Yesterday we finally tackled our spring kids seasonal clothing switch.
I’m a minimalist at heart, so sorting through piles of clothing can leave me close to tears rather quickly. This time, though, we powered through with a few new ‘rules’ to help cut the overwhelm, and got it done in just one afternoon!
Planning made all the difference for this seasonal clothing switch. I set aside a weekend afternoon when we had the time to tackle a bigger project. We made sure all the kids laundry was washed so that everything was clean for sorting, donating and storage. I made sure that everyone had eaten a healthy lunch (to minimize ‘hangry’ attitudes and blood sugar lows). My kids (6&5) were present, both to try on clothing and to help sort and organize. I enlisted the hubby to help with sorting and to keep the kids on task. And we planned a fun family reward for getting the job done quickly and efficiently.
Note: My kids, though different ages are the same size and share a communal closet, so we had to do their clothing all together. If they were in different sizes I’d likely work through one kid’s clothing at a time, just to make it easier.
(There are affiliate links in this post, meaning we may get a small commission from any purchases you make. We only recommend products and services we actually use and love. Click here to read our full disclosure policy.)
Related: How To Prep for Decluttering
Choose a big work space and good lighting.
Sorting clothes takes space, so you’ll want to pick a big room to work in. We have a large dining room table and the natural light in that room is incredible, so it ended up being a great sorting station. I’ve also used our king sized bed as a place to lay out and look over clothing. Good lighting is so helpful for catching stains and wear.
Gather all the clothing together in one place.
Wash any dirty laundry first. Pull out the stored kids clothing you’ll be going through, and wash it if needed. Empty every drawer, grab every hanger in the closet, and send the kids on a scavenger hunt to find every last piece of clothing in their room. It might sound like overkill, but having all of the clothes together in one place will really help in the long run.
Minimize decision fatigue with a few simple rules.
Decision fatigue is a thing, and I honestly think it’s why I’ve always dreaded doing the kids seasonal clothing switch. This time I made a few simple ‘rules’ to help minimize the amount of decisions I and my kids had to make in the process. Here are a few of the rules that made our sorting process simpler.
- Worn, faded and permanently stained clothing gets thrown away. When in doubt, toss it!
- Clothing that my kids don’t like and thus never wear, goes in the donate pile immediately.
- EVERY single other piece of clothing gets tried on and evaluated.
This last one was a game-changer for us. It was also slightly painful and resulted in more than a few eye rolls and dramatic sighs. Culling the worn and disliked clothing out before this step helped to keep the number of clothes to try on to a minimum, but still, it was not very fun.
It was, however, profitable. We found multiple pairs of nice jeans that were just too short, and hidden wear and holes in some of their favorite tees and leggings. There were multiple long-sleeved tees that were almost too short in the waist for my long-torsoed kiddos. All of these I would have kept if I just eyeballed them. We were able to donate clothing (getting it out of the house!) rather than store it all season only to discover that it didn’t fit next year. Totally, TOTALLY worth it!
Designate locations for toss, pack, and donate.
This doesn’t have to be fancy – we set a chair in a corner for the donate pile, trash went right in the bin, and clothing to be stored was folded nicely and stacked directly in the storage tote. Since everything was laundered before we started, packing everything up at the end was super simple. Clothes to be donated went in a clear plastic bag. The discarded clothing went immediately to the trash can outside, and the tote was tucked back in storage.
These are the totes we use for storing seasonal kids clothes. We’ve used bigger totes in the past, but these were a very welcome upgrade. At 6.5 inches tall they fit perfectly under our twin beds, and they aren’t too heavy to lift or move. I love that the clear bottom allows me to see what’s inside.
Don’t forget to take a clothing inventory!
This is the often overlooked, but most helpful part of the kids seasonal clothing switch. Just before you pack away all of next year’s kids seasonal clothing, do a quick inventory. I sort everything into categories – shirts, pants, dress clothes, etc. and make notes of what I need to fill the gaps.
I also do this with the clothes that are going back into their drawers. Between awesome hand-me-downs and thrift store finds, our clothing supply can fluctuate quite a bit. Since we had gathered every piece of clothing (even the non-seasonal stuff in their drawers) and had them try it on, we were able to clean out so many pieces that were stained/worn and too small. When I did my quick inventory at the end, though, I discovered that we had too many tops and just a handful of shorts and capris. Now that I know exactly what we have, I’ll only be shopping for what we need.
The kids seasonal clothing switch can be a daunting task, but these ideas made it so much simpler for our family. Do you have any tips/tricks for sorting through seasonal clothing? Please share!
Jamie Siebens is a freelance writer and owner of Always-an-Adventure.com, a blog focused on living intentionally and finding beauty in the everyday adventures of life. When she’s not behind a computer screen, you can find her with her husband and two daughters enjoying their current adventure – turning a former 1890’s one room schoolhouse and town hall into their cozy family home.