You Don’t Have to Hate Transitioning Clothes


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!




Store baby clothes like never before

We’re having another baby. And we’re out of room. Like lots of families, the first several weeks of newborn-ness are spent with baby in our room. So while thinking about how to facilitate this a few weeks ago, I was pinning away and came across all these pins about using shoe organizers for snacks and other stuff and I thought, “maybe that would work for baby clothes!”  So $10 later, I’m optimistic!



  • It really limits you and encourages minimalism
  • I got an entire laundry basket of clothes in here and had 3-4 pockets empty still (I need to add hats, socks, and burp cloths)
  • It doesn’t require any different kind of folding
  • There will be zero barriers to customization–anything will be able to go anywhere and we can move item to different pockets in a snap
  • When we’re done with this stage, it’ll be really easy to repurpose the organizer
What do I have in here?
  • 3-4 “outfit” onesies
  • 6 pairs of pants (all 6 in one pocket was no problem)
  • 2 jackets
  • 15 sleepers (2 fit in each pocket nicely)
  • 4 longsleeved onesie/matching pants combos
  • ~8 short-sleeved onesies
  • a swaddler (I have 3 more to add since these are CRUCIAL!)
  • a couple newborn diapers that I found hiding on my changing table from last baby
  • a new pack of wipes (it didn’t really fit, it was CRAMMED in there, but maybe a partial or a travel pack?)

I’m entirely certain that I can add 8 pairs of socks and 2-3 hats in one pocket, neither of those particular baby item do we use very much.  We really just stick to sleepers.  And I will probably get rid of 4 more sleepers to free up 2 more pockets for burp clothes or more swaddlers since with doing 3 loads of kid laundry each week, we should be fine with 10 sleepers.  And realistically, with her being a November baby, I won’t need the warm-weather “outfit” onesies (maybe I’ll just take a picture of her in them and then put them away!)

How to End School Paper Clutter


If you kids aren’t school-aged, you don’t understand, but there is a DELUGE of paper that comes home with kids EVERY DAY.  (Or worse, if there’s a suspicious lack of papers, that means a TIDAL WAVE is coming as soon as your kids teacher discovers he or she has been cramming it all in a sad, sad desk at school.)

This 1 trick will cost you a whopping $0.20 per kid and save you endless frustration when dealing with school paper clutter.
  1. Buy 2 folders per kid
  2. Put 1 folder, labeled for the kid, in a place where he/she knows NOT to mess with it.  This is Mom’s folder of papers for the year.  Special stuff.  Sweet stuff.  Beautiful artwork.  Terrific grades.  Awards.  (I don’t even use the pockets, just place everything in chronologically.)
  3. Put 1 folder, labeled for the kid, in a place where he/she HAS ACCESS to it.  Bookshelf?  Desk?  Maybe even next to yours.  This folder is for your kid to put papers he/she wants to keep.  They are special to him.  (Even if they are only partially colored.)  When this folder is full, have her CLEAN IT OUT.  What papers do you not care about anymore?  Keep what’s important.  Make room for other stuff.

How this conversation goes on a daily basis as we process their folders:

Me: Ok, here’s your stack.  Either put it in your folder or the trash.

Kid: OK

(Kid sorts through stack)

Kid: Where’s [beautiful artwork or worksheet with amazing grade]?

Me: I put it in my folder of special things

(Kid beams ecstatically with pride)

The end.

Obvious teaching points:
  1. There are things to be proud of keep for special reasons.  Let’s celebrate those!
  2. We aren’t going to keep everything.  We don’t need to and it’s impractical to manage.
  3. It’s good to purge periodically.  For everyone of all ages.  Period.
  4. We can work in a system with finite space.  Let’s figure out how to accomplish a goal within a given set of parameters.
  5. We aren’t going to have HUGE amounts of paper floating through the house.  Because that’s awful!  (And my kids tend to start shredding paper if they’re left alone with it for any length of time!)

When trying to figure out this dilemma, I found a post that talked about keeping everything in a paper box and going through it all at the end of the year.  That is SO MUCH SPACE.  A box.  Holy cow, I have too many kids for that!  And talk about an excruciating chore to have at the end of the year when you’re sick of everything school-related!  No, thanks.  I have to go through the papers right away anyway in case there’s an urgent reminder from school (which happens frequently), so let’s toss the trash, save the precious and impressive in Mom’s folder, and let kiddo keep her 37th math worksheet in hers until she’s ready to toss it in 2 months.


The Truth About Laundry


A while back I opened up a survey with some questions I was curious about in terms of laundry.  Here are the results.

If you want to take the survey:

The breakdown: We all have easy access to laundry services, the vast majority have it in our private residence, and we’re all over the place on how frequently we do laundry.  Bottom line: most of us struggle getting our laundry folded or put away.

The stats:

93% of respondents were female, 7% declined to answer

Work Status:
work full time: 26.67%
care for the needs of my home/family full time: 53.33%
work part time: 6.67%
am a full time student: 13.33%
am retired: 0%
other: 0%

What is your relationship to the laundry process?
I am the laundry person in my household: 93.33%
I do some laundry sometimes: 6.67%

Describe your laundry situation:
I have a washer/dryer in my private residence: 86.67%
I have shared laundry services in my building: 13.33%

How do you do things?
I wash and dry all my laundry on one day: 26.67%
I wash and dry at least one load daily: 6.67%
I wash and dry loads as needed: 40%
It kind of depends on life that week: 26.67%

I consider myself:
a structured/organized person: 60%
a non-structured/organized person: 40%

What is the HARDEST part of the laundry process for you?
Remembering to transition the load to the dryer (or clothesline, if that’s your thing): 6.67%
Folding; Everything ends up wrinkled in baskets until I need it: 46.67%
Putting the laundry away: 46.67%

What is your household reality in regards to “stuff”?
We have way too much stuff! 26.67%
We declutter pretty frequenty, but still have more than we really need 53.33%
We only have/buy what we really need/want 13.33%
I don’t understand.  My stuff is just my stuff. 6.67%

The Reality of Cups


I read a LOT about minimalism.  A theme that crops up over and over again is getting rid of multiples of things.  When I was decluttering some kitchen cabinets a few months ago, I realized we were OVERRUN with coffee cups.  It was like they’re been breeding in there or something!  Now I am SUPER INTO MINIMALISM.  But the rest of my family is not (yet).  So when I say things like, “I’m getting rid of all our cups,” I know my husband is going to FREAK OUT.  I have to take a more measured approach to maintain peace and marital harmony and encourage this transition rather than create defensiveness against it.

How’d I do that?

Here are the questions I asked (Most are pretty typical of minimalism):

How many do we really need on a DAILY basis?  2, for our daily coffee

What about handling contingencies like crazy life that prevents kitchen cleaning for a couple days? We have a BIG family, so we MUST do dishes at least every 2 days or life is unbearable.  That means 4 cups.  (For our ship to sail smoothly though, it’s daily dishes.)

What about guests?  This is a frequent defense to purging, but I encourage you to ask this followup question honestly: What do you USUALLY do when you have a ton of guests?  Anytime we have more than maybe 4 guests drinking anything, we go disposable so it doesn’t matter anyway.*  Bam! Purge it!

*If for some reason we were going to have several guests and REQUIRED real cups, I could always borrow from friends.  A super-unlikely exception shouldn’t hijack the decision-making process.

Are we really ready for permanent removal or is archive storage the answer?  We were not ready to permanently remove them, so they’ve been in storage in the basement.  I know it’s been several months, so I’ll bring that up in the conversation to donate them.  Usually, I’ll write a note that amuses me like “Will I miss these?” and date it so I have rock hard evidence that we should let go.

I asked Dan to pick his 4 favorite cups and I picked mine.  That’s 8.  And just like a bad TV show, 8 is enough!


6 Savvy Ways to Use Command Hooks That You’re Missing


I LOVE Command Hooks!  They’re easy to remove, but even if they don’t quite work for you in one instance, they can show you if you want a permanent hook without making any permanent changes.

1.  So helpful to have more hooks for holding towels (or whatever)!


2.  I have NO storage under my sink, since it’s a pedestal sink.  So I needed a creative way to hang my cleaning cloths!

image   norwex_v2



3.  I took a coat closet door with 1 nail and put up 9 hooks for kid vests, coats, and jackets.  Incredibly helpful!



4.  I didn’t have any more storage space for my microwave cover, but I DID have wall space…it’s perhaps a bit tacky, but I LOVE that it doesn’t have to sit on the counter or in the microwave anymore!

image  image

5.  I wanted a convenient place for oven mitts and AGAIN I had wall space and nothing else

image   ovenmitt_v2


6.  We have a STUFFED kids’ activity bookshelf.  And I needed more space.  So I stuck some hooks on the side and hung Ziplock bags that I hole punched on them.  I DO want to continue downsizing our stash and at that point, being able to remove them easily will be great, but for now they work SO WELL.