In our society clothing is relatively cheap and easy to get. The temptation to buy the latest and cutest items is real. On top of that, children grow fast! Add that together and what you often end up with is a closet bursting full of items that your child won’t or can’t wear, or can’t even find!
All that clothing can cause a mess, can unnecessarily clog up your laundry routine, and just in general is a huge time and energy waster.
When you can get it all to a manageable level it will be so much more easy for both you and your child to care for what they own and keep it organized.
Here are the steps to declutter and organize your child’s clothing:
1. Decide What You Need
Before you even glance in your child’s closet, take a minute to ask yourself “What does my child actually need?” Make a list as you decide on how many pieces of clothing your child needs.
You are going to use your clothing lists for the rest of the decluttering process, so don’t skip this step.
I created these handy wardrobe checklists that are part of the printable pack A Clean Room is a Fun Room. They help you see at a glance all the categories of clothing per season you may need for your child, so you know for sure you won’t overlook anything.
2. Gather Everything Together
Work on one child’s clothing at a time and keep the clothing that is in the closet and in the dresser where it is. Then gather together any extra clothes you may have tucked away for that child in storage for the next sizes up or other seasons.
Try to get it all together in one general area, but there is no need to take every piece of clothing out of the drawers and off the hangers.
3. Decide On The Size
Do you know what size of clothing your child wears? Take a minute to check out the tags of the clothing that fit them, including shoes so you know exactly what will fit.
4. Shop What You Have
Your current seasonal wardrobe checklist is now a shopping list. And the dresser, closet, and clothing piles in front of you is your store.
Pull out pieces from what you have, make sure each piece is the right size and isn’t too worn or stained, just as if you were going shopping. If your child is old enough, this is a great time to get them in on the process; they can give input on what pieces are their favorites.
Make sure everything you are choosing to keep fits your child and is something they will wear and feel comfortable in.
Once you have the current season shopped for, set those pieces aside. These are eventually going to go back into the closet and/or dresser (on step 7). Then begin working on all the other seasons. Keep in mind that some staple items will fit into multiple seasons so those will stay in the closet and/or dresser so make sure those are in your current pile.
You may want to simplify your wardrobes into just two wardrobes. One for warm weather (summer/spring) and the other for cool weather (fall/winter), depending on your climate.
5. Make Notes
Are you missing anything on your checklists? Create a shopping list for what you need to get. Make note of the items you need and in what size so you can buy them when you are able.
6. Sort What Remains
Sort through the clothing items that are left after you have set aside what you just picked out. Make a donation bin and, if you plan on saving clothing back for a younger sibling, make “keep piles” for each size.
After you have those sorted, get the donation box into your car. Then pack away the hand-me-down and out of season clothes and label each of them before putting them into storage.
Make sure you label any boxes/bins you have in storage with the appropriate seasonal or size clothing labels.
Lastly, recycle, re-purpose, or trash anything that is unwearable, stained, or torn.
7. Clean & Organize the Closet
Now the closet and dresser should be completely empty and everything sorted and packed away. Take this opportunity to clean out the dirt, dust, and broken hangers from the closet and dresser.
Once things are clean, put the things you have chosen for the current season neatly back into the closet where your child can easily reach them.
8. Label Your Dresser Drawers
Label each dresser drawer and any accessory bin your child uses with the appropriate label. This helps them to be self-sufficient when getting dressed or putting away their own laundry.
9. Too Big / Too Small Bins
If you want to keep your child’s closet organized as they grow, find two bins or boxes that will fit in your child’s closet. Label one “too small” and the other one “too big.” When your child starts to outgrow some of their clothes, those pieces get tossed into the “too small” bin.
When you buy or are given clothes that are a size up, they can be placed in the “too big” bin. Growth spurts can happen seemingly overnight which is why I use this system.
It keeps the clothes that don’t fit your child from being circulated through the laundry, and it keeps bigger clothes close at hand so if all their clothes suddenly don’t fit, there are other options- without having to dig into storage.
10. Plan Ahead
Keep a wardrobe checklist handy for your child’s upcoming size so you can shop sales for the items you will need next without overbuying in any particular category. When you get the items, put them in your child’s handy “too big” bin and mark them on your checklist.
If you have multiple children, repeat steps 1-10 for each of them.
A Clutter Free Closet
Congratulations, you now have a clutter free closet! You know that every item in the closet and in the dresser is of use and fits.
Would you like to keep the closet staying organized and the clothes off the floor? Here is more about how you can teach your child to keep their things organized and clean.