Thursday, September 11, 2008

Managing Kids' Wardrobes

Both Grandmas love to buy clothes for HB, which is wonderful! The are also great about buying one or two sizes ahead of what she is currently wearing. We also get a lot of hand-me-downs from various sources. So I end up having a bunch of clothes in various sizes "waiting around" for HB to grow into.

To manage the clothes, I keep two boxes in the bottom of her closet. One is labeled "too small" and the other is "too big". I like these ones from Target. As she outgrows items, we toss them into the "too small" box. Every so often, I will empty the box into large plastic totes to store in the attic until they can be handed down to her younger cousin.

I keep the "too big" box sorted by size (the next size she will be wearing is on top). When it seems like the supply of clothes in the dresser is getting too thin, I rotate in the next size up. I take stock of all the clothes in the next size, and match them into outfits. I make note of any missing items (pants that have no matching shirt, etc), and go shopping. My goal is to have 9 "everyday" outfits plus one "nice" outfit for special events. That way, we can do laundry once per week and have a couple extra outfits for slack. Thanks to the Grandmas, I usually only need to buy a few items.

Her daycare requires us to keep a spare set of clothes there for her. And we also keep a spare set of clothes in the diaper bag. I select the best fitting outfits from the next size down, and/or the mismatched items from the current size to use as spares. As rarely as they are needed, I don't feel compelled to make sure she looks great in these situations. Mismatched clothes and/or pants that are slightly too short are OK here.

While my husband is great at most daddy tasks (he can even do a decent ponytail!), matching clothes is not one of his strong suits. So, we ended up with what I call "Daddy Dressed Me" days -- were HB is sent off to daycare in some pretty crazy outfits. To solve this problem, I match the outfits in her drawer ahead of time.

When I do laundry, I match the clothes into outfits, and then I put them in her drawers as one folded unit. Then, daddy can select one whole outfit and be sure that the items look good together. This also avoids the problem of having only mismatched items left over as laundry day approaches. By matching the items ahead of time, I'm sure that each bottom has a matching top that's clean. That way, we can get by with fewer clothes overall.

You can go one step further as suggested over at ParentHacks by using a rubberband to keep the outfits together in the drawer, or making clothing capsules for your kid (or husband) to choose from.


  1. Anonymous3:28 PM

    Great idea! S isn't picky about what he wears yet, but it's very easy to get into the trap of having a million pieces of clothing and yet seeming to have nothing to wear!

  2. @candy - so true. I am trying to apply the same technique to my own wardrobe. I'll post about my results sometime soon!


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