Best Tips to Maintain a Toddler Wardrobe: Affordably
Everyone can agree, kids can be expensive! Especially when it comes to their wardrobes! Because they…
- Constantly grow
- Can be super messy: hello stains!
- Are rough and tough: any little boy mom’s in the house?
- Some kids have really strong opinions on choosing what to wear each day!
The list can go on and on..
My oldest daughter Peyton is 2! Ahh, it feels crazy to even say it. I also have a 8 month old daughter. When I was pregnant with the second, I started to become hyper aware of the fact that I could potentially be having a boy…and not be needing P’s hand-me downs. The thought of having to spend money on a second set of clothes was kinda scary!
Although I did end up having another girl (so fun, and makes me so happy to get more use out of my current girls clothes…) I still wanted to be conscious, and continue to be aware of how much money I was spending on girls clothes.
Knowing I would get more use than one child, out of the toddler clothes I was buying was comforting. But I also wanted to be more careful about WHAT I was buying and make smarter decisions to save myself money down the road.
I know I am not alone in this! I have talked to many moms who all say the same thing. They want to make sure they are getting good use out of the things they do buy, they try to use hand-me downs as much as possible. As well as they love having some staple items that can be worn A TON and get good use.
So I wanted to compile a handy little list of my best tips; and my reader’s best tips!
I want this to be a good resource for anyone who wants to have some tips to create and maintain affordable wardrobes for their toddlers.
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What is the perfect toddler wardrobe?
Many people lately have been talking about building a “capsule” wardrobe for their toddler. I don’t LOVE that term, but do LOVE the idea behind it. Let me explain why…
I totally agree with having Capsule wardrobes for adults…but for the most parts adults don’t tend to wear through clothes as fast, and typically can wear the same article of clothing for many years. So to me, that definitely describes having a ‘capsule’ of items that work well together, are higher quality and don’t go out of style.
In my eyes; a toddler can’t really have a TRUE capsule wardrobe, because like I mentioned above. They…grow, change, get messy, wreck them, look adorable in fun colors/prints. Additionally the styles for kids clothes do change from season to season and year to year…
So to me, a perfect toddler wardrobe is instead…
- Contains some quality pieces that will stand up for lots of wear
- A few ‘staple’ items that can be worn multiple ways
- Can be passed down to younger siblings/cousins/acquaintances etc
- Once again…is AFFORABLE.
- When I say affordable, I don’t always mean the cheapest thing you can find. I do think that INVESTING a bit more on something that is high quality, or gender neutral, or is intended to last for many years is fine.
A $25 sweatshirt that will wash well, be able to be worn in all seasons with multiple outfits, and lasts for another kiddo…is CHEAPER in the long run then a hot pink, patterned, $10.00 hoodie that never gets worn, pills quickly and doesn’t last through the changing of styles.
I cannot count how many times I bought something adorable, totally on sale but it got worn once! Because it wasn’t a functional piece of clothing, I didn’t buy a big enough size, or I really misjudged how many other items it actually matched. SO then, regardless of how cheap it was, it was still then a waste of money.
A kids wardrobe can be a place where a lot of money can disappear mysteriously; and I am all for saving wherever and whenever I can.
Best Tips to create that perfect, affordable wardrobe we are dreaming of!
Tip 1: Have specific ‘outfits’
It can be so tempting to buy just any clothes you see, and not specifically figure out if its needed or not.
I like to create outfits in as many variations as possible. Then purchase items to go with the clothing pieces I already own, that don’t have many “matching pieces” already. I go into great detail about how I used this process to organize Peyton’s summer clothes from this year and plan her wardrobe for next summer in this post “Organizing Toddler Clothes: Seasonal Edition”
In short…if you purchase new clothing pieces with the goal in mind of completing items you already own, you will have way fewer impulse buys. And subsequently more clothing pieces that are super functional and really versatile. For example…
- You have 3 pairs of patterned leggings. Pair 1 & 2 each have 6 different shirts that match them. But pair #3 only has 2 shirts that match it. So instead of buying more shirts to match pairs 1 & 2, you should only be buying shirts when on sale to match number 3!
- I hope that makes sense. I have found it has really helped me to decrease impulse buys when I think about it in terms of how to create more than one outfit with that piece of clothing!
Tip 2: Buy in the ‘off-season’
This is actually another instance in which being aware of outfits will really save you a lot of money. Again, I go into greater detail in this post about how I used outfit creation to buy everything I needed in the “off-season” (fall 2019) for next summer at a discount. I now have a complete summer wardrobe already put together for summer 2020, all bought really cheap! I found several pairs of shorts for like $2 a pair! brand new…the off-season is where it’s at! The key is to make sure you are utilizing what will still fit them next summer from their current closet, and then buying new items in one size larger.
** I do not feel like this tip of sizing up is a smart tip to follow for babies, because they grow SO quickly sometimes. You just don’t know for sure EXACTLY how big they may be the next season. With toddlers they tend to start slowing down a bit in their growth; once you get to the 2 T and up the size increments are not actually that large. So sizing up is not going to be that big of a deal, especially once the item has been washed a few times. Use your discretion, you know your kid best! I just know sizing up to 3T for summer 2020 my currently 2T toddler (age 2, fall 2019) is going to be perfect.
Tip 3: Shop Smart: using cash back retailers, or loyalty programs
There are a few different programs out there that you can use to get cash back from tons of retailers! The cash back company I like to use has a lot of the kids clothing retailers that I regularly shop at. A few examples are…
- Rakuten : it used to be called Ebates. They have an American and Canadian Website. My favorite retailers I earn cash back with in Canada are: Old Navy, Children’s Place, Joe Fresh, and Carter’s. Sign up using the link here and get $5 cash back on your first shopping trip of $25 or more!
- Old Navy’s Super Cash is another one of my favorite ways to save money on clothes for my kids
- If you are a Canadian; and aren’t familiar with the PC Optimum program, you should check it out! Anyone can become a member and start earning PC points on their purchases at participating retailers. You can then cash in your points towards clothing purchases for your kiddos from Joe Fresh! I love this program as well. You can check out PC Optimum Program here
- If you sign up as a PC Insiders member within the PC Optimum Program you will earn additional perks of free shipping from Joe Fresh and extra points on your clothing purchases! Plus many more perks on the grocery side of things. If you use referral code AV1506 you will get a 25% discount on the yearly membership.
Taking advantage of free shipping, discounts, cash-back programs and points programs can really add up in the long run, saving you money over time! Every little bit helps. A penny saved is a penny earned 🙂
Tip 4: Go through clothes regularly!
- You need to keep tabs often on items that are getting to small or need replacing due to wear and tear. This way you can replace them on time when you see them on sale and not have to make impulse buys after the child has already outgrown them or worn them out.
- Take out items that are too small: save for future children, donate, or give to friends/family. If you store them for the future be sure to put them in a clear plastic tote to keep them clean, dry, free of bugs and easily visible as to what the contents are.
Tip 5: Do not buy something unless it meets these criteria
- Goes with at least TWO other items in the child’s wardrobe
- Will fit for at least an entire season…or is something the child needs URGENTLY
- Is either extremely discounted, or is decent enough quality to last for an entire season
The Last Tip you need to know for Creating an Affordable Toddler Wardrobe
There you have it! My best tips, that I ACTUALLY implement myself, to have an affordable wardrobe for my toddler. I hope this was helpful! I never want to say anything unless it is something I do, or something I truly believe will help people!
I want to hear from YOU! I would love to have everyone submit their own tips and tricks for how you maintain your toddler’s/kid’s wardrobes! Let’s all share with each other and benefit from the collective knowledge, experience, and tips of one another! I would also love to hear how you implement these tips, or how you plan to! Let’s bounce around ideas!
Until next time,