#5: Kid Clothes {Organizing Boot Camp}

SOBC 5 _vert

Just joining the Organizing Boot Camp? Here is what you’ve missed:

Assignment #1: Reset & Living Standards
Assignment #2: The Junk Drawer
Assignment #3: Hall Closets
Assignment #4: Common Kitchen Problem Areas

If you are struggling, go back to #1 and Reset. Focus on your Living Standards.

And you’ll want to make sure you read How To Organize for a reminder of the process.

This assignment was inspired by recent questions and help requests from readers struggling with their kids’ clothes. I have four kids, and I know from personal experience that their clothes can seemingly multiply and spread across the floors of their rooms faster than a cat video spreads across Facebook.

Assignment #5: Organize Kid Clothes.

Go through this organizing process for one child at a time. One exception might be for sets of multiples, like twins, where it could make sense to do more than one child at a time. I dressed my twins in matching clothes until they dressed themselves and then they only matched if they coordinated with each other. If you keep the clothing of different children in separate areas, try to focus on one child’s clothes at a time during this boot camp assignment. If things are really jumbled, a Step #0 might be sorting clothing for different kids into different areas. 

Step 1: Declutter, Part 1

Pull all the kid clothes out of their closet and drawers and put in one pile. If possible, do the wash before you go through this organizing process so that you are looking at ALL of the clothing in one place. You need to really visualize how much you have. Immediately declutter items that are stained or too small or never worn for whatever reason.

Reminder: Read How To Declutter here for a refresher.

Step 2: Sort like with like

Sort the clothes into categories: pants, shorts, short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, underwear, dress clothes, athletic clothes, uniforms, pajamas, etc.

Step 3: Declutter Part 2

Go through each pile/type and declutter more. There is a formula for deciding how much kids’ clothes you should keep.

How often is kids’ laundry done at your house? (I do my Kids Laundry once per week. Read my Time-Saving Method for Kids’ Laundry HERE.) So, if your laundry frequency is every seven days …

(7 days between washes) + (2-5 Buffer Outfits) = Target Number of Outfits per Season

You can use or adapt this formula for all the different types of clothes. LIMITING KIDS CLOTHES IS THE BEST WAY TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN KEEP NEAT DRAWERS!!!! I was saying that with a lot of emphasis if you can’t tell.

***You are not an exception if you receive lots of hand-me-downs. Go through the hand-me-downs and keep the best ones within your formula-decided-limit.

***You are not an exception if your hobby is buying your child adorable clothes. Keep up with the one-in-one-out method and stay inside your limit. You might find this inspires a different hobby and a much cleaner room for your child.

I talk more about this in this blog post – Kids Laundry: Setting Limits and Creating Neat Drawers.

Step 4: Put the clothes back

Put the clothes back. If you did your job in the first three steps well, this step should be really easy!

My children have-

  • between 9 and 12 outfits in their drawers for each season
  • a max of 7 pajamas because as my kids get older they might re-wear pajamas between washes
  • between 9-12 pairs of underwear.

For their sports clothes, I just keep out what they are currently using. If they have 2 soccer practices each week, I’ll have at 2-3 soccer practice clothes as well.

I keep dress clothes hung in the closet.

I keep clothes not in use out-of-the-way. I am lucky to have a big hall closet that I use for these off-season clothes, BUT I haven’t always. Other great places are at the tops of bedroom closets or in under-bed storage.

Keep only what children are actively wearing in the drawers in use!!!! 

I shared this picture on Instagram recently — Follow Me on Instagram. The beige and white baskets hold off-season clothes for my four kids. The purple baskets hold sheet sets and blankets. The bin on the bottom is my Aunt/Grandma basket. I keep my favorite toys as my children grow out of them and put them in this bin. The bin is my personal boundary for how much I will keep. I pull out the toys for special visitors and plan to keep this bin forever.

Hall Closet

Step 5: Utilize the right container or tool

I’ve tried a lot of different things for the off-season clothes. My favorite right now are simple laundry baskets! My favorite thing about them is how they use the closet space so efficiently.

As for the drawers in the bedroom dressers, I don’t need anything fancy to keep them organized. Let me know if you have something you use and love, because I’m totally curious.

Step 6: Make the drawers/closet look nice

The same advice I’ve given before rings true here too:  the best way to make these areas in your child’s room look nice is to declutter them well!

This is the step where you might want to take stock in your children’s dressers and closet. Any way to spruce them up? I’ve decided I am going to re-paint my 8-year olds dresser and nightstand. I painted it about 6-7 years ago and I didn’t know what I was doing, so the paint is chipping and they are covered in stickers anyway. What will you do to help your child’s space look better?

Step 7: Make a plan to maintain

The One-in-one-out rule is essential for clothes. Other than maintaining that rule, I use the seasons to encourage a spruce-up. This means I end up cleaning through their clothes about 3-4 times a year. In addition to these “big cleans”, I also help the kids put away their clothes every once in a while to take a peek at how they’re keeping their drawers and teach if necessary. Normally they put away their own clothes each week. (Read about The Easiest Way to Do Children’s Laundry.)

Clothes have the potential to become a disaster, but I truly believe that if you can keep them organized, this doesn’t not have to continue as a stress for you, and more importantly, for your child!!

So that is Assignment #5! 

Please read the following. I think this is something that is important to remember every time we work in our children’s spaces. {Read HERE.}

STOP Telling Your Child To Clean Their Room IF

This is your assignment for the week. Your next assignment will come in time for the weekend.

Get to it, soldier! Report back and let me know when you finish.

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Summer Organizing Boot Camp 2015

2 thoughts on “#5: Kid Clothes {Organizing Boot Camp}

  1. I’m planning on having another child soon and my son is 2. I’ve been saving his clothes and baby things to save money if/when that other little one comes around. Bad idea?

    1. It is not a bad idea to save SOME, but pare it down to only your favorite sentimental items. You’ll be able to find used clothes that you may like better from consignment stores, and you’ll want some new things for the new baby. Don’t hold yourself down to “having” to keep it!

      And an important question is: Do you easily have the room to store it?

Leave a comment! I love to hear what you think!