Find Clothes That Fit

Avoid Trial and ErrorChild climbing play structure with too short capri length pants

  • What: Get rid of outgrown clothes
  • When: Infant to 12 years
  • Why: Reduce clutter, keep things that fit
  • Where: Your home

Have you gotten sick of wrestling your infant into yet another onesie only to find that, once snapped, the neckline comes halfway down their chest? How about older kids, who get sick of trying on clothes after approximately one item? What can a parent do, other than send their kids out into the world in ill fitting clothing?

Child climbing play structure in winter coat and too short pants

These pants might be ok for summer, but even the winter coat and tall socks leave bare skin exposed to the cold.

Sizes don’t stay consistent between brands of clothing. I’ve found it only gets worse as my kids get older. My eight year old wears pants in anything from size 6 to size M (8/10) depending on the exact brand. So how do I know what to buy, much less what he can still wear?

Child legs in pants and matching snow boots

These pants fit, and not just because the boots come up higher on the leg.

I have learned. Not only can I eyeball clothing for each of my three kids based on their current age (a skill you develop with practice, so don’t fret if you’re not there yet), but I measure clothes against other clothes.

Comparing kid's pant lengths to see which ones fit

Both these pairs can’t possibly fit, so I ditch the red ones.

I let them wear things that have gotten too small. Then I note (or better yet, take a photo because my memory has huge holes after three kids) which item leaves four inches of leg exposed, or which one won’t come off over their head. After wearing, the offending item goes into laundry to get cleaned before storing for younger siblings or passing it along.

Kid's pants laid on top of each other to measure length and fit

These pants are close enough to keep at least for one more wear.

But the real trick? Use the same shirt or pants to compare all the rest of their laundry and reduce surprises once they get dressed. Other pants the same length? Into the box they go, unless summertime rolls around and we want the capri look. Long sleeve shirts that no longer reach their wrists get the boot, too. T-shirts that have become cropped and expose their bellies go into the pile as well. I can usually knock out two or three pieces of clothing at a time with this method. Since the clothes have been laundered, I can store or get rid of them in good conscience.

I’m not saying we don’t still end up with the occasional item that my kids put on and I can’t let them leave the house wearing it. But this method of comparing does reduce the frequency of finding outgrown clothes dramatically, and every little bit helps. It also means we don’t have to have regular fashion shows where they try on things they own to find out if they still fit properly.

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