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:
Boy 18-24 Months
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