(Random parenthetical thought to start this post: I struggle with using the word “kids” for children ever since I was taught by my grammar teacher that “kids are goats, not children”. Now back to our regularly scheduled post on organization.)
There is no shortage of ideas on the internet on how to deal with your kids children’s clothes (okay, grammar Nazi, you win!). The only right way is my way whatever works for you. Here’s my simple solution:
ESTABLISH YOUR LIMITS.
I had to decide exactly what was enough clothing for my kids. Then when I had enough clothes, I could stop the constant searching for more. I basically needed to give myself permission to STOP. (Remember from yesterday’s post how I mentioned that I struggled with the feelings of not having enough/having too much – is there a clinical psychological diagnosis for Conflicted Personality Disorder? I might be a poster child!)
So here’s what I did:
- Decide what kind of clothes my kids needed based upon their weekly activities
- Decide how many outfits my kids needed based upon my laundry schedule.
- Choose the best items in my kids’ wardrobe to be those outfits.
- Box up the rest and give them away (or save a couple back to replace ruined outfits – yes, this is a compromise that made me feel better).
- No shopping needed (not until they grow out of the clothes they have)
Here’s how this applied to my family:
Decide what kind of clothes are needed based on their weekly activities:
My children attend church weekly. They have music lessons weekly, and several music recitals. They also play hard and (mostly) work hard on chores. In addition, my husband and I wanted our children to be comfortable with the idea of dressing up for special occasions. So we decided that they would wear more formal clothes for Sunday services, music recitals, and funerals and weddings. Then they could wear nice casual to midweek services, music lessons, family reunions, dinner at others’ houses, etc. They also needed to have some work clothes and play clothes.
Decide how many outfits my kids needed based upon my laundry schedule.
I run a load of laundry several times a week. I don’t like doing laundry on Sunday (that’s nap day!), or Wednesday (errand day!). I would rather do 1-2 loads a day than to have to do several loads one day a week. (This is what works well for me. YMMV.) Therefore, the bare minimum of outfits that my kids needed was 1 formal outfit, 2 nice casual outfits, and 3 work/play outfits. However, this was a little more minimal than what I was ready for, so here’s what I settled on:
- 2-4 formal outfits
- 2-3 nice casual outfits
- 4-6 work/play outfits.
Here’s how I made up those outfits for my son:
- 1 suit with 2 dress shirts and a few ties
- 2 khaki or dark wash jeans with 2-3 polo type shirts
- 2-3 pairs of jeans with 4-6 t-shirts that express his interests (sports, movie themes, “My Mom is Awesome” sayings, etc. J)
- Other items: 6 pairs underwear, 6 pairs sports socks that ARE IDENTICAL (I do NOT need the extra challenge of matching up/locating lost socks!), 2 pairs dress socks (again, that are identical!), 2-3 pajama outfits.
- 1 pair dress shoes, 1 pair “cool” tennis shoes, 1 pair (cheap) “work” tennis shoes.
And here’s what I did for my daughter’s wardrobe:
- 2 really nice seasonal dresses appropriate for recital; also worn on Sundays.
- 2 nice bottoms (she likes maxi skirts and jean skirts)
- 3 pairs walking shorts (1 denim, 1 neutral color like white, 1 fun color)
- 2-3 pairs jeans
- 4-6 tops that she can mix and match with all her skirts, shorts, and jeans.
- 1-2 layering pieces like denim jacket, vest, etc. (whatever is trending!)
- ACCESSORIES (this girl likes her scarves, hats, purses, etc. She also has to buy these items with her money!)
- Other items: 6 pairs underwear, 6 pairs matching socks, 2-3 pairs tights, 2-3 pajamas.
Dress shoes, summer dress sandals, boots, tennis shoes, casual shoes, casual sandals (girls NEED shoes, and she’s no different!).
Choose the best items in my kids’ wardrobe to be those outfits.
(Hint: get all the laundry done first.) The first time I did this (about 6 years ago?), I didn’t have to buy ANYTHING! I boxed up the extra in their current size and (mostly) let it go. I kept one trunk for each of them to keep future clothes in (we are fans of hand me downs).
We live in Missouri, and get all 4 seasons of weather, so I go through this process every spring and fall. I rarely get hand me down clothing anymore (so sad!), but I use this same list to limit what we have to buy. I also try to limit HOW OFTEN we go clothes shopping. Doing major clothes shopping only twice a year definitely saves a LOT of time and mental effort, and probably money, but it does give my husband sticker shock every time. When we can, we do like to make a family fun weekend of it, and maybe throw in a fun activity or restaurant meal!
And that, dear friend, is how I organize my kids’ (my offspring, not goats) clothes in 1000 words or less (if only I were being paid per word…)