It’s that time again, after the inevitable back to school foot measure (subsequent increase in shoe size) and the drop in temperature marking the beginnings of a season change, that one of those unavoidable jobs has to be faced.
The kids wardrobe change over.
In fairness, it’s been a while, and with our second daughter, who seems to have been in age 2 clothes forever (and some 18 -24 months), but as we begin to make plans for her fourth birthday next month, it seems the right time to move out the old and in the new. Well, I say new, what I actually mean is her sisters old 3-4 clothes, all bagged up and waiting to be given a new lease of life. It’s more a case of out with the really old, in with the old.
Since the loft extension this year, bags of clothes have been shoved in all sorts of random places, and we permanently moved on countless babies clothes and gizmos that are no longer needed by our family. So, we at least have less of a ‘clothes storage’ problem than we once did.
Reuniting ourselves with some sacks from the in-laws loft, and some bagged up winter clothes, at the top of our wardrobe, I set about the business of the switch, which involved no less than six loads of washing off that ‘loft’ smell. Ugh.
I guess the point of this post isn’t to grumble about the process of un-hanging old clothes and rehanging the next size up, it’s about the emotions that this invokes.
For starters, there are the memories each rediscovered outfit churns up. Her big sister running around in those starry leggings, twirling at Christmas in ‘that dress’, struggling with that puffy coat on her first day at nursery and refusing to wear anything other than those pink sparkly shoes. The clothes we wore to death and the ones we cursed for seeming to last five minutes. It doesn’t seem possible that two, three years have past since we shoved them away for a later date, ready for the tiny little tot crawling around our feet. It’s a stark reminder of how damn fast these years are passing us by.
Then, there comes the wrenching task of saying goodbye to the bits and pieces which have been worn over and over by both girls – some having seen better days but still worthy of a good home. There’s the really special items, the ones we ALL loved, hand picked and never wanted to become too small. Having to let go has become something we have had to get used to – and my mindset has always been that it’s better to see those clothes on the happy faces of friends little girls, than to have them rot away in a dark dusty corner of our house. Which is a bonus, because we’re actually pretty short on dark dusty corners these days.
Over the years we have been so so lucky by being the hand me down point for some friends with incredible taste and wardrobe for their daughters. Bulked out with the odd extra special hand picked and bought bit sby us (and they really do always seem extra special!). It’s seen both our girls through most of their childhood to date and it’s only right therefore that I should pay the favour forward. And so, with each turnaround of clobber, off it goes to a grateful friend with a little girl ready to bring those clothes a new chapter. In truth, bumping into someone wearing one of the girls much loved outfits brings me a lot of joy, far more than it would ever mean to just store them for all eternity.
The strange thing is, after having six years of sacks of girls clothes in every age bracket in storage, the gap seems to be closing. With the mouse in 3-4 and Tigs in 5-6, it seems we have touched briefly on a point of almost being able to interchange their clothes. Well, the odd shrunken tee shirt and snuggly hoodie anyway. The stuff which came up a bit small or a little bit big. Certainly there have been a few accidental wardrobe malfunctions after sleepovers at the Grandparents which actually surprisingly could have passed as legit outfit choices.
And so without really ever giving it much thought, we are down to just one bag in waiting. There’s just a few pieces in 4-5 ready for next year, and we won’t even talk about the contents including Tig’s old school uniform! Of course nothing ever stays stationary for long, and with Tigs hitting the big seven in the spring, those jeggings which are far too small and keep being shoved to the back are going to need to be replaced…
But I’m holding off, because if the law of sod and six years of experience have taught me one thing, it is that after a change of season ‘nothing fits her anymore’ panic shopping spree, one thing is always round the corner…
A bag of hand me down clothes.