Every year when Fall and Spring rolls around, it means for us, it is time to go through boxes of hand-me-downs for our little kids, go though boxes of last years clothes for our big kids and see what might still fit AND go through their closets and dressers to see what needs to be put away. With 5 kids this Fall, it was quite a task but we got it done (oh and how good it feels to have it checked off the list!).
This past Saturday afternoon we pulled all of the stored boxes that we needed for everyone and started going through them. We had the kids trying things on to see what fit and making piles all over the kitchen floor and bed rooms of things that didn't fit. And as we went through everything I made a list for everyone...an inventory, if you will! I wrote down how many shirts, pants, pj's, coats, etc that every one had that still fit and then off to the far right of the page made a list of what we needed to buy to fill in the gaps.
Over the years from the time our first baby was born, we started saving their out grown clothes that were still in good condition knowing that their would be a younger sibling to pass it on to. And over the years, I have tried a few different systems of sorting and organizing clothes- everything from storing them in large bags to boxes but the one thing about my system that never changed (even when their storage container type changed) was how I labeled them. Okay, well, that slightly changed too but I will get into that more in a minute. I have always labeled the containers with the gender and size, for example "Girls Newborn/0-3 months" that way I knew what container to pull when I needed to put something out grown away or find a bigger size for someone.
Now onto our most current system that we are loving and that made this past Saturday so much easier when it came time to start sifting through everyone's clothes. A few months ago I read a book called Survival of the Busy Woman by Emily Barns. It changed the way we organized every closet in our house, let me tell you! Following the steps in the book, we applied the method to our kids hand-me-down clothes, too. We bought a huge stack of heavy duty bankers boxes at Walmart and started sorting all of our kids clothes into those boxes by gender and size. Once a box was full, it got a nice big easy to read label on one end of the box calling out the gender and size and it got a number along with the location the box was being stored. Once every single last article of clothing was in a box and labeled, I went back with 3"x5" index cards and labeled each card to match a box along with the number that I marked on the box, also. The point of the number and index card is to make it easier to find what you are looking for when the time comes to pull a box. For us, we are able to store all of the boxes at this point in our master bedroom closet so we know that is where they are at. I decided to go ahead a do the numbering and index card step anyways just in case we ever decide to split them up between different closets. This way it is all done and I don't have to go back and do that step later. I should also add since everything else we have in closets that made sense to put in a box also has a number and index card along with the location the box is stored (example Box 1- Photos Craft Room Closet) I decided to jump up into the 300's and 400's for our boys and girls clothing boxes. We are no where near having that many boxes but figured that way I can keep all of the kids' clothing boxes in their own digits.
So there ya have it! That is how we keep clothes organized. And let me tell ya, it was a lot of work to get everything organized and on index cards but it really did save us a TON of money. All 5 of our kids have very short lists of cool weather clothing that they need. And let me add, they were all super excited to see some of their old favorites come back into rotation that still fit from last year!
Hope everyone is enjoying the cooler temps of Fall!