When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I couldn’t wait to fill the nursery closet with tiny, doll-like outfits. When I found out I was pregnant with a girl, I couldn’t wait to fill the nursery closet with lacy, frilly, Pepto-Bismol cuteness. I booked it to Target, waddled into the baby section, and loaded up on princess onesies and leggings with giant flowers on the bums.
Six years later, I’m saddled with seven, huge Rubbermaid containers of girlie clothes, not to mention four additional bins filled with boy clothes. (The monkeys, monsters, and sports logos proved much easier for me to resist.)
I find it so much simpler to pare down my own wardrobe than my children’s. My reasons are somewhat sentimental, but more so practical. My oldest daughter’s wardrobe can be passed down to my baby girl. And my son’s outgrown clothes? Well, who’s to say we won’t have a fourth baby? I’ve heard far too many stories of women getting rid of their baby gear, only to find themselves pregnant again. (I can just see my husband vehemently shaking his head no.) Come to think of it, maybe I should do an attic cleanout…
Anyway, my point is this: Kids clothes can easily get out of control. Not only because of the massive amounts, but from those little eggbeater hands that like to rifle through the drawers.
I’ve created a system that helps me stay a few steps ahead of sheer chaos. It does take some forethought and effort to establish, but this method saves time and money in the long run.
As I’ve said before, my systems will not necessarily work for everyone. So glean from it what you will and create your own well-oiled machine.
- I keep all current clothes and any future sizes in each child’s closet. I store the “clothes to be grown into” in labeled, low-profile containers on the top shelf.
- All outgrown clothes go into the attic. I keep a section of labeled bins, sorted by size and gender. Tip: Store in an easy-to-access area since you’ll need to add to them occasionally or retrieve hand-me-downs for that new baby.
- I hang up dresses and easily wrinkled shirts, such as button-ups. I organize by size (sizes vary wildly by brand, so I usually have several sizes within a current wardrobe) and type of garment. My two youngest children aren’t tall enough to reach the clothes yet, so it’s easy to maintain the order. I use these closet organizers to separate the sizes:
- I fold all other shirts, skirts, pants, and shorts. (Normal fold, mind you. No KonMari Method here.)
- I don’t fold pajamas. Here’s proof if you don’t believe me. ⇓⇓⇓
I also use cloth, cube organizers to store the kids’ hats, scarves, gloves, etc. Each child has one in his/her closet. I inventory these items at the start and end of each winter season as well.
One last note on storage…
My youngest daughter doesn’t have a dresser, so I store her folded clothes in the closet. I use my trusty label maker to organize by size on each shelf.
Here’s a closer look at the size labels for each shelf:
My Seasonal Routine
It’s an endless job trying to keep a child’s wardrobe current–seasons change, kids grow, clothes wear out. As much as I love organizing, this chore is a toughie for me. It’s tedious, and boring, but a necessary evil.
Each time the seasons change, I do a closet inventory. I go through everything:
- Anything that didn’t get worn= donated or given away because my youngest probably won’t wear it either
- Outgrown clothes= packed into the attic bins
- Out-of-season clothes that still fit= stored in the containers on the closet’s top shelf with the next size of “clothes to grow into”
- Note: Next season, I’ll pull down these containers again to select any garments that now fit. Last season’s clothes will be here too, so I’ll have my child try these on as well. The ones that still fit will be returned to their closets and drawers; the outgrown items will be packed away.
- Damaged clothes= discard/recycle
After I sort everything, I take stock of what we might need for that upcoming season and make a shopping list.
Before I started this routine, I’d head to the store with a vague idea of what I was looking for and then buy things I didn’t need. I’d load up on new summer clothes, only to come home and discover a forgotten stash of shorts and sundresses.
A well-planned list doesn’t just give an idea of the kids’ clothing needs; it nails down the specifics. Another bonus–shopping lists shield against impulse buys! God calls us to be good stewards of our money, and list-making is an excellent way to curb needless spending. Plus, doesn’t it just give you such a rush to check things off? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one…
And You Expect Me to Maintain This How??
I know, I know. It takes a lot to get things in order, much less keep it that way…especially in the kids’ rooms.
I certainly don’t advocate forcing your children to be insanely neat. Messiness comes with the territory. It’s a part of being a kid.
I’m able to maintain order in my two youngest children’s closets because they’re too little to reach anything. As for my oldest, I don’t bother with sorting her hanging clothes by size, only type. I keep it simple: shirts in the front, dresses in the back. She knows to rehang any clean clothes she gets down. Otherwise, she loses a finger. (Disclaimer: that was a joke.)
I’ve also taught her and my son how to fold and expect them to refold anything they mess up. (And no, I don’t go behind them and refold even though it goes against every fiber of my neat freak being. I want them to take pride in their work…not depend on me to fix it later.)
But that’s all I ask–if you make a mess, pick it up. I don’t demand perfection or color-coded wardrobes. I just want responsibility.
I’ll save the KonMari Method for middle school…totally kidding again.