Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A CHILD'S DAILY UNIFORMA few posts ago, I shared the uniform concept that I follow.

In the last few months, I have taken time to rethink and rework my children's clothing as well. I began in the laundry room, where I often felt like I lived. I didn't mind the washing and folding but putting the clothes away was something I dreaded as I lugged full laundry baskets up a flight of stairs to cram the freshly folded clothes into already full drawers. I knew there was a way to simplify my laundry routine.

The first step was to stack my front loading washer and dryer. This freed up space in my small laundry room for a clothes chest. I haven't yet found a well made, inexpensive chest of drawers, so in the meantime, I am making do with small plastic stacking drawers that were being used for various organization in the attic and closets. I had four children's clothes + cloth diapers to fit in to six small drawers.

The cloth diapers take up one drawer. Each of the children have one drawer, and the older two boys share the remaining drawer for underwear/socks/pajamas. Once I find a chest of drawers, I will have quite a bit more room, since the plastic drawers are a lot smaller than dresser drawers.

I then sorted out each child's clothes. For the most part, my boys wear solid colored fitted tees with either jeans, navy shorts, or khaki pants. I did keep a few striped tees but mostly solid tops and bottoms mean that everything matches, the children can easily dress themselves, and I like the classic, simple look. Each child has 2-3 pairs of pants, 2-3 pairs of shorts, 4-5 shirts, a handful of socks and underwear, and 2 pairs of pajamas. This excludes the few dressier shirts the boys wear to church, that hang in their closet.
The baby has an assortment of mix and match onesies, pants, and button down sweaters in white, tan, and baby blue.

In the attic, I have four rubbermaid storage containers of clothes for ages 0-2t, 2t-4, 4-6, and 6+. If I have more clothes than I can fit in the bins, I pare down and give some away or consign them. I intentionally keep my storage bins and clothes drawers small so I can't mindlessly add to what I have previously determined is adequate.

There are several factors that make dressing my children pretty simple.
-I have all boys. It would be more challenging if I had to store clothes for boys and girls (and would probably want a lot more for a little girl!).

-I am very laid back about my children's clothing. While I want them to be dressed in a simple way that really highlights the child (rather than a cartoon or advertisement on the shirt), I also don't really care about them being dressed up. They're boys! I expect them to trash their clothes, always have dirt under their fingernails, and holes in the knees of their pants.

In the summer, the boys' wardrobes are pared down even further. There is one drawer upstairs that holds nothing but swim trunks. That drawer will get traded out for clothes in the laundry room later this month. There are 13-14 pairs of swim trunks (all hand me downs from generous friends), and the boys can wear most of them interchangeably (they just are baggier on the smaller kids). Truly, they live out of swim trunks in the summer. We spend most of every day in the summer at the local water park (we buy a family season pass), the back yard sprinkler, or the beach. If we need to go somewhere, they can throw on one of their solid colored tees. On Sunday, they exchange the swim trunks for nicer shorts. Laundry is such a breeze in the summer!

I know as my children get older, laundry will probably be more complicated...the clothes will be bigger and the opinions will be stronger! For now though, this system is working great for us!


  1. You're right, it can be more complicated with girls. I am ever vigilant of clothes getting too small or worn, and selling or giving them away. But the urge to buy pretty things is strong in me & Sophie, so her closet fills up again.

    Are you set on a dresser? How about shelving, with the smaller items in baskets?

  2. I just started putting Winter clothes away today and decided that I am NOT going to put every piece of clothing out that I have just because I have it. It is so much easier laundry wise when they only have a handful of shirts and shorts available to them. Otherwise the laundry piles up because I don't HAVE to do it. I'm all for simplifying things this summer! :)

  3. I have girls and a boy, and yes, girls clothing is a different story. We even have to make room for (hand-me-down) pretty dresses that they never wear anywhere else but the house. The good thing is, the girls put away their own (the 5-yr-old gets help from big sisters.)
    The little boy, on the other hand, is pretty simple: a few shirts, pants, leg warmers, cloth diapers, etc, so he gets to share a small closet with us:)

  4. oh, and I love the fact that the boys live on swim trunks in the summer! lol

  5. Hey there could you give some suggestions on what you would have if you had a girl? I have two boys and a girl 4yrs old. Thanks

  6. girl, you know I am LOVIN' this post so much and told my sister about your clothes-in-the-laundry-room concept. It's just pure brilliance. It won't work in my space, BUT I am lovin' the swim trunks idea and really paring down the shorts/shirts that we own (again!)
    My sister brought up an interesting point...that most people buy more clothes to be noticed ie if we wear the same things over and again we feel like others may not "see" us anymore. We keep things "fresh" to be seen and commented on. Interesting thought!

  7. I find with young girls it's easy to have simple cotton knit dresses to play in or church (ala Lands' End). You can always throw a pair of cotton knit shorts under the dress too. They wash and dry well, durable, comfortable, cute and SIMPLE.

  8. Love that pic of the Bow-Wow. That's the cutest jacket ever!

  9. Love that pic of the Bow-Wow. That's the cutest jacket ever!

  10. Anonymous1:20 PM

    this post saved me from certain laundry insanity... really! I've been praying for a solution to the never-ending laundry in our house. Thank you for the ideas!!! I am going to work on this first thing Monday morning.

  11. Thanks Laurel yet again, I am challenged by your simplicity. We are having a yard sale next weekend and I am going to use a lot of your principles. I just feel like we are so overloaded in some areas. We can either sell some next weekend or give to another that may be in need. Just the post I was looking for!

  12. I agree with the shelf and basket idea.baskets for small items. the shelves can go up higher than a chest. i know all about laundry being a full time job. i even hung out all the clothes except undies and socks. they last longer. especially jeans.

  13. I agree with the shelf and basket idea.baskets for small items. the shelves can go up higher than a chest. i know all about laundry being a full time job. i even hung out all the clothes except undies and socks. they last longer. especially jeans.

  14. Delightful-little boys in jeans and t-shirts. I kept a "uniform" for my boys too and I even dressed them to match until they started to complain and find their own style,