Cleaning Out the Kid’s Closets for Back to School

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.

Aside from buying school supplies, new backpacks, and updated lunch boxes, “back to school” season means it’s also time to get the kids clothes closets organized, and their wardrobes in order before we head into the new school year. I like to start this process about two weeks before my kids head back, and involve them in the process. It’s never too soon to learn how to get organized!

Cleaning Out the Kid's Closet for Back to School

Assess What You Have First

A lot of people like to start their back to school activities by going shopping- mostly because you start seeing the sales ads and you think about things your kids might need, and your first reaction is to hit the stores. But my advice is to ignore “the deals” and start by cleaning out the kids closets and assess what you already have. Because we all know that when the kids head back to school, the weather will still be warm, and they are going to be wearing shorts and t-shirts for a few weeks- the same wardrobe that has satisfied them all summer long. So aside from a nice first-day-of-school outfit and perhaps a nice picture-day outfit- you probably don’t need all that much to kick off the new school year.

But we also know that most kids closets contain all kinds of items that the kids have either outgrown, are stained, or are too well-worn to go back to school. So our first step is to clear out all of the items that shouldn’t be there, and see what we really need.

Cleaning Out the Kids Closets

Start with just a small section at at a time, removing all of the items from that section, and sort through them to decide what the kids can still wear vs. what can be passed down to younger siblings, sent to a donation center, or just needs to be trashed. Next, clean the small section, wiping up those dust bunnies before returning the items that they can continue to wear. As you go through their closet, make a list of the things you know your child needs- such as new underwear and socks- but also consider whether they will need colder weather items such as long sleeved shirts and long pants.While you don’t need to buy these items to start the school year, if they are on your list, you can keep your eyes open for sale prices on these items.

Clean the Closets From Oldest to Youngest

In my family we have such a large “hand-me-down” factor that I like to start my closet cleaning with the oldest kids first- removing items that no longer fit them and creating “pass down” piles to younger siblings. In my case, because my kids are so close in age, I can usually remove something from one kid’s closet and put it right into another kid’s closet to be worn right away. But if you have a few years and sizes between children, you may want to take those “pass down” items and put them into a plastic bin with a lid and store them in a cool and dry area of your home. Just be sure to label it with the age and size of clothing inside so that you can access it when the younger sibling reaches that milestone.

And don’t forget to look through those bins that you’ve been storing when organizing the younger kids’ closets, and add the items into their wardrobe that would fit them now.

Wait Until the Price is Right

There are definitely good sales and deals to be had during the back to school time of year. It’s the best time to stock up on basic wardrobe items like underwear, socks, and classic back-to-school items like backpacks and lunch bags. But when it comes to cooler weather gear and winter coats, your prime sales time is Columbus Day Weekend in mid-October. So unless you happen to live in an area where your kids are going to need that winter coat in September, I would suggest waiting to buy it when you can get a better price.

Cleaning Kids Closets- Shoe Sizer

School Shoes

I also usually like to buy my kids a new pair of shoes to start the school year, because trust me, the ones that they wore all summer long look pretty worn out! My favorite way to shop for school shoes is online using sites like Zappos where shoppers are encouraged to buy multiple sizes of a shoe and send back the ones that don’t fit or they don’t like. I’ll also take advantage of sale prices at Zappos clearance site called And in order to buy shoes online, I have my own kids shoe sizer, so I can measure their feet at home and determine what is the correct size shoe to purchase. Because really- what mom wants to take six young kids into a shoe store?

Sharon Rowley Head Shot 150 x 150 Thumbnail If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and holding a DIY summer camp! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter (@sharonmomof6), and Pinterest!





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Filed under: Closets, Guest Bloggers, Kid Stuff, School Stuff


7 Responses to Cleaning Out the Kid’s Closets for Back to School

  1. 2
    Emily @ My Love for Words says

    I desperately need to do this! I was horrified the other day when my 4 year old tried to wear shorts that were size 6-12 months. I don’t know how those snuck in there, but they won’t work for preschool. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • 2.1
      Sharon at Momof6 says

      Things have a way of “hiding” in the kids rooms and then magically appearing in their closets at my house too! Especially cute stuff they’ve outgrown!

  2. 3
    Rosario says

    On my to-do list for next week.

  3. 4
    Kim says

    I don’t have kids but I need to be working on this with my own wardrobe! I just moved back to my parents house from college and had clothes here, clothes there, and have been working intentionally on building my professional wardrobe, perhaps with the mindset that i dont have anything… Woops! And then i have my cute casuals and my camp and day care clothes like tshirts galore from tears of summer camp and whatnot… Hehe this is the first time in 6 years that all of my clothes are in one city.

    • 4.1
      Sharon at Momof6 says

      What a perfect opportunity to get your wardrobe organized! I’ll bet that you find all kinds of things that you didn’t even remember that you had! Good luck!

  4. 5
    Nicola O. says

    If you have a lot of hand-me-downs and (or) want a quick way to tell who’s clothes are whose, here is a tip from my mom: Child number one gets a single dot from a laundry marker on the label, waistband, or toe of the sock.

    Child number two gets two dots, and so on.

    If you pass an item down, you add a dot.



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