A friend recently posted on Facebook her trials with seasonal clothing transition for her four children. I was a little surprised at how similar I and the other commenters view this task: We all seem to LOATHE it.
This has been an area of major growth for me. One thing I’ve done has made a HUGE difference and I thought I’d share it. Several days ago, I had to paw through my 2T tub and it was an ordeal–because I hadn’t worked the magic on it.
Here’s the MAGIC:
I divide every size tub of clothes into seasons in trashbags that I can tie and untie. So then I can open the tub, and open the trashbag I need (which I’ve labeled with a Sharpie) and find what I need or put stuff back.
OK, that doesn’t sound spectacular, does it? We have winter (turtlenecks, longjohns, blanket-weight/fleece pjs, etc), summer (shorts, tank tops, etc), and spring/fall (a good mix of short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts, capris, and long pants).
This cuts my “shopping” down to about a third of the work and frustration.
View yourself as “shopping” in your available clothes. NOT EVERYTHING has to go into the dresser.
It’s really helpful to accurately assess what the child will really wear and let that and your laundry schedule drive your “shopping” decisions. I do kid laundry on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so I don’t need more than 3 pairs of jeans or jammies per kid.
I don’t bring the tubs upstairs. I take a laundry basket down for my “shopping trip” for the child. This prevents having massive tubs overtake our home, having to lift and maneuver them up and down the stairs, and introducing wrong-season or otherwise unhelpful clothes into that child’s dresser.
I want my kids to look cute, but clothes don’t really matter to me. Mostly, I want them to be situationally- and weather-appropriate, comfortable, and economically attired. We buy infrequently–and when we want to for a specific reason, or have gaps to fill–that’s it.
Wardrobe capsules: if you’re not familiar, this is essentially a pared-down collection of pieces you love that work well together. This is always my aim.
I keep a Goodwill box ready downstairs to easily toss items I’ve always hated or which are heavily stained.
When we’re done with certain pieces, putting away by season is a LOT easier. Stuff little shorts in the summer bag and be done!
We’re down to 3 dresser drawers per kid. When they’re crowded, it means some items need to find their way back to tubs. But I keep a small space for off-season just-in-case items. In summer: a pair of jeans and a cardigan; in winter: 1-2 t-shirts and a pair of good general-use shorts.
Keep what you NEED and WANT and leave the rest in the tub.
We DO buy shoes. Once our kids start kindergarten, shoes seem to self-destruct on their little feet.
You’ll have to make adjustments depending on your climate. (Texans don’t generally need a lot of winter wear, but we need months worth of clothes to handle snow on the ground.)
We’ve gotten a number of beautiful and precious dresses from people, but our girls only wear them to weddings or other special occasions. So they stay in the tubs in the basement and I get them out when necessary.
Those t-shirts kids get from sports and activities that don’t really fit? Unless school or the activity tell them to wear them, my kids won’t, so they’re one of the first things to go. Surely, you have some category like this that is plaguing your dressers. Toss ’em as soon as you can!