Inside: Instead of digging through a massive pile of clean clothes to find something for your kids to wear, use this super simple secret to organize kids clothes.

Mom and her two year old son sit on  the laundry room floor and happily sort through clothes. | organize kids clothes

Do you ever feel like your kids run into the age old problem of having tons of clothes but nothing to wear? You dig through a massive pile of clean clothes, only to settle on an orange plaid shirt with green camo pants.

Psst! I have a secret to share with you. Wouldn’t you like to know a super simple secret to organize kids clothes and make your mornings just a tiny bit smoother? In this post, I’ll tell you how to do just that.

The early morning battles

My 5 year old HATES getting dressed. He’d be happy if he could go to the store, the post office and to preschool in his underwear. 

Even though he’s fully capable of independently dressing himself, the common phrase heard in my house is “I cannnn’t!”

To add to the chaos, many of his clothes are filled with stripes, patterns, or cartoon characters that it can often be hard to find a matching outfit. After running around like a chicken with my head cut off morning after morning, I had had enough and wanted to find some serenity in the chaos. 

Our mornings have enough whining about being hungry or not wanting to go potty. I don’t need additional grief from the clothes.

Maybe you’re like me, mama, and you’re eager to organize your kids clothes and get control of the chaos. Maybe your kids drawers are packed to the gills and you can’t navigate through the mess.

Whatever the case, I’m here to help. Your mornings don’t have to be filled with chaos and frustration.

Here is the simple system I developed to organize kids clothes. 

Not only does it cut down on the hassle and stress in the morning, it helps your child build independence.

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The Best Way to Organize Kids Clothes

Get rid of unnecessary clothes

We aren’t minimalists in many areas of our lives, but our clothes is one area that we are. We keep a week’s worth of clothes for all four of us (2 adults, a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old).

While you don’t have to be quite as strict, it’s probably likely you have way to many kids clothes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average U.S. household spends $1866 on clothing and accessories, which is almost a quarter of the amount we spend per year on food. 😳

If we add in the fact that many of us get hand-me-downs of kids clothes or store clothes from one child to the next, your kids most likely have more outfits than they can wear before they grow out of them.

What clothes are your favorites?

Start by selecting the clothes that are your favorites. What outfits do you gravitate towards? Which clothes are always going through the laundry?

Pull all the favorite clothes to the side. Pair up clothes into outfits so you can see what you have a lot of (95 t-shirts, maybe) and what is lacking (only 2 pairs of pants).

How many outfits do your kids need?

Next, count how many days these outfits would cover. I’d recommend keeping no more than two weeks, but feel free to pick a number that works best for your family.

Here’s the thing…you are doing laundry on a weekly basis right? (If not, go read this post about implementing a weekly laundry schedule.)

When you’re doing laundry at least once a week, there’s no logical reason to keep more than 14 days worth of outfits. Honestly, keeping more clothes will make your home harder to manage.

Based on my personal experience, it is psychologically harder to do the laundry when there are 3-4 loads of it vs doing a load here and a load there.

Messy pile of laundry. | organize kids clothes

Before kids, our laundry used to be out of control because we had no system. We let dirty laundry pile up in the corner of the closet until we no longer had clean undies.

We’d then dedicate an entire Saturday to washing, drying, folding and putting away 4 loads of laundry.

Then we had a baby (who was a crazy spitter-upper) and the rate our dirty laundry accumulated double or tripled.

Our loosey goosey system no longer worked. So I painstakingly put a system in place that worked, even for someone like me who even forgets to brush my teeth.

Put a weekly laundry schedule into place so you’re doing laundry on a regular basis. 

Then pick no more than 14 days of kids clothes. Less clothes means less to take care of which means less frustration.

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Line up outfits

Back to the outfits you have laid out.

👉 Keep in mind: just because you pair up pants and a shirt together, doesn’t mean they will always need to stick together…that’s way too much for my scattered brain to handle.

The point is just to visualize how many outfits your child has to wear. It is far easier to declutter and organize kids clothes this way.

Fill in the holes by looking back at the unsorted pile. In our example of having only 2 pairs of pants, we want to go through the pile to find more pairs of pants until we have enough outfits.

7 year old boy carrying a cardboard box full of clothes. | organize kids clothes

Declutter the rest

Okay, this part is hard. I’ll admit it. But just remember your goal: to have less stressful mornings.

Sometimes you need to give yourself a little tough love: do you want the stuff or the life?

Because you can keep the stuff. But that’s not going to get you closer to a simplified life that has a lot less stress and a lot more fun.

When you declutter by first picking out your favorites, it can help you emotionally when it comes to decluttering the rest.

Sure, you may have a few extra shirts you keep on hand just in case some get stained. Or a fancy outfit for special occasions.

But if you are trying to hold onto 95 shirts, do yourself a favor. Pick the favorites (enough for that 1-2 weeks of outfits) and get rid of the rest.

Check this out: Learn how to organize toys even if you’re overwhelmed by the chaos

Organize Kids Clothes by Sorting into Outfits

I used to sort clothes so that the shirts were in one pile, the pants in another, and so on. What I ended up with was a drawer that was always cluttered. 

I’d give my 5-year-old his clean and folded clothes to put away, and he’d dump them all into one big pile, often rendering my folding useless. 🤦‍♀️

Instead, do this:

Instead of sorting clothes by shirts, pants, etc. → sort them into outfits.

We sorted by outfits when we went through the decluttering portion of this post, but I also want you to do this every time you do laundry.

It makes life sooo much easier to sort outfits ahead of time, as soon as you finish folding the clean clothes.

Make each outfit complete: shirt, pants/shorts, undies and socks.

Image of shoe caddy organized with kids clothes. Each slot has a complete outfit.

Use a shoe caddy to organize clothes

We use this shoe caddy to organize kids clothes. It’s made to vertically store up to 10 pairs of shoes. 

But instead of storing shoes, we use the caddy to put a complete outfit in each slot.

Every morning, my son goes into his room and takes all the clothes from one caddy and dumps them onto the floor. On magical mornings, he also gets himself dressed all by himself. 😂

You can already see how much easier this can make your mornings. Your child has the independence to pick out their own outfit and you have the assurance that it will be appropriate for the day’s activities.

If you have an extremely picky dresser, involve them in the process of putting outfits together and putting them into the caddies.

For older kids with bulkier clothing, you can buy a hanging organizer that is made specifically for clothes.

You’ll love: Dream playroom organization ideas and how you can implement them on a budget

Imagine stress-free mornings…

Wouldn’t you rather have time to sip your coffee than spend that same time rooting through mountains of clothes for something for your child to wear? 

Make it easy on yourself, mama. By doing this work ahead of time to sort out the outfits, you give yourself less work to do later on. (Think of it as helping out your future self.)

Things will eventually get done. Your children will get changed. You will eventually get out the door. 

But why not do a simple thing ahead of time to make your life so much more relaxed and enjoyable?

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