One of the most dreaded jobs of moms is switching out seasonal clothes and clothes that are too small. Ever since I began to intentionally limit my kids’ clothes, though, it has been a lot easier.
Decide The Space First
When it comes time to store away clothes for another child’s use, I limit myself to one container per year. In the first year you might find that you want to divide it up a little more (3-6, 6-9, etc). Or you may decide as they get older you want size 4 winter and another size 4summer.
If you let yourself decided by the cute clothes, you will always keep more. I like to think about it in terms of renting space in my house. I first decide how much of my storage space I want to give to clothes, and then later I will decide which clothes go in.
We live in a small apartment. We don’t have a garage, attic, basement, or storage unit. So it is imperative that I decide how much space I can give to clothes. One bin per year. That’s it.
Decide Which Clothes to Keep
After you have decided how much space to give to out of season or too small clothes, you have to decide what to keep.
First I go through everything very quickly pulling out anything that is ripped, stained or I didn’t love. If I don’t love it now, I won’t in a couple of years when Silas is ready to wear it. If it looks worn now, it isn’t going to look any better after sitting in a rubbermaid for 2 years.
Keep moving quickly and make quick decisions. If you start to labor over it, put it in the keep pile.
Once that first purge is done, I determine if I still have too much in the keep pile. If it is too much for the one the container, it has to be trimmed.
Currently, my kids have so few clothes that most things are really worn out and faded by the time I store so I don’t have to worry about this as much. In the baby sizes, though, I did, because they don’t wear their clothes out as fast.
I have put everything in the container, realized it was too much, and then pulled it all out and started the process again. Eventually I get it down to my one bin.
Only Keep the Best
When you get down to the tough decisions, here are a few things I try to think about:
- Nothing will look better after being stored for a couple of years.
- Clothes that are currently in style will sell better at a consignment store now than they will in a few years. (If your kids have nice clothes, this is important to remember)
- Does someone else I know need these clothes now? I would rather bless someone that is in true need than store something for “maybe later.”
- Memories of my child are not linked to these clothes. I have pictures and memories in my mind. The item doesn’t hold the value.
- You will be happy to not have to go through so many clothes in a couple of years. (Trust me on this. Do the work now, you will be grateful.)
Here’s what the closet in the kids’ room looks like. I know you love seeing my closets. (That cardboard box is actually not clothes, I think that must be marked from some move. It is actually all the kids shoes that they have either grown out of or are waiting to grow into).
I keep the container with the clothes Silas is in now at the top so it is easily accessible. I pack away items and pull out items as I need.
When it comes time to pull out new clothes for the season or size, it is pretty easy. I just had to pull out 18mo. clothes for Silas last week, so I’m not dreaming here.
Think about it, I have already done the work to limit the storage so it is only one bin I am going through. How long can that take? In fact, this time it was only a half a bin since I was putting away 12 month in the same bin. (That is actually a little tight, but you know, apartment…)
Once I have the new size all out, I jot down some notes about what I need to get to round out the wardrobe. Keep in mind that you might get clothes for birthdays or Christmas so only buy the truly needed items.
It isn’t my favorite job in the world, but it is pretty painless. I don’t have boxes and boxes to go through. I know exactly where all the clothes are, and they are clearly labeled by size.
Remember that anything you keep is renting space in your closet. Make sure nothing is renting for free.
How do you store your kids’ clothes?
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