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Kid Clothes: Older Kiddo=New System

on January 19, 2014

As our daughter has grown, I have tried to adjust her responsibilities to fit with her age.  She’s almost six, and she really enjoys picking out her own clothes.  When she was in preschool, she was still pretty sleepy when we got ready  in the morning, so she rarely had input on what she was wearing each day (plus our preschool did fun themes ALOT and much of it involved wearing certain colors or clothes with shapes or letters on them, so many days we already knew what she was going to wear).  Now, I try to give her more input on her wardrobe.  We are halfway through our first year of elementary school, and I’ve learned a few things along the way on what works best for us when it comes to tackling the kiddo’s clothes.

1)  We started out the year picking outfits the night before for the next day.  This worked ok, but I thought it might be better if we did it for the whole week in advance (as I had seen other families do).  We tried it for a while, and it really didn’t work for us.  First, there really wasn’t anywhere to hang or store 5 days of outfits.  We don’t have room in the closet for a hanging organizer labeled for each day of the week, nor is there room on the hang bar.  Half of her closet is for clothes and the other half is for toys.  I did try a set of command hooks on the wall and that was just ok enough that we lived with it for a while.  The problem was I’d need more than two command hooks for five days worth of hangers, and I really didn’t want to take up any more wall space.  Plus, we live in a region of the country where what the weather forecast is on Sunday for the rest of the week can be drastically different by Wednesday.  So, many times we had to re-pick outfits.  I waffled back and forth, and finally did the smart thing.  I asked the kid.  She said she wanted to pick stuff out the night before.  So there we have it.  I did leave one command hook on the wall near her door to hang the next day’s outfit.  Nearby is her hair accessory holder and the little bucket that holds all of the rubber band bracelets she  we have made.  Picking out clothes the night before and hanging them on the wall seems to be the best route for us right now–but down the road that may change.

Here is where her outfit hangs for the next day...

Here is where her outfit hangs for the next day…

2.  Once we had the first problem figured out, I knew I needed to tackle the drawers in the kiddo’s dresser.  The dresser is not large, and as she has gotten bigger, so have the size and amount of her clothes.  We don’t rotate a bunch of seasonal items in the winter, because it can be -4 degrees one week and 65 degrees the next (I thought I might be exaggerating a bit here, but it was 65 degrees one day this week and -5 the next night!), and options are important.  So, the drawers are pretty crammed.  We were running into a problem that as kiddo put her clothes away, the piles inside would get messed up and we’d need to refold half the drawer.  Ugh.  And, it was really hard to see what was really in there–which meant she probably only wore about half her wardrobe (the stuff on top).  Then, one day a light bulb went off!  I had read and seen posts about the filing system for t-shirts in drawers for adults.  You could take an entire drawer and fit it in half the space.  My thought, why not for kids too?  And, why just shirts?  I had tried a filing system for the shirts, workout pants, and pjs I kept in bins in the top of one of our closets, and it worked pretty well.  So, I was fairly confident it would work for the kid too.  We’ve lived with the filing system for a few weeks now, and it has really made some big changes.  Not only do her clothes fit much easier into the drawers, but now when we go to select clothes for the next day, she can actually see everything that is clean when she makes her decision.  And, no more messy piles!  She was a little nervous at first about being able to put everything away herself, but with a little support the first few times, she now has the hang of it.  I highly recommend trying the filing system for you or your kids.  I say “BRAVO!” to the person who originally came up with it.  Here’s a look inside to see what our system looks like.  We have a drawer for shirts; one of pants, socks, and undies; and one for pajamas–which are all labeled so she knows where to put everything away on laundry day.

Shirt drawer.  From left to write the "columns" are sweatshirts, short sleeves, and long sleeves.

Shirt drawer. From left to write the “columns” are sweatshirts, short sleeves, and long sleeves.


Fuzzy pants, Jeans and corduroys, undies and socks in a rectangular box from Ikea in the back next to her sparkle skirt.

PJs!  Pants, shirts, nightgowns and sets.  Plus a bin of extra socks in the back.

PJs! Pants, shirts, nightgowns and sets. Plus a bin of extra socks in the back.

Have you changed any of your systems as your kids have gotten older?  What have you chosen to help them be more independent?

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