Help Me Help You – Kids Clothing Extravaganza


Children appear to provide scale.

In the almost 6 years that we’ve had H, I haven’t given a single thing away. We weren’t sure if our family was going to have two kids or three, and since I’ve easily passed my “no kids after 40” rule, I decided it was time to clean out the basement. My strategy has been fairly simple – when the kids outgrow stuff, I throw it in a bin, put the lid on, and it goes downstairs. Jeff set up a brilliant rack storage system in our basement, so it was easy. Just put it on the shelf. Two years ago I noticed that the hallway between two racks was shorter than normal – the bins were stacked up at the end of it. Last year I noticed that you couldn’t really see the ceiling anymore – it was all blocked by bins. I have an “out of sight, out of mind” denial technique that is awe-inspiring. But this is the summer of letting go, so it was time to take on the bins. 

What was I going to do with all the stuff? I’m not a garage saler – ever – and the thought of organizing a garage sale was horrifying. Not an option. I could dump it all off at Once Upon a Child, but I’m a fairly sentimental person and I have a lot of memories with the kids in their outfits. That didn’t feel right. And the vast majority of the kids clothes were gifts. H and C were the first grandkids on both sides, so we’ve had incredibly generous family members clothe these children – with super cute stuff. I didn’t feel comfortable just selling it away. So what to do?

I began thinking about all the the 31, Norwex, Cabi, Tastefully Simple, some random wine club, and other parties that I’ve attended over the years. It’s a pretty simple sales model – booze up your friends with clever cocktails and good appetizers, show them some stuff, and get them to buy more than they planned. Why couldn’t this model work for me? I suddenly had an image of Tom Cruise in a bathroom, wailing “help me, help you” and I had my solution. I would have a party for all my mom friends with kids smaller than mine, and put my memories into their empty closets. A celebratory event! And I love drinks and appetizers! My plan was born. A quick invite on FB events and my giveaway was a go.

Then it was time to prepare. I hauled up 23 bins of clothes from the basement. 23!!! And that didn’t even count the recently outgrown stuff I grabbed from the kids’ rooms. I had no idea it was that out of hand. I zoned the main floor of my house. 0-12 by the piano, 12-24/2T cute outfits hung by the fireplace. Shoes in the corner. 3T-5T in the dining room. It was ridiculous and a revelation at the same time. I boxed up some early and sentimental favorites for two good friends with girls out of state, saved the really important items like the coming home outfits, 1st birthday outfits and family favorites, and the rest was open season. I tried to invite friends with kids in certain age ranges – I had two expecting parents, a few toddlers, a few in the 3-4T range. I poured peach sangria and told all guests there was a two bag minimum – you had to haul stuff out. This was not the time to be polite. Grab it all and go. I forced my neighbor with 4 girls to get new stuff for the little ones. I invited another neighbor in after her walk to get things for her co-worker. I packed up more bags for an expecting friend that I left on the doorstep. I secretly threw stuff into bags when people weren’t looking. I may have freaked out my husband’s co-worker, but that’s ok. The gear had to go.

I’ve never had so much fun hosting a party. I highly HIGHLY recommend this kind of event. It made my transition from saving all the kids memories into a fun memory itself – kids were playing in sprinklers on the front lawn, friends and neighbors were chatting and catching up – and “the purge” that I had been dreading turned out to be a pretty awesome night. Some of my closest friends were there to help me through it. And I went from over 23 bins filled of stuff to probably 4. Still a respectable donation to a local charity. And a good lesson for me – not to wait quite so long next time. 6 years of stuff is a bit much. So watch those doorsteps, moms – I may be leaving something for you next summer.

Peach Sangria
The last time I made peach sangria as was living on the Plaza in Kansas City in a great older building that overlooked a park. I was on the 2nd floor with a small walk out deck just off the living room. My friend and I drank peach sangria all night, thinking it would be a good idea to sing excerpts from Les Miserables and Billy Joel as loud as we could off the deck. DB, I miss you. Needless to say that my headache the next day has steered me from sangria since. But don’t worry about this one – it’s light, refreshing, and with the sparkling water, has a little something to cut the booze. A great summer afternoon drink!

Recipe inspired from

2-3 peaches
3/4 cup peach brandy
1 bottle Muscato (I followed the recommendation for 7 Daughters)
1 liter seltzer water (My store didn’t stock peach sparkling water, so I had to improvise. It worked!)
1/4 cup peach puree (basically I threw peaches in the food processor until they were completely liquified)
Mint and additional peaches to garnish (I have a ton of extra mint in my garden. Letting that go also!)

To prepare
Slice the peaches and place them in a pitcher with the peach brandy. Smash it up a bit with a wooden spoon.
Pour in the muscato, seltzer water, and peach puree. Watch out – the selzer water will fizz!
Serve in wine glasses over ice if you’re classy, mason jars with ice if you love pinterest, or plastic party cups if you hate washing dishes. Either way, it’s great!

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