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Quick Tip: A New Approach to Rotating Seasonal Wardrobes

Rotating the Spring Wardrobe

Piles and piles and piles of girls clothes!

With each child we’ve added to our family, I’ve noticed that rotating seasonal wardrobes has become more and more of a headache. For the past two years, I’ve been looking for a system to help me simplify the process, and I think I finally found it this year.

In the past, rotating their seasonal clothing has meant having each of them try on a dozen outfits to see what fits and what doesn’t. The problem with this method — other than the amount of time that takes — is that at the end of the season, the sizes and seasons end up all mixed up. When it’s time to rotate them again, I have to dig through a dozen boxes ranging in size from 0-3 months to 5/6 to find all of the outfits that fit each of our daughters.

This year, I’d had enough. I dumped out all of the gray bins that we use for storage and began sorting them by size. I decided that each child would only wear the clothes in her size, even if it meant that some of the outfits were too big to wear at the start of the season and that there were other cute outfits packed away in different sizes that might still fit. Doing it this way means that when it’s time to switch the clothes again, I will simply take each girls’ clothes and pack them into the appropriate box, pulling out the cold weather items in their current size.

No more digging through multiple boxes in search of clothes that might fit.

No more wondering where a certain outfit that I know should fit has run off to.

I know it may seem a little arbitrary to do it by size, especially since sizing varies from manufacturer to manufacturer…and it is. When I only had two kids, it wasn’t a huge deal to go through all of the clothes each time. But with four stair-step girls (their current sizes are 5/6, 4T, 3T and 12mos), it really was getting to be way too much.

To deal with some sizing variances, I keep my handy Sharpie marker nearby, and when I come across an outfit that doesn’t fit according to the size on its label, I just change the size.

So far this system is working for us, and I’m actually looking forward to switching the clothes out in the fall to see if it goes as smoothly as I think it will!

What method do you use to rotate your kids’ clothes?

For more quick tips, visit Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family!

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5.5, 4, 2.5 and a baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

23 Responses to “ Quick Tip: A New Approach to Rotating Seasonal Wardrobes ”

  1. Since we are expecting our second baby girl in July, I have been going through all of the clothes. I have found that it’s easiest to seperate them by size and then by season. So I have boxes that are labeled 6-9m Winter, 6-9 Summer, etc. :) Great post!
    Catie´s last blog ..Fave Websites My ComLuv Profile


  2. I started sorting my three boys’ clothes by size and it has helped tremendously… I don’t have them sorted by season – mostly because Minnesota has crazy weather (snow one day, 70s the next week) – but also because I just don’t have that much room.

    The other tip I would suggest: Have a bin for new clothing for your oldest child. I was able to get some really great deals on shirts, shorts, and pants in a size (or two) larger than what my oldest boy wears during season clearance sales last year. Just last week, I was able to “shop” from my bin for summer clothing!
    Christina @ Northern Cheapskate´s last blog ..Free Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic: Catapult My ComLuv Profile


  3. I do it the way you used to do it, I feel like I’m always digging through bins. I like your idea of resizing clothing, this could help alot.
    Marci @ Life on Rancho Relaxo´s last blog ..Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig My ComLuv Profile


  4. I don’t pass much down so I don’t have to worry about storage. I keep their wardrobes very small to help with the laundry and it can get pretty beat up. I do store rain boots, snow boots, winter jackets and I have a bin for clearance items I pick up for the next season. My boys wear the same size so I have never been able to do hand me downs with them. I guess I just carried on that way with the girls too. By limiting their clothing it keeps the costs down and I make the girls many of thier dresses.


  5. I have a 4.5 yo girl, 3.5 yo boy, 20 mo girl so it is a little harder to organize by size that way when it was just the first two. I did organize by size plus gender then so it was easier to find what I needed by the time the 3rd came along and also easier to donate clothes to friends that way.

    Luckily now I have found some one to donate my son’s clothes to, but I still have to store them for a year first because he is 1.5 years younger than him. I know that family (of 7!) really need them though so I am happy to do so.
    Candice Hudson´s last blog ..WIP My ComLuv Profile


  6. We have 2 girls, 10 and 6. I keep all their clothes available all the time — one drawer for t-shirts, one for long-sleeved shirts; one drawer for pants, one for shorts. Dresses in the closet. This means I don’t have to rotate anything seasonally. We love hand-me-downs, though, and I sort those by type: one box for tops; one box for bottoms; one box for dresses; one box for pajamas. That way when either of my girls needs something like shorts I know which box to look in. I tried sorting by size but sizing was so inconsistent that it made me crazy. Plus I always have to cut the tags out of my older daughter’s clothing (sensitive skin!!) so there goes the size info.


  7. I love this post. I am expecting my 4th child in July and have just been complaining how long it takes me to get through my girls clothes. I really like the resizing idea.


  8. We have 5 kiddos 8 y.o. and younger and having an organized hand-me-down system has been a problem for us. Two of my girls are very close in age and share a room, so as soon as one outgrows something she just takes it across the room to her sister’s dresser. The boys have a few years between them and so I find myself forgetting to look for the hand-me-downs when the new season starts.

    I agree with everyone else that resizing on the tag is a wonderful idea. My 5 year old was able to fit into some shorts labeled 3T last summer! Now I know to just mark them as 4T/5T.

    Thanks for sharing your system!
    Polly´s last blog ..A Word to the Wise My ComLuv Profile


  9. I SO agree – it wasn’t such a bother to do this when I had one child, but with three: such a headache!

    I’m giggling over you and your sharpie in hand, changing the size :-D What IS the deal w/ such a variation in sizing, anyway?
    Kara @SimpleKids´s last blog ..Homemade Baby Food 101 for the Modern Mom – Part II My ComLuv Profile


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    Sharpies are second only to label makers, LOL!


  10. WIth three girls and one boy, I sort by size too. I’ve always done it that way! It never occurred to me there was any other way TO do it. Isn’t that funny? =D
    Missi´s last blog ..Letting go of the crunchy. (just a little) My ComLuv Profile


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    Hehe — I’ve actually always done it by size too…in theory. It’s just that I’ve always allowed way too many variations to that, “Oh, wait, this will fit Baby A. Oh, this one still fits Baby B.” And then they get all mixed up anyway!


  11. As the kids grow out of something throughout the year I dump it into a storage bin kept at bottom of their closet. Two times a year I participate in a seasonal children’s consignment sale at which time those tubs come out and are up for sale. The money I make covers the new purchases in the size that fits for the next season. It works because I have a boy and a girl so once they grow out of something and it can’t be worn by the opposite sex out it goes.
    Lisa @ The Spot To Save´s last blog ..Manage Your Money FREE – My ComLuv Profile


  12. Do you know how smart you are to just re-label clothes with the right sizes? It drives me crazy how off some brands are. I only have 2 kids, so we don’t have as complicated of a system. Even though my boys are exactly 2 years apart (2 and 5 months), the little one is growing way faster than his big brother did. He’s going to need a whole new summer wardrobe.


  13. You CHANGE the size on the tag with a sharpie! BRILLIANT! That could revolutionize the sorting and organizing process, right there! I’m SO doing this.

    I have two girls (4 and 2) and one boy (4 mo.), but the girls are essentially the same size in clothes, except the 4 year old is taller….so, the hand-me-down system doesn’t work as perfectly as I’d like. They can share some things, which they love.

    People have given us or loaned us a ton of boy clothes, so now my problem is sorting it back out to return to them. I guess that’s not *that bad* of a problem to have. :)

    I have to remember not to store clothes that I don’t LOVE. If my kid didn’t wear it now, why would I keep it? Just give it away. I don’t need to keep things I don’t love, even if it was free or in the right size.
    Erin´s last blog ..everything to someone My ComLuv Profile


    Mandi Ehman Reply:

    I have to remember not to store clothes that I don’t LOVE. If my kid didn’t wear it now, why would I keep it? Just give it away. I don’t need to keep things I don’t love, even if it was free or in the right size.

    This is such an important tip, Erin! I’ve gotten to that point too…even if my mom gave it to them as a gift, even if I WANT to like it, if the current kid didn’t wear it, chances are the next one won’t either!


    Maryann Reply:

    Yes, good one! Ask the child if he likes it & if he’ll wear it!
    I used automatically to pass down the clothes from my older son to the younger one (9 yrs. old). And at the end of the season the un-favorites remained unworn.

    This time, before I packed it away, I asked him if he’ll want to wear it when he gets bigger. MUCH easier this way…


  14. by size & season. current size/season in the dresser. current size/next season in the closet…along with future sizes. old sizes in boxes in the attic…which I now can clear out since I don’t need little boys clothes anymore!

    I have too small stuff w/the tags still on it that has never been worn. Tip: keep it! I give them as gifts, and no one is the wiser (until now!). ;)


  15. Change the size with a sharpie?!!!!
    I love it. Why didn’t I think of this. This solves so many problems. Thank you for sharing.


  16. I love that you use the sharpie to change the sizes! My sister thinks I’m insane that I keep one in my purse! lol

    I have only one child, a 3 yo boy. However, I try to have larger sized clothes to “shop” from on hand that I’ve found during end of season sales. I keep these items on hangers, separated in his closet with size indicators (similar to what they have in stores), and I limit myself to just one size larger and to the rule of more spring/summer/fall than winter (that’s just because winter only lasts for all of two weeks for us it seems).

    As soon as I notice that an item he’s wearing is at the too small point, it’s laundered and placed in a small cloth bin on th- closet shelf. When the bin is full, I sort and pass items along to a friend whose son is nearly a year younger than mine. Of course, if we have more children, I’ll need to rethink my system, but it works for now.
    Trina´s last blog ..Mastering Leftovers: Spinach Pizza My ComLuv Profile


  17. I love the sharpie idea! So easy, but never thought of it.

    Anne in NC… just given me a ahhhha moment! My girls are 8 and 10, but there are 3 to 4 years between the time the first girl wears the clothes and the next girl wears the clothes. Plus, one girl has a long torso, short legs, and thin. The other is average, average, average. So nothing fits the little one, so I keep nothing. Now that they are older, and are not matching everything, I am going to go with the shirt and bottoms box. No labeling sizes and if the little one need a new pair of shorts we can shop from that box. I was so hung up on sizes, I can not think past the sizes.
    Thanks Ladies!
    I use Ziploc XXL bags and slide them under the beds. Hope that helps someone.


  18. We have used this system for several years. A super organized friend of mine came up with it. One thing I will incorporate is changing the sizes on oddly sized things. We have really enjoyed it as our family has grown the system has done just fine!


  19. we do just exactly this with our clothes. and the other thing i see already mentioned in the comments…i don’t keep things that i don’t LOVE. i always want to buy some new things anyway. add in that with the coordinating outfits that i want to purchase for the new child and all the siblings and it is silly to keep anything that we don’t absolutely love.

    our 4 girls are almost exactly the same sizes. =)


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