Among my circle of friends, one of the most commonly complained about homemaking duties is the dreaded “changing out of children’s wardrobes for the seasons.”
What fits? What doesn’t fit? What to do with what they grow out of? What to hold for the next season? What to do with all the unwanted? What to do with all of it? Laundry, laundry, laundry. It is enough to make any of us want to pull our hair out.
Here are a few things I do to make it easier. Not fun, but easier.
- Make it one “changing out the seasons” event/chore on the same day as kids laundry day, so it doesn’t drag on forever, with clothes getting all mixed and confused in various piles. (Read my Kids Laundry How To.)
- Set boundaries for kids clothes. (PLEASE read this article about the hows and whys of setting limits for kids clothes and creating neat drawers.)
- Use a functional storage system to store the keepers.
- Pre-determine a solution for immediately handling clothes that are NOT being kept.
I use canvas storage bins (with cedar inserts for freshness) to hold clothes not in use. Each child has a “now” and a “next” container. I store these in a linen closet, but other great places to store these containers is at the top of a closet or in under-bed storage, preferably in the child’s room or close to the room. I have a serious aversion to storing cloth of any kind in plastic bins, because the cloth always smells so bad after a while. Canvas is good!
The NOW bin holds the things that are their current size, but not seasonally appropriate or don’t need to be kept in the drawer/closet for some reason. For instance, I might already have holiday specific outfits I keep in the bin until the holiday, even if it would fit right now. These bins actually have a Christmas outfit and a St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt waiting for those holidays to pull out for my girls.
The NEXT bin holds the things that are too big to fit right now, no matter the season. Sometimes I hit end of season sales or find something perfect at a consignment sale the next size up. I keep all of those clothes in the bin until it fits and gets moved to the NOW container. The containers you use will naturally let you know when you are reaching a limit, but it helps to take a look and count, so you can find any holes in the wardrobe and limit excess.
When the season changes, I open up these bins near their drawers and closet and change it all out. I usually have to pull a few pairs of pants and a light jacket out during the awkward cold & hot weather transition weeks, but other than that, just having a plan really does make this job easier.
Hand-me-downs? My seven-year-old twins are the same size, so hand-me-downs don’t work for them. Since my five-year-old is close enough in age that styles don’t change too much, I keep only the best hand-me-downs for her in the NEXT bin. I know from experience that I am going to end up getting her a few new things, so I don’t try to keep hand-me-downs unless I really like the stuff.
Tip 4) So … now that the wardrobes are all changed out, what to do with all the non-keepers? Anything I don’t want to bother selling or give to someone specific, I just tally up (for my tax records) and then drop off at Goodwill. I staple my tally sheet to the Goodwill receipt and slip it in my tax file. If something is in like new condition and a good brand, I hang it up and put it in my guest room closet for the next consignment sale. (I’m part of a Moms of Twins club that holds a consignment sale twice a year.) Those are my only options: give or sell the clothes. My girls are way past the age when I keep a few items for memorabilia. I do have a canvas bin, same kind as above, I keep in my closet of the keepsake baby outfits and blankets. I have a few sentimental moments.
When you limit clothes coming into the house, the amount of clothes leaving the house isn’t too crazy. True story.
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