Saturday, September 11, 2010

Organizing School Clothes

You may remember the last time I re-systemed Monkey Boy's closet (is re-systemed a word? Well, it is now...). As we approached the beginning of Kindergarten last month, I starting thinking about upgrades that needed to be made to our morning routine. First, my husband and I both agreed we needed Monkey using his own bathroom in the morning. After all, if you're lucky enough to HAVE two bathrooms, doesn't it make sense to use them both, not to cram all three family members around one sink? If one more person spits toothpaste on my sleeve 2 minutes before we're supposed to walk out the door...oy! Second, I wanted to make sure that Monkey's clothes were laid out the night before by him. This was successful about 50% of the time during our second year of preschool, but we didn't have a good bin system in place (the older my child gets, the more I realize our home will eventually consist entirely of bins!). It does seem important for Monkey Boy to take full responsibility choosing and preparing his school outfits this year, now that he is in elementary school.

So, where to start? Different systems work for different families, of course. My mother, for example, a single, working mother of two, solved the clothing issue with me at this age by having me put on my school clothes the night before. Seriously. Then, in the morning, she just had to roll me out of bed, make sure my teeth got brushed, and hand me a bowl of cereal to eat in the car. Ah, the wrinkly, unwashed mess you can get away with being when you grow up in Oregon! I enjoy reminding my husband of this story when he gets frustrated by Monkey's less-than-perfect hygiene work. "Hey, at least he's brushing his hair..." ;-)

Clearly, wrinkled and sleep-stinky is not an option for us. Did I mention one sweats quite a bit living in 100+ Texas? I still had most of the old bins from Monkey's closet stacked neatly by his door (several of them traveled to Daddy's classroom, where they are now happily collecting papers). When I realized I had five bins, one lid, and a set of wheels, I thought this would be a great system to try to help Monkey organize his school clothes. Looking aro
und Monkey's room , though, I realized there wasn't space for a bin tower, what with the bunk beds, desk, keyboard and train table already taking up the limited real estate. Think outside the room...aha! It seems that the answer to both of our morning routine issues were located in the least-used room in our apartment: Bathroom #2.

After setting up the bin tower, I labeled each bin with a day of th
e week, then reinforced the labels with packing tape. With a five-year-old boy, everything needs an extra layer of tape! Monkey was overjoyed when I revealed the system to him and immediately wanted to pick his clothes for the first week of school.

Following a successful first week of school, things got a little more complicated than just shorts, t-shirt, undies, socks, shoes. During the past two weeks, and this co
ming week, Monkey's class was studying a different color every day, so his teacher requested the class wear a particular color each day (ex: Monday - Red, Tuesday - Blue, Wednesday - Yellow, etc.). Then there's PE twice a week, which means Monkey has to wear sneakers those days. So for these weeks, on Friday afternoon I make a short list outlining color themes and shoe requirements, present them to Monkey, who then fills his bins and calls me to double-check when he is finished.

Does my son color-coordinate most days? No.

Are his clothes always seasonally appropriate? No. For some reason, he enjoys wearing sweatpants, even when it is 105+ in Dallas. Go figure!

Am I absolutely thrilled with this bin system? Yes. We spend approximately 20 minutes each Friday evening dealing with clothes for the coming week, and I don't have to worry about last-minute laundry loads during the work week. The only way these bins could be better is if they dragged Monkey out of bed and dressed him!

Want some more ideas for organizing your child's school clothes?

Beth, guest-posting at, keeps her kids color-coordinated, straight out of the dryer!

Debbye concentrates on clothing not impeding good health or safety...and relieving school morning stress.

Jen has a bin for each of her three boys, and they pick out their clothes for the next day each evening.


  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Thanks so much for sharing! I bet life will be smooth sailing thanks to this system!



  2. Thanks a fantastic system, way to go!!