On The Reconcilliation of Stuff (Back to School Edition)

August is the back to school month of frenzy shopping. From hair cuts to school supplies, lunch totes, backpacks, shoes, fall and winter clothes; you name it and we are buying it. Don’t get me wrong, the buzz of sharpening pencils can quicken my pulse too. I’m a school girl at heart and I can get really excited for the start of a new school year. But, let’s not forget how quickly it can all get out of hand, the excess of it all. So how much is too  much?

First, let’s start with this idea: We live in the land of plenty. We have that 24 hour store where we can buy anything we need at anytime. No need to over buy during this season, there will always be more out there. So let’s dedicate ourselves to using discipline. We can buy the minimum necessities now, with the thought that if we actually need more, it will be waiting for us at our local Target at the drop of a hat. So what do we actually need? I will submit to you my humble proposal of needs and you can be the judge.

When shopping for school clothes follow the rule of 7. Here’s my toddler’s wardrobe.I store all of my older son’s clothes for my baby boy so I unearthed these from hiding! For the Fall/Winter season, the only thing I need to buy my toddler is socks. That’s it!

  • 7 pairs of pants- a mixture of dress & casual is sufficient for all occasions
  • 1 pair of boots, 1 pair of gloves, 1 winter coat, 1 hat (not pictured, still in storage)
  • 3 sweatshirts, 3 long sleeve t-shirts, 3 sweater combinations

This really is enough.

Now, to answer some of my own past objections I’ve given myself for more kids’ clothing:
Maybe I need 2? No, one set of gloves is really enough. If something should happen to a glove and it’s honestly lost, we live in the land of plenty. It would take me about 15 minutes to replace it. My daughter wears the same overcoat to school as she does to church. It’s really not a big deal if her coat isn’t always matching her outfit, or not dressy enough, or too dressy for the occasion. I promise.

I usually buy my kids’ clothing at a city wide consignment sale. I shop once for the Fall/Winter season and once for the Spring/Summer season. Shopping follows this general rule: the more trips you make to the store, the more stuff you buy. Who knew? When I limit myself to biannual kids clothing trips, I limit the amount of kids clothing I buy. Incidentally, the consignment sale happens to be this coming weekend so this is a good pep talk for myself, and a good way to hold myself socially accountable to you all. I am a sucker for a sale sign and all things frugal so it’s actually more difficult to limit my purchases at consignment sales then when I am in a department store. Weird, I know. I’ll have to let you know how I do.

So whether you prefer to be called a gatherer from the prairie or a modern home economist from the 21st century, let’s face it girls, we are generally the one’s responsible for clothing our families. We are also generally solely responsible for the excess.

Making wise decisions about what we bring into the home will allow us to be more generous with what flows out from our home.


P.S. It pains me to unearth such heavy winter clothes on the day that will go down in the history books as the hottest day EVER for our current city, but for you readers, anything 🙂

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