Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clothing Issues

Reading this article from Zen Habits was my daily dose of keep on keepin' on.

We are currently in a clothing crisis of epic proportions. Before we became the cheapest people on the face of the planet and before we decided that we were going to pay off every single cent of debt before we die and before we decided that using any kind of credit card was Satan's probe in our backside we would occasionally shop for new clothes.

Once a year, usually right after Christmas we would use some of Clay's bonus to resupply his work wardrobe which came straight from Men's Wearhouse. We would walk out with dress shirts, ties, maybe a new pair of shoes and pants that are hemmed to order. We always went to that store because they have shirts in size Freakishly Tall and Thin as a String which just happens to be the size Clay wears.

We haven't bought Clay new work clothes since we moved to Kansas 18 months ago. He is hurting. Not because he desperately wants new clothes to wear, but because he destroys his clothes. Holes in the sleeves, rips in the pants, missing belt loops, stains that can't be treated, he's worse than the kids. He's also lost all of his collar stays, you know, the little plastic arrows that slip in the back of the collar points to keep the collar from winging out like the flying nun? Yeah, those things. And apparently the dry cleaners don't have any extra collar stays, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE THE PEOPLE THAT TAKE THEM OUT OF THE SHIRTS IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!! Not that it makes me angry or anything that a business would remove something from your clothing, but not have the decency to put it BACK!!!

All this to clothes are NOT IN THE BUDGET!

I know, I know, Damn Ramsey would say that clothing should be in the budget every month and blah, blah, blah. But, but, butt butt-hole!

My daughter, the child that wears the same dad-gum pair of jeans everyday until I fall on the floor and scream and wretch and beg her to please wear something else, for the love of all that's clean and fresh, WEAR A DIFFERENT PAIR OF JEANS, she has come to me and begged for some new clothes. I don't remember her ever asking for new clothes, but she has no shorts that fit and she's actually desperate for some new clothing.

My little boys have torn the knees out of most of their jeans and the other jeans are waaaaay to short, because did you know that children like to grow eight inches the month their parents decide to spend any extra cash they have on farm animals? It's true. Try it sometime. Go buy four pigs, two beehives, 37 chickens, two turkeys and a freakin' turken and see if your children don't sprout right out of all their clothes.

And, really, do I need to mention my bra debacle again?

Okay. So, what am I going to do about this clothing problem?

Ummmm, well? I did buy some clothes for the kids at a thrift store and I'm challenging myself to attempt to dress at least my two littles from garage sale finds this summer, it's pretty hard to find clothes that fit my daughter, even in a store, so I doubt I'll be able to dress her solely from used clothing. And Clay, well, we've talked about him dressing more like an engineer and less like an architect. Which means wearing khakis and short sleeved dress shirts or polos. Which would help preserve his dressy clothes for when he meets with clients and we would spend a lot less money on the casual clothes.

And I think I'll make new bras out of chicken feathers and bailing twine.

Remember when I said I wouldn't buy any new clothes until my birthday in April, the month, not me? Yeah, well I think I'll have to push that back and resupply the rest of my family first.

I tell ya, bumps in the road like this are a pain in the arse, but the challenge is what keeps me going.


Leila said...

Speaking as someone who has clothed 9 persons through thick and thin (wallet, I mean, and mostly thin) -- don't worry about stuff like this.

Ask their Guardian Angels to help you out when you go shopping. Tell them to be quick!

I firmly believe that when it's a need, and you are really working on it, it will happen. If it doesn't happen, it wasn't a need!

Jenni said...

Gosh, that would be harder to find second hand clothes for your family. Josh is almost 6 foot tall now with a 28 or 29 inch waist and I am learning how difficult it is to find new pants for him. I've pretty much given up finding them used. My brother's wife has a scrawny 16yo brother who is a little taller than Josh, so I've told their mom that I will buy any of his used jeans. Last year we had a combined family garage sale, and I ended up buying most of Roger's pants for Josh anyway. So, my advice is to find a tall family and stalk them until they have a garage sale or you see them donating clothes to Goodwill.

It's a little easier for me to find things used, so I usually shop thrift stores and garage sales first. My problem now is that I have such a hodge podge wardrobe full of things that don't match. It's much easier to put together outfits from new clothes sold to go together.

Have you tried Burlington Coat Factory? I don't know if they carry much in tall sizes, but that's where I've gone to get dress shirts and slacks for my boys and even some things for myself. They have really great prices if you can find what you're looking for.

I really recommend against that chicken feather and baling wire bra. It sounds pretty uncomfortable. Victoria's Secret often has really good sales and some good prices in their clearance section, and you can shop online for better selection. I've been doing fine with the cheap Walmart bras I bought, though.

Southern Gal said...

The clothing dilemma. I hate it.

I did what Jenni said until my kids outgrew their kids. I had more luck that way.

I won't tell you about my bras. Baling wire and feathers would definitely be an improvement. BUT no one sees them so I let it go.

Pray and pray some more.


Clayvessel said...

Do you have a ROSS in that neck of the midwest? We have them here and it's the only place we shop. Better than thrift stores even because the clothes are designer and brand new but just as cheap as second-hand. They have a great men's wear section. I bought my husband a kickin' black leather coat for $25!! My daughter and I had a little fun at our last visit trying on formal gowns. I tried on a cobalt hollywood number that was priced for $30. The first time in my ENTIRE life that I had ever put such a get-up on.

Anyway, I remember TJ Max in Michigan as being similar but not quite as good.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the clothing issues! I thought of you yesterday when I was driving to the store. Apparently Damn Ramsey is coming to Colorado and there was a huge billboard and I said, out loud, "Damn Ramsey... poor April". Hang in there, the younger kids won't realize they are in thrift store digs!

Captain's Wife - Jennifer said...

I am new to your blog and I absolutely love it! We, too, are doing the Damn Ramsey plan. :)Murphy has sneaked back into the spare bedroom. And I swear, your blog made my day! I haven't smiled and laughed this much for a while. Thanks!

Gladys said...

First of all for your daughter...hit the consignment shops. Second of all Do you have an OLD NAVY? Because in their sale items you can find shirt's shorts and pants for less than $5.00 also and too...
Bras well I think you should market the feather and wire bra to Victoria Secret for thier next Angels Catelogue.

April said...

Yes, yes, I'm a big fan of the clearance racks at Old Navy and we do frequent the consignment shops. Sometimes our consignment shop's jeans are more expensive than Old Navy...weird. I did get all my older kids' school pants from the consignment store and that was wonderful.

We don't have a Ross, but we do have TJ Maxx.

Jenni, my last few bras have been from Wally World or Target.

Mama Hen said...

Have you hit up the grandparents? They are a very good supplier of clothes for my kids. Send them to granny's with holey jeans a couple of times and my mom just can't stand it! I'm just kidding!

But they really are good about buying extra things for the kids. Maybe for the kids birthdays?

E said...

I've gotten lots (by which I don't mean gobs, but groups) of clothing for my older daughter off of eBay. For $50 or $60 you can get a box of clothes. (like 30 items, depending how big the lot is, of course)

Also the Bitten line by Sarah Jessica Parker at Steve & Barry's is very inexpensive, though I don't know how modest the clothes are.

Also there's a chain of consignment-type stores around here called Plato's Closet which specializes in teen-type clothes. There may be one near you.

km said...

have a clothing swap at your house. Let it be a "fundraiser for school". 5 buck entrance fee and a box of clothes. It should help the kid. Beanpole might be out of luck though
By the way Bumps in the road are a pain in the arse should be a tshirt phrase. You'd make money on that

Anonymous said...

I'm no help except to say, I feel your pain! And you can make collar stays out of water/milk jugs. I try to keep hubbies in a small Altoids gum tin, it's the perfect size....but hey, did I read that the dry cleaners is losing them? Are you paying to have his shirts cleaned? You're not ironing them? And mixing up your own starch to boot? What happened to the homesteading, penny pinching April? We're all selective tight wads when it comes down to it. (sorry if I miss read about the shirts)

Mrs. C

timerulesmylife said...

I have been a subsciber to your blog for a while and enjoy reading about your daily antics. Sometimes it's exactly what I need as a pick me up. As far as the collar stays, I am a plant manager for a dry cleaner where I live. There is no reason why the company where you take your cleaning shouldn't have replacement stays. We order some to have on hand at each location in case they do get lost and they are BEYOND cheap!! If you are needing some, I would be glad to send you some free of charge.

April said...

Mrs. C,
Yes, I wash them a few times and then Clay will take them in every once in a while.

I don't iron....Clay does all his own shirts and mine too, he's much better at ironing.

Thanks for the offer! Usually they have some to give him, but the last couple of times he's been in they have told him they are out. I'll have him check with them again before I put you to any trouble. I just don't understand why they don't take the time to put the darn things back in the collar?!

debbie said...

Hi, I might be repeating an idea from a comment that I missed but have you tried ''? I am in two groups in our area, they go by zip codes. Anyway, you post what you need or what you have to offer and folks can respond through the group posts. It is a wonderful thing!

Swede at Heart said...

Don't forget ebay! I have found great buys for my kiddos including multiple pairs of gap pants and jeans for no more than $5 including shipping. If you know a brand that works, and ask the seller for measurements you can usually be sure to get things that will fit.

Becky said...

I feel your pain. I can track the state of the economy and our suffering wallet by the changes in my shopping habits. Once upon a time all my boys' clothes came from Gymboree or Gap. Then it was Old Navy. Now it's Walmart or hints dropped to their grandparents. Sweatpants and shirts from Walmart are dirt cheap, comfortable and my boys seem happy. But I sure do miss the uber cuteness of Gymboree. *sigh*

Lauri said...

Hi April
I love your blog!!
I've got 5 kids from 11 to 22, we lived at thrift stores. The boys all buy their own clothes since they were 16 and got jobs, I give them money sometimes. I refused to buy the junk they wanted to wear and they didn't like what I bought. So I solved that.
Ebay is great, just watch out for shipping
BTW you can buy collar stays at fabric stores, they are pretty cheap

Anonymous said...

quick kind of related question. This Dave Ramsey stuff, does it include paying off your house? We are debt free other than that and that has really been pecking at me there a way to pay it off, for real?
from way down south

Anonymous said...

I think you guys are doing a great job. Even though I grew up in the Cdn farming prairies, I haven't the guts for pigs and chickens...yet. Maybe when the hubby gets a job where he's home every night and not gone 50% of the time...
Do you sew??? I know when it comes to boys, they probably don't care if the waist band is elastic and it's so easy to make pants and shorts for them.
There's a cool book out there your daughter might like called Generation T (I believe) and it about how to take an ordinary t-shirt and cut and sew it to make cool fashionable shirts which I think she'd be into.
Our thrift stores are loaded with great polo shirts for men too.
And if your bras are stretched out and not tight enough anymore, fold over the fabric at the side seam and stitch and it snugs it up again.
Keep at 'er girl, you're doing great and I love to keep up with how you are doing.
We haven't made the move to the envelope thing yet as we may be laid off work in a couple weeks and then the income thing would change, but I am really excited to try it when things settle out again.

Take care,

Captain Momma

Lauri Bernet said...

Oh April, I think I can help you with the youngest at least, and possibly #3. I am desperate to get rid of some old stuff-and may have some sizes you need. Email me, and we'll chat. ;)

sue said...

Hi, I really like your blog which I found from Like Mother Like Daughter. My husband is an architect too and he was born in Kansas.(Go figure) You are really funny. Do any of the churches in your area have rummage sales? The ones around here are great and they all have a bag sale at the end. Fill a bag for $5.00.(You should see how much I can stuff in bag ;) Sue

timerulesmylife said...

RE: You know how sometimes dryers eat socks! Well sometimes washers eat collar stays. That's the only explanation that I have for you seeing that this has been my profession for 14 1/2 years. They go to laundry heaven!

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