3 Things to Do Before Back-to-School Shopping

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images

It always amazes me how quickly the summer break passes. Just when I anticipate the relief that comes with the end of one school year, it’s time to gear up for the next. Here at Home, we have been in preparation mode for back-to-school by tackling the closets, drawers and overall bedroom organization. Our kids are at that stage where they are very particular about their personal styles but each summer break includes our same ritual. Here are a few suggestions for getting your kid’s wardrobe ready for back-to-school.

Take Inventory of Current Wardrobe

Growing up, my mom would take us “School Shopping”, an annual event which meant, regardless of what we had in our current wardrobe, we could expect to start each school year with entirely new clothes. Now that I’m a mom, I have a slightly different take on back-to-school shopping.

I have my kids to go through their clothing and decide what stays and what has to go. That process is decided by 1) Style – if it’s likable.  2) Sizing – if it fits. 3) Condition – if it’s torn, worn or soiled. There is also “appropriate” but I don’t really have that concern at this time because anything “inappropriate” remains at the store anyway.

Create a Shopping List Around Keep Clothing

Once that initial task is complete, we then have a clear picture of what is “needed” based upon what remains. I really encourage my kids to build upon wardrobe basics with complimentary pieces and colors. Kids grow quickly, so anything to stretch the wardrobe is essential. I always recommend matching one pair of bottoms with a variety of tops. Basic bottoms include jeans, shorts (school approved or Bermuda length), playful skirts, capris, and leggings. My rule for leggings require a top covering the tushy.  As I mentioned before, match with at least 2-3 stylish tops per bottom. Select different colors and patterns to really jazz it up! Add sneakers, sandals, a few accessories, and throw in a few select “wants” –  You’re ALL DONE!

Assign a Place for Unwanted Clothing

The giveaway pile is divided into three categories. Throw away clothes that clearly are stained, soiled, torn, ripped, worn or just not wearable.  Put away (box or save) clothes with sentimental value or can be passed down to another child. Give away clothes in good condition to charity, consignment (if you want a little change in your pocket), or someone you know. My rule of thumb is not to give anyone anything that you would not want to personally receive.

Also, when I was in elementary school, my sister and I had “play clothes”, which meant you came home, took off your nice school clothes, and threw on play clothes. Those were the clothes that were slightly older or worn, high-water pants (pants that you’ve outgrown & are well above the ankle), and too small tops that today may resemble cut-off tanks. So, it is possible that you can consider dropping those clothing from the previous school year down to “play clothes” status for the current school year.

These simple suggestions can help kick-start your shopping for your kid’s stylish school year. Especially, at the elementary age, I’ve learned to keep it totally simple. Kids mess up clothes and I keep that in mind when shopping. I want them to look nice but I also want them to enjoy their school day without clothing concern. They’ll grow up sooner than we’re ready, so enjoy the days when you can select or help coordinate their clothes without objection. When they move into middle school, their style choices may feel more like rejection and that’s when you realize your once little kid is growing up. Embrace each new school year but enjoy them while they are young.


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