When the new year is upon us, most people start thinking about their New Year’s Resolution for the coming year.
And I used to do the exact same thing.
Every December I would come up with a long list of all the things that I was going to do in the coming year to make my life better in some way or another….
And every year I failed. Usually sometime around January or February.
I continued to do this for a very long time, until one year a good friend of mine called me up and said “Hey, I’m going to do something different this year instead of the normal New Year’s Resolutions, and I think you would enjoy doing it with me.”
She had decided that instead of choosing one or several things to do for an entire year, she was going to give herself one challenge for each month of the year.
I figured that I could do anything for 30 days, so I was in.
That was about 5 years ago, and I’ve never looked back.
Which brings me to this post: my challenge to myself for January 2021 is to declutter my girl’s clothes and then KonMari fold them for 30 days.
And I figured while I was figuring it out myself, I might as well write a post about it and help someone else who wants to learn how to do KonMari folding as well!
If you want to watch me do the decluttering and learn to do the KonMari fold for kids’ clothes, you can check out this video:
The reason I decided to do this challenge for January is that, even though I’ve decluttered my girls’ clothing before, we receive a lot of hand-me-downs from friends.
And while this is awesome and saves us a lot of money… sometimes we end up with too many clothes in their drawers.
The clothes start getting stuffed into the drawer instead of placed neatly. And some items never end up getting used because the girls just wear their favorites all the time.
So instead of having clothes just sitting around, I will declutter them.
Now, when it comes to decluttering kids’ clothes, I don’t just load the car up and take all the decluttered items to the goodwill.
Instead, we have several little friends who are right around the same sizes that our girls are. So my first step is to check and see if anyone else needs any clothes in the size that we are decluttering.
Then, if no one needs anything, the clothes will go into the totes that I keep all the kids’ clothes in that don’t fit.
(Until we decide for sure that we are done having kids, we are keeping all the clothes that the girls have grown out of. We loan the totes to friends who need them in the meantime but ask for everything back once they are done… for now.)
Now the other reason that I am trying out the KonMari folding right now is that I think the girls (or at least the 5.5-year-old!) are old enough to learn the folding themselves. And I’m hoping this will make it easier for them to keep the drawers clean while also making it easier for them to find exactly what they are looking for without having to unload the drawer.
Prepwork for Decluttering Kids’ Clothing
1) Let Them Be a Part of the Process
Don’t declutter their favorite clothes that they want to wear all the time… unless they’ve outgrown them or they are so tattered that they aren’t suitable for everyday use anymore.
As you are decluttering, ask their opinion.
If you have several long sleeve black shirts, ask them which is their favorite then pass the rest on to someone else, or put them away in your totes.
2) Have a Specific Friend In Mind
It’s a lot easier for my girls to get rid of clothing when they know exactly who it is going to.
Then I can ask them, “Do you want to share this with so and so?” instead of “Do you want to get rid of this?”
This works well if you have friends who are right around the same size, or if you have friends who are smaller than your little ones.
It just makes it a little easier for them to part with things if they know the person who will be enjoying it.
3) Keep About One to Two Weeks of Clothing
It can be hard to figure out how much you should keep and how much you should get rid of, but I’ve found having 1-2 weeks of everyday clothing is perfect for us.
This doesn’t include seasonal clothes like snow clothes, rain clothes, or swimsuits. These are the everyday clothes that they will wear all the time.
I find this is a reasonable amount of clothing that also keeps them from changing clothes way too many times in a day, but it also keeps them from running out of clothes.
If I have more clothes than that, the girls tend to think that every day is a fashion show and create waaaayyy too much laundry for me.
Pairing down the clothes has definitely helped us Solve the Laundry Problem.
4) Put Seasonal Clothes Away
Now, if there are seasonal clothing, like shorts, I won’t be getting rid of them, but I will be putting them up higher in the closet so that they are more out of sight out of mind.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine would wear shorts all year long if I let them.
So when the shorts are in the drawer, getting dressed is just more of a challenge.
But I will keep everything in their drawers that is appropriate for the season that we are in.
5) Have All The Clothes Clean
Whenever I’m going through their clothes, I try to be all caught up on the laundry so that I can see everything that we have and I know how many pants, shirts, socks and everything else that there actually are.
How to Declutter Your Kids’ Clothes
1) Take Everything Out of the Drawers
The first thing that I like to do whenever I’m decluttering anyone’s clothes is to take everything out of the drawers.
This helps me to see exactly what we have, find any clothes that have been stuffed in the back of the drawer, and it helps me make sure that everything in the drawer also fits them right now.
2) Cycle Out All of the Off-Season Clothing
Once I have everything out of the drawers, I pull out all the clothing that doesn’t work for the season that we are in.
So since it is winter right now for us, all of the shorts are going to come out of the drawer and into the top of their closet.
That way, I don’t have to argue with them any more about it not being summer!
(No, honey, 40 degrees is not shorts weather. No, let’s not wear shorts over our pants. Because it’s winter and shorts are summer clothes. Because you’ll get cold and then you’ll cry.)
*PRO TIP* Find a way to keep favorite seasonal items in circulation.
My younger daughter’s favorite little summer skirt could be relegated to the summer clothes, but we’ve found it looks really cute with a pair of leggings and can be worn all year round!
3) Eliminate All the Obvious 2nd Choices
The first thing that I knew was going to be going to someone else was all of my 2.5 year old’s jeans.
She won’t wear them.
My girls love wearing “soft pants” and will only wear jeans when I force them to. (Because we can’t go to the park if you won’t put them on…)
I will keep one pair of jeans for cold days because I can put their long underwear beneath them and keep them a little warmer… but I know that she won’t choose to wear them.
4) Put Away Everything That Is Too Small
Everything from the hats to the swimsuits to the snow clothes, if it doesn’t fit, it goes to someone else or into the bins.
If it is a favorite item that doesn’t fit anymore, I will give them the choice of if they want to give it to someone else or if they want me to put it away to keep it safe in the bins.
They usually decide to give it to a friend, but it makes them feel better to have a choice if they are having a hard time parting with it.
5) Lay it Out
The next thing I did was I laid out all of the pants on the floor together.
When you lay everything out, it is so easy it see exactly how many you have… and how many you need to get rid of.
We started out with 12 pairs of pants (yikes!). So we knew we needed to narrow it down.
6) Ask the Child
After I laid everything out, I asked my younger daughter to come in and pick out which pants she wanted to keep and which ones she wanted to pass on to her friends.
She had very clear opinions (even at 2.5-year-old!) and knew exactly which ones she was ready to pass on.
We started off with 12 pairs of pants and narrowed it down to 7, which is a much more manageable number for her since she only really used those ones anyway.
How to Fold Your Kids Clothes the KonMari Way
So I had tried KonMari folding before… and it hadn’t worked.
But after watching a couple of tutorial videos, I think that the reason I failed came down to a translation error.
Marie Kondo says to fold your pants in half, fold them in half again, and then to fold them in half, and in half again.
… uhhh what?
Well upon close inspection of what she’s actually doing, it goes a little more like this:
Fold them in half so that the pants legs are on top of each other, fold them in half again.
Then fold them in thirds.
And that mathematical difference, solved the problem for me!
I think the easiest way to learn how to fold each different type of clothing is to watch a video.
You can watch me fold each type of kids’ clothing in the video at the beginning of this article. And you can check out the timestamps to find the type of clothing you are looking to fold:
And here is the tutorial video of Marie Kondo herself showing you the basics of the folding.
The most challenging thing to figure one for KonMari folding my kids’ clothes (once that whole translation thing was cleared up) was the underwear.
And I think that’s because for little kids they are… well… really little.
So after watching a few videos, I realized that it will be easier to stick with my old way of folding their underwear and socks.
The underwear just weren’t big enough for all the folds.
And, while I love the KonMari folding for my own socks (or lack thereof), I decided to leave theirs in the fold and tuck style. (Especially since the biggest problem we have with getting ready is finding socks that match. 🙂
You can check out Marie Kondo’s tips for folding the items in your underwear drawer here:
Good luck with decluttering and folding!
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