How much clothes do our children really need?

By Kate

We have purchased a new 3 bedroom apartment and are in the final stages of the remodelling works. Hopefully, with the current rate of progress, we will be able to move into the new place sometime towards the end of September.

As such, we have been really busy discarding, packing, minimizing our stuff (we thought it would make a lot of sense to do it now rather than moving everything to the new place and minimizing from there). Last evening, I was packing Ally’s (our two-year old toddler) clothing. 

To be honest, since I gave birth to Ally 2 years ago, we haven’t quite bought as much clothes for her as the hand-me-down that we received from friends and relatives. Although she does has a few new pieces (mainly from us, or the grandparents), they probably just constitute less than 20% of her existing wardrobe.

Personally, I would think that Ally has a rather lean wardrobe. Technically, she doesn’t has a wardrobe. We store her clothes in those plastic storage carts (yes similar to the ones you can get in Walmart of Target) and they probably just occupy 2 compartments.

Considering that her clothes are smaller pieces, one container could probably stave in many more pieces of t-shirts, shorts, etc. However, the problem that I faced quite often is this: The clothes in the storage container are always piled up to the top that I ended up just taking the ones that are on the surface. This is simply because I couldn’t be bothered to dig through the pile to bring up the other designs!

Realising this, I figured that she’s probably wearing 10-20 pieces of her clothing constantly, despite there been probably about 100 pieces in her wardrobe.

Also, growing children tend to outgrow their clothing much faster. Ally was born a small baby and is slightly leaner than her peers. Despite being a 2-year old toddler, she could easily fit into clothing meant for 12 months old. Another awesome reason why we never quite had to shop for clothes for her since she could still fit into those pieces!

Based on this chain of thought, she probably doesn’t need that much. And let’s be honest, kids seldom request for clothes; toys though, is a separate story. Buying clothes for your kids, or perhaps more accurately for babies and younger toddlers, is more often than not, to satisfy the parents personal desire to doll up your kids as according to your preference.  

My observations:

Ally does not know Gap nor Osk Kosh, or any of those other major labels that markets children clothing.

She does occasionally ask for Elmo and Barney, but that is more of a  “I want to watch those youtube videos with them in it” moments rather than “I want to wear them”.

She doesn’t have any preference whether she’s wearing shorts or skirt, long pants or dress. Basically, her dressing sense and decision comes from us.

How much does she need then? Not a lot, considering that we do her laundry probably every 3-5 days (we separate her laundry from ours for now.) Here’s a breakdown of what I think she needs:

Pajamas – Probably about 5 sets? Since her laundry is done so regularly, we probably won’t need to many. However, we do need to set aside extras just in case she dirtied them and we will need to change her into new ones.

Jackets – As we live in a tropical climate, yes, there’s no winter, no spring, no autumn, just a summer climate all year round with seasonal monsoons, there is no need for cold clothing. So probably we just need a few jackets or sweaters for cooler days, which I reckon would be about 3-4 pieces?

Tops/bottoms – probably about 10 pieces of each? That’s about 10 sets of them. Bottoms could refer to any types of bottoms, shorts, skirts, pants etc. Same as tops. If you do rotate them, that’s an average of 2 wears in a month, and 24 times a year (if they do not yet outgrow them). Sounds reasonable?

Others (dresses etc) – Probably 5-6 pieces. Most of her clothing are cotton type materials as they are comfortable and are more sweat-absorbent, considering that we live in a tropical climate and that perspiration is quite inevitable.

Socks – perhaps about 10 pairs, considering that we make her wear socks everytime she wears her sneakers and that she does wear them at home as well in the evening at times.

Adding them up, she probably just need bout 50 pieces of clothing, which is probably only half of what she has right now!

Perhaps I should also try a Project 333 on her and see how it works.

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