Continuing our series on getting organized, we share lots of practical tips to make it easier to organize clothes, laundry and toys and keep your sanity!
Getting Organized Part 3 – Clothes, Laundry and Toys
You can find Get Organized Part 1 here and How To Get Organized! Part 2 here.
Organizing Clothes and Laundry
When getting organized, most of us could stand to get rid of some clothes. We waste so much time and energy dealing with our clothes — trying to make room to store them, shifting piles of them from one place to another, searching for them, shopping for them, cleaning them, or paying for their dry cleaning. Take the time to count just how many tops you have in your closet and drawers. Once again, I think you will be shocked. Even those of you who think you don’t have that many need to count them because I think you will be surprised.
Now that you see you have way too many clothes, start getting rid of things. Toss the too big clothes, the too small clothes, the ugly clothes, the “what in the world was I thinking when I bought it” clothes. I don’t keep clothes that are too big for me because, as soon as my clothes start getting too tight, I make myself lose the weight. I can’t afford to buy more.
Why keep clothes that are too small for you? If you ever actually fit into them again, they will be so outdated you will need to get new ones anyway.
As far as the “ugly” and “what was I thinking?” clothes go, do you know that most women only wear about 10-20% of the clothes in their closets? Why? Because they feel ugly in the other 80%. You have probably seen those shows where, if you spend so much money and buy specialty hangars or closet organizers, you will have 50% more room in your closet. Well, if you use my method and get rid of the 80% of the clothes in your closet that you don’t wear or need, it won’t cost you a penny and you will have 80% more room.
Now purge those closets, taking everything out. I know you love that skirt that you have had for fifteen years and haven’t worn for ten, but let it go. I loved my children for many years but, when they turned 18, I had to let them go and it wasn’t so bad. As a matter of fact it was kind of nice because I was no longer responsible for caring for them. Besides, do you know how much fun it is to cook what you like for dinner for a change? As you can see, as much as I love my kids, I didn’t suffer from empty nest syndrome.
Once you have finished your first purging, make a list of what you need for a wardrobe. For example: 2 black skirts, 1 brown skirt, 2 black pants, 1 brown pants, 4 church dresses, 4 everyday “grungy” outfits, 3 pairs of pajamas, etc. Now look at your list and place 2 black skirts in your closet, 1 brown skirt, and so on. The things that are left once you’ve gone through your list are things you probably don’t really need and should get rid of. Of course the list I made above will not be the same as yours. Don’t forget about purses, undies etc.
Do the same when getting your shoes organized. You really don’t need 4 pairs of brown loafers.
Getting Kids Organized – Toys
Be still my beating heart! I watched yet another show last night where the family had floor to ceiling shelves in their living room full of toys thinking they were getting organized. They had no furniture in the room because the floor was covered in more and bigger toys.
I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, thinking that maybe there were no toys in the bedroom, but I was wrong. The bedrooms were full of toys. Amazingly enough, this is not an uncommon thing. Toys and clothes seem to have taken over everyone’s homes with papers coming in a strong third.
If this is you, why are you causing so much stress in your children’s lives? As I mentioned before, too much stuff is very stressful to kids. I almost have a nervous breakdown every time I go to buy a new shampoo. Row after row of shampoos. Which one do I choose? Do you not think a small child has as much stress trying to decide when it comes to his toys?
Instead of sending counselors to the school to counsel the kids for every little thing that happens, we should be sending counselors home with them to help them deal with trying to decide which toys to play with today. What’s interesting too is most kids only play with a handful of favorites, so why are we keeping the rest? Part of getting organized is really deciding what we really need to keep.
Proverbs 25:16 says, “If you find honey, eat just enough- too much of it, and you will vomit.” In other words, too much of a good thing can make you sick. Are we making our kids emotionally sick by giving them too much of a good thing? That’s just something to think about.
How to deal with organizing toys:
Like their parents before them, most kids have a hard time giving up their things, so try these ideas to get them to release them. Tell them “You can sell them and keep the money” or “Let’s give some of these to poor little boys and girls who don’t have any.” I usually try to get the kids to give away the excess toys first, but if that doesn’t work then I go for the mercenary streak in them.
If you still can’t get them to give up some of the toys, tell them you are going to pack the extras in a box and store them. If you do that, it’s generally best to do it when they’re not around or they will suddenly remember that each toy they haven’t played with for ages is suddenly the favorite. After a while, they usually forget about them. If the child asks for something specific that has been packed away, you can give the child that toy, but don’t give the child the whole box to look through. If the child doesn’t miss anything after a while, make it quietly go away.
General Rules About Toys:
- If they are broken, toss them.
- If you have too many of one thing, toss the extras. No little boy needs 50 cars or 40 or even 25. Pick a certain size box and say “You can keep whatever will fit in here”
- One box of crayons is enough. Not 3 buckets full. And 3-4 coloring books is sufficient, too.
- Control the balls, dolls, stuffed animals and everything. Even though it may not seem like it at the time you are doing this for your child’s well being.
- Get books under control. This rule is for both you and your children. For some reason, we have the idea that the more books we have the more intelligent we will be, but if they aren’t being read and just sitting on a shelf or worse yet buried at the bottom of a toy box, what good are they? Getting organized is not possible if we can’t learn to decide what is really important to us. To me, keeping dust covered and smashed books isn’t a sign of intelligence.
When all is said and done:
I couldn’t cover everything about getting organized in this article and haven’t even mentioned organizing things like tools, CDs or DVDs or even those piles of papers in your office, but use the same principles when organizing all of them. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you have to just do it. I don’t mean to sound indelicate but I don’t like to cut my toe nails or blow my nose but it just has to be done so I do it!!!
Now go get organized and liberate yourself from too much stuff!
Read Get Organized Part 1
Read How To Get Organized! Part 2.
For more helpful tips getting organized and making cleaning and laundry easier, take a look at our How To Organize And Clean Your Home e-books.
The How To Organize And Clean Your Home ebook set includes 3 ebooks to make it easy to organize your home, eliminate clutter, conquer the laundry pile and reduce your stress with better organization. Learn more here!
Loved what you said about the clothes. Here’s my story: My husband and I went to Europe last year, partly on business and partly for fun. We were gone a whole month! (At this point, some of you are sighing, others booing. Sorry.) I had to look good for a whole month. Yikes! So I took 3 pairs of slacks, 1 pair of blue jeans, three blouses, one evening gown, one shawl/scarf thingy, 3 sets of underwear, two pairs of shoes. Yep. That’s it. For a whole month. In Europe. Having to wash things out in the sink at night! When I got back, I realized that I had looked better, more ‘put together’, and more fashionable than at any point before that. So I took everything out of my closet and gave it to Goodwill.
We share an 8 foot reach in closet. I have plenty of room on MY side :)
Now, when I travel, I pack one smallish backpack. It’s plenty, and I am not a small woman.
You make me want to go to my closet and get rid of even more of my clothes. I read a story once about a woman who loved her clothes and ended up going on the mission field. After being there for a while she got rid of all of her clothes, bought 7 dresses all the same style just different colors, a couple of pairs of shoes and called it good. She said that one thing radically changed her life and it was like a burden had been lifted off of her shoulders not having to worry or think about what she was to wear each day.
I believe it when you think about all the time we spend caring for our clothes, working at storing our clothes, and trying to figure out each day what to wear, what to wear with it etc.
I knew a young woman who went a missions adventure too, for several months, in a hot country. Part of her work was to participate in a choir. All members of the choir had a blouse/skirt/vest uniform, and had a limit on what other clothes they could bring, and they meant it. It turns out that they had only about a 3 gallon sized bucket’s worth of water to wash their clothes in everyday (that included the rinse water) and the choir uniform was a priority for care and cleanliness. Don’t know how she did it, but it sure changed her perspective on her wardrobe as well.
Yes everyone needs to go on a missions trip to get things in perspective of who much God has blessed us here. I heard of a similar story where the woman was going to the mission field and everything she needed for her kitchen,linens and all had to fit in one small trunk. It wasn’t like she could go to a store after she got there either to buy what she needed. Every time I get ready to reorganize my kitchen I think of that story and then look at the things in my kitchen and think “Could I live without this?”
I would really like a checklist of how many clothing items I need. I am 68 and go out 3-4 times a week. Any suggestions?
Susan it is really hard for us to do custom lists for everyone you can easily do your own. If you go out 3-4 times a week then you only need 3-4 or less of of outfits for you. For example if you where slacks when you go out you could wear a pair of black pants with top one night, brown pants w/top second night, black pants with another top, brown with another. So you would need 4 tops and 2 pairs of pants. If you do laundry every 3 days and go out to different places with different people then you could cut back even more to say 2-3 tops and 2 pants. Very easy to figure these things
So often I go out with the same people so maybe I should double or triple your suggestion. I would still be able to get rid of a lot of clothes! Thanks!
Still struggling with my clothes! Sometimes I think we woman dress for friends more that our husbands! Maybe that is because woman notice more than men! HAHA. I am making myself purge some today! A full closet is stressful!!
I know what you mean Susan. I think you will be surprised at what a relief it will be. I go to the shampoo isle and see row after row of shampoo and am so stressed trying to figure out what to choose. Drives me crazy. I don’t think we realize that we often do that to ourselves each morning when we look into our closet trying to figure out what to wear.
Studies show that children break toys if they have too many due to the stress.
People take care of their things a lot better when there are less things to take care of. Pieces are not lost and each item has more meaning.