Sunday, April 7, 2013

Clean Out Your Closets with 5 Simple Piles

With the anticipated (but as yet not fully realized) change of weather, I tackled the seasonal task of sorting through my kids’ clothes. My closet is next. I’m sharing my steps with you for when you, too, are finally ready to check this off your to-do list. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, that’ll make it seem more relaxing.

Starting with the youngest and working with one child’s clothes at a time, I went through every drawer and closet. Everything was put into one of the following piles:

  • Keep  The clothes that fit that child. I think this was a small percentage of clothes for each child.
  • Pass down   Too small for that child, but will fit the next. Of course, most of the items for consideration for this pile were from my oldest daughter to the next one, and the middle one to the youngest, but there were a few exceptions. Since my oldest often wears boys’ sports shorts, these could go to her brother. And some of my son’s sweatshirts were fine for his little sister to throw in her drawer, especially since she really only wears sweatshirts on the way to and from her tennis lessons.
  • Donate    Of course, anything that goes into the Donation pile should be clean, still fashionable, and wearable. I always consider each piece thinking “would someone else really want this for themselves/for their kid?” This pile is further sub-divided, I’ll go into the details in my next post. For now, put your special occasion items and ones you have some kind of sentimental attachment to in one pile, and everything else in another.
  • Re-use, recycle    This was mostly jeans and t-shirts, with a few sweaters. If you are particularly crafty, throw in dress shirts and skirts, too. Part of my keep-everything-ness (my pack-rat tendency, as my husband would put) is that I feel like I might come up with a great idea to re-use something. And I also feel wasteful throwing stuff away that someone else might have a great idea of how to re-use. Anyway – more on what to do with what accumulates in this pile in a separate post.
  • Trash    All the stuff that did not fit in the piles above, mostly holey socks and too-small underwear.

Once all the sorting is done and there’s piles of clothes all around the room, it’s time to put everything away.
  • All the “Keep” clothes gets folded or hung back in the closet.
  • All the “Pass down” clothes gets moved into the appropriate younger siblings drawers or closets (this is why I start with the youngest, so there will be space for the new clothes).
  • Bag up the donations and mark where they are going.
  • I have a plastic bin for the re-use/recycle clothes until I get to them.
  • And trash the rest.
Depending on your energy level, available time, and how much coffee you have left, you can repeat this process with the next kid’s closet now or wait until the next day. But do try to do it all within a short amount of time, say a few days, so you won’t have piles sitting around forever.

Please share any other piles or closet cleaning tips I've missed.

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