I recently worked with a client who has two young children and a surplus of hand-me-downs. We needed to create a system so that she could deal with what she already has, as well as what will continue to come in. See below for the 5-step process we created.
1. Create a Legend: My client mentioned that she has trouble remembering how old which kid will be in which season and so we decided to create a legend for each child – i.e. Adam will be 6 – 12 months old in the winter of 2018, while Eve will be 3T in the summer of 2019, etc.
2. Downsize/ Categorize: While my client appreciated all the clothing she has received, the truth is that she doesn’t need it all. As we looked through, she realized that some items were too gendered/ carried slogans she didn’t agree with/ wrong season (based on the legend) etc. As we categorized and created piles by age, she went through and donated 9 hefty bags full (yes, you read that right) of baby clothing.
3. Double Check: we double checked each pile to make sure that the items being kept were right for the season they would be worn in – if Adam was going to be 18 – 24 months in the winter of 2019 and there were 7 bathing suits for that season, we culled.
4. Outerwear and Shoes: Rather than including the outerwear and shoes with the rest of the clothing, we put them into their own bin per child with the larger sizes on the bottom for easy access.
5. Store and Label: Rather than going out and buying new storage bins, we used the Ziploc Flexible Totes my client already owned and 8.5 x 11 paper to make big signs for each bag ‘ Ex. Eve, 18 – 24 months, Winter 2018.’ We then slid the piece of paper into the outward facing part of the bag so that the sign could be seen but wouldn’t fall off.
Caveat, babies don’t grow at exactly the rate of clothing sizes so it’s important to not adhere too strictly to the seasonality of the piles. But especially if you’re receiving a lot of hand-me-downs like my client, this is less of an issue.
The best part about this is that my client knows exactly what to do moving forward – if she gets a bag of hand-me-downs from friends, she will go through it to determine if she wants the stuff (if not, she’ll put it directly into a donation bag) and if she does, she can easily put the items into their proper bags. Plus, once bags have been emptied, they can be used for larger sizes.
Try my tips and tricks above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer.
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