The Old Way…
Previously, I would typically wait for the sale e-mails, browse the websites, and order things that looked cute. This meant that I would end up with items that didn’t really go together and then would have to shop again to fill in the gaps and would usually end up with a surplus in some categories and have barely enough in others. When putting the clothes away, I used to organise by type e.g. shirts together, pants together etc. We would need to refold and re-organise each week after the kids had rifled through the drawers. I also used to do our laundry altogether and then sort and fold afterwards. On some nights, this meant that I just had enough energy to sort and it would stop there.
Being a little more strategic and doing a bit of planning and preparation upfront has saved us money and a lot of time and hassle.
- Take inventory – layout the items of clothing that you already have that will be carried through to the next season. Make as many outfits as you can with these items. For the single items that need to be paired with other items to make up a complete outfit, lay them out and take a picture so that you have a reference when you shop.
- Make a list of the occasions and activities that the kids need to dress for, e.g. everyday school outfits; gymnastics; party wear; outerwear; pyjamas; swimwear etc.
- Make the shopping list of all the items of clothing, footwear, outerwear, accessories, socks, stockings, underwear etc. that they will need. Include the number of each item.
- Check off what you already have and have a really clear idea of what you need before you start shopping so that you get what you actually need and don’t overbuy.
- Keep the list for future reference so you don’t have to start from scratch each season.
- Buy complete outfits e.g. if you buy a shirt, buy bottoms to go with that shirt. Refer to the picture you took of the single items from your inventory that need a partner to make up an outfit.
- Most children are very opinionated about what they wear from a really young age. It’s worth involving them in the selection so clothes don’t go to waste. Take them shopping or if, like me, you prefer to shop online, show your kids before you cut off the tags. Re-jig the outfits to suit their tastes. If your kid is sensitive to the way clothes feel on their body, have them try the clothes on. My oldest daughter really likes the look of sequins but it bothers her a lot when she wears it. We tried a top underneath the sequinned top but this makes her too hot so those tops with the beloved sequinned designs don’t get much wear.
- Put clothing away in complete outfits (including socks and underwear) and roll up the whole outfit into a neat little package. Roll the outfit in a way that makes it easy for your kids to identify the outfit – we always roll it so that the shirt/top is on the outside. My kids love this system. It has made them more independent and saved so much time in picking outfits and getting ready in the morning by cutting down on decision making. They open the drawer and pick out an outfit and all the elements are there. There’s no more “okay, I’ll wear this top…now which pants?…Mom! where are my pants?….now I need underwear….ummmm now what about socks”. This has also made it quicker to pack for trips or grab a spare outfit if we are going out.
- We have not had to refold and reorganise the clean clothes in the drawers since starting this new system 5 months ago. The drawers stay neat and organised because they can see what they have at a glance.
- Put a laundry basket in each kid’s room so that they can put their dirty laundry straight into the basket and wash each kid’s clothing separately to cut out the post-wash sorting time. This sounds like such a small thing but has made a big difference. By just cutting out that one step, laundry gets rolled and put away much faster.
If you try this strategy, I would love to hear what you think. What are your tips and strategies for kids’ clothing? Please comment below.