Sunday, May 15, 2011

Keeping Kids' Clothes Organized

I have what I think is a good system for maintaining my children's abundance of clothes.

Can you tell?


Even good organizing requires maintenance. Apparently. 

If seasons did not change, children did not grow, and grandma's avoided fantastic clothing sales, well then, I could organize once and it would stay that way.

Every few months I have to get in the girls' closet and do purging, sorting, and exchanging clothes. As the above picture aptly describes.... was time.

I've discovered one major pitfall to keeping things organized and functional:

Too many clothes!

It isn't fair to ask a young child to keep a room and closet clean that is too full for even an adult to manage. I want my children to be able to dress themselves and put their own clothes away to keep things tidy. When children can't find anything or put anything away by themselves because drawers are too full, it's time to get rid of some things.

My main system from day to day is two bins in the closet. One for outgrown things and one for too big things. Yet every few months the drawers get too full and I find I'm having more fights with the girls about what they are wearing. 

"No, you can't wear that, it's too small."

"No, you can't wear that, it doesn't match."

It's time to go through their clothes again!

These three things help me with my very opinionated girls and their clothes:

  • I edit their wardrobe without them present. When they are organizing with me, everything becomes their favorite. It's hard to find a time to get into their room without them around, but it is possible. This morning I stayed home from church with Rem because he had a fever. While he slept, it took me less than an hour to get things back to functional in the girls' closet. I keep the favorite items of clothing (unless they are completely outgrown or look too shabby) and my children are none the wiser to all the purging I did.

  • Remove the "nos" from their closet (and house!). When I am saying "no, you can't wear that" too often, it's time to just get rid of that stuff. Like skirts and shorts that are too short, a crazy patterened skirt that matches nothing, and jeans that are constantly showing off the butt crack. Esentially, it gives the girls endless choices because I'm not going to say "no" to what they pick out. No battles, happy and somewhat fashionable children = happy mommy.

  • Solid bottoms (pants and skirts) and patterned tops in the same general color scheme. This idea is related to the one above because it is just one more way to have the girls' wardrobe wearable. To the left is an outfit that Emma would love to wear. If you don't have a problem with crazy outfits like this, then good for you. I personally don't want the arguments... or the stares. "Solid bottoms and pattered tops" is my tip of day. (Solid bottoms does not include tights or leggings).

Camouflage (even in pink) is a solid color according to my children. I'm not arguing with that one.

I do these occasional purges when most of the kids' clothes are clean after I've done "all" the laundry. I have a good idea of what we have too much of and what is needed. 

Have you ever bought your child something (even on a good deal) and realized it was totally unnecessary. I've done this so much! Living with excess makes me feel wasteful and unwise. After I've gone through the closet I have a list of things that would be helpful in their wardrobes -- a much better feeling! And I can tell those thrifty, clothes-loving grandmas what their granddaughters need. Today I discovered that Emma has only 2 short-sleeved shirts that fit (Mandy has 14 :/). Mandy, on the other hand, needs shorts -- she has 1 pair that will fit this summer.

Labeling the drawers with names and pictures makes it easy for a 6 year old and a 3 year old to put their own things away.

I've found that three draws somewhat full for each child is plenty. Any more than that and their large closet looks like this:

Things that I am giving away go in the car immediately. Out of sight, no one goes through them again, and they are ready to donate. I purged 1 large tote full of outgrown items to give away. Anyone need 3T girls clothes (mostly winter)? I'll take them to MOPS or contact me via fb or phone.

It took me about an hour and I listened to classical music. Even though I skipped church, I felt God's blessing on me this morning. Honestly. Keeping my home peaceful (unlike the above picture) is a beautiful feeling.



Stacy said...

You've inspired me! I have #3's clothes to go through...without Even I can't find space for anything to be put away.

I'm going to get off the computer, feed them something, then get to work!

happley handcrafted said...

In did this yesterday with liv and Saturday with the boys...what a good feeling. And it was just the socks, undies and undershirts! Can't wait to do the rest! Great job worshiping!

Season said...

Good job! It looks great as always. My children have a certain number of hangers for each in different colors. If they have too many clothes for the hangers we have to get rid of something. I bought the hangers on clearance though and am not sure what I'll do when they break a few.

Sherri said...

nice! but you know how it is with Grandma's- "now which one needed short sleeved shirts, or was it long sleeved? Which needed shorts? Better get one of each - and that patterned skirt on clearance is just too cute..."a couple days seeing their choices makes me understand tho