ORGANIZING KIDS’ CLOTHES


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Here are my BEST tips for buying, maintaining and organizing kids' clothes.

I have blogged a lot about this... on other blogs... so let's start there:

5 Easy Ways to Organize a Boy’s Bedroom

5 Easy Ways to Organize a Girl’s Bedroom

The Top 5 Lessons I Have Learned While Professionally Organizing Kids' Bedrooms.

How To Decorate Teenage Bedrooms.

Here are my BEST tips for buying, organizing and maintaining your kids' clothes.

I realized early on that my view of clothing did not fit the norm. I think I have fewer clothing troubles for the following reasons.

# 1 We don't have a lot of clothes. 

Mostly because they are expensive. I do laundry often.

Growing up, I had to evaluate how much a piece of clothing would cost per WEARING. So a $50 sweater you wore 50 times would be a cost of $1 per wearing, which is worth it!  But a $20 shirt you never wear would be worth $20 if you wore it only once... NOT worth it!

I constantly think about my clothes this way. It drives me BATTY to see a new shirt in the kids' closet that they don't wear. So I limit their total clothes to allow for all the clothes to get some wearing love.

Abby will wear everything, and changes her clothes 3-4 times a day... on a SCHOOL day! Ugh!

Joey likes to see how long one outfit can stay on his body.

So when I shop for Abby, I buy her 5-6 new outfits. Joey gets one at a time because he will only wear the "newest" clothes.

Managing clothing this way takes work, but saves money.

I go through my kids' clothes about 3-4 times a year.

#2 They grow. :) Duh, but they do grow... and some things need to be taken out of rotation. BUT I have learned with tweens {10-14} that they also shrink!

Say what?

Yes, they grow taller and shrink in the middle, and then they plump out a little bit and shoot up again. So we can bounce from a size 12 to a size 16+ and back again.

I actually think Joey already needs new pants for school!

Storing clothing that does not fit for kids and adults is a huge organization conundrum. I have just ONE bin in top of each kid's closet for clothes that do not fit. It makes sense that we wouldn't have a lot of "extra" clothes since we don't keep a lot of "current" clothes. :)

Storing Kid's Clothes That Don't Fit | Here are professional organizer, Lisa Woodruff's, BEST tips for buying, maintaining and organizing kids' clothes
#3 I DO NOT battle about clothes. I just get rid of them.

Yep, when the kids go to bed, if the clothes don't look good, or are the wrong season, or if the accessories are "annoying," they disappear.

Usually, I stash them somewhere for about a week in case there is a LOUD protest, but occasionally they go straight to the trash.

 #4 If you own it, you can wear it.

We do not "save" good clothes unless they are bought for a wedding. Once the wedding is over, have at it. Wear it to the park, school... I don't care.

Clothes are to be worn. I am perfectly happy with a dress being ruined in play instead of waiting in the closet for the "next event"... at which time the dress usually doesn't fit.

I learned this one early on when all the grandmas and great grandmas gave the kids nice outfits. There weren't enough days to wear them all. So we wore them to Gymboree and the neighbor's house.

I do this myself. I will buy a shirt {usually at a resale shop} and wear it on TV a few times. Then I wear it on dates with hubby and to church. Then I move  it into my regular weekday shirt rotation.

Eventually, it makes its way to my professional organization clothing. Clients are always worried about my clothes. I look good, but these shirts {which cost less than $10} have been worn 20-30 times before they head over to my organization "wardrobe." I will blog more about this when I organize the primary closet, but I think you're getting the idea.

#5 Mending RARELY happens.

I wash everything. If my kids' clothing needs to be repaired, good luck! It sits in a basket for 6-12 months, then I pitch it. I just don't have the time or the desire.

Husband's Clothes | Here are professional organizer, Lisa Woodruff's, BEST tips for buying, maintaining and organizing kids' clothes
#6 Have your hubby and kids do their own purging.

My kids love it when I clean out their clothes. We go drawer by drawer and through the closet. It only takes a few hours because we don't have a lot.

They get to say "get rid of it" to anything they want. Seriously, if they're done with it, why is it taking up space?

Next week, we will talk master closets and I'll share with you how I FINALLY got hubby to go through his clothes!

Just like organizing anything else, purge the clothes first, THEN go shopping!

Here are professional organizer, Lisa Woodruff's, BEST tips for buying, maintaining and organizing kids' clothes
#7 Make a list.

In my kids' rooms, I make a list of what is low or worn out. Right now, Abby needs undergarments and shoes. Joey's good. So I will buy Joey a few shirts just to add a little spice in his closet and spend more money on Abby this time.

I just bought 3 new pairs of shoes  and 7 pairs of jeans!! More on that next week. :)

#8 Hang all shirts.

I started doing this a few years ago and it has make a world of difference!

It is easier on me in the laundry room. I hang each person's shirts in a different space. The kids are on either side of the wash bin.

Then the shirts don't need ironing and are wrinkle free... and they are easier for the kids to see and hang up.

Since our closets are pared down, we can hang up all our shirts.

Kid's Clothes Drawers | Here are professional organizer, Lisa Woodruff's, BEST tips for buying, maintaining and organizing kids' clothes
#9 Have the kids put their clothes away CORRECTLY.

Last week, we decided to label Abby's drawers and start rolling her pants.

Yes, I follow up with my kids and check to see if they put their clothes away correctly.

Here's the thing... as you pare down your life, it is easier to keep each area maintained.

It frustrates me to no end when my kids don't put their clothes away correctly. So I really thought about WHY this was happening.

Believe it or not, the simplest tasks can be VERY overwhelming to children. So here's what I did. I divided each drawer full of clothes into its own pile and basket.

Sorting Kid's Clothes | Here are professional organizer, Lisa Woodruff's, BEST tips for buying, maintaining and organizing kids' clothes

First I created 2 piles: one for pants and one for skirts.

Sorting Kid's Clothes | Here are professional organizer, Lisa Woodruff's, BEST tips for buying, maintaining and organizing kids' clothes

Then I added a tray from the Dollar Store for pjs.

Usually there is a second clear bin with undies and socks.

Sorting Kid's Clothes | Here are professional organizer, Lisa Woodruff's, BEST tips for buying, maintaining and organizing kids' clothes

Next, I layer on the camis that get hung on the Command Hooks on the back hooks in her closet.

Sorting Kid's Clothes | Here are professional organizer, Lisa Woodruff's, BEST tips for buying, maintaining and organizing kids' clothes

And, finally, the hung clothes are laid on top.

Using this method, I am seeing a 75% success rate with all clothes hung up and NO arguing. :) It takes me a little bit more work, but I love that the kids are feeling more successful and are able to complete their chores.

#10 Have your kids budget their clothing spending. 

I buy clothes when we are desperately needing them. But this year, I have started buying a little more. And with all my financial talk, I got to thinking... I really need to figure out what we spend and what is reasonable for clothing and put the kids in charge of their own clothing budgets.

If anyone has already done this, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

So, go through your kids' clothes and make a list of what they need for the winter. And soon we'll be tackling YOUR closet!