Updated: Oct 11, 2021
If I'm being completely honest, my least favorite task around the house is rotating kid's clothes, swapping out seasonal items, and saving the outfits my older son has outgrown and storing them for my little guy to grow into. There are so many things to think about. What size is this? Does it still fit? Should I donate this? Is it better off in the trash altogether? Will my younger son wear this and will it even be the correct season by the time he's ready to wear it? Nothing makes my head spin more than organizing hand-me-downs.
Rotating kid's clothes is a big task and typically takes me a full afternoon. But it doesn't have to be so painful. Here are my 7 steps for making the job of organizing kid's clothes more manageable and less daunting.
Step 1: Stick to a schedule
Before you dive in, you might be wondering "how often should I rotate my kid's clothes?" I personally do this two times a year: once in the spring and again in the fall. While this typically takes a few hours to sort and organize the kids' closets and clothing, I find seasonally rotating clothes always makes a huge difference in keeping our days more simple. Not only does it make the decision-making process easier when the choices are more limited, it also keeps our closets more organized and simple to maintain.
In addition to swapping out clothes twice a year, I make "editing" a daily habit. Pro tip: keep a lidded, plastic bin in the closet of each child year-round and toss items in when they're getting too tight. Is your five-year-old's favorite superhero t-shirt looking more like a crop top? Toss it in the bin! It can either be a bin for donations if you don't have younger children to save hand-me-downs, or a bin of items to take to the next child's room when you're ready. This is a great way to stay on top of the "editing" task every day as opposed to taking on the entire closet at once.
I also evaluate clothing while I'm doing the laundry. Is something too small? Put it in a donation pile. Do these joggers have a hole in them? Probably time to throw them away.
Step 2: Edit & Donate
Now comes the fun of getting started! Buckle up. Start by removing all clothes from the closet that are already too small (if you haven't been doing this already).
Next, pull out clothes that are too "well-loved" and shouldn't be passed on to the next kid. Any item with a hole should go straight into the trash. Others that won't be worn by your younger children should be put in a Donation pile.
Step 3: Group by Size
Pro tip #2: Keep your clothes categorized by type and grouped by size. For instance, Size Large shorts should be kept together. Long-sleeved shirts should be kept together. You get the idea. This makes a huge difference in making clothes easier to find immediately when you need them. As the weather cools off, all your sweatshirts will be ready to pull out and hang up when your child is ready for the next size.
Step 4: Pass clothes "down"
Never store clothes that have been outgrown by a child in his/her closet. Instead, pass them "down" to the next child's bin who will wear them. In other words, the only clothes in your child's closet should be what they currently wear and a storage bin full of the next size(s) they will wear.
Step 5: Contain clothes
After like-items are grouped together and sorted by size, you'll need sturdy, stackable containers for storing seasonal clothes. I prefer plastic bins with latchable lids which keep dust and critters from getting inside. Here are a few of my go-to recommendations for clients.
Step 6: Label
Don't skip this step! After you've neatly sorted and contained your clothes, make sure to label them specifically. This will allow you to put your hands on exactly what you need down the road. Speaking from experience, I can't remember what I ate for breakfast, so I sure as heck won't remember exactly what's in an unmarked bin a year from now.
You can get fancy and more permanent with vinyl decals from Cricut, or something more interchangeable and flexible by writing on a piece of tape, or using an index card to get specific about what's in each bin.
Step 7: Store
After your bins are labeled, store them in a cool, dry area of your home. If closets are large enough, I recommend keeping them there for easy access. However the basement or attic are also great options. Store bins containing seasonal clothes with the labels facing out so you can see exactly what's inside.
There you have it! A (hopefully) less painful way to rotate kid's clothes and other seasonal items. If this task is something that's overwhelming for you, take it one closet at a time. The Simplified KC team is always happy to work alongside you and keep you on track if you need an extra set of hands. Visit our Website and feel free to contact us to schedule a consultation for your next home organizing project!