Set yourself up for success with an organized closet and/or dresser.
- If possible, store all clothes in the same location for easy access (i.e., bedroom).
- Store clothes in categories, not outfits.
- Dress Clothes
- Within each category, sort by color from light to dark or good ole' ROYGBIV from junior high science. It’s up to you.
Decide what stays and what goes.
- Plan to work on ONE CHILD at a time!
- Get out a bag for donations, a bag for trash, a clear bin for storing items for the next child (if you plan to pass anything on), and the clear bin that contains the next season and/or size up items.
- Begin with the current clothing in the closet and drawers.
- Remove any items that are no longer in season, with the exception of 1-2 outfits for transitional weather.
- Remove any items that are too small.
- Evaluate each item for necessary repairs, style, and decide whether to keep, toss, or donate.
- Move on to the next season or size clothing. (If you’ve received gifts or hand-me-downs for the next size up, you would have been wise to store these in a clear, plastic container with the next size up listed on a sheet of paper tucked inside. For example, your box may have said “2T-3T”.)
- Evaluate each item for necessary repairs, fit, style, and decide whether to keep, toss, or donate. It will be much more efficient to perform these quick checks on your own.
- Once you’ve finished, call in your child to double check that the items really do fit and that they are within the child’s clothing preferences. (There’s nothing more frustrating than having lots of purple when your daughter is going through a pink stage.)
- Transfer the “keep” items to the categories you created above, in the color order you determined.
Maintain your system.
- Toss your bag of “toss” items.
- Put your “donate” bag in the car for easy dropoff. You can store it in the trunk if you don’t want your kids to see it.
- Keep two baskets/bins on the top shelf of your child’s closet: Donate and Too Small. When items are beyond a quick repair, toss them immediately. This will reduce your seasonal/size swap times because you’re working while you go. (If you don’t have the space to do this where the child’s clothing is stored, consider placing bins or bags with similar labels in your laundry room.)
- Keep only ONE clear bin PER CHILD of next season/size up clothing. There are several reasons why this will prove incredibly beneficial to you:
- Your time is precious. Don’t waste it by purchasing 5 bins and having a different size for each bin. There is no need to over-categorize.
- Your space is limited. Most folks can’t just pick up and move when their house becomes cramped. So live within your means, and that includes your space. Keep only what you love or what your kids love. Don’t hold onto clothes out of guilt. Guilty clothes are rarely worn.
- Your mind can only balance so much when you’ve got little ones at home. Give yourself a break and don’t over-complicate things. Systems only work when they are easy to use. If your system has too many steps, you’ll give up mid-way or simply talk yourself out of the chore because you just don’t have the time to complete it.
- Likewise, keep only ONE clear bin for hand-me-downs (which, ideally, would have the next child’s name already on it).
Remember infants and toddlers grow quickly, but they won't be this tiny forever.
- I recommend keeping the next 6 months tag size already organized in the closet. For example, if your child is a newborn, you should have Newborn, 3 Month and 6 Months at the ready. If your child is in 12 month clothing, keep the 18 Month clothing in the closet too. Usually by 18 months old, your child will be wearing 24 month clothing and things will slow down.
- You won’t have too many items of each next size up, so it will be easy to create a second section of tops, bottoms, dress clothes, etc.
- There is no right or wrong on this. If your child is a slow grower, then don’t keep out the next 6 months (based on tag size). If your child is a chunker like mine, then be ready to constantly swap until that 24 month tag size rolls around.
- The goal is to keep this process simple to complete.