KonMari, Organizing

KonMari With Me: 5 Practical Strategies for Managing Children’s Clothing Clutter

In my last “KonMari With Me”, I shared the results of my own closet tidy.

I purged about 6 garbage bags full of infrequently worn, joyless articles of clothing in an effort to streamline my wardrobe and minimize the visual noise that greeted me every time I opened my closet door.

It’s been weeks since the initial tidy, and my clothing has remained organized and accessible, which speaks volumes about the legitimate-ness of the KonMari approach.

The vertical folding method is no joke. I’d highly recommend it if you’re one of those people whose foldables constantly end up in a tangled mess or if you’ve given up on folding altogether. This method may be a game changer for you.

With my own clothing under control, I then decided to focus my attention on my daughter’s closet.

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Children’s clothing can easily overtake us if we’re not careful.

It seems to come to us from every possible source:

  • As gifts!
  • As hand-me-downs!
  • By our own purchase because, OMGGGGG, they make such cute stuff for kids these days!!!

But children’s clothing doesn’t leave us quite as quickly, for a number of reasons.

One such reason is what psychologists (and popular author Gretchen Rubin) refer to as the “Endowment Effect”. As Rubin herself summarizes, “We value things more once we own them.“ It’s a phenomenon that makes it more difficult for us to part with items once they come into our possession.

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As it relates to children’s clothing, this phenomenon is especially applicable to hand-me-downs and gifts that we ourselves did not choose. For a practical, relevant application of this phenomenon to our everyday lives, you may choose to give this podcast a listen. If you’re able to skip ahead, she really gets into it at 8:10.

(Side Note: Gretchen Rubin talks about the endowment effect in her new book, Outer Order, Inner Calm, which I mentioned in a previous post that I had pre-ordered on Audible. Since it became available on March 1st, I’ve listened to it no less than 3 times all the way through (it’s only 2 hours long). It’s been the perpetual background audio to my home cleaning and organizing efforts for a few weeks now. And every time I listen, I pick up a new tidbit that I may have previously missed. If you’re one of those individuals who is highly affected by the state of your physical environment, and you’re looking for a little nudge to make some changes in the right direction, I highly recommend this book!)

Of course, there are many reasons that we may hold onto our children’s clothing for longer than necessary, but take heart. There are an equal number of practical strategies we can apply to help us manage that ever-growing collection.

Here are 5 of the strategies that I have found most useful in managing my own child’s clothing:

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1. Follow the “one in, one out” principle.

For every item that comes in, send another on its way. If you practice this principle, then theoretically you should never amass a greater number of items than you had previously possessed.

2. Discard items as soon as your child outgrows them.

This is where it may come in handy to have a system for outgoing belongings. If you notice one day that your child’s head barely fits through the head hole of a beloved t-shirt, you may decide to thank that t-shirt for its service and drop it in the donation bin.

3. Revisit sentimental items.

When choosing those sentimental items to save, consider going through the stash periodically to reassess what you actually want to hold on to. A good time to do this is when you’re already adding to it.

The passage of time often makes it more difficult to part with things, simply because we’ve owned them for longer. If you make it a point to discard items as your child outgrows each stage, you may attach less emotion to the items you’re considering than if you held onto everything for 5 or 10 years and then tried to discard.

I recently went through the bin that holds my daughter’s infant clothes. I asked myself questions such as, “Do I need to keep 10 newborn onesies to remember just how small she was, or will 2 elicit the same feeling of awe?”

Or, “Do all of these tiny shoes evoke the same warm fuzzy feelings, or am I only truly attached to the very first pair of sneakers that she wore when she first began walking?” In doing so, I found that it was easier to part with multiples that I had previously saved, while retaining the dozen or so infant items that truly spark joy for me.

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4. Process hand-me-downs as soon as they come into your possession.

Actively decide which items you’ll keep and which items you’ll pass along or donate.

It’s tempting to just tuck away a bag of clothing that your child might not wear for a while, but without processing it, you may find later on that you’ve wasted valuable space storing items that you never intended on using.

5. Say no thank you.

If your child has more clothing than they need or could reasonably use, learn to say no thank you to offers for hand-me-downs or gifts of clothing. Generous relatives and friends often ask what children need or want prior to purchasing gifts for birthdays, Christmas, etc. If those questions arise and your kid already has more than enough clothing, graciously say no thank you or suggest an inexpensive experiential gift (movie, museum, restaurant, etc.) in its place.

It’s all too easy to say yes to everything, but if, like my daughter, you are blessed enough to receive hand-me-downs from multiple older children, you can quickly become overrun by hoards of clothing that you’d never be able to fully utilize unless your child remained exactly the same size for the next 5 years. Plus, owning fewer kids’ clothing items means less laundry overall, and that’s truly something to celebrate.

00000img_00000_burst20190224115421906_cover-1.jpgHonestly, the above tips are so relatable, they apply to way more than just children’s clothing. Yet, putting them into practice has really allowed me to manage the influx of my own daughter’s clothing, as well as find appropriate solutions for the items she no longer needs.

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I hope some of these tips may be helpful for you as well! Which of these practical strategies could you see yourself applying in your own life? Share in the comments below!

Looking for some more KonMari reads? Check out my previous posts on the topic:

Enjoy, share, follow!

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