For me, the first crisp fall day is the time to reevaluate what clothes to keep in the closets. Fall and spring are both fickle in daily weather changes, and as we used to say in Chicago, more accurately– the weather changes minute-by-minute. So after a HOT HOT summer, even a 10 degree drop in temperature gets me excited about my favorite black leather boots and cable-knit sweaters.
Doing a clothing inventory is important for you and everyone else in the home as well. However this is especially necessary if there are children in the household, as they tend to grow like weeds from one season to the next.
You need the following things nearby to accomplish this mission:
- a clear, flat surface to work on
- pen and paper
- 2 laundry baskets or boxes or kitchen-size trash bags
Here is what I suggest:
- Choose one family member at a time to start with. For this example, we will use little Timmy.
- Take every item of clothing out of Timmy’s closets and drawers. Put the items on the flat surface.
- Put in basket #1: items that fit and he likes to wear
- Put in basket #2: items that are too small or too stained or never worn. Don’t worry about seasons yet.
- Remove basket #2 from the area. Do this immediately.Stick it near the front door or on the porch–somewhere not near where you are working. We’ll deal with the contents later.
- Sort items from basket #1 into piles by category on the table: socks, underwear, shirts-long sleeve, shirts-short sleeve, school uniform shirts, long pants, shorts, sleepwear, sweaters/sweatshirts, etc.
- Make 5-7 days worth of complete outfits. Since we are thinking cooler weather, in this example that would be one long-sleeved shirt, one pair of long pants, a pair of socks, and a pair of underpants. It’s probably not necessary to have as many sets of pajamas or sweatshirts, but be sure there are at least 3 pairs of pajamas and 3 sweatshirts. As my grandma used to say “one for wash, one for wear, one for spare”. She had this in reference to bras, but think we can apply that to anything. She’s almost 90 years old now, so maybe I should double check with her.
- Take inventory. Were the piles complete? What was missing? Now whip out your pen and paper. If you wanted five days of outfits and you were missing 3 shirts, 2 pair of pants, and 4 pairs of socks write it down. Now you have your shopping list.
- Return everything to the drawers and closet. Organizing for efficiency is another task for another day.
- Go shopping.
So what to do with the bags you moved out of the room? You have a few options:
- drop it off at your local thrift store or gemach
- arrange for a thrift store pick up
- host a clothing swap party with friends
- pass it on to friends or family who can go through the bag, take what they want, and then have them pass on the leftovers to the next person
If you have a significant amount of clothing IN GOOD CONDITION that can be passed down to a younger child in the same family, some of you may chose to save it. BUT, you need an efficient storage and retrieval system to know what you have.
Personally, I don’t keep anything from one child to the next. Perhaps a few items like a pair of rain boots might be worth saving, but my belief is that what goes around comes around. I feel that if someone can make good use of what I’m not currently using, what good will it do anyone to have it sit in a box? When the time arrives for you to replenish their wardrobe, things show up or bargains are found. I’d much rather remain uncluttered and keep my precious little storage space available.
I hope you are as excited about beginning this project as I am! If you need some a little encouraging or someone to motivate you to get though this process, contact me.
Karen, T.K.K. The Klutter Koach