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 and the closets are often overstuffed with a hodgepodge of sizes and seasons.
You need the following items to successfully complete this transition:
- 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 child’s wardrobe to start with. For this example, we will use little Joey’s.
- Take every item of clothing out of Joey’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.
- 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 all the “keepers” to the drawers and closet. Organizing for efficiency is another task for another day.
- Go shopping. Use your list.
So what to do with the bags you moved out of the room? First, separate the stained, worn, or unsightly items. These go to the trash or clothing recycling receptacle. Nobody wants to receive these. With the items that you want to keep but were the wrong season, store them cautiously so you know what you have in your inventory. If the items are still good condition but you don’t have need for them you can:
- drop it off at your local second-hand 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
My storage solution for items you want to save are see-through lidded plastic boxes. Store them in an area that doesn’t have mold or dampness issues or your hard work will be for naught because clothes will pick up the smells of dampness or attract critters.
Need a guide on what is donatable to a second-hand establishment? Here’s An Illustrated Guide to Donating Used Clothing I created.
Questions? Contact me.
Thanks for reading,
Karen, The Klutter Koach
updated November 24, 2019