Kid's clothes

 This page contains a planner, and 'how to' for attacking the mass of kids clothes that seem to creep up on us.  The text is included below, but you may find it easier to print out the pdf   Kid's clothes so you can write on the planner.

 

Kids’ clothes

 

The good news is that after you’ve done this exercise once it will get easier and easier in future.

 

I’d suggest doing this exercise BY YOURSELF first, until you are comfortable doing it. Then when you’ve honed your skills, get your child to help next time. This is a good exercise to do every 6 months –at the beginning of autumn and spring.

 

Colour themes

First let’s think about colour themes – buying to a theme increases mix-and-match potential, and reduces the number of shoes and jackets required to make a match (should you or your child care about matching). 

Pick 1 light (e.g. white), 1 dark (e.g. black or navy or khaki), and 2 bright accent colours (hot pink, red) for each child. 

Colour theme examples:

  • Dark girl: white, navy, fuchsia and purple.
  • Fair boy: cream, khaki, lime, orange.

Glance at what your children already have – does a theme stand out, or do you have a mish-mash?

Write down your child’s theme here

  Dark Light Bright 1 Bright 2
Child 1         
Child 2         
Child 3         
Child 4         

 

Get rid of the easy stuff

Do NOT trash the house while doing this. Work one drawer at a time, and put everything that you haven’t discarded BACK into the drawer before going on to the next drawer. Don’t try to de-clutter and re-arrange at the same time. Just de-clutter, and the re-arrangement will take care of itself.

 

 

Go through your children’s clothes drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard and get rid of everything:

  • Too small. Not just too small now, but items that will be too small by next season. If it is the beginning of autumn and a bathing suit just fits now, it will NOT fit by next summer.
  • More than 2 sizes too big (don’t store more than 2 sizes ahead – pass them on)
  • Grotty, dirty, ripped
  • That you hate
  • That your children hates
  • That is way outside the colour scheme

 

Bag those and donate/hand them on before you try to tackle the rest of the clutter.

Now take those bags right out of the house before you go any further. DON’T try to work with piles around you – clear the decks ready for the next step.

 

Incoming hand-me-downs

If you have  received hand-me-downs, or bought clothes in advance, get them out next.

Get rid of anything that is:

  • More than 2 years ahead (let someone else use it). Yes, you can keep something that you totally love.
  • Nasty
  • Not something your child would wear (to formal, to grunge …)
  • Not in your child’s colour scheme (if you have enough clothes/money to worry about that).

 

Now group them by sizes, gender and warmth – e.g. Size 4 Girl - Hot weather, Size 8 Boy Cold weather. Don’t obsess about spring and autumn – they will take care of themselves.

I like to store each group in a plastic bag inside a big plastic storage container. That can sit under a bed or in the garage – you only need to visit the box a couple of times a year, or to put in new hand-me-downs.

Keep out the upcoming size (e.g. if it is autumn, keep out the upcoming cold weather size).

Now you’ve got all the possibilities available, let’s choose what to keep.

 

 

What does YOUR child need?

Next make a list of what your kids actually do and wear.  Add to that how dirty they get, and how often they change their clothes.  Toddlers may swamp 3-4 outfits per day. Most kids only go through 1-2. 

There are blank forms at the end of this document to fill in for your kids.   You can do it for yourself too.

Example: SUMMER clothes

  Main clothes After-schoolClothes? Activities
Saturday Casual   Swimming, beach picnic
       
Sunday Casual   Church: Nice outfit
       
Monday Uniform No, goes from uniform straight to pyjamas After school care
       
Tuesday Uniform No, from uniform to dance to pyjamas Dance, leotard,
       
Wednesday Uniform   Science club – it gets messy - casual
       
Thursday Uniform Casual Karate uniform
       
Friday Uniform Casual Family dinner – nice outfit

 

So from this chart you’d see that your child only needs:

4 casual outfits (even if you only wash weekly) and 1 messy casual outfit (for science club)

5 uniforms

2 nice outfits (for church and family dinner)

2 sets of PJS (possibly 3 depending on whether your child eats in them)

1-2 sets of Swimmers (the 2nd set is useful for holidays)

1 karate uniform and

1 dance uniform.

 

Now fill the chart in again for WINTER.

You may find there is a lot of overlap, but some complete differences due to sports or hobbies that are seasonal.

 

WINTER clothes

  Main clothes After school? Activities
Saturday Casual   Soccer, BBQ afterwards
       
Sunday Casual   Church: Nice outfit
       
Monday Uniform No, goes from uniform to pyjamas After school care
       
Tuesday Uniform No, from uniform to dance to pyjamas Dance, leotard,
       
Wednesday Uniform   Drama – need loose clothes
       
Thursday Uniform Casual Karate uniform
       
Friday Uniform Casual Family dinner – nice outfit

 

Now that you’ve made the two lists, it is time to assemble outfits. 

If you need 5 summer and 5 winter casual outfits, assemble 5 sets of what your child would wear for a casual outfit. What constitutes an ‘outfit’ is totally dependent on your child’s tastes and the weather you are dressing for.

e.g.

Sydney summer outfit:                                 panties, shorts, t-shirt.    
Seattle winter:                                 panties, skirt, tights, long-sleeved shirt, sweater.

TRY to stay in colour themes – this increases their mix-and-match potential, and reduces the number of shoes, hats, mittens or jackets required to make a match (should you or your child care about matching). 

Laying outfits out on the bed or floor works well. Try to pick tops that will work with at least 3 bottoms, and vice versa. 

Once you’ve assembled outfits, add the ‘extras’ that are worn more often, like shoes, hats, mittens, coats.  Three to five pairs of shoes, and 2-3 jackets should be more than enough, so try to choose ones that cover all outfits.

 

Sentimental items: You will find that there are items that you don’t want to part with. It may be the outfit your child wore on the first day of school, or a particularly cute baby outfit. Try to keep  it to 2 sentimental items maximum. Try to choose small items (a baby dress, not a huge bath robe). Be kind to your future daughter-in-law and don’t keep clothes just to inflict them on her.  She will want the opportunity to choose her own kids clothes.  Remember that what looks cute today may look horribly dated by then, and elastic does not last. She may not want to iron, dry clean, or otherwise care for anything time consuming.  I bless my mother-in-law for her ‘live in the now’ approach.

 

Avoiding clutter in future

Have a ‘to donate’ hamper beside where you fold laundry. That way you can throw clean items in there for donation if you know they are getting too small.   Avoid letting them get back into the cupboard, as they will just sink to the bottom of the drawer and not be seen until you have another big de-clutter.

Avoid impulse purchase of clothes. 

Shop twice a year for kids clothes – once for summer and once for winter.  Using the planner BEFORE you go shopping is a great way to avoid clutter in the first place. Often we THINK our kids need an item, only to buy it then discover we had one in the ‘hand me down’ box, or in the back of the drawer that we’d forgotten about.

 

Kids who live in more than one home

Note that we’ve got a full week’s worth of clothes on the planner. This means you can go a way for a week’s holiday without needing to do laundry, or spend time between two houses and have enough clothes if you do laundry more than once a week.

You may occasionally need to even things up if all the clothes have migrated to Dad’s place, but in general this approach works well.

Novice de-clutterers very seldom get down to ‘just what is on the planner’ anyway, so you will probably have MORE than enough clothes for any situation.

 

 

Planner

 

Child’s name ________________________________________

 

  Dark Light Bright 1 Bright 2
Colour scheme         
Example Navy blue White  Red Yellow

 

 

 

Season:               __________________________ (summer / winter)

  Main clothes After-schoolClothes? Activities
Saturday        
 Sunday        
Monday        
Tuesday        
Wednesday        
Thursday        
Friday         

 

 

 

 

Child’s name ________________________________________

 

Colour scheme

  Dark Light Bright 1 Bright 2
Colour          
Example Navy blue White  Red Yellow

 

Season:               __________________________ (summer / winter)

  Main clothes After-schoolClothes? Activities
Saturday        
 Sunday        
Monday        
Tuesday        
Wednesday        
Thursday        
Friday