Guest post: Create a Clothing Inventory

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The following is a guest post by Tiffany over at Songbirdtiff.  Hand me downs, clearance, garage sale and thrift store shopping are all wonderful ways to cut back on clothing expenses.  But I am sure you have experienced the common pitfall of having too many summer shorts or not enough winter sweaters for your family.  A clothing inventory is a great way to keep track of what we have on hand to avoid overbuying items we already have on hand.  Enjoy!

We all know that shopping clearance racks and thrift stores can help save money on the family wardrobe, but there is one way that we can save money without leaving our homes: by creating a clothing inventory.

Why do a clothing inventory?

1. The change of seasons is a great time to weed out items that are worn out and in need to be replaced.

2. It’s good to know what you have, before you buy a replacement. If your memory is anything like mine, you have no idea what you have from last winter.

3. This gives you time to make needed repairs to items, such as replacing zippers and buttons.

4. If you shop year round for great deals, it’s likely you don’t remember what you bought last spring. I never really know what I have to start off my winter wardrobe until I do a clothing inventory.

How to Create a Clothing Inventory:

1. Put away all your summer clothes.  I pull all my summer clothes off hangers and fold them neatly to put in vacuum storage bags and under bed containers.

2. Bring on the winter clothes.  Just dump those containers and vacuum bags of winter clothes all out on the bed.

3. Organize.   I like to put my clothing in piles of like-items. I organize them according to each category on my Inventory Sheet: sweaters, jeans, dresses, etc.  Check out the Inventory Sheet I have created here.

4. Write it all down.  I count how many items I have of each item and write it down under that category. I leave some room for notes.

5. Creating a shopping list.  In doing my inventory, I noticed that my black long sleeve t-shirt is worn out and needs to be replaced. I wrote that down in the left column. Since it’s still very early in the season, I can wait for a good sale to come around in the next month or so, saving me from running out and buying one at full price when I’m ready to wear it.

Useful Tips to Make it Easy for You:

  • Keep two baskets available, one for donations and another to discard worn out items. Consider recycling as many old clothes as possible into cleaning rags.
  • When hanging clothes, turn your hangers backwards. If, in the spring, the hanger is still backwards that item hasn’t been worn all winter and should be donated.
Tiffany, is the author of the blog Songbirdtiff.  She loves to blog about her  thrift store finds, yard sales cores and her coupon shopping adventures.  Check out more of her frugal tips about Frugal Fall decorating.

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  • Nikki

    Thank you for this post. This is something I need to do now but I am dreading it. One question, what brand of vacuum storage bags do you use. I used one about 4 years (can’t remember the name) and it just didn’t work like it was supposed to. It was hard to zip up and the air wouldn’t stay out of it. Since them I’ve been hesitant to try again but its really what i need because I’ve got tons of plastic containers everywhere.

  • Very cool tips! I recently went through my ENTIRE closet and donated about a half of the stuff to charity. I feel so much better and don’t miss a single item. Of course, it helped that I had a girlfriend say “Yay” or “Nay” to a lot of items I was on the fence about. Next time I do this I will make a clothing inventory, too.

    And I love the tip about putting the hangars backwards – ingenious!

  • This really is such an easy way to save money. When we found out we were expecting a baby girl, we cataloged every time something new came into the house for her. We made a little spreadsheet with two pages – one for summer clothes and one for winter clothes. Then we divided it up into sizes from newborn through 2T (yes, I buy ahead when stuff is really inexpensive!). Every time we went shopping or to yard sales we took the list. It saved us many times from buying something that we already had several of in that size. Just make sure you back up the list on the computer – I accidentally put ours through the wash and now I have to start all over!

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