One thing about having a bunch of kids: lots of people feel inspired to be charitable.
I get offers for free babysitting all the time because people think I need a break.
People bring me food, especially for the kids. Snacks, treats, juice boxes. I wonder if they think my kids aren't spoiled enough.
And I get bags and bags of gently used clothing. My sister, in witnessing mysterious bags appearing at my front door as if by magic, suggested I get one of those metal drop-off bins. Sometimes I feel I need one!
I'm not complaining. I know how blessed I am. Last winter was the first time I ever bought a winter coat for one of my kids. Usually, if my child needed a winter coat, I would just start asking around. Winter coats were one item that my group of friends and I shared. Whenever one of my kids got a "new" coat, we would also get a litany of the previous owners. I loved it, and felt like we were already participating in the communion of saints! Thank goodness my kids were (and still are) too young to care that it wasn't brand new.
Right now, I am waist-deep in clothes. I'm trying to inventory the kids' fall/winter wardrobes. I'm getting rid of worn, ripped, stained or ugly outfits. I'm sorting the sizes into piles and separating those piles into warm vs. cool seasons. And soon I'll begin deciding if each kid has enough shirts, pants, sweaters, and pajamas. This is quite a chore for one kid...and then I have to multiply by 5!
But because of the bags and bags of donations, I rarely have a problem with not enough clothes. Usually I have a problem with too much clothing. And I really don't want it all. Even if I had the room, even if every outfit was adorable, comfortable and hardy, even if I could go a week without doing laundry (yeah, right), even then...I think it is greedy to hoard all these outfits when there other children who could be wearing them. Even with baby clothes I've learned that I don't need to save every onesie and every set of pajamas for future babies...because I always get more clothes anyway.
So I reduce, reuse and recycle and share the love. And the question of the week, as I sort and filter, is how many outfits does a child need? Not uniforms for school, not chinos or dresses for church. Just everyday clothes, going out to play clothes, rainy day read-a-book clothes.
I asked my husband and he said 6 outfits. I think, given the option, I would do more so that we could go away for a week and come home to at least one or two clean outfits. A friend suggested 10 outfits...or at least 10 shirts and maybe fewer pants. That sounds a bit more reasonable.
I want your opinion. Tell me what you think! How many outfits do you plan for your kids?