Packing Spare Clothes

Kids outfit laid out flat with t-shirt pants underwear and socks

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Preparing for Possibilities

Kids outfit laid out flat with t-shirt pants underwear and socks

  • What: Spare clothes for kids
  • When: At school
  • Why: In case of misfortune
  • Where: Away from home

If your child has started preschool, you’ve probably already packed their bags and sent them off to their first day of school. In addition to finding the perfect water bottle that doesn’t leak, and a lunch box that meets the school’s requirements, you often have to pack spare clothes.

Preschooler spare clothes for school laid out folded
Spare clothes and a plastic bag for preschool.

Let’s face it. Little kids can make big messes, especially when away from home. It took me a couple rounds of school to figure out what they need, especially with two kids close together in age. But now I’ve learned to pack one size down for their spare school clothes. I used to keep their favorite pair of pants and shirt in their bag or at school in case of spills. Not anymore. Now when I evict outgrown clothes from their drawers, I take a few select ones and pack them in their school bag. You might recall I use the same trick for the spare clothes I store in the car.

I apply this theory to pants, shirts, and socks, but not underwear. No one wants to wear underwear that has gotten too small. So those pants that look more like capris on my son but otherwise fit fine? Perfect candidate for my kid’s school bag with spare clothes. As long as the stuff still goes on, and won’t cause a problem (like sunburn or they flat out refuse to wear that material or color), I toss it in. Then I don’t have to buy more clothes in the size they wear, but they still have a complete change of clothes.

Child's school bag packed with spare clothes
My son takes his school bag packed with spare clothes to preschool. You can spot the plastic bag as well as most of the clothes tucked away.

I also include a plastic bag. The messy clothes go in the wet bag, and the yogurt or paint or whatever else got on the original outfit doesn’t spread to the entire school bag. Some years, I even remember to change the outfit mid-season, but mostly I toss in a pair of pants, a short sleeved shirt (because until it becomes a crop top or won’t go over their head, you never notice how long or short the sleeves look), and some stretchy socks.

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