January 27, 2013 | in Nanny
Keeping your own closet organized and clean can be a daunting task, but keeping your children’s clothes neat and organized is a completely different ball game. Kids grow like weeds, so maintaining an organizational system is a continual work-in-progress. Since your kids’ closets typically have less space and they tend to have more stuff, their clothes can quickly become an organizational nightmare. There are steps you can take, however, to keep the process as simple and efficient as possible.
- Deep Clean – Whether you’re dealing with a dresser, a reach-in or a walk-in closet, it’s important to rid your kid’s wardrobe of items that no longer fit or will no longer be useful for the season. It may be more efficient to completely empty the closet first in order to sort through practical items. This is a great opportunity to donate unwanted clothing to charity. You can also give them away to other expecting mothers. Consignment shops are another great option, especially if you’re looking to make a few extra bucks. If there are outfits that you simply cannot part with due to their sentimental value, store them in a specially marked bin.
- Make a List – You can take inventory during the cleaning part of the process and making a list while you’re doing so is helpful. Keep a running inventory of the items you already have for the season and list items you will need to replace.
- Set Limits – Children outgrow their clothes very quickly. The more clothes your child has, the more organizing you will have to do later. Limit the size of a child’s wardrobe. Make some guidelines and cross reference your inventory. There’s no rule stating that you have to accept every bag full of hand-me-downs from your best friend or neighbor. If you already have it, you don’t need another one, even if it is free. The same holds true for shoes. As cute as they are with their little shoe strings, brass buckles and faux leather fringe, if you already have one pair of red sneakers, you don’t need another pair.
- Storage – When it comes to storing keepsake outfits or an entire wardrobe of hand-me-downs, it’s in your best interest to be neat and organized. Find a system that suits the storage space you have available. If you have to use the child’s closet, storing unnecessary or infrequent items up high in bins is your best bet. Low profile boxes and bins or vacuum-sealed bags are great for storage underneath the bed. If you have ample space in the garage, clear plastic bins clearly labeled with size, season and gender make it quick and easy to locate the correct clothing for the appropriate child.
- Child Size – The first thing you should consider when organizing your child’s clothing is to determine how involved she will be in the “getting dressed” process. If she is old enough to help pick out her own outfit and dress herself, consider installing an additional bar low enough for the child to reach the articles of clothing. Keeping clothing she is capable of putting on herself in the lowest drawers in the dresser is also a wise idea. This will make it easier for her to see what her options are and also make it easier for her to assist in the “putting away” process.
- Hang Around – If the closet is your primary storage solution for keeping clothing organized, keeping all the hangers facing in the same direction will help from getting into a tangled mess. Having the same style of hanger also keeps this from happening.
- The Little Things – There are lots of options for keeping smaller items organized. Decorative canvas totes are great for socks and undergarments if you’re not a “folder.” Baskets offer a quick and simple way to store those little shoes. Or, you can purchase inexpensive plastic drawers to store them all separately.
- Cap’n Hook – Instead of using closet or drawer space to hang bulky jackets or items worn frequently like a hooded sweatshirt, placing hooks on the back of the door or on the wall at an appropriate height for the child to easily use is a another great way of teaching good habits. Using hooks can keep floors clothing and clutter free without using valuable closet space.
- No Sweat – A great way to teach children tidy habits early on is to keep a dirty clothes hamper in the room. If they’re old enough, you can get one with multiple compartments so they can learn to sort lights and darks. If they’re still young, there are laundry hampers available that come in the shape of animals so they can “feed” the hamper their dirty clothes.
- Times They Are A-Changin’ – No matter how you do it, if it isn’t offering you ease and convenience, it’s not working… so change it up. There is no right or wrong way to organize children’s clothing, so find a system that will work for you and for your child.
The most effective method of keeping children’s clothes organized is simply to stay on top of it. A little work now translates to less work down the road. Don’t wait all year before you begin the process; pull items of clothing with each change of the season and be organized about it. Clearly label any box or bin you haul to the garage or attic and attempt to be consistent with where and how you store the clothing.
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