Last week it was the toy shelf, this week I have been reorganising the children’s drawers and wardrobes. It an ideal time to do this job, as all the shops have started to stock their winter range, so I need to sort out what we each child has and what, if any new items they will need for the upcoming autumn/winter.
I try to encourage my children to dress independently and this means having their drawers and wardrobes easily accessible. It is easier with the two older boys as they have smaller drawers, but Possum has only two very large drawers, which means once she has had a ruffle through things to find what she is looking for, it is often left in quite a mess. To solve this problem I have placed shoe boxes and cut up nappy boxes in her drawers, to create separate, defined areas. She has a defined area for socks, underwear and pyjamas in her top drawer. In her bottom drawer, there are separate sections for tops, bottoms and her Metallicus stuff. I have been doing this for few months now and it has worked very well for both of us, in that Possum can easily find what she is looking for, and she can also put her own clothes away in their right spot.
ALLOWING FOR INDEPENDENT DRESSING
Possum has a very eclectic sense of style and has been independently dressing herself since she was two. This initially caused me a great deal of angst, because the combinations of clothes that she would put on, were often far from what I would have liked her to be wearing. I would try to get her to change, but this would end up as a battle.
In some of her more unusual outfits, I would comment to other mums along the lines of “Don’t mind Possum, you can tell that she dressed herself this morning.” One day a mum responded to this in a light hearted manner, saying that “Possum seems very happy with what she is wearing, it seems that mum has the problem.” And this was indeed true. She had beautiful clothes (lots of generous donations of gorgeous hand me downs) and I wanted her to look a certain way. As awful as this is to admit, I was worried about what other mums might think of the way she was dressed. I guess I was seeing her dress sense, as more of reflection of me, than Possum having a chance to dress herself how she wanted.
With this realisation, I took the next opportunity when I was in the house without Possum, to reorganise her wardrobe and drawers. I removed any items that would be particularly difficult for me to live with and decided from this point, not to comment on her outfits, other than to make sure they were weather appropriate. This situation is much more tolerable for both of us. I have realised that the most important thing is that she does it herself and Possum does not have to worry about my criticism any longer. There are still moments when she enters the kitchen dressed for the day and below the surface smile, I cringe a little at the red shorts, purple singlet and pink striped long socks. But she is happy, dressed appropriately for the weather and that is really all that matters.
MINIMISING THE CLOTHES
When I go through the kids drawers, I remove any clothes that will no longer fit the kids, anything that has become to shabby and I also make sure I limit how many clothes are in the drawers.
As I mentioned earlier, we have been the recipient of some generous hand me downs and this can mean that there is quite a lot of clothes to choose from. To make this more manageable, I will only put a particular amount in the kids drawers and then have the remainder on high shelves in their wardrobes. I can then rotate them through their drawers to keep up variety, but without having the drawers over flowing. Having the drawers filled with clothes, not only looks messy and makes it harder for the kids to find what they are looking for, but can also make the decision process seem overwhelming. for the younger children. Less is sometimes enough! Also I tend to find that they all have their favourite items that they want to wear frequently.
We are lucky enough to have some of the wardrobes in the kids rooms with lower hanging rails, which makes it so much easier for the kids to negotiate selecting clothes to wear and putting them away. I always think that adjustable rails would be perfect as you could move the shelf as they grow, but as we don’t have those, I have to make do higher rails in some of the wardrobes. As it works out, this is only an issue for Possum at the moment. (Little Rascal has lower rails, The Thinker can reach his higher rails and Babagansouki is not at this stage yet.)
Possum has built in wardrobes from floor to ceiling, so we have a non slip stool, in the bottom of the wardrobe that she can easily pull out and use to choose her dresses and jackets as required. (Although this does not have to get used very often at the moment because it is summer and she is really into wearing shorts at the moment and is rarely in a dress.)
When reorganising the wardrobes I like to section the clothing in to like types, eg school/kinder, jackets, sports uniforms, dresses etc. and again taking out anything that does not fit, isn’t worn or is past its use by date.
Here are a couple of other sites that you might find helpful if you too are reorganising the children’s wardrobes and drawers:
The Organized Home takes an overall look at kids rooms.
Oragnizing and Decorating Kid’s Rooms takes a look at closet/wardrobe design.
Zenhabits looks at decluttering closets and drawers (not just kids).