So when my hubby and I were doing IVF, we had to sign this contract before we began the process. The agreement basically said that we were responsible for any children we might conceive with the help of the fertility clinic, and that our responsibilities for the child(ren) would be the same as if we had conceived him/her on our own. And that we couldn’t, you know, leave the kid on the clinic’s doorstep if we didn’t like him. Stuff like that.
I try really hard not to complain too much about some of parenting’s less glamorous aspects because, well, I literally signed on for this. And I do kinda like my kids. They’re pretty awesome, if you ask me.
That being said, there is one mom chore that I absolutely hate.
Cleaning out my kids’ drawers and organizing their clothes.
I don’t even know why I hate it so much, I just do. We’ve always saved their clothes since my oldest was a baby, and by now I’ve got a pretty good system down.
And, lucky you, I’m going to share how it’s done!
1. Each kid has their own box(es).
It just doesn’t make sense to store different children’s clothes together. We get out my oldest son’s boxes of old clothes so my younger son can use them, but I don’t want to have to dig through my daughter’s clothes at the same time. It is easiest to store them all separately.
2. Go through each child’s drawers and make organized piles
I start by just opening drawers and throwing every single item in a pile. There are usually three or four piles:
- Clothes going into storage for later (for a younger sibling, either real or potential)
- Clothes to donate/get rid of (some clothes shouldn’t be saved—more about that in a minute)
- Clothes going back into the drawer (they can wear the item right now)
- Clothes to save for use next season (this applies to older kids. As they get bigger their clothes start lasting a little longer. Right now there are a few winter items I think my older kids will be able to wear next fall, but I don’t want to keep those in their drawers all summer. I have some storage bins in their closet for fall/winter clothes that they will be able to wear next year).
Once the clothes are sorted, you can start by putting the ones ready for current use back into the drawers.
3. Don’t save everything
Before you box up the clothes you are saving, take a really good look at them. After now having gone through reusing my older son’s clothes for my younger son, I have learned a valuable lesson: NOT ALL CLOTHES ARE WORTH SAVING.
Take the above sweater-vest as an example. It is in good condition overall, but if you look closely:
It has stains on it. And one thing I’ve learned, stains get worse over time. If you put something stained into storage, chances are if you pull it out again a few years later, the stain will look much, much worse. I’ve decided I’d rather save the space in my boxes and the energy of going through the clothes later by tossing clothes that just won’t be wearable in a few years.
This shirt is another example. The picture doesn’t do it justice. The shirt itself is cute, but it just got to the point where I didn’t even want my oldest to wear it (except as a play shirt) because it looked so dirty. So if it is not good enough to wear now, I’m not going to save it for later.
Also look out for pants that have holes in the knees, are really frayed at the bottom, etc. I also don’t ever save socks or underwear. I’ve decided that each kid deserves fresh socks and underwear!
You can decide what to do with clothes you’re not saving: donate them, trade them, cut them up for rags—whatever!
4. Put clothes snugly in their boxes for storage
We have lots of boxes of clothes in our house, so it makes sense to fit as much as possible into one box. I’ve found the best way is to roll each item of clothing tightly and then fit it all snugly into one box. This is an entire year’s worth of clothing for my daughter in one box—I’m pretty proud of that.
5. Don’t forget to check closets and other spots!
Believe me, it is so, so aggravating to have your boxes all taped up and put away only to find another article of clothing you overlooked. For this reason you want to make sure you check the closets and other tricky hiding places (like under the bed) for clothes that need to go into storage!
6. Label, label, label
By the time you get the clothes all sorted, organized, folded, and ready to go, the last thing you want to do is take your time with labeling the storage boxes. But trust me, you don’t want to skimp on this part!
I am very compulsive with how I label. When I’m looking for something, the last thing I want to have to do is start digging through boxes. When it comes to my kids’ clothes, I put their ages when they wore them, the sizes of the clothes, and the seasons they wore them. That way I know exactly what is in there and it is easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re ready to use them for another kiddo. I also label every single side and the top of the box because then I don’t have to worry about how the box is stored—I’ll be able to see what is in there no matter which way it sits on the shelf.
If the box is full, it goes right into storage in our garage. If it can fit more clothes in it, I make a little note on the box and then the box goes in a closet where it is accessible. I can then finish filling it the next time I do this chore lovely task.
Once you’ve got your clothes all boxed up, put away, donated, or what have you, you’re done! Now you can put laundry away without having to cram the drawer so full you can barely move it…not that I know anything about that!
Aaah, nothing I love quite like a half-empty drawer with lots of room in it!