I remember my Mum running one in the 70’s. I did well from friends with older children when my boys were little. I noticed lots of childrens clothes at the local car boot sale recently.

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      Car boots have possibly replaced jumble sales

  • Reply Anna April 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    We pass on all our old clothes to the children’s cousins, who are each a year younger. My lucky sister in law doesn’t have to buy very much at all. I am also lucky as two friends have boys older than my son and pass their stuff on to him. That only leaves my daughter, as we don’t know any older girls I have to buy her clothes. I recommend finding a friend with older boys!! I also cannot find anything for my 10 year old daughter in charity shops and end up buying her clothes to grow into, in sales.

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      Good idea-in future all friends will be vetted as to the suitability of their offspring to provide mine with hand me downs 😉

  • Reply KnitNell April 22, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Some years ago my knitting group was approached to knit clothes for a charity to coincide with National Knitting Week, the finished items to be donated and sold in the charity’s local branch. When toddlers’/children’s knits were offered they were refused with the charity saying that children’s clothes were difficult to sell and knitted items impossible. Mothers were looking for new or ‘labelled’ clothes. It might be worth approaching local charity stores with your details and size requirements etc in case people are donating but the items are being sent straight to making rags.

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Great idea-thankyou!

  • Reply TheMadHouse April 22, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Ebay or car boot sales are the way to go I fear. I am finding it harder and hard to get quality second hand clothes for the boys, but then my two’s clothes could never be passed on as they get worn out!

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 9:02 am

      I don’t think any of BigSmall’s current trousers will be up to being passed on for a second go with SmallSmall!

  • Reply Hazel April 22, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Boys clothes get harder to find as they get older. As other commenters have said, they’re so hard on their clothes, not much makes it to second hand 🙁
    I’ve just re-patched Barney’s ‘as made for the British army’ trousers. I’m not sure what he’s doing that the regular army aren’t, but I can’t believe they’re constantly mending their trousers. (I have resisted the whole mini-military look, but he does have camo trousers now. At least they don’t show the mud…)

    It does seems to be getting better again now he can fit in some small adult stuff. Teenagers are clearly too busy looking cool to wear their clothes out!

    And I’m with you on the whole seasons thing. Although I cleverly had 3 children, ensuring at least 2 of the same gender and I even had them all in the winter, the 2 girls are very different builds. One has always been very tall and in clothes several age groups above her actual age but the other is spot on average. When the youngest started school I searched everywhere for the age 5 uniform I would have kept, and then realised that the eldest was in age 7 clothes then…

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 9:01 am

      They don’t like to make it easy for us do they?!

  • Reply a field somewhere April 21, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Used to buy loads on Ebay but I quite (got a bit addicted!)
    http://afieldsomewhere.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/i-quit/
    It’s not actually that cheap these days due to postage costs. Sometimes you end up paying just as much just for the convenience of shoppin while watching Corrie and that lovely pair of cute new shoes arriving with the smiling postie just a few days later.
    I swear by car boot sales for kids stuff. 20p, 50p and sometime I even stretch to a £1 if something is really special.
    If your kids are anything like mine they wreck stuff so I’d never buy new. I even get a bit precious about second hand new stuff getting ‘spoilt’! What’s the point in dressing kids in stuff they are not allowed to play in?

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 9:00 am

      You are right-car boots are the way forwards, although I think if I need something specific-like wells etc, then I may end up resorting to E-bay. I also find it hard to carve out the time to go the car boot-our weekends end up fairly hectic!

      • Reply a field somewhere April 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

        And you end up coming back with way more stuff than you need! I love the way that stuff just circulates round car boots 3rd, 4th, 5th hand. Wouldn’t it be great if toys and clothes could talk? Tell a story of the life they have had.

        • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm

          It would be awesome!

  • Reply carla April 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    There’s loads of pages on Facebook too, check out your local buy swap and free sort of pages 🙂
    Have you tried trying to revamp the older boys clothes for your younger one? 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 8:57 am

      He gets them un re-vamped if they have survived the first one!

  • Reply saraband April 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Nearly-new sales were all the rage when my children were small in the 1970s so I guess things have come full circle! We have about 8 charity shops in the market town where I live and they’ve become very expensive. Don’t see many jumble sales advertised these days. Perhaps car boot sales have taken their place?

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

      I think you may be right about car boots but I do love a good old fashioned jumble sale. Maybe we should all try ressurecting the jumble sale ‘movement’!

  • Reply Lisa April 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    As you’re on FB and you are not allowed to buy anything new, there are quite a few groups that deal with children’s clothes (among other things), and also where if you offer something free, you can ask for something free. Just a thought as I’ve used these groups myself on a few occasions and they can be a godsend in a difficult moment!

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 8:55 am

      I’ve applied to join my local FB group, ages ago, but not heard anything back 🙁 Will try again

      • Reply Lisa April 22, 2013 at 9:22 pm

        It’s well worth it. There may be some that have children’s items as well as general free pages that also have clothes on. I’d check all free pages in your local area. I’m lucky enough to have about 7 or 8 to choose from!! Definitely worth searching for =)

        • Reply Jen April 23, 2013 at 7:20 am

          Thanks Lisa, I’ll check it out

  • Reply Hilary April 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Like you have never found much in charity shops! You’re right in saying about the other places to find them. It used to be the better jumble sales in years gone by. Suspect the NCT nearly new sales are their replacement. My children were not the same sex, but my daughter wore lots of jumpers and trousers from her brother and he in turn wore ones from his best friend who was a few months older and bigger!

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 8:55 am

      I love a good jumble sale! I think they are making a bit of a resurgence. We might try and have a kids swish!

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