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If your morning routine comes to a screeching halt when it is time for the kids to get dressed, then this post is for YOU, my friend.
This little piece of magic that I’m going to share with you solves the following problems in our household:
- Running out of laundry before the end of the school week.
- Getting pulled away from my various morning duties to rifle through laundry baskets.
- Forgetting to send the kids to school in the right clothes for PE day, a field trip, etc.
- Having to use “creative” pairings because coordinated pieces were used in different outfits.
- Sports uniform pieces getting discovered thirty minutes before game time…and they’re FILTHY!
- Disagreements about what an overly-opinionated child “WILL NOT WEAR” to school
It’s true. No exaggeration. ALL of these problems are solved in our little time zone with one product that set me back less than $10 per kid.
May I introduce you to…”the cubbies.”
Mini-Me and The Professor each have a hanging sweater organizer that we call “cubbies” (this is the sweater organizer that is in Mini-Me’s closet). It started out simple enough, but I have been amazed at how much time we have shaved off our morning routine by using this simple little contraption. Here’s a rundown of how a simple sweater organizer solves so may problems in our little time zone:
Running Out of Laundry
This is the reason that I started using cubbies in the first place. When I was working full time as a teacher, I could rarely even think about laundry during the week. Inevitably the kids would run out of underwear or pants before the week was over and either Mr. Blue Eyes or I would stay up late running a load of laundry to make sure that the kids had what they needed for the following day.
This is where the cubbies come in handy. The weekly outfits go into a cubby, one for each day. If we are able to fill the cubbies, then the kids have enough laundry for the week and I don’t have to think about kid laundry again until the following weekend. After a busy week at work, I always had a crazy long to-do list to take care of over the weekend. I had to decide where laundry ranked in order of priority, so I started putting full outfits in cubbies to make sure that the kids had enough clothes (including socks and underwear) to last them the following week. If they did, washing and folding laundry was pushed lower on my priority list. If there weren’t enough clothes, I could easily see in the cubbies what items I needed to make sure I washed (a load of jeans, whites, etc.).
Rifling Through Baskets of Clean Laundry
Sometimes laundry just doesn’t get folded, and that’s okay (if you’re overwhelmed by mountains of clean laundry, you should check out this post). However, this can make mornings more hectic when all of the clean clothes are sitting in hampers around the house.When I started using the cubbies, I felt less guilt about leaving some clothes in hampers because I knew the kids had what they needed to make it through the week. I knew I wouldn’t be digging through those hampers again until I was ready to fold the clothes. Before the cubbies, I was spending a lot of our limited time in the morning digging through laundry baskets of clean clothes and silently chastising myself for not getting the laundry folded.
Appropriate Clothing for PE Day/Field Trips/Weather
On Saturdays, the kids and I decide on outfits that they want to wear the following week. We consult the forecast and the school calendar to make sure that we take weather and other activities into consideration.
In my pre-cubby life, it was a fairly common occurrence to be left with the leggings from one outfit and the top from another outfit because their coordinating pieces were already used. Needless to say, we ended up with some creative combinations. Now the outfit pieces are safe in their cubbies and can’t get hijacked for another outfit. I even include shoes, if there are specific shoes for that outfit, and hair clips.
I like to use a six-shelf organizer, with a space for each school day and one left over. I use the top shelf for any uniforms, leotards, or special outfits that will be used during the week. It is nice to have all of the pieces in one place. This saves so much time when it’s time to get ready for after-school activities.
I saved the best for last.
Mini-Me went through a phase when certain jeans in her drawer were not skinny enough. No matter how many times I showed her that the label said “Skinny Jeans”, the dear child would refuse to wear certain pants because they didn’t cut off enough blood circulation.
Enter the cubbies.
An important note: Using cubbies doesn’t magically make an overly-opinionated kiddo suddenly not care about his/her clothing. This method just front-loads all of the clothing negotiations to the day the cubbies are filled. This saves precious time on hectic mornings! In our time zone, we had all of our clothing negotiations on Saturday when we filled the cubbies. Mini-Me could see that she was going to wear her favorite pants on some days, and then we would (eventually) compromise on the other pants for the other days. She could choose which days she wanted to wear which pants. She could choose which shirts and socks she wanted to wear with them. The decisions were made and the cubbies were filled.
Then the morning of the unfavorable pants would come. There would be an occasional protest, but having the outfits in the cubbies significantly lessened the negotiation attempts. She can’t argue with a hanging sweater organizer! I told her if she really didn’t like the outfit, to remember that for the next time we filled the cubbies and we would try a different outfit combination.
I know there are some people reading this who might be concerned about my children’s sense of style and self-expression being stifled in this process of pre-determined wardrobe choices. Not to worry – there is a solution to that as well! I want to help my kids look their best for school, dressed appropriately for the day’s weather and activities. This method is the easiest way for me to accomplish that. But notice that the cubbies are only for school days – the kids can pick whatever they want out of their drawers to wear on the weekends. And believe me, the creativity ABOUNDS! 🙂
So, you’ve seen how I take the stress out of getting dressed in our little time zone. Now I’d love to hear how YOU deal with kid-clothing drama in the comments below.