Friday, October 18, 2013

Switching it Up: Changing Kids' Wardrobes from Fall to Winter

While kids are merrily jumping in piles of fall leaves, moms of many are getting buried in piles of last season's clothing. Denim shorts and fluttery sundresses get ever so gently yanked out of clutching hands to be stored away for younger siblings. Executives of Rubbermaid and other containerizing companies must grin ear-to-ear at this change of season. Because, really, is it possible to have too many plastic storage tubs? Not in my house.

So last season.

In the picture above, you can see three of my daughters sitting in a sea of last season's clothes. (That's actually more like a week's worth of laundry, but you didn't think I would dump it all out, did you?) How do you turn that into this:

Pretty in pink.

and this?

One wall of our attic storage facility.

The answer to your clothing nightmares is plastic tubs, giant Ziploc bags, labelers, clipboards and lots of elbow grease. First, organize the clothes by size and gender. Boys' size 8, for example, or girls' size 4T. Then, pack the clothes away in giant Ziploc bags -- one for summer, one for winter, and one for the transitional seasons. Mark the bags with a Sharpie, and toss them in the properly labeled tub. Use clear shoeboxes with sizes labeled on the side to collect gently worn shoes.

If you don't have time to switch all the kids' wardrobes at once (and who does?), it's important to write down what you have done already on a legal pad or list attached to a clipboard. That way, two months later, if someone claims not to have any long-sleeved shirts, you can easily see if that kid's wardrobe never made it out of the attic. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of money in unnecessary emergency shopping.

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But good household management takes time and effort. There's no way to avoid it. Ultimately, keeping your house in order is like keeping your soul in order. The work is never done. If you neglect it, it will just keep building up until it starts causing real problems. So, as you get your kids' wardrobes in order, why not get your interior self in order as well? Examine your conscience to see where you've been lax, where you can improve, and go tell your sins to a priest in confession. Air your dirty laundry, so to speak. I promise you'll heave a sigh of relief knowing you're prepared to face what the next season has in store.

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