How To Organize Kid’s Clothing

I’d like to welcome Jenny from DIYparenting to the blog today. I absolutely love the organizing solution she has come up with to manage all her kid’s clothing.  Thanks Jenny!

Kids grow up so fast, don’t they? They quickly graduate from baby food to real meals, eager to eat us out of house and home. Just as quickly they mature past the age of Diego and trade in their silly stuffed animals for hand-held gaming systems. And who could forget that they outgrow their clothing faster than we can keep up with the laundry.

The organizing junkie within me doesn’t want to settle until I’ve found the perfect way to organize my children’s clothing. I try large plastic tubs, huge zipping plastic bags, I even try using plastic drawer systems. Weeks go by and the house– namely the kids’ rooms and laundry room– are a disaster. Too… much… clothing. Must… seek… help.

I’m sure you’ve all been there– knee deep in outgrown clothing. And, truth be told, there is no perfect way to organize this mess. So what are you left to do? Give it your best shot! And in the event that you would enjoy further advice from me– a busy SAHM who forever aspires to be overly organized but has never truly been– here’s how I handle the heaps of clothing in every size imaginable:

I have several large plastic shelving units purchased from Target or Kmart on sale for about $25 each. On top of those shelves go cardboard (i.e. cheap) boxes from the dollar store.

Each box gets labeled with size of clothing and gender. The reason it is helpful to put these boxes on shelves is because then I can easily access any box at any time without having to move a whole big stack. The cardboard boxes I have are small but I’ve also seen them about twice as large, which would work great too! I keep the shelves in my walk-in attic space upstairs. If you don’t have this luxury, consider using your laundry room, basement or an extra large closet.

Although I have yet to implement it because I am in the process of reorganizing my laundry room, I plan on keeping one large plastic tub with a lid in my laundry room. This tub will be designated the “outgrown container” and all freshly washed clothing that is too small will be placed in there. When the container is full, that is my queue to haul it on upstairs to the attic to be categorized and stored, ready to be used by my next little rascal.

Conquering the clothing clutter may seem like a never-ending battle. Try not to get overwhelmed! Establish a system that works for you and your family and stick with it. Each season of life brings unique challenges and organizing clothing understandably may not be your top priority right then and there. And that’s okay. If you have to take a break from organizing the outgrown-ware, do so and then, when things settle down, set aside some time to pick up where you left off. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ll get there!

Is this an area you struggle with?  Do you think this system could work for you?

Jenny Schick is a blogger at DIYparenting, a blog that is dedicated to serving the stay-at-home parent of the past, present and future. They’re committed to offering encouragement, wit and wisdom through the journey of parenthood. Jenny lives with her husband and three children in Pennsylvania.

Filed under: Containerizing, Guest Bloggers, Kid Stuff


18 Responses to How To Organize Kid’s Clothing

  1. 1
    Ruthie says

    This post came at the perfect time. This is something that I am struggling with. Now I just need an article on how to organize my kids clothing so that we are not struggling each morning on what to wear. I do not want to spend the large amount of money on the weekly hanging organizers. There must be a better method!

    • 1.1
      brooke says

      for kids current clothes, the system that works for me is organizing them in the drawers by outfit. so there are piles each with pants,shirt,underwear, socks. one drawer will have sweats
      , one with jeans and shirts, on with shorts and t-shirts. can even be seperated into school and play. then just grab a stack and go. very effecient so they can dress on their own.

      • Rachel says

        we had some cheap plastic baskets that didn’t have a use since we moved here. I put an outfit, down to socks and underwear in each basket, and they stack in the wardrobe. – my 4yr old still needs help to get dressed so he or I bring a basket downstairs each morning and get dressed there as it’s quicker than traipsing upstairs again to his bedroom after breakfast. the baskets mean that he doesn’t arrive downstairs without socks or underwear, which usually get dropped from a pile of clothes. I only do this with preschool clothing at the moment, but I pack by outfit when we go away as well so we can just grab an outfit out of the bag each morning.

    • 1.2
      Aimee says

      I bought the hanging organizer with the best of intentions, but I am not yet on top of getting all the outfits put there at the beginning of the week. What does work for us is this: my boys tend to stick with certain color themes- either browns/beige/and greens for an outfit or blues. So when I put their clothes away, I put brown and beige pants together in the same drawer with the shirts that will match those pants. I put their jeans in a separate drawer with their blue/cream/whatever other color shirts that will match. This may sound like an organizing nightmare to some, but this system works for now for me and my little guys. I also think Brooke’s idea works great too!

    • 1.3
      Laura says

      Hi Ruthie, one idea that I’ve heard of for this purpose is to use a large bin underneath the bed with simple cardboard dividers with each day of the week printed on. Put each day’s clothing behind the appropriate day. Then in the morning your child only has to pull the bin out and grab the applicable day. Just an idea.

  2. 2
    Aimee says

    Thank you for this! Yes, with three kids this is not an easy area for me to manage. I have an under-the-bed storage bin for us to toss outgrown clothes into- and we keep it right under our boys’ bed. We usually don’t realize they’ve outgrown something until they get dressed in the morning and we notice the pants are suddenly too short or something. I LOVE the idea of keeping a designated bin right in the laundry room for this very purpose! Mine needs a major overhaul, and this is definitely the next thing I will do as I whip it into shape!

  3. 3
    Joanna says

    I’ve found large diaper boxes work great for storing outgrown clothing. It’s not a pretty solution, but it’s nice to be able to reuse something I have such an abundance of!

    • 3.1
      Heidi says

      Amen to that Joanna! I also use diaper boxes for clothing, I can fit a ‘season’ of my son’s clothing in a box. I toss things into it as he outgrows them and clean out his dresser at the end of the season. Then I label it with gender, size and season. Now that he and his clothing are getting bigger, it’s taking more boxes to fit everything. But why buy boxes when I have a new one every few weeks?

  4. 4
    Dawn says

    This is something that I have adapted my system on numerous times – it started with plastic tubs, then those got too expensive and I couldn’t keep up, then I resorted to garbage bags which just turned into a huge mountain of mess in my crawl space. Now I’m happy to report I have found a great system. My grocery store has some wonderful Kroger egg boxes that are the right size and shape to stack neatly 3 at a time high in my crawlspace. They are a longer and skinnier box so it maximizes depth and allows me to see the label side of more boxes width wise. The best part is they are FREE! I have a spot in one of the kids’ closets for out grown items and when its full its time to take them in the crawlspace to sort them into boxes. I keep extra empty boxes down there as well and label them with half a sheet of printer paper, sharpie marker and packing tape for nice large visible labels. I also keep the next size in crates up above in the kids’ closets so that I can easily pull down and add to the dressers when I notice things aren’t fitting too well or they have slim pickings.

  5. 5
    Lisa says

    2 girls, 2 sizes apart here. I have old diaper boxes on the shelves above their closet marked with the in-between sizes (3T pants, 3T tops, pjs, shoes, etc). When big girl outgrows something it gets washed and put into the closet until little girl can fit in it. When little girl outgrows something it gets moved into the basement storage bins (which need to be edited into save/donate piles this summer)

  6. 6
    Netta says

    Great ideas. Thanks.
    I have kids spread over the years of 18 and 4… and we have quite a collection
    of rubber maid-ish tubs in the basement. Getting shelves are on my “priority list of things to buy soon.”
    And thanks, Dawn, for the Kroger egg box idea. I’m gunna check into that, too.

  7. 8
    Jamie says

    The only thing I do in addition to this sort of system is include a box for things outgrown by the youngest. As it fills up, I make donations to friends or charities who can use these items.

  8. 9
    Raven says

    I have slightly differing systems for each child depending on their needs (dd5, dd10, ds11), but they all share one thing in common – bins on the top shelf. I use some cheap white bins from Walmart as they fit exactly on the shelves without overhanging. Out of season clothes rotate out of these bins – I just put all their winter stuff in the bins last week and hung up spring/summer. If we have the odd cold day, I can still get to things like warmer leggings and tights or heavier jackets easily. I only keep what’s in excellent condition that might fit the next year; everything else gets passed down to relatives unless it is very special and timeless (from dd10 to dd5.. a lot can change in fashion in 5 years!!!).

    As I pull things out, we discard anything that doesn’t fit and I make a list of what replacements are needed and in what size on my iPhone; then whenever there’s an awesome sale or I come across something I always have that list with me. I do sometimes buy off-the-list if something super cute is out, but for the most part we’re strictly in the jeans/shorts/Tshirts territory for my older kids.

    Things being saved for dd5 are kept in Trofast buckets in the laundry room until full, then I do a go through and organize by outfit with any accessories or shoes in large Ziploc bags and move them to a long-term storage unit in larger plastic bins (also from IKEA, and clear; I label by size). This also lets me see if there are any stains that showed up by being stored in the plastic for a few months or more so further things may be gotten rid of.

    I always keep at least one empty bin on the shelf of the closets for things that we “suddenly” find outgrown (or that accidentally got put in the dryer on high.. not that I’d ever make that mistake… well not often thankfully) so they can just be tossed in as needed (and added to the list). When the bin gets full, I empty it and proceed with the usual addressed above.

    It works in the older children’s very large closets, and so far works well in my youngest’s very small closet. As she gets older though and I can’t get away with a 2 double-rod format, I might need more shelf space devoted to in season things, as there is no room in her room for a dresser. I hope to find a good solution to that before the situation becomes critical!

    We would likely use something like your system if we had multiple children to pass down to, or if I had more timeless, non-elastic-containing items that could be saved for possible grandchildren. As it is, we don’t, so mostly we do not hang on to much. I am also learning that as dd5 is entering the size ranges I started saving for dd10, it’s not working out – example, dd10 was a slim 5 at this age and dd5 is a full 6 – and all the 6’s I have are slims, too. So those all left rather abruptly! I’m finding it less of a headache to simply let things go and only save the NICEST things that stand more chance of fitting, such as dresses and tunic sets or sweaters and such.

  9. 10
    Kim @ Homesteader's Heart says

    I really try to go through their clothes each season. They grow so fast. I then pass the older boys clothes onto the younger and give the youngest to GoodWill. Living in Florida we really don’t have to many “cold” weather clothes so that makes it a bit easier to store.

  10. 11
    Rebecca says

    I like this idea! I have to figure out a solution for my girls clothing….One is 8 months and the other is 4….I have hand-me-downs for both sets, and the 4 year old clothes will get handed down to the 8 month old…meaning I have clothes that range in size from 6-9 month through size 6. Whew!

    Clothing for my 7 year old boy is easier…after he’s outgrown it, it gets donated…either to a friend with a child who can wear it or to Goodwill.

  11. 12
    Jenny says

    Storing clothing used to be a headache for me with my older three children. But now I really only have one toddler’s cloths to deal with, so I chose the minimalist way to handle them. First, I join the Clothing Exchange program in our community which happen to be organized and held at our church. We met five or six times a year (spacing out) and exchange clothes that are still in good or wearable condition. That program enable me to exchange my little one’s clothes 5-6 times a year and he seems to be able to dress “in style”. I also only have seven sets of day cloths and seven sets of night clothes for him in his two little drawers of the dresser. Extra shirts and pants (about three sets) are kept away for “emergency”. i.e.. accidents, after a week of camping trip, etc. This has worked very well for me so I do not have to buy any plastic bins. Paper boxes attract silver fish like crazy in our area so it is not an option for me to even look into them for long term storage.

  12. 13
    Michelle Parks says

    At one point I had a 4 year old and a 5 year old who had to get to school and the caregivers on time (and I was going to teacher’s college at the time, so my husband often was the person getting them there). Both girls were VERY choosy about what to wear. I finally came up with a system using paper grocery bags (CHEAP and could be written on) where every weekend the girls would choose their outfits (right down to the underwear and socks or leotards/tights ) and everything would go into the bag. Each girl had five bags with the day of the week written on it.
    It was a huge time saver – no daily fights (we had to come up with a rule that once you made a choice you had to wear it), no dawdling. Each child would just grab the bag as soon as they were up.
    We also had a laminated checklist beside the back door to make sure they had their:
    Sun hat, sunscreen, school agenda, (asthma puffer and epipen) and lunch…
    I can’t say I miss those days… but this tip got us through a couple of busy years with a lot less stress. They might have looked a little rumpled but a small price to pay for calmer mornings!


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