My family recently moved, and as I unpacked our belongings into our new home, I was shocked at the amount of clothing my two little girls had managed to accumulate. They have wardrobes that could rival teenage pop stars. But it's not my fault, I swear. Between hand-me-downs from my sister who has two girls and my best friend who has a daughter, and the contributions from two bargain-hunting grandmothers, my 2-year-old's closet was literally overflowing. Even though I have a third girl on the way, I knew we had to downsize and organize.
1. Be Realistic
Honestly, there are only a few outfits in their collections that I absolutely love. The rest are take 'em or leave 'em. Plus, if it won't be the right size for the right season, do we really need to hang on to it? No. Be realistic about the outfits your children have. I was keeping clothes I had never dressed my first daughter in, so why would I think I would put my second or third daughter in them? Just let go. There's a child out there who could benefit from those outfits.
2. Make Boxes
To save room in the closet, box up clothing that your child hasn't grown into yet and label each box with the size and season. That way, when you're ready, you can find the clothes quickly and easily. And before you do any shopping, make sure you check those boxes to see just how much you already have.
3. Create Outfits
This was huge for me. By using double hangers, I was able to create nearly two weeks' worth of outfits for each child. Hanging up clothes by outfit not only allows you to take stock of exactly what your child has or needs, but makes it super easy to get them ready in the morning. You also don't have to worry about your husband dressing them partly in pajamas (trust me, this has happened), and your kids will be able to dress themselves too.
4. Label Everything
Seriously. Label the boxes, and label the clothes in the closet, too. It's easier than you think to make circular labels for hangers so you always know what size each item is and can even label the clothes by days of the week. That way, you can just open the closet and pull out the pre-planned outfit for the day without wasting any of that un-caffinated morning brainpower of yours. And if, like me, you're not at all creative, you can buy or print labels that super crafty moms have already made.
You're probably holding on to clothes that your kids just don't need. So take stock. Once you've created the outfits and can see what your child has, you may be able to create a second donation pile. You'll feel a lot better when your children's closets aren't stuffed to the max, and you'll feel great knowing a family in need is benefiting from your generosity.