Looking to organize your closet? Try these tips!
“How many clothes should one child have? Is there a list somewhere that I could get my hands on that spells out the amount of pants and shirts and socks and underwear and sweaters and so on and so forth that one child should have? I have 5 kids and I am overwhelmed by the amount of clothes that keep piling up.”
Five kids definitely adds up to a whole lot of clothes. I think you’re on the right track by trying to figure out how much everyone *needs*. Finding a one-size-fits all list, however, could have some draw backs. There are so many lifestyle factors and personal preferences involved. Some people need and want a lot of variety in their clothing, and others could wear the same thing everyday and be perfectly happy. So, let’s go about creating a list that works for your children, their lifestyles and their preferences.
1. Start with a basic list of garments.
You can easily put this together by looking through your kids’ closets and drawers to see the types of things they’re currently wearing. Include shoes, socks, pants, shirts, shorts, dresses, skirts, blouses, tights, underwear, etc.
2. Once you have your basic list, factor in the appropriate style of each based on where your child goes.
For example, your daughter may wear a dressy dress to church, but casual dresses to school.
3. Now consider your laundry cycle.
If you do laundry once a week, your child needs a minimum of seven pair of socks. If you do it once every two weeks, each child needs fourteen pair of socks, minimum. For each type of garment and style on the list, consider how many you need based on how frequently you do laundry, and how frequently you do the activity. For example, if your daughter takes ballet once a week and you do laundry every two weeks, you need two ballet outfits.
4. Now factor in variety.
Once you have your bare bones minimum list, think about how often you’re comfortable having your child repeat articles of clothing or outfits. If your daughter wears dressy dresses only to church, you go to church once a week, and you do laundry once a week, in theory your daughter needs just one dressy dress. If you want her to have two dresses to choose from each week, double the number. If you want her to be able to go a whole month and wear a new dress every Sunday of the month, she needs four dresses.
5. Give yourself a cushion.
I’d recommend a few extra garments for weeks when laundry gets delayed, or your little one has a messy day and needs to change clothes midday. Once you have a reasonable number, clear out the extra clothing. Keep it on hand in a box until you’re comfortable you’ve got the right number of garments. Once you’re certain, take everything else to charity for donations. Maintain the desired number by always subtracting out one item for each new one your bring in.
Little closets certainly are a big challenge! Luckily, there are lots of great products on the market today to help you cope with this one downside of charming, old homes. Here are five ideas to get you started …
1. Utilize the full height of your closet.
How much space is between the top shelf of your closet and the closet ceiling? If it’s greater than four feet, you might make better use of your space by adding another shelf above the existing top shelf. Use your new top shelf to store out of season or infrequently used items. Not only will you have more storage space, you’ll also have easier access to items on your lower shelf. (Don’t you hate it when the sweater you want to wear is on the bottom of a stack of ten sweaters?) Consider buying a top shelf narrower than the existing shelf, to make it easy to see and access items on both shelves.
2. Use your door.
Add an over-the-door rack for shoes or frequently used accessories. Clear versions make it easy to see contents. Or opt for the canvas variety and sew on labels to identify the contents inside. Another option is to install hooks on the inside of your closet door. Use hooks to hang purses, tote bags, frequently worn items like your robe, or to hang tomorrow’s outfit (and save precious time during the morning rush!)
If you’ve moved your shoes off the floor, you now have a full length closet to use. Take stock of your wardrobe. Do you have a lot of full length hanging items, or is there precious, unused space between your clothes and the floor? To better utilize the full length of your closet, consider adding a second hanging rod. Or purchase canvas sweater hangers. In the space where you could hang between 6 to 8 sweaters or T-shirts on hangers, you can fold between 16 to 24 in a canvas, hanging shelf. What a great use of space!
3. Move out of season clothing into deep storage.
Use space in a guest bedroom, your kids’ rooms, the attic or basement. There are many portable wardrobes on the market today to keep items covered and hung up, out of your bedroom closet.
4. Avoid taking up precious closet space with a dirty clothes basket or hamper.
Consider moving your hamper into the bathroom. Another option is to purchase an attractive wicker hamper that complements the decor of your bedroom.
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