Tackling the Kids Clothes Made Simple


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Kids come with a lot of responsibility – and also a lot of stuff!  While we expect them to have bottles, diapers, toys, and books, somehow we forget about all the clothes. When they start out the clothes are tiny, but then the first growth spurt hits and now we have tiny clothes in 4 different sizes.  The older they get the more clothes they seem to acquire, and the less space we seem to have.

Developing a system to deal with all of the clothes is a necessity.  I’ve been very fortunate to have an older sister with two children who passes on clothes they’ve grown out of, as well as a network of friends who do the same.  This is the system that I have found works the best for my family.

1. Invest in large storage bins.

You will need at least two. The first bin is for clothes to grow in to and the second is for clothes you can not part with. You will also need a basket or a third bin for clothing you are going to get rid of.

2. As clothes come into your home, go through them immediately and pull out the ones that you would never put on your child.

This was a hard step for me at first. I felt guilty that I was getting rid of things that others so graciously gave to me.  So instead I would hang it in the closet and never use it.  That’s when it hit me that another family might be able to use it, and just because it wasn’t a color or a design I liked, someone else would enjoy it. As your children get older, you may even want to ask them if they would wear a piece of clothing if you can’t decide on whether or not you like it.  My children are now 8 and 6 and there are certain dresses that my youngest, who loves dresses, find too ‘cutesy’.  Why store them if they aren’t going to wear them?  Consider how many shirts, sweatshirts, pants, skirts and, dresses you really need and keep only the ones you really like.

3. Once you have gone through the clothes, they should be placed into the “grow into” bin, “get rid of basket” or your child’s closet/drawer space.

Make sure to label the bin with the size of the current clothing inside of it.  An index card works great for this and you can simply label it. (For example, “boy 8-10”, or “girl 4+”).

4. Go through the closets/drawers seasonally.

This is a fairly big task but it will save you time during the remainder of the year.  First, find a pair of pants, and a shirt that you know fit your child well now.  This will save you the aggravation of trying everything on them.  Go through the closet and drawers making piles of ‘keep’, ‘throw out’ and ‘pass on to others’.

If you are unsure about the size even after you have matched it up with a fitting piece of clothing, put it aside in the “fashion show” pile for your child to try on and model for you.  (This works really well with girls, and decently with boys who are 8 and under at least!)  Once you’ve sorted through the current clothing you can then go to the storage bin and bring in the new size of clothes.

5. Only save what you will use again or really can’t part with.

Having a boy and a girl, the majority of the clothes won’t be shared, although at times there is a sweatshirt or pair of jeans that survived my oldest and can be passed down.  The bigger problem is learning not to save every “favorite” outfit that your child has worn.  If you take as many pictures as I do, you will soon realize that you have pictures of that “favorite” outfit and no longer really need the clothes to go with it. Types of clothing I have saved are dance costumes or baby dedication clothes.  Even with two children I’ve found that these all still fit in one container.

6. Get rid of your ‘get rid of’ items.

When I go through the clothes twice a year I bag up and drop off the clothes that I’m getting rid of within a few days to my girlfriend with younger children. I usually put it in a garbage bag as I am going through the closets and drawers and then put that bag in my van so the first time I drive past her house I can drop it off.  I always make sure to tell her to pass on anything she doesn’t want, like or need.  I also stress that if’ I’ve given it to her, I don’t want it back.  That way she doesn’t have to remember who gave her what.  During the rest of the year I keep a basket under my utility sink.  As I notice, or my kids notice, that something no longer fits that item goes into the basket.  When the basket gets full I again bag it up and drop it off.

It’s been an incredible blessing to be the recipient of clothes others aren’t using.  Without a system in place I’d end up with way too many clothes in my kid’s closets.   Now if I could just find a way to get them to fold them exactly how I did when I went through the drawers before school started, I’d really be happy.

Written by Kathy Randolph, mother of 2, Zachary 8 and Katelyn 6.  Kathy works out of her home as a Creative Memories Unit Leader.  She works with others to organize digital photos as well as create photo albums of both digital and traditional styles, and offers custom framing for those who wish to display their precious memories on their walls. To learn more about Creative Memories you may visit her web site at www.mycmsite.com/kropwithkathy.

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