The leaves are starting to change. It has been noticeably cooler the last few days. Your ride to work in the morning is peppered with big yellow school buses and red flashing lights.
Fall and winter are creeping up on us quickly. It is time to start planning our closet changeovers. That chore was a lot easier when I was single but these days with three children and a fiance, it is a much larger and more daunting prospect.
Each year I use the same formula for consistency sake especially when it comes to the kids. I make sure to choose a time when everyone is out of the house and I can quietly make a start on the changeover.
There are three basic rules I use when I am weeding out the old and making room for the new. First I "Purge and Let it Go", second I "Sort" and third I "Organize".
Purge and Let Go
Some people find it easier with their own wardrobe to decide what to keep and what goes to good will while others find it easier with the children's wardrobes to make those decisions. Whichever category you fall into, the process is the same.
Make sure you have 2 garbage bags and at least one rubber bin or storage container per family member before you begin.
Empty the closets and dressers of all the clothing, including under garments. Make sure to put everything in a pile that makes sense to you. I make ten or so piles and break it down by type of item. For instance… long sleeve shirts and short sleeve shirts get their own piles, as does Pajamas, pants, hanging clothing etc. When everything is organized, I go through the piles one by one.
If an item of clothing is in bad shape- they go in the "rags bag". If they are in fine shape but haven't been worn more than once or twice all season they go in the goodwill bag, as does anything that will not conceivably fit the person the next season. If an item is in good shape, will likely fit next season and isn't an item that spans seasons (and will be added back into rotation) it goes in the rubber bin for storage. I typically also start a pile for items that I want to have tried on. My oldest daughter also likes to have a nostalgia pile, which I indulge her with but make sure it stays VERY small. I have a nostalgia bin for her and the rule is if it gets too full, she has to purge to make space. One small bin is all she gets.
My second step in the process is to Sort through all of the clothing to see what I will need to purchase to get us all through the next season. Firstly I add all of the new season clothing to the piles of items that span the seasons. For example, everyone needs a few short-sleeved shirts throughout the winter season. Children need them for gym class or after school activities; we may need them to wear underneath a sweater or just to lounge around the house.
As I take the clothing from the bins from last year I make sure they are still in good shape, will still fit and are still reasonably fashionable. If I am unsure of the fit I add it to the "try it on" pile. Once everything is sorted into piles I make a list of what I will need to purchase, then start putting them back into the closets and dressers.
My children are 8 years old and under. Those of you who have been through this phase know that the kids think they know what is best when it comes to what to wear in the morning. I try very hard to let them choose their own clothing. The one hard and fast rule I have is... it needs to be weather appropriate and school appropriate.
To facilitate the ease of school mornings I have a few tricks I use. The items of clothing that I estimate will be worn most often are put at or near eye level with easy access. I make sure they are as colour coded as possible... arranging for the girls that the reds do not sit next to the pinks or else you end up with one clashing girl who does NOT want to change before the bus arrives. This does not guarantee you will not end up with red and pink girl walking up the bus steps but it helps to make sure it happens a lot less.
I also make sure that the good dressy clothes go on correctly sized hangers at the top of the closet hanging system. This makes it a lot more difficult for them to put on the Christmas dress from last year for gym day at school. Yes, they can (and have) pull over a chair and defiantly pull down their best clothing for an average day at school but again; it keeps it to a minimum. I also make sure the undergarments and Pajamas get their own drawer where possible so the kids remember they have pajamas instead of sleeping in the shirt and underwear they wore to school that day.
By the time I am finished, the closets and dressers are organized and fresh. All that is left to do when the brood gets home is to try on anything in the “try on” pile, decide what to do with them from there, put the storage and nostalgia bin under the stairs and lay down the law when it comes to “keeping your clothing neat, organized and logical”. Ya, that’s going to happen! I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids!