Sorting and Storing Kids Outgrown Clothes


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How to Organize Children’s Clothing and Shoes for the New Season

The change of seasons is hectic for parents trying to organize kids’ outgrown clothes. Parents need a storage system optimized for easy identification and retrieval.

Children grow like weeds, and piles of outgrown or out-of-season clothing can take over the house if parents aren’t careful. Here are some tips for organizing clothes and shoes at the beginning of each new season.

  1. Downsize Kids’ Wardrobes – It can be tempting to just throw everything in a box, but go through it first and discard worn-out clothing or socks without matches. There’s no reason to sort and store junk.
  2. Prepare Clothing for Storage – Make sure that everything is freshly washed immediately before being stored, especially infants’ clothing that may have spit-up on it. Even if a stain isn’t showing now, one will develop after being stored for several months or years. Storing soiled clothing will also make the other clothing in the box begin to smell.
  3. Use Identical Containers – For the sake of organization, the type of containers used to store children’s outgrown and out-of-season clothing is very important. Use boxes that are all the same size and shape so they will be easy to find in storage. Many parents save their value-size diaper boxes or invest in large matching Rubbermaid storage containers.
  4. Neatly Label All Boxes – Each box should have a matching label listing the gender, size, and season of the clothes. Each label should also list the total number of boxes containing identical items. For example, a good label would read “Girl, 2T, fall/winter, box 1 of 2.” This will ensure that all clothes of a specific size are found when it comes time for retrieval. Some people also choose to color-code their labels by size and/or gender.
  5. Designate a Clothing Storage Area – If people expect their boxes to stay organized, they need a designated storage area such as the basement, garage, closet, or attic. The boxes should stack neatly on top of each other and be placed in a logical order, like smallest size to largest. All boxes should stay together. All labels should be facing outward and be easily visible.
  6. Keep a Labeled, Open Box by the Dresser – One of the most important factors in staying organized is the ability to sort as you go. Starting at age 2 or 3, children can often wear clothing items for two consecutive years. To avoid losing a year of use out of each article of clothing, keep a box labeled with the child’s gender and the current size and season near their dresser. As the child outgrows clothing items throughout the season, throw them into the box. The clothing that remains at the end of the season will probably fit for another year, and can be put in a box labeled with the next size up for easy retrieval.
  7. Store Shoes Separately – Different kids wearing the same size clothes may not wear the same shoe size, so store shoes separately from other clothing. Label each box of shoes with the gender, size, and type of shoes inside (dressy, casual, sandal, boot, and so on.)

Whether parents plan to keep kids’ clothes for hand-me-downs or give them away to friends, they need to have a system in place to keep the clutter under control. Childrens’ clothes and shoes should be organized by gender, season, and size in like boxes for easy retrieval and organization.


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