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.
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. 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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