Seasonal Kids Wardrobe Change-Out

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.

  1. 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.)
  2. Set boundaries for kids clothes. (PLEASE read this article about the hows and whys of setting limits for kids clothes and creating neat drawers.)
  3. Use a functional storage system to store the keepers.
  4. Pre-determine a solution for immediately handling clothes that are NOT being kept.

Instead of being redundant, I’m going to assume you’ve read the articles I’ve already written for tip 1 and tip 2, and dive right into tip 3: How to store the keepers. 

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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20 thoughts on “Seasonal Kids Wardrobe Change-Out

  1. Wow, you are amazingly organized! I only wish I could be this organized. Until then though, I may switch out the plastic bins I am using for some canvas bins and cedar. Thanks!
    (Found this post from Clean and Scentsible’s blog hop.)

  2. Great tips! I love the idea of the canvas storage bins – I use a plastic one and you are right about the smell. I do wash everything before it goes in and after it comes out so that makes it a bit better.

    My daughter’s school went to uniforms this year and that really keeps down the amount of new clothing coming into the house. Up until now it’s been a bit of a struggle.

  3. OM! Why didn’t I see this a few weeks ago? It was a total nightmare. Not to mention that our season change down here is CRAZY! 40* one day and 80* the next! Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library.

  4. These are great tips! I like the “now” and “next” ideas. I’m always pulling my hair out about how to organize stuff, because I have stuff for both my girls (ages 4 and 2) to grow into, and stuff they’ve both grown out of… we get hand-me-downs from their cousins and we’re not done having kids yet, so there’s a lot of clothes sorting going on!!! Plus we have limited space… I look forward to someday having a bigger closet or area in which to organize the clothes.

    1. Don’t forget tops of closets and under beds to a great job of storing this kind of storage! Especially IN the child’s room that will use the stuff.

  5. Wow love this. I’m preparing for our first child and most of our friends are preparing to hand down a lot of clothes :) I love all the pictures of these cute closets with all the baby clothes hung and divided but that just seems like tooooo much. Yesterday I came up with a similar sort of idea as you and was looking for confirmation that it was a good idea, THANK YOU

  6. Whet do you find the canvas toes like that size and Cedar inserts? Just beginning my organization journey and 3 kids worth of clothes. …lol. Great articles! Love reading in your blog!!

    1. Crystal – I found them on Amazon and stocked up a few years ago (I use them all over), but I haven’t seen them available in at least a year. So disappointing! You can find other things that will kind of work.

  7. How do you few about storing clothes in the attic? I was thinking of keeping my sons baby clothes for my next child to save money, but I am not pregnant so it will be a little while before we use them. If you store them in the attic would you still store them in canvas? Thank you!

    1. I don’t love it. Honestly, there are so many second hand options to getting used baby clothes for a possible next pregnancy, it makes more sense to me to pass these clothes on now (or sell them) and then buy used clothes later. They may not be the exact same used clothes, but you will enjoy shopping for a new baby!

      I’ve seen most things that go into attics, come out ruined, especially baby clothes. Stains appear that weren’t there before (it is weird and true – ask any mom who has pulled out used clothes to re-use them!). :)

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