If you have little girls you may have noticed that the vast majority of their clothing is sold as sets of matching tops and bottoms or is part of a line of mix-and-match solids and prints. This is all very well and good if you’re buying clothing at the store, but can be tricky when you throw hand-me-downs into the mix.
With our son, this doesn’t seem to be a problem because he’s completely happy with jeans and long sleeve t-shirts. Of course, we could just adopt a similar wardrobe for our daughters, but our girls are not plain jeans and t-shirts kind of girls
Our daughters seem to have lots of tops and bottoms that only go with one thing or several shirts that go with a couple bottoms. This can make getting dressed tricky when that one pair of matching pants is in the laundry.
For a while now, Tim and I have been trying to come up with a system to simplify and organize the girls’ clothes. I’ve been at a loss as to what to get rid of. I didn’t want to simply limit them to a certain number of tops and bottoms because I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to put together matching outfits, but I think we’ve finally come up with a solution!
We’re in the process of organizing all of the girls’ clothing into outfits and hanging them together in their closet. While this does mean we need a bottom for every top and vice versa, it also means that we’ll be able to get dressed without searching for something to match. Thankfully, we have quite a few children’s hangers with pant clips from all the baby and toddler outfits we’ve received in the past 6 years.
This will also help us get rid of excess clothing without worrying that we’re giving away the one pair of pants that matches our daughter’s favorite shirt.
We’ll also keep a couple pairs of jeans and a few random shirts in their drawers for messy play.
So far, we’ve gone through our 5-year-old’s clothes and this system seems to be working well.
1. Start with all of her clothes. That means going through the laundry and making sure every single piece of (day-time) clothing is present. You can skip over the socks, undies, and pajamas.
2. Weed out anything she’s outgrown, worn out or stained.
3. Organize the clothes into like categories. Our categories were shirts, pants, dresses, and skirts. When we go through her clothes for the summer the pants category will change to shorts/capris.
4. Now start matching up tops and bottoms into outfits. It helps to start with the wildest prints or the items that you know only match one or two other pieces.
5. As you match items you may need to make choices, such as if you have two shirts that both only match one pair of pants.
Here you can either make the choice yourself or ask your daughter which shirt she would rather keep and which one she’d like to share with another little girl.
Since, Emahry is 5-years-old I chose to ask her opinion about several outfits–this outfit solution wouldn’t work nearly as well if she ended up hating some of the outfits. By involving your daughter it’s more likely she’ll wear these outfits without any protest.
6. Once everything is matched up, take stock of what you have.
Were you only able to put together four outfits because your daughter is lacking pants? Maybe the simplicity of having outfits organized together would be worth the cost of hunting down some pants to make outfits with a few of her favorite tops.
Does your daughter have enough outfits to wear a new one every day for three weeks straight? Maybe you could consider letting her choose her favorite 12 outfits and pass the others to another family or donate them to a local school, shelter, church, or thrift store.
With Emahry’s wardrobe we came up with 15 outfits. This is definitely more than she needs! Instead of getting rid of outfits right off the bat I decided to try a trick that worked for me last year. We placed all of the outfits in her closet with the hangers backwards. After she wears an outfit we’ll hang it back in the closet the correct way. In two weeks, we’ll see which outfits she hasn’t worn and we’ll have a better idea of which ones (and how many) we can pass on to someone else.