how we do... [clothing storage].

I find it fun and helpful to sometimes see how other moms are doing those things we all have to do.  It's become especially helpful as our family has gotten larger and I frequently feel like I'm having to re-examine and streamline many processes I had previously done a bit mindlessly (and less efficiently).  I feel like I'm constantly taking other people's ideas and tweaking them and adapting them to fit our life and needs, so in case it might give you some inspiration, I thought I'd start occasionally start showing you how we do some of those 'everybody does these things' things - laundry, storage, weekly chores, daily and monthly scheduling, clothes shopping, etc.

So, for today, I thought I'd take you for a tour of our basement storage area.  This is where we store kids' clothing, shoes, and toys that are out of rotation at the moment.

(If I were doing this all over again, I would buy uniform totes, but that's not real life.)  As you can kind of see, everything is labeled.  Todd bought me a label maker as a gift years ago, and that thing has earned its keep.  I keep it down here next to all these boxes, along with extra label tape and some clear shipping tape to adhere it nice and securely.  I like to keep tools as close as possible to the place where they're used the most.

Okay, as for how I organize everything, it's sorted strictly by gender and size.  I only store in each tub what is out at a single given time.  So the "Boys 0-3 months/3 months" tub gets emptied into the dresser, and once it's outgrown, it all gets washed and put away at the same time.  Even if there's extra room for more stuff in the tub, nothing else is allowed to creep in.  When you're cycling clothes for lots of kids, it's just easiest to not have to dig for anything.

Sizes for each gender are: "0-3 mo/3 mo;" "3-6 mo/6 mo;" "6-9 mo/9 mo;" "9-12 mo;" 12 mo/12-18 mo;" 18 months;" "2T;" 3T" and so on.  

Shoes are sorted by gender and size as well.

I like to keep a few extra, empty tubs and boxes of each size, so that when I need to start a new one, stuff isn't just sitting around until I can make it to Wal-Mart.  I also keep an extra box for stuff that comes in that I don't have time to sort into the proper bin just yet - clothing in larger sizes found on clearance, or hand-me-downs from friends, etc.  I just dump it all into the open box, and when that's full, I sort it all and put it away.

Because all my boxes don't fit on one wall, I put the ones that are currently being used closest to the basement stairs for easier access.  Then when I cycle those clothes out for the next size, I just switch the boxes so the new bin is closest to the stairs, if that makes sense.

Here's one of those first photos again, so you can see what I mean.  The ones on the right are all the kids' current sizes (plus a couple soon-to-be-used sizes that don't fit on the other wall).  The boxes in the very center of the photo (on the floor in front of the shoe boxes) are empty extras, and behind those lids are all my waiting-to-be-sorted things.

And that's our storage system.  If you have any questions, or if you are wanting me to cover how we do a different 'everybody does these things' topic, let me know!


todd said...

I love how much storage space we have here and am praying the next pad is as accomodating.

the jersk. said...

heart eyes for your organization magic.

Amanda Cushman said...

This is really impressive! I need to organize my basement so badly, you're putting me to shame!

Anastasia said...

I love my label maker too! My favorite thing about this post is the color-coded backdrops for the labels. I'm totally going to do that. And--I wish my tubs were uniform, too. Maybe we should write that advice in wedding cards--my friend, pick today the totes you shall buy and never wander, for sales nor convenience.