Changing clothes out for the seasons……

Clearly my daughter has gone through a growth spurt. These are the clothes that no longer fit:

Twice a year (spring and fall) I go through the kid’s clothes. This past weekend it was my daughter’s (11) turn. Here’s what I do. I go into her room, I dump every drawer as well as the clothes from her closet into the middle of the floor and then get her to try on every.single.thing. Oh how I love to torture her this way, such fun it is! Really all the mumbling and grumbling it’s so beautiful. Anything that doesn’t fit or she doesn’t wear (grrr) gets piled onto another pile in her room.

So even though we went through all the spring/summer clothes back in the fall when we put them away, we went through and tried them all on again to be sure they still fit which they didn’t. We also went through and tried on all the fall/winter clothes before storing them away because anything that is bordering on too small and not going to fit next fall also goes into the out pile as well. Her growth spurt over the last six months means that most of her fall clothes aren’t coming back next year and many of her spring/summer clothes that we thought would fit this season won’t. Hence the ginormous pile above. Poor thing will now have to endure a shopping day with her mom, did I mention she hates shopping? What’s with that?!

After the torture session clothes trying on session I tackled the “out pile” and sorted it into 4 smaller piles, thrift store, two consignment store piles and garbage. Consignment stores generally only take in season clothing so I split the pile into spring/summer consignment and fall/winter consignment. The spring/summer stuff goes into one tote and put by the door ready to go and the fall/winter stuff goes into another tote and put away in the closet until it’s time to take it in. The thrift store stuff goes directly to my donation station.

In between seasons I keep the consignment totes in my younger son’s closet and continue to add to the applicable totes throughout the year. So in my son’s closet I have a spring/summer tote, a fall/winter tote and a wicker laundry basket. I use the laundry basket as a place to throw the outgrown clothes until I’m ready to sort them into the other two totes πŸ™‚

The clothes that are too big I hang up in the closet by size.

I just try to keep it as simple as possible. Sometimes I think people make things more complicated than they need to be and then wonder why they don’t use the system. And be honest with yourself about the time and resources you have to manage your system. For instance, I use to do an Ebay pile as well, but gave that up when I realized my pile was sitting there untouched for months on end. Apparently the time it took to list everything just wasn’t worth my time so rather than beat myself up about it not getting done I just dropped it and moved on.

Now it’s your turn…what is your clothing system and does it work? Why or why not and what I really want to know is does anyone else love to torture their kids as much as I do?


Related posts:

Reorganizing the children’s drawers and wardrobes

Clothing storage for kids

Filed under: Bedroom, Kid Stuff, Organizing


45 Responses to Changing clothes out for the seasons……

  1. 1
    Jane @ Kidzarama says

    I do this as well, although most of our stuff is good only for rags, as Wren is so small she is still wearing some size 3 and 4 clothes (even though she’s 7).

    ~But I’d never thought about making her try the clothes on. What good revenge…lol

  2. 2
    teri says

    i do something similar. however, i don’t make my boys try on everything. i find a couple of the smallest things that still fit. then i use those things as a benchmark for everything else. there aren’t any consignment stores in my area, so it is all off to the thrift shop, except for the few things that are just too worn out.
    we do this twice a year. if they outgrow stuff in the meantime, i put it on the top shelf of their closet until i have a chance to get to the thrift shop.
    since i am running to the thrift shop, i take a few minutes to pull a few things out of mine & dh’s closets. i try to do a big purge of our closets about once a year.

  3. 3
    Debi says

    Too funny…the girls will now have something to commiserate about. I just did the torture session here about a week and half ago. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “But mom, I know this one will fit.” Only to answer, “Humor me, and try it on anyway.” And we’ve got a pile that looks eerily similar to yours.

  4. 4
    Avlor says

    My daughter is preschool age, so I use the “too small” bin in her closet. Any time something is too small – well I know where it goes. (Not sure it will stay in her newly re-organized closet. But will test this with time.) At the end of the season, I do what Teri does – benchmark.

    Just gave to garbage bags full away on freecycle. I just seem to prefer this, because I know what happens to the cute things my kids had.

    I have yet to check out the consignment shops. Most are on the other side of town, and I don’t get there often.

  5. 5
    Crystal says

    I always tell family to get my daughter winter clothing for her birthday in Nov. We live in Texas with mild winters, so it’s just about time to start thinking of this around her birthday. I always ask for one size too big. The pants and long sleeve shirts are then made into shorts and t-shirts when summer comes around, (with a pair of scissors and a quick hem) and by then fit perfectly. She gets twice as much wear out of her clothing. After summer, all the clothing that doesn’t fit goes to Goodwill!

  6. 6
    Sweetpeas says

    My girls tend to get super attached to certain clothes & freak out about outgrowing them so I tend to just watch all the time & if something’s looking to small I make a mental note & the next time I do laundry I pull it out of the clean clothes & add it to a tote in my closet (that tote’s location may change after we move next week to the house with the smallest closets on the planet LOL)then at the end of the season I sort through the outgrown tote & pack away some away for future children and give away the rest.

  7. 7
    Crystal D. says

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for your article! I like the idea of using the laundry basket for the pre-sorting container.

    The system I use is 7 easy steps:
    1) Identify your goals
    2) Visualize your end result
    3) Dump it all on the floor
    4) Group similar things
    5) Create decision piles
    6) Container-ize it
    7) Dispose/Return

    For more details, you can read my whole article at:

    Crystal D., Sparkleizer

  8. 8
    Maine Mom says

    I like your idea of putting all the clothes into a pile and having my children try them on. I will have to do that before heading out to buy more clothes for school.

  9. 9
    Queen B says

    I do the same kind of thing. I wish that I could find a good solution for my ebay pile. Like you, I find that I never get to it!!! But many of our things are still in great shape….

    And I’m NOT having a garage sale.

  10. 10
    Candace (Mama Mia) says

    This is one of those chores that I dread. My three kids are all under 5 so my system is pretty basic. I get A LOT of hand me downs from friends (for which I am very grateful) so each child has their own bin for whatever season we’re getting out of. I store all of the stuff for the next season in bins in the attic. I don’t have them try anything on because they’re young and it would be such a beat down. Anything that doesn’t fit goes into bags for my friends that receive our hand me downs. Periodically through the season as my kids out grown stuff I just put it in a grocery bag and pass it on when it gets full. That way it’s out of my house and can bless someone else.

  11. 11
    Laura V. says

    I use a tote system and store them in my crawl space. My boys are still very young (4 and almost 2) and we are expecting #3 so I NEVER get rid of anything unless it’s not worthy to pass to another child.

    As the kids wear things and I realize they don’t fit, they get washed and then thrown into a laundry basket that I keep upstairs outside their room. I also do a general purge in spring and fall. Once the basket is full it gets move to the closet for the crawl space and then when my husband has a chance to go down there, I get him to bring up whichever size totes I need (including the next size up for my toddler) so I can put away what’s too small and get out some that actually fit the toddler! The 4 yr. old gets new or consignment store clothes because there are no hand me downs for him.

    • 11.1
      Babbling Little Booties says

      I am also doing the same thing here.
      Never get rid of anything unless it’s not worthy to pass to another child. That is a practical idea for me.

  12. 12
    Tina says

    I have bins in the two bedroom closets. There are the three bins with the sizes marked on the sides with “too big for them yet” clothes (hand me downs from friends), and then the previous season’s clothes that they will just try on again when the new season starts. We just cracked open the spring/summer bin and tried everything on. We gave away all the too small stuff to a friend, and Catie put on most of Laura’s old stuff.

  13. 13
    kristen says

    We just did this yesterday! We don’t have a set schedule or anything. My son is at an age (11) where his growth spurts are random and often. So, when we notice something is on it’s last wear, we will put it aside.

  14. 14
    momrn2 says

    I do the same thing except for one step. I don’t dump out all of the clothes but instead we go through each and every piece drawer by drawer and hanger by hanger.

    My kids do not enjoy this either!

  15. 15
    Amanda says

    my mom used to do the EXACT same thing with my sister and I …and we hated it. my daughter is only 16 months, so too little to try everything on. i have a small basket in her closet that i add clothes to as they become too small or out of season. then when its full i sort by size and/or season and store in plastic totes in the basement. she is our first and we got tons of clothes, both used and new, and at first i kept everything. but, i had lots i didn’t even really like and some pretty worn, so now i only keep what we love and send the rest on to either consignment or goodwill or friends. its just so nice to know someone else can use the clothes now instead of keeping them for a long time in our basement.

  16. 16
    AllyJo says

    I remember my mom making me try on clothes and I thought.I.would.die!!!! Agony!

  17. 17
    jen says

    We do the same thing but earlier in the year. We do ours in March and October. Which is fine with us. Madison hates it though….we consign alot too.

  18. 18
    Joy says

    I just recently did this with my 3 year-old. I emptied out her drawers and also made her try on every piece of clothing. We put everything that doesn’t fit into the correct bin designated for the size of the clothes. We are hoping to have a 2nd child so we don’t get rid of anything that is worthy as hand me downs in case we have a girl. That way when we hit a certain age/size clothing we can grab that bin. If we don’t need the clothes again we will have everything already sorted by size for garage sale for people to go through.

  19. 19
    ~Amy says

    Great post!
    I do something similar.
    In the Spring I pull out the kids Spring/Summer clothes and have them try them on.
    In the Fall I pull out the kid’s Fall/Winter clohtes and have them try them on.

    Then I get a hand me down pile, put away (like the Fall/Winter that still fit for next Winter), and Goodwill pile.


  20. 20
    Trac y says

    Wow. I could have written this post. I do the same thing. Twice a year with all 3 of my kids. I also used to have an “ebay” pile, but they all just go to the local churches thrift store now. I don’t have time or energy to sell clothes on Ebay! πŸ˜€

  21. 21
    Susanne says

    This is basically the system I have always used too, except with the girls, the older girl’s clothing got stored for when the younger grew into it. I’m in the middle of this big closet/drawer purge too as the donation pick up truck will be here Thursday!

  22. 22
    A Mom Anonymous says

    I do this but it’s ongoing as well. When I get a big bin of hand-me-down’s from my friend, I go through them and make my daughter try them on (torture for her here too!). Then I have two drawers in her dressers and I use part of the top shelf of her closet. In one drawer goes items that are too big but will fit soon. Also in that drawer goes some items that she has outgrown and will get passed on to another friend. In the other drawer goes items that she will soon wear – for instance a few months ago I put some summer jammies in there and now this week it is supposed to be really warm and she’ll need them. So that drawer tends to be things that fit but are a bit off-season. They are still easily accessible but it’s not a drawer she goes to on her own.
    I just put things in the “donate” areas as soon as they are too small and then when those two areas get full, I separate them into “give to C” or “give to Goodwill” piles. That’s also my cue to go “shopping” the drawer with things that were too big! She outgrew a pair of jeans the other day and I pulled a “new” pair from the drawer that finally fit.
    My son is older but soooo skinny and it takes him forever to outgrow clothes. I just put stuff aside as soon as I notice he’s outgrown something. They are usually too worn out by that point to pass on!

  23. 23
    Laura says

    I have the exact same problem with my middle son. He too is so skinny and doesn’t seem to go through growth spurts as often as my daughter. By the time he outgrows his clothes they are in such rough shape I can’t even pass them down to my youngest.

    Oh and I also forgot to mention that I keep the kid’s current clothes in their dressers. One drawer for pants, one for shirts, one for socks and underwear and one for sweaters/sweatshirts.

    Once again you guys are offering up some great suggestions. Keep them coming!

  24. 24
    Twisted Cinderella says

    I have to do something similar for Princess. I usually just get her to try on enough pants and shirts so that I can get one comparison outfit that fits her and then go through the rest myself.

  25. 25
    Mrs. Wilson says

    I am lazy. I only do a “thrift store” pile. I really should start the consignment thing though, Ann swears by it!

    Have fun visiting with her today!!

  26. 26
    Charity says

    mine isn’t torture…she loves trying on clothes. It’s torture for me cuz I get so caught up I end up *pausing* and- oops! there is still sits…I’m going to do her purging in a couple of weeks.

  27. 27
    [email protected] Ente says

    Hey there Laura! Happy Mo Day (late). That pile looks familiar, indeed! LOL

    I’ve started making my kids do the purging on their own now – with a give away pile (special things to a friend), and then Good Will. Well, we did end up having a yard sale.

    Always feels good. Now time to tackle MY closet πŸ™‚

  28. 28
    NerdMom says

    I do the same thing. But I add a level. In addition to current and last year’s clothes, I shop yard sales and clearance for the next size. So then they get to try on all the “new” clothes and I see where the holes are. Now I have 4 kids so many go from to small for the older to, to being hung up for the future for the next 2.

  29. 29
    Haley says

    I got through Jackson’s clothes constantly. He grows fast, so I’m always sorting out things to donate and take the consignment shop.

    I too store off season consignment clothes in a bin in the closet.

    Glad to see all is well with you! πŸ™‚

  30. 30
    Barb says

    I don’t know what you did, Laura, but boy your page is loading 100% faster now.

    I used a system like this with my girls when they were growing up. The only difference is I had so many girlfriends with girls younger than mine, since I didn’t even start having my kids until I was almost 30, that I always passed the girls’ clothes down to friends.

    My system now is simple. I switch everything twice a year, spring and fall. Of course everything still fits me because my size doesn’t change, but what I do is simple. If I haven’t worn it since last season, then off to Goodwill it goes. If I don’t like it enough to actually wear it, I don’t need it. Right?

  31. 31
    Kim says

    Well I don’t have children, so the purge comes every time the Canadian Diabetes Foundation calls for donations. Sometimes I have the time to run around the house looking for things to donate, other times I don’t. This time I pulled 3 suits, 3 shirts, 2 pants, 2 jeans, 1 sweater, 3 tops for donation. Hubby pulled 4 pants, 3 shirts and a coat. I also donated table clothes I inherited, 2 old computers (hard drives removed) and three pairs of shoes I’ve rarely worn.

    There are a couple of other things I inherited and don’t want I’ll probably donate, 1 is stainless steel cutlery set, I should look to see if it has value, but I’m lazy.

  32. 32
    Journeyer says

    I’ve given up on the ebay pile too. I still have a pile of toys in our garage that I was going to ebay. They have been sitting there for 12 months.

    I keep a list of the kids’ minimum clothes requirements so I can see at a glance what I need to get them. This cuts out on all the duplicate clothes and reduces costs quite a lot.

  33. 33
    Jena says

    Yes, I torture my kids in the same way! They have to try on everything. I also keep an on-going donation station also. My problem is I keep moving it, and clothes get shoved everywhere, so now the goal is to “find a home” for the donations.

  34. 34
    Sarah S. Chicken says

    I get lots of hand-me-downs so the too-big stuff just gets (sometimes) sorted by size and then stored in my son’s closet. The things that are out of season but hopefully the same size get put in another bin, and the in-season, in-size clothes go on the hangers. When we sort or when I notice something is too small it either goes to the younger sibling if gender-neutral or to my giveaway pile. I know lots of people who take hand-me-downs and my clothes are rarely in consignment condition, so I usually just pass them on. My friends know that I am crazy, so I will almost always have a bag in my trunk. I don’t wait around for garage sales or big bags. As far as trying on- I hold the items up to them and only make them try on a few things.

  35. 35
    MANDY says

    This is about what I do… with a few changes. Sorry this is a long one.

    Twice a year (about May and October) I go through Closets to see what can be worn next year by the same person. If so its hung on an upper rod in the closet ….

    With my older dds I save the cute stuff and put it in bins (in my storeroom) by size (including shoes). Dresses and coats I hang in the next person’s closet because it seems like you never get the wrinkles out. I hang clothes in the next size up, by season, WAYYYY in the back. I also have a box and a basket in each closet so clothes that I KNOW that are too small don’t get hung up when I am putting away that weeks laundry…. if they are not my favorite they are put in the box to give to charity. If I LOVE them they are put in the basket to sort in May and October.

    I am an end of season shopper so When I put clothes in the next size bin I write down EVERYTHING that I have in that size by season. That way I know EXACTLY what I have and my kids don’t end up with 15 pairs of pants and 0 shirts or 5 pairs of dress shoes and no everyday shoes.

    I keep the running list in my day planner so I always have it.

    My MIL used to work at a thrift store (Deseret Industries for those in the west) and she said that ALL clothes are used there. Some are sold in the store but MOST are sent over seas on humanitarian missions or used in Humanitarian quilts as fill (makes them nice and warm). So I send ALL of my clothes that I don’t save there…. Even the non wearables…NOTHING gets thrown away.

  36. 36
    Dawn says

    I do a similar thing except I only make the kids try on the clothes for the upcoming season. I put all of the out-of-season clothes in an under-the-bed storage container and don’t touch it again until it’s time to switch out again. I do have to say that I haven’t gotten rid of any of my kids’ clothes yet. That is going to be a project for the summer when we organize our garage since most of the old clothes are stored there.

  37. 37
    LisaC says

    My friend does this the first week of August. When the purge is finished, she knows exactly what they need for “back-to-school”. This makes it fun because they know they will be getting replacements soon. This is especially important for things like jeans.

  38. 38
    PlanningQueen says

    I gave up the e-bay pile too. It would be there for months waiting for me to photograph it and and list it. If I haven’t got a friend to hand them to, I deliver them to the op shop. You have a very concise easy to administer process here.

    Also thanks for including my post!

  39. 39
    violingirl says

    I just did the clothing swap this week too! My boys are both under 3, so I don’t have them try things on- I just keep an eye on what is looking a little tight or short, and I try to take clothing out as I notice it’s too small.

    I keep everything right now because we are probably going to have another kid or two. All the clothes are sort by size into big rubbermaid totes, and stored in the basement. I leave a tote in my 10-month-old’s closet since he seems to outgrow things every month. Then I can just toss them in there as I notice things that are too small. I just got out the 18-month and 24-month totes for him, and pulled out the summer things for him. Everything else is waiting for October.

    For my 2 1/2 year old (who has been in the same size for over a year), I just changed out seasonal things. I buy larger sizes as I find them on clearance or on great sale, and I have not had to buy very much for him at full price, if at all. I keep the larger sizes in totes as well, and I keep a list in my planner of how much he has of each item in each size so that I don’t buy 30 4T shirts and only 2 pairs of 4T pants. πŸ™‚

  40. 40
    Kelly says

    I go through in spring and fall as well. With my older girls it is Fashion Show. With the younger kids I have a plastic tub for every size from 0-3 months up. If there current clothes fit, I grab the same size tub and switch out for the season. If their clothes are getting too small, I grab the next size up to get new seasons clothes from. Then I make a short list of what’s missing to buy as I can.

    I also keep all the little kids’ clothes in my room until they are old enough to dress themselves.

  41. 41
    Sheila Gregoire says

    Hi Laura!

    I did the ebay thing for a while, too, but it does take a lot of time, especially all the photographing. But it’s a great place to buy clothes!

    My system is a lot like yours. The only depressing thing for me this year is that my 13-year-old fits absolutely nothing. I mean nothing. No bathing suits. No shorts. No T-shirts. No bras. Nothing.

    She needs new EVERYTHING. She is drop dead gorgeous, and her body has completely changed this year. I started her on a clothing allowance, which you can read at my blog, but it’s awfully hard on the wallet to have to budget for new everything. I’ve never had to buy an entire wardrobe for me in one year before. But here we are buying one for her! She’s in seventh heaven.

    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  42. 42
    Jenn Hoff says

    Ok, I have a question. I need to change out winter and summer clothes for MYSELF. Obviously, I’m not changing sizes or donating anything, so how do I store scarves and sweaters someplace accessible and someplace I’ll remember they’re there? I still probably want to keep them in the room, but they take up so much space during the Summer months hanging in my closet. I’m a total novice at this thing you call “organization.” πŸ™‚


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