Third Place Winner!
There were so many great entries in our first List of Lists contest that I had a very difficult time deciding on the top three. After reading each entry multiple times, I’m pleased to announce that Elizabeth, firstname.lastname@example.org
, wins third place for her list, Clothing Your Favorite Weeds (aka your kids). Her advice on buying clothing ahead of time is practical and smart. Elizabeth, you have a very nice package of Pampered Chef products, valued at $30-ish, coming your way soon! Congratulations!
Clothing Your Favorite Weeds (aka your kids)
Kids grow like weeds, in wild, unpredictable ways with sudden stops and starts. Sometimes one part grows more than another. Sometimes they pop out all over at the same time. Nonetheless, grow they do, generally until some time around college. Or not. Most of the time, you can get an idea of what size they’ll stop at by looking at your family
, so that will give you an idea of the maximum size you should plan on buying for them. Are all the guys 5’10”? Or 6’5”? Then guess what size you should figure on them ending up.
Do most of the family
have small feet or wear big old boats? While you can’t exactly guarantee what size your kids will end up in the future, you can make an educated guess, which is better than nothing. And while you can’t know exactly what they’ll like to wear and what will be in style, there are some things you can buy ahead of time without too much concern. (It is, of course, easier with boys than girls, but even for girls, you can buy ahead on some things – like black tights.) Teenage girls are a completely different matter, and they may, in fact, prefer to go naked rather than wear something bought three years in advance. How you deal with that is between you and your naked daughter.
1. Seasonal items (summer) – Even if the SHTF, the kids are going to find somewhere and want to go swimming (except maybe for Lisa in Arizona). For younger girls and boys, you can probably pick something in their favorite color and they’ll still like it well enough in a few years. Odds are pretty strongly against a teenage girl liking anything you choose for her a few years in advance, but if you buy it on sale or used cheap enough, you won’t need to stress about potential unused items, and at least she will have something new (or nearly new) to wear.
2. Seasonal items (winter) – Snow boots, winter gloves / mittens, ski pants, hats, wool scarves, winter coats. These do not change much from year to year. They are generally lightly worn and readily available on eBay. Even if the S(never)HTF, the kids will still need all this and you won’t have to run around like a chicken with it’s head chopped off, fighting the other parents, right before the first storm of every year. You should also buy base layers including thermal underwear (long johns) and athletic base layers in case you need to keep the thermostat set a degree or ten cooler. For girls, tights and camisoles/tank tops make a good extra layer as well. T-shirts are good for layering as well.
3. Outerwear – Raincoats, mid-weight coats, jackets, rain boots, hats, mid-weight gloves, light-weight scarves. Unless, of course, your kids have a real love of catching pneumonia, like mine seem to. Or even if they don’t.
4. Sleepwear – flannel pants or sweat pants with thermal shirts or sweat shirts make good jammies and can double as daywear. (This isn’t a bad idea for mommies and daddies either.)
5. Jeans – Levis, Wranglers, Osh Kosh – there are lots of basic, simple styles available. If you choose those, they should still be good to wear in a few years. Bib overalls are good for doing heavy chores, but not all kids like to wear them. If you have a girl, you can always add a Bedazzler, fabric paint and the necessary supplies so she can make her things beautiful enough to wear.
6. Warm weather shirts – T-shirts will probably work just fine. You will need to buy them for kids up throught late elementary school but by the time they’re in middle school, they can probably just take some from the grown ups’ drawers if they need to. Tank tops for girls can double as undershirts in the winter.
7. Cold weather shirts – the thermal shirts from their pajamas will be good. If you can get your kids to wear wool, it’s a better insulator and works well when wet, unlike cotton. Sweatshirts are good for layering, too, and obviously sweaters are good. If you get plain sweatshirts, you can use the Bedazzler and paint from #5 to make them more fun.
8. Socks and underwear – don’t forget to stock up for the kids! My sons would really love it if I would just skip the underwear and let them Go Commando! all the time, but it just ain’t gonna happen. And if you have girls, don’t forget to stock up on trainer bras and such, as much as you may not be ready to think about that yet.
9. Shoes – Keep an eye out for clearance shoes and buy ahead. If the SHTF, at least they won’t be barefoot. We have crocs (or similar), sneakers, sandals, and boots several sizes ahead. Of course, that sometimes ends up with the preschooler trying to wear something four sizes too big into school, but he usually gives up when he figures out he can’t ride a bike in shoes that big.
10. Hair Do Dads – OK, technically this isn’t clothing, but it’s close. Make sure you have hair bands, head bands, bobby pins, hair gel, and whatever else your girl really needs. Will she be worrying about how stylish she looks if the SHTF? Well, that kind of depends on her age, but even if she isn’t, hair products can help keep wild hair out of the way. (I swear, if I even walk by something acrylic in January, the static makes my hair get into everything near it.) And you should probably get some kind of hair clippers or scissors. We have boys, so DH got the Flowbee. It attaches to the vacuum. Most girls would run screaming and in tears if confronted with the possibility of a haircut by Flowbee (I know I certainly would), but it works fine for boys. And you can buy perfectly nice scissors and other supplies to make sure girlie styles look passable. Getting the skills to do it is up to you.
11. Protective Gear – Work gloves, gardening gloves (including rubberized wet soil gloves), goggles, “work” boots, aprons, even sunglasses and snow goggles can be protective gear, depending on where you live. Montessori Services (http://www.montessoriservices.com/store/
) sells child-size work gloves and goggles, but they also have child-size tools including a small sweeper (it isn’t actually a vacuum since it doesn’t use electricity to create a vacuum), gardening tools, and woodworking tools.
12. Sports Gear – Kids will still be riding bikes, playing with balls, and running around. Don’t forget athletic gear for them – cleats, sports bras, cups, helmets, mouth guards, shin protectors, and other reasonably basic items. It’s up to your view of how things will as to how far you want to take it. Your personal view may be that things will get so bad your kids will never get to play an organized sport in their life, but many of these items are still useful for individual exercise and / or heavy chores.
Don’t forget their entertainment, either. If you haven’t already, start buying toys that don’t need batteries but do need imagination – like Lego or art supplies (although you can run out of art supplies) – and on Board Games and other things your family can do if the power goes out. (Keeping a fully charged portable dvd player with a 12 hour battery on hand in case of short-term outages is nothing to sneeze at, either, in terms of prepping with kids.)
And remember, whatever it is you buy, they will probably swear they hate it and not want to have a darn thing to do with it. But like a weed, one day you will look up and notice they are now wearing it, playing with it, or eating it. Eventually.
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