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Back to School Week 1: Getting Your Kids' Clothing Organized

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

August is all about back to school here at Reset Your Nest! This month, I'll have a new blog post each week breaking down the top areas to get organized so your back-to-school season is as smooth and seamless as ever. Plus, I put together a great back-to-school checklist where you can follow my exact plan for getting organized before the craziness of school starts. Get that HERE.

For our first week of back-to-school, we're going to cover kids' clothing. I actually have an entire blog post HERE that breaks down how I rotate my children's clothing seasonally, but today we're going to focus specifically on back to school. This includes getting their closets organized and setting up your back-to-school shopping to be a success. First up, let's talk about storing your kids' clothes.

Cleaning Out and Organizing Your Kids' Closets

If you have multiple children, I suggest tackling one or two closets a day. Set aside one on one time with each child (or children if they share a closet). Breaking it up like this should be easy to tackle within a few days, before our next back-to-school challenge next week.

Step 1: I like to start with a clean room and clean clothes so I make sure laundry is done the morning of or the day before.

Step 2: Once my child’s room is clean, we sort through all their clothes and treasures. I like to set a timer once I see what we are dealing with. If it looks doable, I’ll set a time for 30 minutes and promise the child that if they stay focused and work with me the whole time, they can choose where we end our back-to-school shopping date (ic. frozen yogurt or snow cones).

Step 3: Donate anything that is too small, has holes, or is not loved and worn.

Step 4: Write a list of clothing items needed for each kid for the school year. I love switching out socks and underwear at the start of the school year. Throwing out all the mismatched socks and starting fresh feels so good.

*Tip: Try to stick to a color or color theme for each child with underclothing. My 11-year-old boy has all black socks and underwear, my 13-year-old has white and gray. It is hard to find girl socks that are all the same color, but my older daughter always has muted colors (peach, white, gray) and my younger daughter has bright pinks in general. This makes it much easier when sorting laundry to remember what socks and underwear belong to who.

With kid clothes, I think less is more. Fewer clothes make getting ready easier (no decisions to make). You also get more bang for your buck because your children get more wear out of each item. Here is what I would consider an ideal wardrobe for children:

  • Shirts

  • Shorts

  • Jeans/Pants/Leggings

  • Socks

  • Hoodie/sweatshirt

  • Underwear

  • 1 pair of tennis shoes

  • 1 pair of casual shoes

  • 1 pair of sandals

*Tip: I really only focus on clothing that will work through fall. My kids grow so fast that making sure they have something nice to wear on the first day of school and adequate clothing for the first couple of months is really all I am worried about. Trying to plan beyond that can feel like a lot.

Step 5: Put clothes back where they go. Teach your child to file fold or maintain the systems you are establishing. Add labels if you don’t already have them. Help them create systems they will be successful at. Plan the first day of school outfit.

Outfit Choosing Hack

If you have a child who needs help deciding what to wear each day (or the opposite problem of having a child who wants to wear the SAME CLOTHES every day of the week), try hanging a shoe organizer in their closet. You can teach them how to roll up an outfit (you can even through socks and underwear in there as well) for each day o the week in the compartments. Getting the habit of doing this when putting away clean laundry helps so much.

Organized Back to School Shopping

After cleaning out closets and drawers, you should give yourself a pat on the back. You probably have a very long list of clothing needs at this point. I love shopping deals, so if there are deals/basics you know can get online, start there.

If you are on the fence about ordering online, put a little star next to it on the list. When you are shopping later that day, this will tell you that there is an online option you can purchase at the end of the day if you don’t find a better option in person. Make a plan as to which stores you need to hit. I usually keep it pretty basic and get as much as I can at Target, Old Navy, etc. If there are other stores, make sure you know what you want to get at each store.

Schedule a time to go shopping with each child. If this requires a babysitter or swap with a friend to stay home with the others, I think it is so worth it. Having alone time with each kid makes the experience fun instead of chaotic and turns it into an event. To efficiently go to multiple stores in one day, allow each child to choose one of the stores on your list. While you are there grab anything on your list for that store even if it is for a different child. Gotta keep it efficient!

Once shopping is complete, make sure that everything ends up where it is supposed to go. Are clothing items put in their proper place in drawers, dressers, bins, and closets? Are winter coats stored and put away? Are socks, jackets, and other items in a convenient location to grab while going out the door? Be intentional about where you put each item, and put it there first thing when unloading your shopping haul.

My Favorite Products for Organizing Kids' Clothes

Having the right products and systems will set your entire family up for success during the school year. Here is what I love using in kids' closets and dressers.

Do you feel ready to tackle clothing before your kids go back to school? You have all week to accomplish this before our next challenge, coming in a week!

Happy organizing + shopping!

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Jen is the founder of Reset Your Nest, a Professional Home Organizing business in Utah (Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, Logan, Utah County, and St. George), California (Bay Area, Los Gatos, Hillsborough, Atherton, San Jose), Denver, CO, and Phoenix, AZ. She loves creating order and systems out of chaos. Her specialty is finding a way to continue the aesthetic of any home to every cupboard and drawer. She shares her tips and tricks on Instagram @reset_your_nest.

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