Friday, August 22, 2008

Help, I've drowned (in clothing)

With school starting next Tuesday, I knew there was no way to put off getting the kid’s clothes ready any longer. Not that I didn’t try . . . This may seems a simple, straightforward task, but it is NOT!!! Let me explain how much “fun” it is to get my family ready for school.

Before we even began today I had to do prep work.

We already bought new shoes, socks, and underwear, and a couple of new outfits. I have found it is just better for all involved to replace these items every year (and throw out the overflowing lone sock basket) and buy at least one new outfit for school to start.

Also, I went through the cedar closet: stacking plastic boxes, checking and labeling the sizes of clothes in the vacuum bags (would have been nice if I had thought of that when I stored them!!), yelling at the boys for throwing various clothes and toys into the closet when they “cleaned” their rooms, and I making one huge pile of the winter clothes unceremoniously thrown in when we first moved.

Last bit of prep, I cleaned the kids’ rooms (normally they do it themselves which explains the previously mentioned stuffing in closets phenomena). I dug laundry out of the deepest corners of their closet and out from under beds and dressers and anywhere else clothes could be stuffed. I even went through their drawers (why, oh why was there dirty laundry in their drawers?) and reorganized them, with a threat if they didn’t put their clothes away properly from now on (idle threat, I make it every time I clean out their dressers).

Now comes the fun part, where I get to drown myself in clothes. As I cleaned, I have thrown out anything that is holed or stained. Now I get to make piles. We start with three big piles: the last winter clothes pile, the clothes from their room pile, and the bags of stored clothes that should fit this year pile. From these piles are born other piles:

  • 6 piles, one for each child, of clothes that fit;
  • Doesn’t fit anymore, but will fit another kid someday piles (sorted by size);
  • “Why did I save that outfit?” pile (aka garbage pile); and
  • Doesn’t fit anyone anymore pile (I love this pile!!)

*That is a total of 13 piles of overflowing clothes spread across my living room floor*

Now comes the extra “fun” part where I try on questionable sizes to see if they really fit, deal with “but I liked that outfit!” whines (or the more persistent “See it fits, I like pants where you can see 2 inches of ankles or shirt sleeves that come past my fingertips!!”), bag- and label this time- the clothes to store for hand-me-downs, and make a mental list of who is deficient in what so we can go shopping.

And then, because I haven’t quite drowned yet, I get to take the kids shopping. Elise needs pretty much new everything, all the boys but Matthew wore out all their jeans again and need at least one “dressier” shirt, but Kirsti is doing ok. At this point I can be seen roaming my house mumbling things like,

“I think Kirsti should try only 6x, what is her shoe size again?”or

“Maybe Elise should try size 16 pants- but it might be too long in the legs. Don’t forget to measure her before we go.” or

“If the boys are really that close in size how will I ever sort their laundry?” or

“How did Matthew not outgrow 18 months yet? I thought for sure he would.”

And after trying on tons of clothes on tons of kids, returning to the checkout desk because they rang something up wrong, going to another store because Ethan wanted a hooded sweatshirt and couldn’t find one he liked, I have had my fill of clothes for a while. Unfortunately, tomorrow is laundry day. But I am one step closer to school starting!!


  1. I used to LOVE this process. I loved trying on last year's outfits, purging the closet, and most of all back-to-school shopping!!! Of course, my mom and I always got in a huge fight every year. Ah, the memories.

    Congrats on being so on top of things!

  2. Way to go. That is crazy. We'd love to be closer and recipient of those "no longer fit anyone" clothes!! Although, Abe and Matthew might be wearing the same size...

  3. I am still in the trying on clothes every year to make sure they fit, and most of them dont :(

  4. I am never, ever, ever caught up on laundry - I don't know how you do it with 6 kids.

    BTW: How do you "write" on your photos like that? It's so fun.

  5. Andrea- trust me, it isn't as fun when you're the mom

    Kim- I agree Abe will be passing Matthew in speaking and clothes anytime now

    Gordon- That is why I didn't go through my clothes

    Susan- I don't think I said I was caught up on laundry (that would be a total miracle for me too) After a couple of years of hinting I finally TOLD Peter to buy Adobe Photoshop for Christmas. That is how I add writing to my photos-with the program, not by requesting Christmas presents ;)

  6. One of my fondest memories is the big pile of clothes before school started. My mom would give us a size and see if it fit. She would mend and alter to give us school clothes for the year. All dresses and skirts because we couldn't wear pants. Yea school starts and so does seminary.

  7. Oh laundry....hmmm...took my advice on cleaning out the kids rooms huh? Why do I never get credit for my cleaver ideas.....ok cleaning out your kids rooms might not sound like a cleaver idea, but still. I have to go through my kids clothes still (but we already did our school shopping)

  8. Mom- if I were better I suppose I would be mending and altering. I'm just throwing or giving away.

    Brenda- I thought about you all week whenever I thought about tackling the kids room. I decided to do the deepest cleaning after they started school. This was just the preliminary (yes, their rooms were bad enough to need a pre-clean before the "deep clean") but you are the one who reminded me it needed to be done.

  9. I have a hard enough time trying to figure out 2 kids and their clothing I can't imagine tripling it.

  10. Wait, I'm confused. Too many piles.
    I totally can not relate. Give me a few years, a few more kids and have them start school.
    Oh wait. Maybe I can relate. My baby's closet has a big huge basket of clothes she has outgrown and need to be sorted and I am supposed to be pulling out my son's old clothes to give to my sister. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. Jeanette- I thought it might be confusing, you're the 1st to mention it, though: 6 fit piles + garbage + will never fit anyone again=8 piles.

    sizes 8, 10-12, and 12-14 in girls clothes to store (Elise outgrew all those sizes in either pants or shirts last year) + 3T in boys + 10 or larger in boys (that were given to me and I thought would fit Ryan this year, but didn't)= 5 piles.


    Becca- Laundry is one of the few things that automatically gets harder with every child. Sorry to break the fact to everyone, but its true.

  12. I can't stand our "Doesn't fit anyone anymore pile" because it then turns into "...but I could sell all this stuff on ebay and buy new clothes for everyone with the money." So now I have a wrinkled pile of potential money in the corner of MY bedroom that is growing taller. The problem is, every once in a while, I actually do sell something on ebay, so I can't bring myself to hand over the profit to DI.

    P.S. At least there weren't any skunks hiding in the closet!