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 transition your kids closet as they grow!
Keeping The Closet Organized By Season of Clothing
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 meltdowns that occur when your preschool daughter decides to put on her favorite sundress and sandals when it is 12 degrees outside! I have had too many discussions about wearing clothing that is appropriate for the weather!
My kids all share closets, with each of their clothing stored on one side, and things that they will grow into (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. Then 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.
Another “pro tip”: when you look in the closet and notice that you need something, write it down- and start a list. Then you'll be prepared to 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. 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 figures out 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 Offer a Little Extra Room
This doesn't mean to buy things that are way too big for your child- but instead to look for items with adjustable waists for example.
If your daughter is tall, you'll need to buy her pants that are the next size up, but if she is also 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.
Want to See How We Tackled a DIY Kids Closet Install?
Here are some more great ideas on how to organize your home!
- 15 Fantastic Command Centers to Help Busy Moms Stay Organized
- 20 Organized Kids Bedroom Ideas
- 10 Organized Laundry Room Ideas
- 12 Organized Closet Ideas
- 12 Ideas for Entryway & Mudroom Organization
What are your biggest kids closet challenges? Please leave a comment here and share!