Ask the Organizer: Organizing Children’s Clothing
Earlier this month, I posed the question, What is your biggest issue when it comes to clothes clutter? and the majority of your answers implied that children’s clothing was a pretty big issue in your home.
So today, I’m excited to read Andrea’s tips to help us declutter and better organize our children’s closets. Over the last several years, Andrea has worked with many moms with different ages of children (and different sizes of closets). She also has a 5-month-old daughter… so she should bring some interesting perspectives to the whole topic of clothes clutter!
If you’re overwhelmed with your children’s clothing, here are a few tips that might help you gain control of their closets. (These tips also work for adult closets too! )
The first step in dealing with any type of clothing clutter is to look over everything you have and start purging. I know firsthand how quickly the amount of children’s clothing grows — especially with all the different sizes and seasons — so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have plenty to purge.
Only keep the items you absolutely love, unless you have a younger child who will soon be wearing the hand-me-downs. And unless you have vast amounts of extra storage space, I would strongly encourage you not to hang onto clothing for the possibility that you might have another child, who might be the same gender, and who might be born the same time of year as your current child/children. It’s just not worth the space it takes.
Try to eliminate your emotional attachment to the items and instead, come at it from the perspective that by getting rid of the clothing, you will free-up more space for items you actually need.
I’ve also found it can be easier to purge if you give/sell the items to another mom who could use them for her child. We have received tons of hand-me-down clothes gifts and are so thankful every time.
Now that your children’s closets and dressers have a little more breathing room, don’t rush out to the store to fill them back up again. Step back and take a moment to evaluate what you actually need for each child.
If you do laundry regularly (which I assume you do), your children probably won’t need more than a few nice outfits, a handful of play clothes, and some PJ’s. See if you can get by with the clothing you have. If there is something you need, jot it down and take that list with you to your next neighborhood garage sale.
If you have multiple children, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll end up with all different sizes and seasons of clothing. Plus, you know that the size on the tag isn’t always accurate — for this reason, it’s important to regularly rotate your children’s clothing!
Since I still have a small infant, I try to rotate her clothes every 6-8 weeks (or as she grows out of them). With older children, you’ll probably only have to do this every season or every year.
I simply put bins on one of the shelves in her closet and any time she grows out of something, I add it to the “too-small” bin. As she grows I pull clothing from the “too-big” bin — which contains any hand-me-downs, garage sale finds, and clothes gifts we’ve gotten.
When the “too-small” bin is full, I purge the items I don’t love, and store the rest.
Unless you are finished having children (and have absolutely no sentimental attachment to your baby clothes), you will probably need to store some of your children’s clothing. If possible, it’s always the most convenient if you can store the clothes right in the child’s room who will wear them next — in the bottom drawer of a dresser, under the bed, or on the top shelf of the closet.
If you don’t have room in the bedrooms, I’d suggest using large clear plastic tubs or vacuum-seal bags to roughly sort the clothing by gender, season, and size. Oh, and make sure you clearly label the contents so you can actually find the clothes when you need them.
And as you put items away for storage, remember to continually question whether it’s really worth the space you are taking up to store the item… oftentimes it makes more sense to purge the items now and borrow or buy used if you need them again in the future.
I think Crystal shares my same philosophy when she says, “It’s just not worth it to keep items you aren’t using if you don’t have anywhere to store them”.
Unfortunately, your children’s closets will not magically stay organized after just one purging session! So as they grow, you’ll have to repeat these steps on a regular basis.
However, keep in mind that you don’t always have to do all the “dirty work”. Encourage your children to get involved in the process — I can almost guarantee they will be more likely to keep their space organized if they helped in the process!
Of course it’s never fun to get rid of cute baby and children’s clothing, but I always remind myself that by keeping less “stuff”, I then have more space, time, energy, and money. Plus, by donating some of the items we no longer need, I’m helping other moms too!
What are your tips to organize children’s clothing?
|Andrea Dekker is a wife, mom, blogger, organizer, speaker, and founder of Simple Organized Living. Her goal is to motivate and encourage others to “create their best life” through simplicity and organization.|
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