I don't know about you, but January always seems to have me organizing (re-organizing) our home. No matter what lovely organizational plan I come up with, it seems I still have to go through things again a couple times a year (except our home library -- it always stays perfectly organized, even with a toddler around -- I'll write more about that system later).
One area that frequently seems to get out of control is the family clothing. Kids grow out of things, styles and tastes change, the dryer eats only one sock at a time (why can't both socks disappear, just to keep things even? The mystery of the missing sock has always bugged me. I keep trying to figure out where they went. I mean, how can they just vanish forever? How? ARGH!!!) When I finally give up and accept that the poor sock as lost forever, I usually throw the other in the trash. Unless I have a little one around (Oh, look. I do.) Then I keep the lonely sock for sock puppets and make the older kids perform elaborate sock puppet plays for Pickle-Mickle's entertainment. Or at least I try too. They usually just give me a blank look.
But I digress. Back to organizing clothing. Part of the frightening closest/drawer dilemma comes from outgrown clothing that should have been culled, but wasn't. Part of it comes from clothing the kids don't really like and therefore won't wear, but you like, so you keep. The only way to deal with either of these is to get in there with your kiddos and go through those closets and drawers. This is what I will be doing sometime during the next couple weeks.
Be ruthless. I mean, if your kids aren't wearing it, should they really have to keep moving it aside to get to the things they actually wear. And if they love it, but it doesn't fit, it's time to let it go (this goes for the adults, too.) Have a going away party if you need to, but let it go. You can take the nice culls to a charity, a consignment shop, or give them away. Release those clothes to live another life somewhere else. Really, it's okay. They will be happier in their new home. The upshot of this sad parting is that it will be so much easier to come up with an outfit when your closet if only full of things you like and that fit you. It is the answer to the "I don't have anything to wear" issue.
After you have culled the unnecessary items, it is time evaluate what you or your kids really need and come up with a plan. Without a plan, you will be inundated with clothing clutter again before you can say "There's no place like home". Which brings me to my next point:
Another reason for hopelessly disorganized closets and drawers is that we needlessly bring all those clothes into our homes. How many times have you been shopping and seen a good deal on something -- say, socks. But you couldn't remember who needed what or in what size or in what color. So you either skipped the sale or bought socks for everybody. Now there are too many socks in some peoples drawers. Those are extra socks that get pushed aside, piled up, tumbled and tossed while your kids look for the perfect pair to go with their outfit. Ditto for shirts, pants, and accessories. Just because it's on sale or it's cute doesn't mean we need it. And buying things we don't need is probably the single biggest reason for our clutter (and our empty bank accounts, I might add...)
What's a girl to do? How on earth do we keep it down to what our family actually needs and will actually wear? Where are the Clutter Busters when we need them? Why do drivers turn on the turn signal after they change lanes?
Enter this handy dandy printable from Grocery Shrink (who happens to be a wealth of practical, frugal ideas). She pre-plans her family's clothing like she pre-plans her menus. And she tells us how to do it, too. I have printed up a sheet for each family member. As I declutter everyone's closet, I will also be filling out her Clothing Menu charts. And then I will be a Clothes Shopping Ninja! Hi-yah!