Over the next few weeks we are going to be tackling spring cleaning from a parent's point of view - how do you clean, care, sort and declutter the amount of children's items you have in the house? Don't worry we have tips and tricks for you, and advice to help you turn some of that clutter into cash!
Reshopper is brilliant for finding good quality clothes for your children without breaking the bank. However, the simplest way to save money and also be environmentally responsible is to take the very best care of your children’s clothes so that you do not have to replace items that often. Also, the more care that you take of your children’s clothes when they wear them, the better resale price you can get for them when they have grown out of them! A good brand of clothing which is in excellent or very good used condition can recoup anything between 1001(+) - 60% of their purchase price, compared with something which is in playwear condition, which often returns more like 10-40% of the new price.
1Some brands have particular prints, colourways and designs that become more desirable as time goes on and they aren’t produced any more. It is not unusual to see preloved items from these brands being sold for above the new retail price if they are in good condition
1. Look for quality
Whether buying brand new or secondhand, really try and look for items made from organic cotton and sustainable fabrics. Not only can you have a clearer conscious that the item is better for the environment but generally due to the lack of added production chemicals, these fabrics wear and wash much better.
Even when you know that your child is likely to grow into the next size quickly, it is so much better for your wallet in the long run to focus on slightly more expensive garments of higher quality than lots of cheaper items that your child will only be able to wear a few times before they look old. Think about the ‘cost per wear’ of the item before buying - it is much better to spend money on one good quality winter coat that can be used for a whole season, than several fast fashion ones that don’t end up doing the job.
Also if the item seems too cheap to be true, you are probably right. Be aware of buying from small instagram businesses offering the same prints as designers, but without the correct brand names. It is very likely these are fakes and won’t last many trips in your washing machine!
2. Woolen wonders
Clothes in pure wool are often expensive to buy new and so are an extra bonus when you find them secondhand. However, there are two issues that occur often with woolen clothes - they bobble easily and can attract moths, resulting in annoying moth holes. However, our colleague Christopher has a brilliant solution for both of these issues.
Put the garment in a plastic ziplock bag and stick in your freezer. After a couple of hours, shake the bag, and hopefully the bobbles will fall off, as well as any moth eggs. You can wash the garment as usual afterwards. Moths also dislike the sun, so hanging clothes outside in the light can also deter the larvae from staying on the item.
Alternatively, Lavender is nature’s own moth repellent. Hang Lavender stems in your wardrobe or pop into old baby socks to keep the moths away from the inside of your drawers. The bonus is that they make the wardrobe and clothes smell lovely as well!
3. Wash well
Divide up your washing load into whites, black/darks and other colours. Turn clothes inside out, and make sure zippers and metal buttons are closed to prevent them rubbing against and damaging other fabrics.
We recommend where possible using a delicate wash setting, as this puts less friction on your clothes. Wash at 30c with a no-biological detergent. If washing wool or silk, make sure that you have a detergent that is made for these fabrics. If you can, hang your clothes to dry as opposed to using the tumble dryer, as this also can cause piling.
Do not wash garments unnecessarily as each wash wears the fabric. For example, Jackets and denim can often be hung outdoors for a couple of hours instead of washing, as the fresh air and sun will help to freshen them up. It can help to have a special basket or box next to the changing table or in the bathroom for non-dirty clothes.
4. Avoid strong smelling detergents and liquids
Like a note saying the garment came from a smoke or pet free home, many seasoned secondhand shoppers like to know the detergents that the items have been washed in. This can be to prevent strongly perfumed detergents, but also if your child has sensitive skin, they can react to the chemicals in the fragranced ones more than a neutral one. We therefore advise using a very gentle detergent like Fairy non-bio and a fabric softener like Fairy or Comfort Pure.
If you buy an item which smells strongly of fabric softener or detergent, you can hang the item outdoors to air. If that doesn’t work then soak the item in a bowl of warm water with a tablespoon of baking soda. Leave overnight and then wash as usual.
5. The sun is the best stain remover
If your child has stained their clothes, then it is worth checking out our guide to removing stains! Our key tip is to not let a stain dry - soak it in water with some washing up liquid in it if you don’t have time to do laundry at the time. If you have an old stain that stubbornly refuses to come out, then try to hang it outside or place on a very bright windowsill. The sun’s rays are very good at bleaching out stains.
6. Clothing Review
It is always worth having a check of your children’s clothes half way through the season - are there any repairs that need to be made or things that have been outgrown or are not being worn that can be sold? Having an overview of your children’s wardrobe will help you to plan future purchases and save money in the long run.