When trying to figure out how to declutter kid's clothes the big question that always comes up is… just how much do they need? Never fret, the decluttering challenge has you covered! Here is how to figure out how much your child needs when it is time for you to declutter kid's clothes.
Closets are one of the most (if not the gold winner) cluttered areas of my home. Now, in the case of my own closet that is because I throw random things in it figuring I will find a place later… oops. That “place later” tends to be the trash can or giveaway box six months later when it is time to declutter that room. In the case of my kid's closets… it is clothes and toys. But, every six months at least, I get it back under control and here is how.
I wrote a post on how to declutter your kid's toys last year during the clutter challenge so this year I thought I would introduce you to my clothes strategy. Each year I try to push it a little further into a minimalist world. Decluttering really does free your mind (okay, maybe not really your mind… but it does free your time and space which does a lot for my mental state). If you are just starting this decluttering journey then when you declutter kid's clothes (and toys and everything else for that matter) then make sure to set goals that are a stretch, but attainable. This is a process. You can always declutter more later. When you split your home into zones for cleaning and decluttering you will go over every area twice a year so don't feel like you have to get it right the first time.
Declutter Kid's Clothes: Finding the Magical Number
When you declutter kid's clothes the number is the big question. Really it is a question that only you can answer (and maybe your kid's if they are older). But, there are a few things to help you come up with your magical number. You do need this number. Do not just go into that room with a “sell”, “donate”, and “throw away” box. That is a recipe for disaster and tears. You've watched the shows. How easy is it to put something you really want to wear someday (yeah right) into a sell, donate, or throw away box? How many times do you keep a shirt because you feel bad about getting rid of it or because it doesn't sell for the price you want?
Do not do that to yourself. The number is VERY IMPORTANT! It gives you the end result first and forces you to create that result rather than just finding stuff you do not like to give or sell to other people (or just getting rid stuff you should have thrown away years ago). When you declutter kid's clothes, you (or your children) might have to let go of things you like. That is okay. In fact, it is completely healthy to train yourself to think this way. Like vs. Need. Sometimes there are things in life that you would like, but you just don't need. You can indulge occasionally, but at some point it is healthier to learn to take a step back and stop wasting your money, time, and space.
I'm all for “indulging” when it is a need so try not to confuse the two. If you want an expensive pair of black shoes and you need black shoes then go for it. The problem starts when you want the expensive pair of black shoes and you have three more pairs at home. Either pass or get rid of the excess you have at home. If you just keep purchasing then you will not get full enjoyment out of the things you do have… wants or needs.
Declutter Kid's Clothes: How Much do they Need?
This number is going to be different for everybody. I read an article of a woman who determined her number was 3 (3 pants, 3 shorts, 3 short sleeve shirts, 3 long sleeve shirts, and 3 sleeveless shirts). I couldn't do that. For one thing, I'm not too keen on sleeveless shirts for kiddos (when I declutter kid's clothes sleeveless shirts are usually the first to go). I also like to keep winter and summer somewhat separate (in Arizona we never get into heavy winter so they do run into each other somewhat). Also, I do not homeschool (she did) and I want my kids to be able to wear a different outfit each day. At least for a week. I hate clothing rotations. I want to be able to decide what I am going to wear that morning or the night before. I am not the type of person to think “hey this is Monday… time to wear my jeans and green shirt”. That's just not me.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine how much your child needs before you declutter kid's clothes.
- How often do you wash your laundry? (don't leave yourself with nothing to wear)
- Does your child attend school or wear uniforms at school?
- Does your child need any “special” pieces of clothing (swimsuit, pajamas, dress clothes, uniforms)
Declutter Kid's Clothes: My own “Magic” Number
My magic number is 10 shirts, 7 pants/shorts, swimsuit, 2-3 pajamas, 1 dressy outfit, baseball uniform stuff, and the oldest kiddo has a school shirt he has to wear to school occasionally). I also try to keep the socks/underwear down to 10 or less of each.
I use 10 shirts because I want them to be able to go two weeks without wearing the same shirt to school (if they want). 7 pants/shorts because a week in between laundry loads would be the longest I would go (and really you can wear jeans more than once although I am still trying to convince my kids of that). I try to cut back on socks and undies because I found that the more they have (especially socks) the more likely that they are scattered around the house missing pairs. If they only have a few they seem to stick together better.
Maybe one day I will try to cut that down further, but it seems to work great now. Kid's clothes in my house have a mind of their own and seem to multiply when I'm not looking. Between birthday's, Christmas, and my own “finds” there is still plenty to get rid of when I declutter kid's clothes!
Declutter Kid's Clothes: Why
The first time I did this I found some great benefits (and now that I am a few days away from doing it again I am ready to see the same effect!) The biggest, and most helpful, benefit was that laundry wasn't crazy and overwhelming anymore.
- My kids (and maybe yours) would put clothes that fell out of the closet into the laundry basket. It was hard to tell when they had too much in their closet (and it fell down easier too). I had far less laundry to do after I decided to declutter kid's clothes.
- I have to do laundry once a week or so. This also means I have less laundry to do. It is easier to stay on top of it, but I need a little motivation. If the kids need clothes then I have to do laundry. No more waiting for weeks while it builds up into a mess in the laundry room.
- There is more room in the closet. When I declutter kid's clothes the first thing they realize is that they have more closet room. I moved the toys into the closet and my daughter even has her kitchen set in her closet. Without the extra clothes they have room for things they enjoy.
- The kids' look cuter. This one was surprising, but I found the same thing when I decluttered my clothes as when I declutter kid's clothes… we look nicer. I think most people tend to pick out what is comfortable when they have too much to choose from. That is why that shirt you bought ends up at the back of your closet never to be worn! Forcing yourself to get rid of some of it also forces you to wear the stuff you like but just haven't gotten around to wearing.
Declutter Kid's Clothes: How
Now that you have your magic number to declutter kid's clothes you can go back to the sell, donate, and throw away box.
- Sell. Pick out the stuff that you think is worth selling and take it to a consignment (like Just Between Friends) or sell it at a garage sale or on craigslist. Don't hang on to it forever though. If it doesn't sell then donate it! The few dollars you will get is not worth the space (and the longer you hold on to it the less it will get anyway because the style will go out).
- Throw Away. If it has lots of stains throw it away (if it has one or two small stains I tend to put it in donate, especially if the stains are not noticeable or I think there is a chance they can be washed out). If it has any holes, throw it away.
- Donate. Donate everything else along with the stuff that does not sell. You can donate to friends, family, or a charity (Salvation Army is one of many that will accept boxes of items throughout the year and some charities will even do pick up if you have a lot).
And there you have it! For those of you who are new to this series, it is a part of a series! You can get a FREE printable decluttering binder when you sign up for my newsletter (make sure you confirm your subscription). You can also catch up on the series with the following posts: