I’ve got three kids who have this annoying habit of growing. That means what worked last year in the snow is not likely to work this year in the snow. Every Fall we get down the winter gear boxes, find the winter boots, and have a little fashion show while the judge (Mrs. Ambassador) makes a list of what we need to survive the snow.
Step 1: Find the gear.
For someone that’s organized, or with a basement, this might not be a big problem. For me, though, yikes. The snow boots got stored behind the summer boots and trail runners. The heavy coats and bibs were stored in a bin that’s marked “Winter gear” on one side and “Summer gear” on the other. And everything is hidden in the storage unit most people would call a garage.
Step 2: Try it on.
We start with the biggest kid. Hats, gloves, bibs, socks, boots, coats, Tubbs snowshoes, everything goes on. (Expert tip: Don’t do this when it’s really hot. Kids don’t tend to like roasting when the neighbors are running through the sprinkler.) If it fits (and will continue to fit throughout the season) tag it and put it in the no-change pile. If it doesn’t fit, put it in the pile for the next biggest kid to try on.
Step 2.1: Repeat.
Step 2.2: Repeat.
Step 3: Catalog what you need.
This year, we needed two new sets of bibs for the older kids. Apparently, they’ve gotten taller. The youngest grew into a pair from one of his sisters so nothing new for him. We also needed a new coat for our middle child.
Step 4: Go shopping.
Shopping in the off-season is when you get the best deals. For winter, that means Spring. I can guarantee you I’m nowhere near organized enough to think about hitting the clearance racks in April and I’m definitely not good enough to guess what size everyone will be eight months from then. Luckily, Mrs. Ambassador is. A lot of our Fall shopping takes place in the garage where she’s stashed her finds from last year.
When it does come Springtime, resist the urge to buy items that will only be good for a single kid. We have two daughters and a son. The poor boy has suffered enough at the hands of his sisters, we’re not going to make him wear a pink coat. We will, however, make the girls wear orange or black because that’s perfect for handing down.
And speaking of handing down, make friends with parents of kids a few years older than yours. Especially if they’re into the same sports (yes, snowshoeing is a sport) as you are. Don’t forget to return the favor, too. I always get a kick out of seeing my friends’ younger kids romping around in familiar gear.
Step 5: Get out there.
Now that you’re geared up, all you need to do is wait for the snow to fall. Keep your fingers crossed and do a little snow dance. I know we will.