Clothing The Masses

Have you ever wondered how large families handle clothing storage/organization/hand-me-downs, etc?

Well, let me tell you how I do it.  I keep a box in the closet for clothing that has been outgrown.  Instead of going through everything in one big sweep, I am now throwing the clean items that are outgrown in the box as I come across them.  Normally, I use cardboard heavy duty file boxes and I label them this way: B1, which means Boys Box #1. 

I keep a card catalog listing what is in each box in our storage loft.  For example, for the above labeled box, I will write on my index card:

B1

Boy 18-24 Months

Fall/Winter

Whenever I need Beloved to get something out of the loft for me, I will tell him which number box I need.  That way it just takes him a second to locate it.

Lately, I have slowly been switching over to Rubbermaid Roughtotes instead of the file boxes.  They hold so much more and I don’t have to worry about sealing up the box handles to keep crawlies out.  Also, the Roughtotes will never wear out, whereas after a certain number of years, the file boxes do.

With three boys in a row, sometimes it seems like those boxes don’t stay in the loft long before they’re brought down for the next boy.  Right now in the boys room, I have a shelf in the closet piled  high with folded pants.  These pants will go to our second son in the spring and I probably ran out of boxes, so I just put them in there for now.  With the baby, I have the next size up brought down at the same time, so I can plan for the next season.  That way I know if we are lacking something in that size and I can figure out how I will handle that.  Also, especially this time of year, we need some of the Fall/Winter things for camping trips when it gets cold at night, etc.

Now, you might ask, what do you save and what do you toss?  Well, with the babies, I save everything, because they don’t get their clothes stained and ripped up.  But with my older children, mostly I save whatever is in good shape or I think will last for the next child.  The jeans are always torn up at the knees.  I cut them off at the knee and use them for cutoffs and I save the denim for quilt projects. 

I save everything that I have ever made them and I save all of my daughters dresses.  Most of her t-shirts don’t last because I buy them big and she wears them for a very long time.  Also, she usually doesn’t have as much clothing as the boys since I receive hand-me-downs for them and not for her.  So her clothes just get used much more.  But I get to buy or make her new stuff and that is fun.

I am still using all of the newborn clothing my Mom bought before I had my first child.  It is all still in good shape and all non-gender-specific, so I never really have to buy anything for babies, although I do enjoy picking up a few things here and there.

Whenever I receive hand-me-downs I go through the bags and pull out what I will use and re-bag what I won’t.  The items I won’t use go to our local Seventh Day Adventist Ministry which clothes folks for free, or I will pass them on to someone who might need them.  But most of my friends have girls or older children, so that is usually not the case.

I hope some of my ideas help.  Perhaps I will share next time how I arrange the boys clothing in their rooms.  Stay tuned for that.

Blessings, Miss Kris

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