The Swistle-on-Facebook experiment is so far a wild success. I found I could subscribe to status updates in my RSS reader, and it's like getting a bunch of intriguing little mini-posts. My favorite this morning was "Claire just did something strange and unprecedented and not necessarily smart. But she remains chipper." Ha ha ha ha ha! Or how about "Tonie has a plan. She's going to find you at the end of the world." You guys are so SMART and FUNNY, I would totally select your profiles from an online dating service, even if you were also short and bald.
Tessie and El-e-e were asking (almost TWO MONTHS AGO?? it feels like last week) how do I STORE all my awesome scores.
It's true, the storing is not as easy as the scoring. In fact, sometimes I turn down great deals because I don't want to handle the storage. My recent (TWO MONTHS AGO) acquisition of shoes all the way up to size 11 (when Elizabeth is only now in size 6) was an anomaly: normally I am not willing to screw around with sizes more than two or three ahead. Not only are there storage issues, but things go in and out of style and children change: the child who yesterday wouldn't consider any shoes except her pink cowgirl boots, today isn't as interested in them. Also, sometimes something doesn't work out: while I was pregnant with Elizabeth, I bought darling pink daisy maryjanes at 75% off in every size they had--only to discover that the toe box was way too short for her to get her foot into. At least I hadn't spent much.
What I do is, I have boxes in closets. For the twins, the current set of boxes is labeled "3T," "4T," and "5T and Up." I use empty diaper boxes. When I buy something new, I can just stuff it carelessly into the correct box. The careless stuffing is the KEY ELEMENT of the plan: it can't take more than 3 seconds or I won't do it and I'll end up carelessly stuffing big heaps of clothes onto shelves and into the backs of closets, not to be found until our children are disposing of our earthly possessions through sobs of---one hopes---grief and despair, rather than of disappointment that there's no inheritance to speak of and none of our crap is worth anything.
Did I tidy the tops of the boxes so that things wouldn't look carelessly stuffed, even though I JUST SAID that careless stuffing is THE KEY? Yes, I did.
When the season changes or the child outgrows clothes, I pull out the next box and poke through it. So, for example, when the warm weather left us behind in a cloud of dust last fall, I pulled out the 2T boxes to look for pants, and the 4T boxes to look for long-sleeved shirts. Pretty soon, I'll start looking in the 3T box for shorts, and the 4T box for short-sleeved shirts.
When a box is empty, I re-label it and put it at the other end of the line. After I took the 2T pants out of the 2T box, the 2T box was empty except for a couple of scraps that could go into the 3T box. I scribbled out "2T" and wrote "5T and Up" instead, and I scribbled "and Up" off of the "4T and Up" box. This takes about 5 seconds. It takes longer if what you do is turn the boxes around and and label the fresh clean side so it'll look tidier for the picture. What am I DOING? Now my picture doesn't illustrate my point at ALL!
Boots and shoes, it depends. In the front hall coat closet I have two large Rubbermaid totes; one is for snow boots, and one is for rain boots. When I buy those on 75% off (I HATE to spend full-price for something so VERY BORING), I dump them into the bin. When I need some for a child, I root through the bin until I find their size. Shoes, I put in a little heap in each closet. But if I get a whole lot, as I did with Elizabeth's maryjanes, I make a tidy row in order of size. Even if I later put stuff on top of them, they're still in order underneath.
Coats bought ahead are hung up in the coat closet.
Snowpants bought ahead (I hate spending money on those, too) are put in a large box in the coat closet. They probably need to move into a tote now: the box is overflowing.
There is ONE MAJOR FLAW in my system, and it is this: I haven't established a good way of keeping track of what I have already purchased. So if for example I am at the store and am confronted with stacks of cute basic long-sleeved shirts at 75% off, I have only my memory to rely on: Have I already bought enough in size 4? Or could we stand to have more?
Fortunately, when we're talking about $1.74 per shirt, it doesn't really matter if I buy too many, whereas I will kick myself if I buy too few and later have to pay full (well, sale) price, so I err on the side of too many. This rarely fails me, because I have a good memory and because I generally have a FEELING about how stocked we are. The few times it HAS failed me (one time I ended up with three nearly-identical green shirts for Rob), I've weeded out the extras and donated them to a local charity shop, tags still attached, and then I feel good about giving the shop something NEW for a change.