Following on from my last post about capsule wardrobes as the ultimate mom hack, I thought it might be a good follow up to talk about how I organise and store my kids’ clothes. The weather has changed abruptly to autumn here in Ireland so it’s definitely time to pack away the summer things!
You Need To Have A System
Storing and organising children’s clothes can get out of control fast if you don’t have a system. They grow out of clothes so quickly, especially in the first couple of years! So you can be swamped in clothes quickly if you don’t have a good system to help keep the chaos under control.
Purge As You Go
As you realise your child has grown out of a certain set of clothes, take them out of circulation as quickly as you can. As I am folding clean clothes out of the laundry I put aside the outgrown clothes straight away so they don’t end up back in the wardrobe. Firstly, I decide if I am going to keep the item or pass it on. If the item has enough life left in it AND I think my younger child will wear it, I will set it aside to be kept. If it has been worn a huge amount or I don’t want to keep it to pass down I will set it aside to be donated to the local charity shop (which recycles clothes for the fabric).
Have Holding Areas
The clothes set aside for either storing or the charity shop then go to their designated ‘holding areas’.
In our home office I have a box that I use to hold anything bound for the charity shop. Once this box is full I do a drop off at one of my local charity shops (I rotate between a few).
Then in our spare room I have a small basket where I toss any clothes that need to go up into the attic to be stored for future use. Once the basket is full I divide it into piles marked with a sticky note as to what each pile is and my husband kindly moves them all into the attic storage in one trip.
The Attic System
In our attic I have several IKEA storage boxes (with lids!) which are labelled by age I do not separate by gender as most of our kids’ clothes are gender neutral. I separate clothes based on the age marked on the garment, rather than by the age my child was when they wore it. I know people do both but it’s likely your kids will have different growth patterns, so in my experience it’s simpler to go by the age on the clothes themselves.
The only items I store outside of the ‘clothes by age’ boxes are Christmas clothes, Halloween costumes and summer clothes. Now that we’re on our second child I find it impossible to remember what age clothes my son was wearing a particular Christmas, or on his first summer holiday, so having these items stored separately makes life easier. I store all the Christmas clothes (jumpers, socks, pjs etc) with our Christmas decorations, the Halloween costumes are in a box with our Halloween decorations, and all the summer clothes are in a box together marked ‘summer’. Simple but effective!
Keep It Simple
Honestly, that’s it. It’s nothing complicated, but it works really well for us. I prefer storing everything up in the attic as there are a couple of years between my kids so there’s a lag between my son growing out of items and my daughter growing into them. Obviously if you have kids closer in age, you might be able to move clothes directly from one dresser to the other. I would definitely recommend storing ‘special’ clothing like Christmas jumpers and summer shorts separately though, as it will save you wading through 3 storage boxes before you find the right thing (voice of experience!).
But the important thing is to find a system that works for you and then stick to it. The ‘holding areas’ are definitely key for me, as we all know you can’t always deal with something straight away when there are littles involved!