Saturday, February 18, 2012

The mystery of the plastic clothing containers

Stacked in our basement storage room are dozens of plastic bins filled with children's clothes. Each of these containers is labeled and sorted by gender, size and season ("Boys winter 3T," "Girls summer 4-6," etc.)

As is the case with many men, these containers are a mystery to me. There are several things about them I can't explain:

(1) Where did they all come from? I realize many are gifts and hand-me-downs from other families, but seriously, we don't know enough people for them to give us THAT many clothes. The only plausible theory is that the clothes spontaneously reproduce while inside their plastic bins. Two little jumpers go in, and six months later you open the lid and 16 identical jumpers come out.

(2) Who wears what size? When Elissa was a baby I was pretty well aware of what size clothes she wore at any given time. But then Chloe came along and it messed me up. I couldn't remember who wore what after that. And after five kids? I am clueless.

(3) Why do so many baby clothes look like something a clown would wear? Are these things all designed by Bozo's House of Fashion? With all the bright colors and little ruffles, I can't understand why they don't just go the whole way and give you big matching clown shoes with every purchase.

(4) Why, after a child reaches the age of 2, do we switch from months to years for sizing purposes? Wouldn't we all be better off, math-wise, if they kept using months until a child was, say, a teenager? I would enjoy kids clothes shopping much more if I could walk into Target and ask a sales assistant, "Yeah, where would I find boys pants size 113 months?"

(5) Where do the clothes go once they're gone? I see Terry taking clothes containers INTO the storage room all the time, but I never see her taking containers OUT. Yet there always seems to be a relatively constant amount of childwear in that room. How does this work? Is there some sort of wormhole in the storage room? Do the larger clothes eat the smaller clothes? I can't figure it out.

In truth, I can't figure ANY of it out. And neither can you, if you're a guy. This is why the wife handles all clothes storage, sizing and procurement issues in 99.8% of marriages. It comes naturally to them. I hear women having conversations about kids clothes all the time, because next to the related subject of laundry, it seems to be the one thing moms of multiple kids have on their minds on a consistent basis.

With seven people and one income in our house, there is always someone who is missing some crucial item of clothing. Usually it's Jared, who is plagued by two disadvantages: (a) he grows 3 inches a week, it seems, so he's constantly outpacing the stuff in his closet, and (b) he's a relatively non-communicative 13-year-old boy, which means it never occurs to him to tell his mother about wardrobe gaps until it's too late ("There's a band concert in an hour and the only dress pants I have reach about halfway down my calves.Can we buy some?")

Terry and I don't do a lot of clothes shopping for ourselves, since most of the disposable income goes toward keeping the young'uns dressed and fed. I have shirts from the 90's that I still like wearing, but they're getting a little threadbare. And poor Terry hardly ever has anything to wear when we go out, though she always manages to make do and ends up looking fantastic. I'm not quite sure how she does it.

Ultimately, keeping track of clothes storage and sizes is another one of the 837 reasons why Terry Can Never Die. If anything ever happens to her, the kids and I will go around wearing shopping bags with arm and leg holes cut out of the sides...but at least I'll finally know which size Giant Eagle bag each of them wears.


  1. Aw, poor Jared! Marissa was trying to come up with something for them to do a while back. I suggested sledding or cross-country skiing. Her response? No, Mom, no...Jared has no outdoor stuff to wear!

  2. LOL
    and... Kelly's addition to this was just the cherry on top.