I had been preparing for weeks. Visually scanning the battlefield, brainstorming about how I may or may not be able to conquer the course, and eventually decided enough was enough. Tuesday was the day. The day I would take part in, what I must admit, an event no one warned me about in baby books. Chapter after chapter talked about first foods, whether or not to vaccinate, the best car seat, how to know your baby was taking in enough milk, so on and so forth. But I never recall that one chapter regarding closets. Kids closets. Specifically, the mental and physical energy it takes to successfully complete the infamous seasonal closet switch outs. Oh geesh. I need an espresso just talking about it.
So yeah, last Tuesday was the day. My girls were with my mother in law, and I had two hours to kill before I needed to be somewhere. So I went for it. I surveyed the land, I prepared the tools, I gulped some water, I recited the Serenity Prayer, and I went in head first. I survived. I still have one more daughter’s closet of mayhem to sort through, but I survived round 1. The score at halftime: Mom: 1, 4yr old’s closet:0. I did it.
In the chance we are anything alike, and the sound of fall leaves crunching under your feet, while the cool air makes you chill, not only calms you, but reminds you that soon enough sandals and tanks will bid farewell (aka mini-panic attack sets in), then consider this some guidance.
I am no professional in this area, but I do want to provide you with a few mantras I followed during Tuesday’s debacle. Here we go, my top 4 recommendations:
- Timing – in other words, don’t try to complete a hardcore-thorough-no holds bar closet switch out when life in your home is absolutely bonkers. Well, when isn’t life bonkers? But you get my drift. If you can set the kids up with an activity that you know they will stay tuned into, plan for this. It may need to be an electronic device, play doh, crafts, doll house destruction. Whatever it is. They need to stay far far away. If you can plan ahead for a sitter, or a family member to watch them, even better! If they can nap in a different room besides there own, do it. Just make sure you have a clear path and no little sweet toes trampling around you. Trust me. This is crucial
- Stay focused – Put your phone away. Heck, turn that baby off (gah!). Zero distractions is the key. You don’t want this lasting hours and decades. Get it done sister! I tore my 4 yr olds closet and drawers apart, separated, replaced, reorganized, refolded, etc in about an hour. I didn’t take potty or beverage breaks (though a glass of merlot sounded good right around 15minutes into it). I hit the ground running.
- Have a plan – Do not attempt this blindly. Have a plan. Whatever that plan is, stick to it. My plan was the following:
- Closet – take out all small clothes, replace with larger clothes, all while organizing into categories. Short sleeve and long sleeve ‘nicer’ shirts/tops. Zip up fleece/sweaters. Long sleeve dresses. Short sleeve dresses. ‘Fancy’ dresses. At the top of her closet I sifted through the pile of madness, other wise known as play shirts and long sleeve shirts. I took out, replaced, and folded. Easy to access. Organized. Boom. Done.
- Drawers – take out all small clothes, replace with larger clothes, all while reevaluating “will she really wear this.” I then followed some of the Konmari method for organizing her pants, shorts, skirts and pajama drawers. Underwear and socks I just threw in their drawers, because I have bigger battles to fight (sorry, not sorry, all my ultra organized mamas!).
- Shoes – easy. Do they fit? No = take out of the room. Yes (including just a smidge too big) = place on top of closet shelf by or in respective boxes. Done.
- Repurpose – Ok. Now what to do with the piles of ‘too small’ clothing and shoes. You have a few options.
- Give them away to a local organization, homeless shelter, day care, or non profit who is in need of kids goodies.
- Resell the nicer clothing items (or simply refer back to #1). There are a variety of locally run ‘moms groups’ on Facebook. There are also consignment sales that occur seasonally, or perhaps have your own garage sale. If the thought of organizing to resell makes you want to just throw in the towel of motherhood, then place them in a sturdy bin for when you are mentally prepared to do so. Sometimes it is nice to make a few pieces of green off of your kiddos cute leggings.
- Save for the next child (my current situation). Again, if you need to just throw them in a bin for now, for the sake of sanity, then by all means do so. Plan to, at some point, organize the chaos for your next child. I personally keep 2 bins for each size. For example: 4t warm weather clothes and 4t cool weather clothes. Same size, different weather themes, and not too ultra type A. Second born is taken care of. Done.
- Relax & Reflect – You did it. I am doing a happy dance for you! Now go relax. Don’t worry about that room for a few days. Perhaps, if you feel it necessary, walk your spouse/partner and kiddo through the newly organized room, so everyone is on the same page. Yes, I did this with my hubby and my 4.5yr old, and actually my little gal loves it! She can now see her individual skirts (thank you Konmari, yet again!), and knows exactly where her dresses are in the closet. My husband also realizes that there is somewhat of a method to my madness. This method is partially in place to now save us from losing our minds on laundry day. Bask in the glory of your finished product mama. You did it!
What are your recommendations when conquering the seasonal closet switch out? Please share!