Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Organizing and Inventory of Children's Clothes

My Challenge.

1. We have micro closets.

Evidently in 1924 people did not own clothes. At least not the family that built our home. Our closets dictate that we must put non-seasonal clothes in storage.

2. My short term memory.

In our town we have consignment sales twice a year and I try to purchase the bulk of my children's wardrobes at these sales. But, the sales are BEFORE the seasonal change and before I've unpacked our wardrobes for the new season. So, twice each year I "over purchase" clothing for our kids because after 6 months I've forgotten what they own. (Memory Issues!) And, um, the little monkeys won't stop growing and then they've outgrown some, or not grown enough to fit into the hand-me-downs. Whatever my problem is, I just end up over purchasing and the makes me grumpy! Grumpy because with micro closets, you can not fit in the extras and grumpy because it's a complete waste of money to have too many clothes.

3. Laundry.

Laundry for a family of 6+ can be a challenge. I can not tell you how much easier it is to do laundry if you do not have a mega wardrobe. I need to stay on topic here. Laundry tends to entice me to tangent. I love laundry. Laundry is fun. IF you don't have too many clothes. I used to hate it just so you don't think I'm a freak or something.

My Solution.

A digital inventory. I have tried written inventories in the past. They did not work for me. I would write something like 3T yellow dress, but then forget it's style/fabric or some other important detail.

What I used:
Digital Camera
Marker and Index Cards
Label Maker
Clear Plastic Boxes (clear so I can see in them and tight lids because of arachnophobia)

My daughters helped and we had a little assembly line.
First we pulled out all the summer clothes or anything outgrown into a big pile.
Second we laid an outfit on the floor with index card of size next to it. (Sometimes we had multiple sizes since I like to dress the critters in matching outfits.)
Third, we put the item in clear boxes labeled for size.

This was so quick and easy!
Finally, I organized the photos on my computer by creating folders by size. Examples: Girls 3T, Girls 4T, Mom's Summer Dresses I just click and drag the photos into the folders.

Disclaimer: OK, let me say that this is my solution for this year. I do not want to imply that I have solved this challenge once and for all. I give myself permission to later declare it an utter failure and revise. I will evaluate in the spring when we begin shopping for the summer season and unpacking/packing the closets.


Tesa said...

I hear you on this one. Our house was built in 1926- we have 6 people in our house and 2 tiny closets. Challenging? Understatement! I try my best just to pare down and have less- but that is not easy in our society. Looks like you have got a great idea here! Thanks for sharing!

Tracy said...

Today I was doing the winter coat switch...digging out the coats and hats etc and putting them somewhere easy. We only have closets in the bedrooms- no coat closet so I have to have baskets and such. While I garage saled this summer I bought 2 pairs of snowpants for one boy and NONE for the other! UGh!

Sometimes I long for the "old days" where everyone had two outfits- although I'm sure they were stinky!

snickerdoodle said...

You are sooo smart! We too have small closets and my system is large rubbermaid bins packed and stacked dangerously high in our garage. Going through them is a nightmare. I am trying your technique. Thanks.

Brenda said...

OK-I love this. My list-y making self got excited about this! But, what are you going to do with the inventory? Use it when you shop?

My mom sews for the girls and those clothes are the hardest of all b/c of course, they don't have tags. So after 4 years of being stored I call my mom and she looks in her photo books, checks the date for when the outfit was sewn and photographed, and we can figure out the size from there. It really is helpful!

Lori Stucky said...

I am amazed at the incredible organizational abilities that you have! Not because I dídn't think it possible, but because you took the time to do all of this...

I am in the middle of moving from a house with LOTS of closets and wardrobes to NOTHING...makes me wish we didn't have to wear clothes. Blame Eve for that one. :)

Octamom said...

Look at you! This is amazing! I don't know that I have every successfully tamed the wardrobe beast. With the ten of us, you would think I would have some wisdom to share...but our wardrobe issues just seem quite complex Between soccer uniforms and beach clothes and dance wear and all the rest--it's nuts! Great ideas, great organization!


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