Last week, I received an email from a lovely reader, Tara, begging for help with her daughter’s wardrobe:
“I was hoping you could help me with a task that just won’t stay fixed…my daughters wardrobe. We regularly sort and toss out clothes but…the wardrobe looks like the clothes have been thrown in and then stirred with a spoon. Everytime the clothes get put away I have to refold…tooooo big a job and as a full-time working mother…I don’t HAVE TIME!!!! Help!!!!!!!”
Wardrobes can be hard to keep organised – even for adults – because we’re in there every day, multiple times. Throw kids in the mix, and “stirred with a spoon” is a very apt description!
Tara’s daughter is nearly 8, meaning she’s able to help with putting her things away. This should (with time) make Tara’s job a little easier and it’s something I’ve kept in mind with the tips below.
Regardless of the ages of your kids, these tips should help get the wardrobe in order, and keep in that way(ish).
1. Keep Clothes to a Minimum
Tara’s got this one on lockdown, but if you find the sheer volume of kids clothes distressing, you need to declutter – stat.
Tips on Tackling the Wardrobes:
- start with three empty boxes and at least an hour – more if you’re kids are “helping”
- clear the bed completely
- empty the contents of the wardrobe – yep, all of it – on the bed
- go through everything, piece by piece, and do not move on to the next piece until you decide if you are keeping it, storing it, donating it or throwing it away:
- keep items that fit and are in good condition
- store items that no longer fit, but are in very, very good condition (keep these for younger siblings, or friends/family with a younger child)
- donate items that will not be passed down to younger kids – as long as they are in good order
- throw away items that are badly stained, torn or out of shape
- place everything you are keeping in a pile on the bed
- sort everything else into the three boxes – one for storage, one for donation, one for garbage
Once the wardrobe is decluttered, you are in a better position to sort out the storage…
2. Keep Like With Like
This is my favourite tip for dealing with clothes.
By keeping similar items together, you and your kids know where things are kept, making packing away much easier.
Try storing the following items together:
- dresses and skirts
- school uniforms, sports uniforms, etc
- jackets, hoodies, jumpers, coats
- shorts, pants, leggings, jeans
- underwear, singlets, socks
- pyjamas, craft/painting clothes
3. Divide and Conquer
Keep seasonal clothes separate.
Heavy winter jackets, snow gear, winter boots – keep these in a box during the warmer months. Swimmers, sandals, summer dresses and shorts – these can be stored away in the cooler weather.
By dividing the seasonal clothes and storing them out of sight, you are left with just what you and your kids need access to right now. And that means less to clean up if/when they rip through their wardrobes like the mini-hurricanes they are!
4. Identify a Place for Everything
By showing kids where items belong, you are increasing the chances of them actually putting things back in the right place.
Use images for younger kids or written signs for older kids, and label each of the drawers/baskets with the type of clothing that goes there. Then, if you’re feeling ambitious, make it their responsibility to put the clothes away in the right place.
5. Ensure You Have Enough Storage
You may not have enough storage space for the clothes your kids own.
So declutter first, then look at whether you need another row of hanging space, or a set of drawers or wire baskets in the wardrobe, to accommodate folded items.
If each “type” of clothes have a designated drawer, it will be much simpler to pack away.
6. Reward a Tidy Wardrobe
If your kids can keep their wardrobe tidy for a week, then reward them with pocket money or a treat. If you use star charts or chore charts in your home, then they are already familiar with the idea. If not, you could consider introducing them.
Not only will it help them learn a life skill, but it will make your life easier over time, as your kids get used to doing this chore themselves.
7. Readjust Your Expectations
Kids are messy. If you don’t want to spend hours each week keeping their wardrobes pristinely organised, then learn to relax your standards a little.
No, I don’t mean live in constant grubbiness and mess, but if things get a little out of order, learn to let it go. Providing their clothes aren’t getting dirty or too crumpled, then learn to be OK with it.
You could try tidying the space once a week instead of daily.
Over To You
Considering my kids are only young, I have limited experience with the particular brand of mess that older kids create.
So do you have any tips for Tara? Tell us below – how do you help keep your kids’ wardrobes in order?