For the next two days, we'll be talking about kids closets here on Momof6!
A few weeks ago, I posed the question on the Momof6 Facebook page asking “What would you like to see me write about here on Momof6- more on organization, meals kids will eat, preparing for summer?” And one of my good friends Brandi responded with this:
“Sharon- please write about transitioning kids closets! How do you organize everything so that you can give them away, or sell them, or whatever. And then, how do you add the new stuff they need. For example, my daughter is almost 3, but really tall. Some of her 2T stuff fits (skirts), NONE of the pants, some of the shirts. Basically, HELP!!”
Well Brandi, the way that I see it- kids closets are usually making two types of transitions- from one size to the next as they grow (with plenty of time when they are in-between sizes), and from one season to the next (long pants and long sleeves, vs tees and shorts). And of course, every time you transition seasons, the size changes become REALLY obvious as they have grown during that time too! So here are my strategies on how to handle transitions in kids closets:
Keeping The Closet Organized
I've learned (the hard way) that it works best if you keep current season clothing in current sizes in places that are accessible to the kids- such as lower shelves, dresser drawers they can reach on their own etc. And keep off-season clothes and clothes that are too big for them in places that they cannot easily get to- high shelves, in bins stored away, in drawers that they can't easily reach. This helps to ward off the melt-downs that occur when your daughters decides to put on her favorite sundress and sandals when it is 12 degrees outside! I have had one too many hissy fits (mainly theirs but occasionally mine) about wearing clothing that is appropriate for the weather!
My kids all share closets (more on that tomorrow), with each of their clothing stored on one side, and things that they will grow into (remember… 6 kids = huge amount of hand-me-downs) stored in the middle of the closet that is most often hidden behind the closet doors that hang in the center. Outta sight, outta mind.
Move Out the Outgrown Clothing As You Notice It
When your kids get dressed in the morning and you notice the pants that you thought still fit actually look more like cropped pants on them (okay for girls, not so hot for boys) and you ask them to change their pants- have them give you the short ones immediately. Take them right out of “circulation” immediately- don't allow them to return to the closet… otherwise you'll be doing this song and dance all over again another morning soon! Now for the child who feels quite connected to that short pair of pants, allow them to wear it once last time, and then when you find it while folding the laundry- take it out of “circulation” at that point. This really serves two purposes- not only does it prevent them from wanting to wear something that doesn't fit… but it allows you to see when you look in their closet or drawers how many pairs of pants your child owns that still fits… and you can decide whether or not you need to buy more or if you have enough to get you through the rest of this season. And when you look in the closet and notice that you need something, write it down… start a list. So you can buy it when it is on sale (see below).
What to do with the Outgrown Clothing
I like to keep one or two bins going for outgrown clothing at my house. One bin is for items that I can give to friends who have kids younger than mine. But I am selective about what I put into this bin- the clothes cannot have been worn by all 4 boys… because by then they are looking pretty ragged! Nothing with holes, no underwear or socks, etc. I like to have things that I can give to friends because I am so often the lucky recipient of a large bags of clothing from friends of mine that have older girls. It's nice to pass on the love!
I keep another bin for clothing that is slightly more on the shabby side, but that is still okay to donate to Big Brothers, Big Sisters. And then once in awhile, I'll have a third bin for items that are no longer wearable or are used socks and underwear. Our town recycling center accepts clothing and recycles it (which I believe means that it is turned into rags, filler, etc).
The nice thing about using the bin system is that you can put items in there and then store it for a month or two before you actually donate it- just in case you change your mind. Or in case your child has a complete melt down that you gave away her favorite shirt! (hey- it happens!) If it's been hanging out in the bin for a month or two and you know that you haven't used it, it's safe to give it away.
Shopping on Sale for the Next Size
Repeat after me….. “Never, I mean never, buy kids clothing at full price”. As a former retailer, I can tell you that the full price cycle for clothing is 6-8 weeks at best. Once an item is placed on the sale floor, it will be marked down to at least 25% off before the end of 8 weeks (meaning that the price will be physically changed on the tag- usually with a new price sticker). And chances are, the item will be promoted with a % off in a sale event even before the physical price change. Even better (for you), most stores are fully stocked for the upcoming season at least 4-6 weeks before the weather has even changed! So if you wait for the item to go on sale, you'll still be at the very beginning of the current season's clothing!
Buy Items That Have Room to Grow
This doesn't mean to buy things that are way too big for your child…. but to look for items with adjustable waists for example. If you daughter is tall, you'll need to buy her pants that are the next size up, but if she is thin… chances are that the waist will be huge. Adjustable-waist pants (like you find at the GAP and Old Navy) are the perfect solution for this situation. And gives you the opportunity to re-adjust the waist as your daughter grows too.
I hope that this has helped you to think about how to transition your child's closet during size and seasonal changes. Tomorrow we are going to talk about closet organization- especially in situations where two kids share one closet! What are your biggest kids closet challenges? Please leave a comment here and share!