Each person had their own place to keep their shoes: either a large tub for the little ones, or a shoe hanger to hang in the closet. When the children took off their shoes, they were instructed to put them in their place. On those days when shoes couldn’t be found, after helping them look, I would gently remind them that a system only works if we work it, and that I don’t wear their shoes, yet I end up spending my time helping them look for them when they don’t follow through in caring for them.

We make use of vertical space by using the four-tiered multiple skirt/pants racks. Jackets are hung together, dressy clothes towards the back of the closet or in the least reachable place, based on their frequency of use. Long sleeved shirts hang in a group, as do play dresses, short sleeved shirts, and pants.

For seasonal clothes, we store them in tubs on the top shelf of the closets, and in lidded bins under the beds. I try to label everything so next year I don’t have to rummage through each box to refresh my memory and find what we need.

Laundry: The goal became to stay on top of the laundry and create a system to simplify the process. So, we purchased some shelves and large laundry baskets. We labeled the shelves with the different ways we sort the laundry: whites, lights, reds, greens, darks, and jeans. We also separated towels into lights and darks. Each category had its own basket and spot on the shelves so the children who had the task of taking dirty clothes to the laundry room could easily put them into the proper basket. This made it so much easier on me, since the sorting was already finished--and the laundry room was organized and not in disarray.

Since I don’t like to iron, I set a timer to remind me when the dryer has finished its cycle, and I can whip those items out of the dryer before the wrinkles have a chance to set. A rod with coat hangers in the laundry room helps me with this task, and is also used for hanging those things which should be line-dried.

Preparation

Some ways we prepared for our clothing needs were just really being aware of our lifestyle, activities and climate. First, we tried to stay on top of upcoming events. A field trip to the zoo requires different clothes than going to the symphony. So, weekly or monthly overviews of the calendar help us prepare.

Being aware of the times children tend to grow and change sizes helps us keep each child outfitted with clothes and shoes which still fit.

When we lived in south Florida, we had only one real season, with variations on the hot theme which made our clothing needs simple. Now that we live in a climate with four distinct seasons, we have seasonal clothes which range from lightweight summer outfits to coats, hats and mittens. Going through these twice a year helps us maintain a useable wardrobe.

In the early spring, we pick a day to sort last year’s summer clothing to see what fits, what doesn’t, and what we need to buy or make to complete our needs. We make a list of the things we need to buy, which makes our shopping easier. In the fall, we go through this same routine for our winter clothes.

Another way we prepare is to have the accessories we need for each item. My little girls love hair accessories, so we bought each of them a hinged-lid plastic box with a handle to store their hair items in. This helps so much with getting ready for church on Sunday mornings, especially. Belts have their own special organizer attached to the wall; each hook holds several belts. Socks, stockings, jackets and sweaters, scarves and other accessories are all stored in similar ways.

I also take the children’s measurements* about twice a year and put them on a 3x5 card. When shopping without the children, I consult these cards and am still able to purchase items for them with relative accuracy of fit. This works especially well for garage sales and consignment shopping.