Organizing and Storing Kids Off Season Clothing
Keeping a family organized can involve a lot of never ending, moving parts. One of those moving parts is rotating and storing kids off season clothes.
Between different seasons, multiple kids and everyone growing at different rates, it can get overwhelming, to even know where to begin organizing kid’s clothes.
I think we can all agree that being organized in all areas of our lives, makes life run a little smoother.
For example, when we know where the car keys are, we can get out the door more quickly without spending 5 minutes in a panic trying to find them.
When it comes to our pantry being organized, having an organized pantry helps us to find what we need to efficiently whip up a meal, thus saving us time. But, having an organized pantry also saves us money because we can actually see what’s in the pantry and we’re not spending money buying food items we already have.
The same is true for figuring out a system for how to organize kid’s clothes. More specifically, the off-season clothing.
If we have a system for managing and storing our off-season items and items that don’t fit yet (but will work in the future), it will make our entire clothing organization easier overall.
Organizing Kids Clothing Can Save You Money and Time
One area I sort, declutter and organize 2-3 times a year is the kids clothing. By keeping the kids off season clothing organized I save myself time and money.
Going through this process has helped us save money because we don’t end up buying doubles of what we already have.
For example, I recently went through my daughters’ clothing. Before I started the process, I had written down that my youngest was probably going to need some spring/summer dresses for the new/upcoming season.
It’s a good thing I didn’t shop before I went through their clothes. I found 8 dresses that I had put away from my oldest daughter many years ago, that would now fit my youngest and were perfect for the new season.
That felt like a huge win!
We saved money by not purchasing what we already had, and I save time by knowing where everything was when it was needed, and not having to hunt all over the house for it.
Why Less Clothing Is Less Stressful
I have found that the more clothing my children have, the more clothing messes we clean up and the more we have to keep tidy and organized.
When it comes to getting clothing organized and keeping it that way, having too much of anything can be overwhelming for anyone.
Keeping it tidy can especially be overwhelming for children when they have too much, because it looks overwhelming to them to put it all away and keep it tidy.
One of my biggest frustrations with clothing has been giving my children clean laundry to put away, only to find it back in the laundry basket underneath wet towels the next day, unworn!
It ended up on the floor because they gave up putting it away, then because it’s on the floor, they figure it needs to go back into the dirty laundry.
My children don’t have a ton of clothing. I go through it pretty consistently throughout the year, so when it comes to making the seasonal change, it’s not an overwhelming process.
I keep what they wear and not a lot of extra in their closets, drawers and containers. Keeping their clothing simple and basic helps to keep things in order as there’s less to keep tidy and organized.
This is true for pretty much everything we own.
Less Clothing=Less Mess=Less Stress (at least for mommy ;))
I don’t know about you, but the less time I spend cleaning messes, the better. I have lots to do in a day and I really don’t want to spend all of it cleaning up after people.
Less is definitely more.
Do you want to learn how to streamline and organize your children’s clothing?
How To Organize & Store Off Season Clothing
2-3 times a year I drag out all the kids clothing. This usually happens around the season change, so I can make a list of what’s needed for the upcoming season.
The point of this process is to put away clothing that is no longer needed for the new/upcoming season, but will be needed for a future season; and to figure out what is needed for the present/current season that you are going in to.
There are a few things you need to determine for each item while you organize the clothes:
Does this item need to be put away for current use, stored away for later use, donated or thrown away?
· Storage Bins (off season items)
· Labels (tape works too for labeling storage bins)
· Bags or Boxes (for donated items)
· Laundry basket (large) for each child
Here’s the process:
*My suggestion is to do this on a day where all the laundry is caught up, so you can see all that you have for kid clothing.
1. Gather ALL Kid’s Clothing
The first thing you need to do when you start organizing kids off season clothing, is to pull all clothing out of the closets, drawers and any buckets, baskets or containers, including any seasonal storage you have put away. You will need these available to either put clothing items into storage for later, or take out of storage for the new/upcoming season.
For example, if the weather is getting cooler as we transition into Fall, I will bring out the Fall (new/upcoming season) and Summer (current season) storage bins.
The Summer items (what you’ve been using over the last few months) get put away into the correct Summer bin (size and gender).
The Fall clothing items get pulled out of the Fall/Winter storage bin for the new/upcoming cooler weather to be put away in closets, drawers, etc.
Drag all the clothing, containers, baskets, storage into a large area, where you have space to sort it all. I like to use the living room because there is more space and I can see it all at once.
2. Create A Zone For Each Child (a laundry basket works great)
This is for the new/upcoming season’s clothing that they’ll be using for the next few months. The laundry basket it where you’re going to put all the items that will go back into the child’s closet/dresser.
*A tip for making it easier to see what your child needs once everything has been sorted, is to organize each of their baskets according to like items. Pants with pants, dresses with dresses, sweaters with sweaters, underwear with underwear, all pajamas together, etc. It makes it much easier when you’re making a list of what each person needs.
3. Sort Thru All Of It
Before pulling items out of the storage containers, assess the items that each child is currently using.
*I tend to go from oldest to youngest because the clothes (if they are season appropriate) can sometimes be handed down to younger sibling (if they fit), instead of stored.
Going thru each item, ask yourself, does this item need to be:
· put away in the closet/drawers for new/upcoming use?
· stored away for later use?
· thrown away?
Anything that is damaged or badly stained gets thrown out, although if you do this a little here and there throughout the year, there isn’t usually a lot of it.
If it doesn’t fit anyone or it was an item that no one has worn for the last 2 years, it goes into the donation pile.
The clothing that is for that new/upcoming season gets tried on; if it fits, put it in their laundry basket to be put away in their drawer or closet later.
Once you have gone through and made decisions for all current clothing items, it’s time to do the same thing with the stored items.
If you are going into Fall, it’s time to go through the cooler weather clothing. The clothing in the storage bins should be in good shape, so you’re not sorting for throw away items, but you’re looking for items that will currently fit your child.
If the clothes are still too big (this is usually the case with my girls because they are 8 years apart), I put them back in the storage container to try next year.
My boys are only 22 months apart, so usually when my oldest outgrows his clothing, his brother is ready for it the next season. If he doesn’t fit it (it’s still too big), then back in the bin it goes for next year. If it turns out he (my youngest boy) is too big for the clothes too, then we donate it to friends with younger kids or to charity.
Whatever items do work for the new/upcoming season, go into that child’s laundry basket to get put away in their rooms once the whole process is done.
As we sort through the clothing, we look at what fits and what we have. Start making a list for each of your kids and what they will be needing.
I love going through this process. It saves me from buying more button up dress shirts for the boys or more jeans when they aren’t needed because I can see that they already have all they need.
This process works for their clothing, outerwear and footwear too.
If you are short on storage space, you may have to be more ruthless with what you save for later use. Only use items you really love or bigger ticket items, like winter boots and jackets.
When it comes to storing stuff for baby, they tend to have a lot of miscellaneous stuff such as receiving blankets, baby blankets, socks, etc.; and they outgrow their clothing much faster than when they are older. For storing and organizing baby clothes, I recommend reading these tips here.
Once you’ve come to the end of the sorting process you should have gone through the current clothing your child has been using, the new/upcoming season clothing and created a throw out and a donate pile.
4. Make A Needs List
Once we know what fits for that season and what each child has, it’s time to make a list of what is needed.
I have often had times where at the end of this process I have one kid that has 6 pairs of pants and the other has 1 pair of pants.
During this process, you’ll get a good idea of what each person has and what is needed.
As you make your new seasonal clothing shopping list, write down any storage solutions you noticed that are needed.
Making a list of the specific clothing items needed and any extra storage needs, will help you stay focused when shopping, streamline the process and keeps you from spending on things that you don’t really need.
5. Contain And Put Away
Once everything is sorted and you know what you’re keeping for the new season, it’s time to take each child’s laundry basket and go put it all back in the correct closet, drawers and baskets.
And that’s it. That’s my process for sorting and organizing off season clothes. I do this process for all clothing items with the kids; everything from clothing to, outerwear and footwear.
This process works with clothing for adults as well…
I have a confession. To be completely honest, I desperately need to go through my own clothing. I have put it off for far too long. I have a bin full of smaller clothing that I keep hoping I’ll fit into one day, but let’s be honest, I will probably never fit those clothes again.
Hear that sound? That’s me crying bitter tears of reality. Sigh…
Conclusion For Managing Seasonal And Off-Season Clothing
To reiterate what we’ve already talked about. To organize new/upcoming seasonal clothing and store off season clothing, you will need to:
· Gather ALL the clothing
· Create a zone for each child
· Sort thru every clothing item (currently using and upcoming/new season)
· Make a list for items needed
· Contain and put away
· Donate giveaway items (*keep an ongoing donate pile in the bottom of your closet or in the laundry room to save time later)
Winter is coming! Are the wardrobes in your house ready for it?
What do you find the hardest part about managing your children’s clothing?