We recently moved to Wisconsin from the east coast. We had fairly cold winters there, but already I can tell they were nothing compared to what we are dealing with here. Lots of snow, temps in the low teens and below, etc.
I have three boys - ages 6, 4 and 2. My 6yo is in kindergarten and they require he come in snow pants and boots if there is snow on the ground (because they go out for recess). We walk to school most days and the chaos of snow pants/hats/mittens/boots is getting to me. How do other people in cold climates do it? You know, when even you go to the grocery store for a super-quick trip you have to bundle everyone up into snowsuits? Ahhhhhh!!!!! I am predicting a looooong winter if this is how it's going to be.
ANyone have any tips or tricks for 1) getting everyone ready in the morning and 2) storing/dealing with all the accoutrements of cold weather wear?
In our entryway (which is not a mudroom, but I wish it was) we have shaker hooks at two levels - upper for the grownup stuff, lower for the kid stuff, but high enough for snowpants. Hooks are assigned per kid. Snowpants get hung under coats. Outdoor items without fabric hanging loops or arm straps get a hole cut in the tag by for the purpose of easy hanging! (Or you could sew in a loop.) IME, things that are hard to hang don't get hung, or they fall off easily.
I also have separate hooks for backpacks/bags.
We have a small bedside-size dresser with four drawers. Each kid has a drawer. The drawer is for dry hats and mittens and scarves and balaclavas. (BTW, if your kids don't have woolen balaclavas, I highly recommend them. Ruskovilla is the brand we have and they are marvelous at keeping us warmer.)
Also, I do the spot system - kid #1's clothes have one Sharpie dot on the tag, kid #2's clothes have two dots, etc. Makes it fast and easy to sort out whose is whose and where they should go (even little ones can do it, though we had some confusion when my #3 was 4yo and my #4 was 3yo because they kept thinking spots = age and not birth order...but I digress.) Even hats and mittens get spots. Dark items that won't take sharpie, or knit things, can be spotted with black or white fabric paint (squeeze-bottle).
We have a two-level long low shelf for shoes and boots...boots line up on top. We also have a large overflow "shoe/boot" basket for extra stuff like rain boots (not used often in winter, but sometimes in a thaw, which comes unpredictably) and extra shoes.
My next project is to install one of those drying racks with all the arms that fold out perpendicular to the wall and fold back down. For drying mittens/hats/scarves/socks on right in the entryway.
Also, we have a large rug in front of our door. People with wet clothes stay on the rug until their wet stuff is off. So they don't track wet slush everywhere.
And we have a wooden drying rack for wet outerwear. Unfortunately it's in another room, but it's still easy to remind them "wet stuff goes on the wooden rack." When everything is dry, it goes back on its hook or in its drawer, and then when it's time for us to go out again, it's not so complicated.
Also, leave plenty of time for getting ready to go somewhere... Also if I have them, I keep extra snowpants and mittens/hats in the car in case someone gets terribly wet and needs a change, or a mitten gets lost, or we are in a rush and forget something.
- single homeschooling mom to 16, 14, almost-12, and 10
We have a hanger by the door for all the snowsuits, snowpants and coats. I also have a big canvas bag hanging from it that holds all the hats and gloves. Boots go on the boot dryer by the door too, but I only have one wearing full snow gear everyday.
We have a coat closet where we store all that stuff just inside the living room. Each person has a shelf for their shoes, boots included. Coats are hung on the coat road on hangers, where they dry if need be. We also have one of those plastic three drawer bins for hats/gloves/scarves in one drawer and snowpants in the other two.
We don't live in a snowy climate but it gets cold enough for mitts and touques and we get a bit of snow usually twice a year.
Anyways I swear I read this on here so I can't take credit... BUT I purchased one of those over the door shoe pocket hangers. It has 5 rows of 5 pockets and we hang it over the door to our mud room. The two year old gets the bottom pockets and then by age up. Hat/Touque goes in one pocket, mittens in another, big gloves in another and so on. Each person/kid gets a row to themselves.
So far it is working really well and even the little one can figure it out. Since there is only four of us at the moment, we each get a row. And then in summer we switch the pockets to sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hats and such.
We also have a shoe rack and hooks over a heater in the mudroom where boots/shoes and coats and pants go to dry.
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I'm pretty happy with our organization system! In our mudroom, my husband made a cubby unit that hangs on the wall. There are eight cubby holes, and each has a rectangular basket in it. Everyone in the family (including dogs - who have dog sweaters and leashes ;)) has a cubby. We put dry hats and mittens there. One extra cubby has a basket full of those cheap stretchy gloves, which are great for warmer days, or for wearing under mittens on really cold days. Another extra cubby basket is full of clothes pins.
There are coat hooks at the bottom of the cubby shelf. Each family member has a hook for a coat and a hook for snowpants. Scarves also get hung from the hooks. There are a couple extra hooks for extra coats and shopping bags.
On the floor under the coatrack, there are 2 milk-crate sized bins and a boot tray. Wet boots go on the boot tray, backpacks go in the bins. There is also a 4-shelf shoe rack in the corner of the laundry room. Each person has his own shelf for shoes and slippers. The shelf fits 3 adult sized pairs of shoes, more for the little ones. Extra shoes are stored in closet bedrooms.
The only thing I really need to add is a drying rack for mittens. Right now, wet mittens and hats are set on a heating register until dry. Once they're dry, I pick them up and put them in the baskets in the cubbys. I want a wall-mounted drying rack just above the register, but haven't found one I like. DH may just find another wood-working project on his list. ;),
As for the time it takes to get ready, it goes a little faster as you get used to it, but basically, you just have to plan for it. Kind of like we have to plan that a commute to work that takes 20 minutes in the summer on a bad day takes over an hour this time of year. ;) But for just a trip to the store - are you driving? I wouldn't bundle my kids like that personally if we're not walking - it isn't a great idea to have them in full snow gear in their car seats anyway. I just warm up the car, have them go out to the car in a fleece, put their winter coats over them like a blanket, and off we go.