Sunday, September 21, 2014

Clothing Management: Planning for Winter

Season changes sneak up on me such that I'll find the weather suddenly chilly and haven't filled my children's closets with warm weather yet. This year, I have tried to plan ahead a little better.

Step 1. Carve Out Time

In mid-September (cool weather coming!), last week I made a Clothing Planning Chart and took one hour per afternoon to organize each child's clothing.

Step 2. Analyze in an Organized Way

My chart lists the child's name and sizes of all clothing. The two columns show what we have and what we need in categories such as Tops (shirts), Bottoms (pants, skirts), Dresses, Pajamas, Shoes/Socks/Tights, and Miscellaneous. 

I did not log any summer clothing because that doesn't count or matter toward the needs of winter-weather clothing.

Then I gathered up the child in question (while the others played nearby) and first checked the current clothing closet for any winter clothing. Then we walked over to the children's storage closet and "went shopping" for any winter clothing in the needed size.

Now, it's still too warm for the children actually to be wearing the winter clothing. Because I do not overstuff their closets, there is plenty of room, so I hung up their winter clothing in a spare corner of their closets to wait for them till however many weeks from now we wake up and it is suddenly chilly. Then I will put away (and donate) their summer clothing.

3. Donate What Isn't Worth Saving

Having searched through their summer closets, some clothing was discovered simply no longer to fit. Then I had to face some painful spiritual detachment, especially concerning the boys' clothing. I still want to save (cling to) everything, especially "good" clothing. So I'd ask myself, "You're going to store clothing for six years until these fit the next boy? You're going to deprive other children of having decent and good clothing during those six years? You're going to take up space in our closets and attic to store these like a miser?" And then I'd have to donate away basically everything that John no longer fits!

4. Go Shopping

The last step will be for me to go shopping. I love organizing, but the only thing that isn't fun about being so organized is that I can see clearly that I need to buy hardly anything for the children this fall! Shopping is fun too, but no family wants to waste money. I will visit the thrift stores for some items. Then there are some items about which I'm very particular (hard for any of my readers to imagine me being particular, right?) which I will order online.

Because I'm organized, I can order off-season and save money as well. For example, we try to keep our kids' shirts simple and free of writing. It's very hard to find darling plain white blouses for girls, but Land's End tends to carry them. Of course, Land's End is pricey, so I buy their shirts off-season most of the time, which is why yesterday I opened up our bins and found brand new Land's End winter blouses, still in plastic, which I had bought during the heat of summer clearance sale.  Now is the time to buy next summer's blouses!

I hope these tips are inspiring to some and I always love to hear new ideas to help me in this process as well.


  1. Ohh! I'm jazzed!!! Such organization!!! I'm serious, you know. As a fellow melancholic, this kind of orderly planning makes feel all tingly inside! <33333 Honestly, great job! -Emiliann W.

  2. Emilyann: Yes, you get it! It's still something I have to accept intellectually but don't understand why everybody wouldn't feel excited like I did each afternoon last week when I could give myself an hour to work on this organization project. It was like a treat for my day. But it isn't like that for other temperaments and people like you and me have to accept that lovingly.

    And you're old enough to do your own clothing management and make up a list of needs for your parents! Fun!

  3. Add me to the melancholic/excited about organizing list! Looks good!

  4. May I ask about the writing on shirts? What exactly about it puts you off? (And I can guess, but I'd like to hear what you have to say on it)

  5. If you're not already aware of it, make sure to check out the Land's End "on the counter" section (it can be found under the "sale" tab). They list a new batch of items every Saturday and the price gets reduced throughout the week until everything is 75% off on Friday. Sometimes I get such good deals that I have to add random items to fill up my quota for free shipping and return those items at the Pineville Sears.

  6. Priscilla: I have three reasons.

    1. We don't prefer grown women calling attention to that part of their body with words, inviting people to stare. We try to train the kids to behave now like they should behave when they're older. Meaning, there isn't a magic age when we should suddenly stop drawing attention to our bodies by writing words on them.

    2. I was raised by a New England WASP father and it's very hard to shake off (not that I would want to!) the feeling that writing or pictures on clothing are just not classy.

    3. The capitalist in me expects a corporation to pay me money if it is going to advertise its name on my clothing, not for me to pay the corporation money to advertise it!

  7. I have enjoyed this insight into the melancholic mind!!