Organizning Children's Clothing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 12-28-2006, 03:00 AM - Thread Starter
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How do you keep your kids' clothing organzied? There are two aspects to the clothing chaos in our home. :
The first is we have two young girls and are expecting our thrid so we have kept clothing to pass down. There are so many different sizes and seasons and I'm not sure where to begin.
The second is a day to day issue. I'm always trying to find pieces of clothing that goes together and socks that match (to each other not the outfit.) I've been thinking about getting gallon sized baggies and bagging complete outfits together so I can grab a bag that has everthing we need for the day.

Any ideas would be great.
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#2 of 14 Old 12-28-2006, 03:09 AM
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Current season/size clothing is kept in dressers or hanging in closets in bedrooms. Out of season or wrong size clothing is kept in large bins in our basement. You could also keep the 'extra' clothing in an unused drawer or in boxes stored under beds.

I have tried bagging outfits- I do that when we go on vacation. But my kids are too messy to do that at home. Its rare for us to have a day where at least one of the kids doesn't need a new shirt or pair of pants. So it's just easier to grab something and go. My kids like to dress themselves, and don't match clothes the same way I would. I solve this problem one of two ways:
1) if I care how my kids are going to look, I pick out their clothes the night before
2) if I don't care how the kids look, I just let them pick out their own clothes.

Yes, after 6.5 years of parenting, I have relaxed my standards significantly.

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#3 of 14 Old 12-28-2006, 04:27 AM
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Most people really have too many clothes. I work with a limited space theory. My kids each have a four drawer dresser. We only have clothing which will easily fit in those spaces. One drawer for shirts, one for pants, one for socks/undies and one for pajamas. My dd has three dresses which I hang on the back of her door. They each have 2 pair of shoes. That's it and I do not purchase clothing until stuff is worn out or outgrown. I don't save clothing from child to child. Since my kids have only around 7 basic outfits, they actually wear most clothing out.

We live in a winter climate, so I store winter gear in a closet at the eand of the season. I wash it all in the spring and have them try stuff on in late August so I know what I can give away or need to purchase.

The easiest way I know to organize kid's clothing is to not have excessive amounts. To keep clothing for child #3, I would choose boxes which are about the size of a couple of drawers. I would have one size to a box. These could be stored on higher closet shelves or in a laundry room if you have it. Even under a bed. Anything more than a box full (especially infant stuff where they grow so fast) would be excessive for me.

I would not bag outfits, but rather try and sort and do laundry so that outfits are all clean at the same time. I do put pants and shirts together as an outfit in a drawer for my dd, but she's 9 and wants the ease of everything matching for school. As the pp said, you may want more than one shirt during a day or an extra pair of socks since yours are still small.
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#4 of 14 Old 12-28-2006, 09:44 AM
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DD finds a lot of sock uncomfortable, so colors are out, because they typically rub her feet / have irritating seams. I got her white socks from Stride Rite, and some long black seamless socks from Lord & Taylor that I thought she'd wear with her boots, but she prefers to go sockless with her boots. Since they are insulated, I let it go.

I'd say that even though you are handing things down, you be a bit ruthless with what you actually keep. I mean things get stained, ripped, etc.
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#5 of 14 Old 12-28-2006, 10:14 AM
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My girls don't have a dresser now, so I hang the stuff in outfits to save space. They are not actual outfits, just when I put away their stuff I will hang a shirt w/ a skirt or pair of pants it matches. We have a couple of extra shirts that get hung on their own also.

I recently color coded their hangers and it helps A LOT. I keep special outfits first, then weekday outfits, then shirts (and any extra pants).

My kids are at the stage now where they are so close in size as soon as one outgrows if it's something still in good shape I just change teh color of the hanger. When they were younger, I would put the stuff in boxes labled 0 - 6m, 6 - 12m etc. I also kept a seperate box called winter stuff where I keep all the heavy coats / sweaters etc. I am pretty ruthless as far as passing down. All stuff I don't love gets donated. I do keep all the gn stuff b/c we could have a boy one day I suppose .

Anyway, I found hanging stuff together really helps becuase we have 3 different sizes now (the twins aren't the same size ) and they really DO need clothes.

Oh, and about the socks, get one of those mesh bags and throw the dirty socks in the bag RIGHT AWAY. Wash & dry them w/o unzipping the bag. Unzip the bag and match socks. I have been doing this since my twins were babies and I don't think we have lost a sock yet. If there is an odd sock (thanks dh for not putting the socks in the bag) I put it in a small basket and every time I do laundry I just add odd socks to the basket. Usually after 1 load they match up again.


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#6 of 14 Old 12-28-2006, 11:58 AM
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Long term clothes storage: Go through everything. Get rid of anything that is stained, torn, out of style, or you just won't use for any reason. Then sort into size/season/gender and put in a labeled bin.
For example: 2T Girls winter or 6-12 months boys summer.
Then keep the bins stacked in your basement or storage area with the labels facing out in order of use, so you can easily retrieve the correct bin as you need it.


socks: before throwing socks in the hamper hook them together with a small clothespin or you can get special sock "holder togethers" from organizing stores. That way they stay together and don't get lost in the wash. Or just buy a bunch of the same kind of white socks and they all will always match each other.

Hang complete outfits together on a hanger and just grab the hanger and go. You can even hang a small bag on it with matching socks and accesories. You can also get organizers that hang on the clothes bar with a space for each day of the week. Place an outfit in each cube.

We do a lot of mix and match. Lots of colorful shirts and khaki pants, jeans and sweats. Easy to match!

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#7 of 14 Old 12-28-2006, 04:20 PM
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Hi! I had this problem once upon a time. Last year infact! I'm so glad I finally figured out a good system that worked for us. For me, I started a log and wrote down how many outfits of each type each child would need:

Play Clothes (7-10 outfits)
Stuff they can wear outside to play in, get stained, ect. I just wash and dry this stuff, and don't worry about stain treating it. If it gets too bad Ijust toss it. Most of the time this is all hand-me-downs or items I buy used.

Nice Play Clothes (3 outfits usually)
Nicer outfits that are good for going to town, on picnics, family outings where they still need play clothes, but I keep this set nicer w/o stains, ect. I normally buy them matching stuff for this category b/c they like to match when we go out. If something gets stained or excess wash wear, I bump it to the Play clothes category and get rid of one of the most worn outfits. These outfits go either in the top drawer of hte dresser or hung in the closet, even the shorts, so the kids won't wear them to play in the mud in!

Nice Outfits: (2-3 outfits)
These are the outfits we where when we go out someplace nice. THey are usually dresses, stuff I try to keep really nice. If they get too many from this category, I bump one tot he lower category. I keep this stuff hung in the closet, and usually both girls match. At the end of the season these clothes are usually still in EC, so I plan to sell them.

A few things that I have done that have cut down on the clothes mess:

1. Only buy in outfits. I keep a few extra shirts, but most everything has something that goes w/ it. THis keeps from haveing all mis-matched odd ball peices that don't really go w/ anything.

2. I like to get mix and match tops and bottoms from places like Gymboree (on sale, usually less than $10 per piece, Ilike to keep it at about $15 per outfit and have been able to do so if I watch the sales and such). Last year I got each girl 3 tops and 3 bottoms that all mixed and matched. It was great b/c they could pick the pink, green or blue top, and then a pair of shorts to wear w/ them. Easy! The hair accessories were all the same, so t hat cut down ont he hair stuff mess I seem to always have. This was for the nice playclothes category. We wore them to town all summer and they still look great! I will pass them down or wear them again next year if they still fit.

3. Hand-me-downs are great, but there is a limit to how many you will need. Keep this in mind. I keep about 5-7 outfits per season topass down. I cut down my HUGE mess of rubbermaid containers down to basically 2 smaller rubbermaids, one for each girl. I like to keep the jeans b/c they are most expensive to replace, and then outfits only. I also do not keep the nicest outfits, since I have learned that I like them to match. I sell them the next year and re-coup some of my money to buy the new matching stuff. I also keep most of the shoes, and I get hand-me-down shoes for my odler DD from a cousin. THis year I only had to buy her tennis shoes!

4. Keep a log of all you have, so you can refer to it if you want to buy something. Always know what exactly you need for each child. A bargain is not a bargain if you do not really need it. THis is a lesson I have to keep repeating to myself You can also use this when MIL asks waht the girls need! My MIL and mom usually buy them each a couple of outfits per season, so I can tell them casual, dresses, or whatever they need. I also have a long list of shoes that have been handed down to me, so Iknow what tupes of shoes I have, and try to only get stuff that doesn't require alot of different shoe types (although both my girls seem to always have TONS of shoes for some reason).

Well those are my tips and what has worked for me. I normally wash everything in my girls drawers about once a week, so it gets alot of wash wear. Right now the clothes are washed but not folded. My babysitter just had to ask where their clothes were b/c there are literally NONE in the dresser. I have them all on one laudry basket, and will go thru them tonight and pare down after the holidays. Good luck to you!
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#8 of 14 Old 12-28-2006, 05:52 PM
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DD has a closet and a nice, roomy six-drawer dresser. If she had a sibling, I would probably do things the same way, except each kid would get 3 drawers and hang more stuff up/have a little less.

Her drawers are arranged, down the left side: shirts, pants, sweaters/sweatshirts, and down the right: pajamas, underwear/socks/leggings/tights, wet bags/hankies/mittens/sling/backpack (this drawer only recently stopped being the "diapers" drawer).

In summer, she'll have need of 2 less drawers because we don't do sweaters/sweatshirts or pajamas in hot weather. I'm sure I'll find something to go in them (like her dress-up stuff, or doll clothes, or something)

Jumpers, dresses, and coats hang up.

This child has a LOT of jumpers.

If you need extra storage, Wal-Mart (yeah, I know they're evil) has underbed boxes on rollers with the locking handles to hold the lid on.

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#9 of 14 Old 12-29-2006, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
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We just moved and in the packing process I realized how much and how unorgnanized all the clothing is. I know the first thing we need to do is par down. I got rid of some before we moved but need to get rid of more. I've got a donate pile going already. I also get to start over with getting the clothes we use now organzied as I unpack.

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#10 of 14 Old 12-29-2006, 10:17 AM
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I keep kids clothing too, but only my favorites. Anything pilled, faded, stained, or that I'm just tired of goes out for donation. Also any clothing item that I found to be excessive after having actually used that wardrobe (for instance I realized I had too many infant sleepers.) I store clothing that is not currently being worn by a child in plastic bins in our pantry/storage room. I organize them by size, but seasons and genders are mixed together, since many items are gender-neutral or seasonally flexible.

In the drawers, I stack the baby clothing in outfit-stacks-- all matching stuff to a pile. If I use just the pants in a set, the other item just stays in its spot in the drawer until the matching pants are cleaned and put back again. This makes it easy for my hubby to find matching outfits for the baby and he really appreciates it. (But I wouldn't bag them.)

For my toddler, I just put shirts in one drawer, pants in another, etc etc.

I agree about cutting down on the number of articles of clothing. I know so many moms who have just way too much!

I know everyone's needs will be different, but as an example, here is my toddler's wardrobe inventory: three short-sleeve tees, four long-sleeve tees, two button-down shirts (for church etc.) two light jackets, two sweatshirts, two sweaters, one winter coat, seven pairs of pants/jeans, three pairs of pajamas, 10 pairs underwear (he's potty training) and 10 pairs of socks. Two pairs of boots (snow boots and rainboots) and two pairs of shoes (tennis shoes and brown shoes that can be dressed up.) Oh, and one belt, and mittens, snowpants, and a hat for cold days.

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#11 of 14 Old 12-29-2006, 10:53 AM
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I realized at some point that even tho I never bought "outfits", my dd's clothes were pretty uniform-like. All the bottoms were khakis, tan/beige cords or jeans. So whatever color the top may be will match.

I like to use the hanging organizer thing with one outfit in each cubby method (top, bottom, socks, underwear).
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#12 of 14 Old 12-30-2006, 02:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Malva View Post
I realized at some point that even tho I never bought "outfits", my dd's clothes were pretty uniform-like. All the bottoms were khakis, tan/beige cords or jeans. So whatever color the top may be will match.

I like to use the hanging organizer thing with one outfit in each cubby method (top, bottom, socks, underwear).
I like the idea of using a hangning orgnaizer. That would allow us to get more out of the closet space.

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#13 of 14 Old 12-30-2006, 05:16 AM
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I third the hanging organizer. I am a huge advocate of these. It also helps that I can see all the clothes that the kids have, every time I go in the closet. This keeps me from keeping stuff shoved in the bottoms of drawers, that never gets worn.

I try to keep all my kids clothes at 10 outfits each. My oldest actually has 15 - 5 are school uniforms, then 5 shirts and 5 shorts all mix and match. My dd probably has about 12, because she has two dresses. Keep in mind I live in Hawaii, so pretty much all we need are shorts, tshirts and slippers. We each have one pair of pants, no socks and maybe 2 sweatshirts total, somewhere in the closet...we don't use them very often!
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#14 of 14 Old 12-30-2006, 03:42 PM
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I store their shirts in drawers as if they are index cards in a file. Rather than folding and stacking them, I fold them, then fold them in half again, and arrange them so I can see all the shirts at the same time when I open the drawer. I didn't realize how hard this would be to explain, I hope I'm making sense. That makes it easy for me to INSTANTLY see what is in the drawer, so I don't have to dig through everything to find a shirt that will match his pants.

As for socks - we have gone color-free here, too. My son gets nothing but white socks, all the same style. My daughter has two kinds of socks - regular white socks, and white socks with ruffles for when she's dressing up.

They have a teeny closet so I try to keep what DOES fit in there very organized. DS's clothes are on one side, DD's on the other. Both are organized into sweaters, long-sleeved, short-sleeved, and overalls.

I have a bunch of flat Rubbermaid containers for clothes that no one can currently wear. I'm still trying to get a grip on this system, but the bins that I DO have finished are working out great. I have clothing organized into these categories: 0-6mo BOY, 0-6mo GIRL, 6-12mo BOY, 6-12mo GIRL, 12mo-2T BOY, 12mo-2T GIRL, 2T & up BOY, 2T & up GIRL, and GENDER-NEUTRAL (I don't have much of that, so it all fits into one bin). I use huge writing to label a piece of paper, and tape the paper to the front/inside of the bin so I can see all the labels when they're stacked in the attic. I never have to dig through anything...I just glance at them, take what I need for the baby, and put away the clothes she just outgrew.

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