Friday, October 12, 2012

How to get the summer clothes completely stored away before you need them again.

I saw the calendar now reads mid-October so, I figured it was time to put away the summer clothing and brave the plastic storage bins containing our various collections of  long-johns, fleece lined pants and wool sweaters.  
 Some of the other clues that helped prod me towards this decision were:
1) Thinking that I should probably turn the furnace on,
2) My children telling me I should turn the furnace on,
3) The neighbors seeing the icicles hanging from our noses and suggesting that we turn the furnace on.

You would think that it shouldn't take such drastic signs for a mom to get some warm clothing out of the basement and into her kids' rooms....right???? would  think....unless you were a mom.
See, moms who live where there are more than 2 seasons a year DREAD  the quarterly "Changing of the Wardrobes" ritual more than almost anything else. Well..except maybe the  Avian Flu, Swine Flu and  stomach bug du jour hitting the household simultaneously.   What could possibly make this chore that bad? 
Oh!  I am soooo glad you asked that question.  :)

Here is how the procedure works at our house.  By the number of plastic bins I have seen in other homes, I am thinking it works the same for many of you as well.  While the following steps may refer to children..plural, I have found this works best one child at a time.  I don't think there is enough coffee and chocolate in the world to get me through this with multiple children on the same day.

Step 1  Clean up the living room. Find all the spots that haven't been dusted since the last season change. Find the 13 pairs of socks your son said he was missing. Sigh. Brew a strong pot of coffee.

Step 2  Require the children to empty all of the drawers, closets and corners in their rooms of  any and all clothing. All clothing must be brought to the living room for sorting.  Have a cup of coffee while the children are in their rooms.

Step 3  Create three separate piles for the clothing.  One for clothing that is too big and will fit next year. (HA!)  A second pile is created for clothing that will not fit/does not fit and can be donated or passed on.
The third pile is for the clothes that are still in good condition and may be taken to a consignment shop....more on this later..... 

Step 4  Go to the basement and try to find all of the plastic tubs containing the winter clothes.  It is necessary to find all of the tubs because everyone's clothes didn't make it into their individual tubs last year. Sigh again.  Get a second cup of coffee. And some chocolate.

Step 5  Put all of the tubs in your living room.  Sort out the winter clothes that you thought would still fit but don't.  Try  not to forget which pile of clothes is the "too small" pile.  Take a chocolate break when you realize that you did, indeed, mix up the piles and need to go through them again.

Step 6  Have the children take the new set of clothing up to their rooms.   Nag said children about putting the clothes away neatly.  Reserve some chocolate for next week when you check their rooms and find the clothes in piles on the floor.

Step 7 Put the clothes to be donated in bags to sit by the door for a few weeks until you remember to go to the donation center.   Gather the clothes for the consignment shop and spend  a good portion of the rest of the day washing, stain treating and ironing things.  Put these clothes in a specially marked bin and take them to the shop, forgetting that they buy 2 seasons in advance and won't take your bin.   Take the bin  home and put it back in the to the bin of clothes that you should have taken...from the last time you tried this.  Get a third cup of coffee.

Repeat with second, third, fourth, ....child.
 I would caution you to only do as many children a day as your caffeine consumption and chocolate budget allows.

  This  next step is the one that gets me every time.   The one that has the potential to put me over the edge, no matter how many cups of Dunkin' Donuts coffee or squares of Godiva dark chocolate with sea salt I consume.  (Or Hershey's Special Dark...I'm not picky lol) The one that makes this chore so onerous and tiresome.  The one that makes this thrifty soul want to just give up and buy new clothes every season. (This severely cuts into my chocolate budget, which is why I refrain.)

Step 8  Spend the entire winter still finding last summer's clothes going through the wash!
Remember back in step 2, where you tell the children to empty their rooms of all clothing?  I inevitably forget to tell my concrete, bottom line thinking children to do things like: check under the bed/dresser/chair/desk/fishtank/bookshelf/curtains/legos/stuffed animals etc..  for any clothes that need to make their way into one of the three piles set up in the living room.   I also usualy forget to make sure the laundry is done the day before.  So we spend the dark and dreary winter months catching brightly colored summer clothes in the laundry and stuffing them in whatever plastic bin we can reach. Thus leaving me with the task of more sorting four months later when the season starts to change again.

I am sure there must be a better way to get this done.  Perhaps one that involves less caffeine and chocolate consumption.  Maybe even one that requires fewer platic bins! If you know of an improved method, please sell your stock in Dunkin' International and let me in on your secret...

'Cause I missed the class on I'm going to have to stock up on more coffee.....

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