The Great Semi-Annual Seasonal Clothing Switch-Over

It’s that time of year again. Warm weather behind us (almost), cool weather coming our way (we hope), ankles and wrists are stretching beyond their boundaries (how does that happen!?) and we need to get ready. And so, the Great Semi-Annual Seasonal Clothing Switchover is about to commence.

Great Seasonal Switch Over  Apron Strings & other things

This event has been taking place in our home twice a year for the past 25 years or so. That would make this our 50th Seasonal Switch-Over. Really? I need to sit down, doing the math is just a bit staggering.

What does this look like in our home? I get this question a lot. Having several little bodies and their entire wardrobes to keep track of, you find a method just so you can survive. This is the method that works best for us, in 10 Easy Steps.

This process focuses on any and all children in our household under the age of 13 or so. Older than that, they are responsible for their own and they much prefer it that way. Right now, there are 4 members of the family in this category.

1. It all begins on a Monday. Why Monday? Because Monday is Laundry Day. We all search high and low for the stray socks and, ahem, underwear in the back corner under the bed, and tshirts hiding on the top shelf or behind the couch – ok, you get the idea. Everything goes through the wash.

2. Fold and sort all clean laundry. Separate each child’s clothing into 4 piles: keep for this coming season, pack for next year, store for hand-me-downs, give away/ throw away. Yes, that’s a lot of piles. Did you notice the word GREAT in the title? That would be ‘great’ as in ‘big’ job!

3. Empty closets and drawers of all remaining clean clothing. Fold and sort and add to existing piles you created in the living room. Be ruthless. If it’s torn beyond repair, or repair is sure to not take place, get rid of it. If favorite camo pants have entered high-water status, out they go. Make room for the ‘new’ items coming in. No, you don’t need 3 red tshirts, one will do nicely.

4. Get those giveaways into the donate box and those throwaways into the trash. Now!

5. Bring out the storage bins (and boxes and bags). One child at a time, beginning with the oldest, helps me bring up the bins containing clothing for the size they are currently wearing/growing out of and the clothing they will be growing into. (We store children’s clothing by size and gender – one bin per 1-3 sizes each for girl and boy. They are labeled and easy to pull off shelving units.) This step may substitute for weight-lifting training if you are needing some credits in P.E. in your homeschool.

6.Β  Mom separates any clothing that is to be handed down immediately to next child in line, pulls out potential items for new season from the current-size bin and next-size-up bin.

7. Mom wanders down memory lane, reminiscing how cute so-and-so looked in that outfit and remember-when-Grandma-sent-this (tissue anyone?) and do-you-remember-when . . . “Earth to Mom! Come in Mom!” Warning: The younger the child, the cuter the clothes, the more sentimental Mom gets, the longer this step will take.

8. Outgrown clothing placed into appropriate bin ready and waiting for a new owner. Do not, I repeat, do not be swayed into believing your son will once again be able to wear that favorite shirt – his belly is peeking through between the gaping buttonholes. He will try to convince you otherwise – do. not. listen. Put your fingers in your ears, sing ShowTunes at the top of your lungs, whatever it takes.

9. Explain to your daughter ever so gently, careful not to hurt tender feelings, that this particular dress/sweater/top/whatever is lovely, but after another year of growing you are sure it will be so much more flattering on her. (Are my girls the only girls who are drawn to clothing that is just a little big or a little grown up for them?)

10. Repeat Steps 5 through 9 then order everyone capable to put away their new wardrobe properly. Order your favorite cappuccino, lean back and put your feet up, supervise the clean up crew as they return the bins back to the storage room. Whew! A job well done!

Note: I realize this post does not take into account that there will be gaps in someone’s (everyone’s?) wardrobe. Even in a large family, with clothing enough to clothe any size, boy or girl, any season, there is always someone needing something. Shopping to fill in those gaps – that is another post for the future.

Tell me, do you hold a Great Semi-Annual Clothing Seasonal Switch-Over in your family? Do you save clothing from one child to the next or sell it all and start over every season?

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  1. Getting sappy over cute clothing is a normal thing, I think. *smile* I have been known to do it, too at any rate. *smile* The task at hand sounds large but taken a bit at a time it sounds doable. *smile* Our clothing change out isn’t on the seasonal calandar rather the growing calandar for our two. We only have two growing blessings though, things are a little different. *smile* We check sizing of snow boots, pants, winter coats, and the like but not every stitch unless they are growing or messing with different articles of clothing. *smile* Have a great day and thanks for sharing how your family changes out clothing with the seasons. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

    • Thank you for telling me I’m normal, sometimes I wonder! Your comment made me smile πŸ™‚ Sounds like you have a system that works well for you and yours, that’s what counts. Have a blessed day!

  2. I totally love this idea. We don’t have a large family, but I know so many who do and I think this is a great way to save money and keep a little fun and sentimentality in the family. Such a good idea, thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Nicki, for your sweet comment. I confess, I wrote this post trying to get myself psyched up, because I don’t always look on this humongous task as fun πŸ˜› But writing it out was good therapy and the sweet comments motivate me. Thank you!

  3. I keep all ours labeled in bins according to size and gender too. Makes it so much easier to find whoso done outgrows things. With all of mine little though, I don’t attempt it all at once. Much easier to spread it out a little for now, but maybe once they are a bit older!

    • Hey Ashley! Having a system just helps everything run smoother. Not everyone is crazy like me, tackling it all at once. I found I would put it off so long that the season would begin changing again or they’d outgrow things they could have been wearing, so I decided to dive in head first, sometimes literally, and come up for air once the job was done. One at a time sounds much more sane and organized πŸ˜‰

  4. Being the oldest of 5, I grew up doing this. Now, my little family (we have 3 children, so far) does the “great” switch-over, too. =) I thought everyone did this… lol

    • Hello Sara and welcome πŸ™‚ I’ve done this so long I cannot imagine NOT doing it. It’s fun to hear how tradition is passed from one generation to another. When talking with our daughter recently, she shared how she was looking at her children’s wardrobe (she has 3 little ones so far) and looking ahead to winter and the next sizes up. Made me smile – I told her the nut didn’t fall far from the tree. All those years of helping her mother have paid off as she clothes her own little family now.
      Good work, Mama! love on those little ones, they grow up quickly.

  5. Jessica Moore says:

    I love this! This is exactly what we do too!
    At our house, it involves mommy and daddy’s clothes too. I put all of my husband’s winter/summer clothes in a box for the next season, just like the kids except for the sorting of outgrown clothes for younger siblings.
    And then there’s mommy’s clothes… oh the joys. It seems I am always either pregnant, in the months-long process of losing my baby weight, or finally at my pre-pregnancy weight. So I seriously need clothes from size 2-10 plus maternity things, all in winter AND summer clothes, lots of things that are nursing-friendly, some that doesn’t have to be. And I just had my 4th baby, so I’ve been doing this a while. I do NOT yet have a good system for this. Right now, I have boxes that say “maternity” and “skinny clothes” and I am currently wearing the clothes that are from the skinny box, but only about half of them fit. I am steadily and slowly losing the weight, so every time I put on clothes, I have to figure out what fits!
    My husband’s clothes are super easy. The kids’ clothes have a system that makes it manageable. My clothes… notsomuch.

    • Hello Jessica! It’s nice to hear that others use a similar system. Right now I have space in the back of my closet for hubby’s and my offseason clothes. That one is easy. Your comments made me smile – Congratulations on baby #4! – I remember well those days of pg, nursing, losing baby fat. I had 4 wardrobes – Regular, Pregnancy, Post-pregnancy and Nursing. It did make it challenging, but that was life then and a woman just does what she has to do. We are pretty adaptable that way πŸ˜‰
      Enjoy that sweet little bundle and love up on your family, whether it’s time for that big switchover or not. I’m so glad you stopped in for a visit.

  6. Ah, this brings back memories of my childhood… lol Thanks for linking up at Thrive @ Home!

    • Hope they are fun memories, Jenni. I wonder if my children will look back on this whole process and remember the fun πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping in for a visit and reliving the Great Seasonal Switch Over.

  7. Sorting through my 2 year old’s clothes is something i do once or twice a moth lol I LOVE it for some reason! I reorganize the stuff he’s grown out of (saving in case we have another), the stuff he will go into, refold all the stuff currently in season… I also sell at a consignment sale, so I go through those clothes too. It is a minor obsession lol I can’t wait for the weather to get cooler so I can sort through his summer clothes nad put fresh ones in his drawers lol

    • You sound like a very joyful mom, LB πŸ™‚ Going through our little ones clothes keeps us close to them somehow. Maybe I enjoy this seasonal change of wardrobe because it’s like a whole new start. The kids enjoy it because they receive all kinds of new things – even if they are hand me downs. Blessings to you and your little guy!

  8. I need to do this with my clothing! We usually have a garage sale every other year, so I go through it then, but it really needs to be done more than that. I get so many hand-me-downs that my girls closets are loaded! Thanks so much for sharing these organizing tips at Mom’s Library.

    • A garage sale every other year sounds like a great plan to keep it all under control. I understand about hand-me-downs. At times we’ve been abundantly blessed in this way, and it can sometimes become a beast of a project to tackle. Having a system, whatever it is, really helps. Glad you stopped in, thank you for your nice comment!

  9. Enjoyed this!! I do this too only usually I do it in one day as it kind of makes the house a wreck!! I did this today πŸ™‚

  10. Whew! I’m tired just reading all of it. I don’t know how we manage to do it, but we just keep all of our clothes out year round. This makes me extra glad for it. LOL πŸ˜‰

    • I’ve wondered what it would be like to have all years’ clothing at hand. How nice that must be! But then, I can see my 7 year old changing clothing and seasons a dozen times a day and the mess that would come with that. Ah, well, for now I’ll bite the bullet and go through this big ordeal twice a year. It won’t last much longer, my little ones are not so little any more!


  1. […] also a large family mom like me, shares about their Semi Annual Clothing Switchover. Β She even has her kids empty all of their clothes out of their bedrooms, makes sure they’re […]

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