Organize Clothes for Back-to-School

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overhead view of clothes folded neatly in drawer with labels "Field Trip" and Gym

Last year I shared this organizing idea as a contributor at Ask Anna.  I thought I’d share it with you today, in case you missed it.  I remember as a kid August meant trying on itchy too-small winter clothes during the hottest month of the year.  As a mom, August means sorting through last year’s school clothes to see which will fit and work for this new school year and the best part (for me) is getting to organize clothes for back-to-school.

red cake mix box and purple cereal cox on white wood table

Before school starts, take an afternoon to make a craft with your child to get ready school.  It’s a wonderful time to talk with your child about going back to school and any worries or excitement that your child may have.  For the craft grab a couple of cardboard boxes destined for the recycle bin.  Look for a box with a side panel large enough to fit over your folded clothes packet.

cardboard rectangles with white label and purple text saying "field trip" and "gym" with stickers on label

Cut them so that they have 2 or 3 sides, one the narrow side panel, and will fit in your drawer.  Label the narrow side with any special activities that will necessitate special clothing choices. You can have your child decorate the labels with stickers or draw their own pictures.

stack of neatly folded t-shirts and shorts on wood table

Now it’s time to tackle the clothes.  Once you’ve tortured gone through the clothes with your child, it’s time to organize the clothes to make those busy school mornings easier and more pleasant for you and your child.  Take about 5 minutes Sunday evening to select the outfits for the upcoming week.  Be sure to take a quick glance at the school calendar to see what activities are scheduled for the week that will require special clothing, like P.E. class, to help you choose the right outfits for each day.  Choose 5 outfits, one for each school day.

folded tan shorts, with folded green and white striped t-shirt and pair of black socks on top

Make sure that each outfit has underwear, any socks or tights to go with it and any other accessories. (to keep from mortifying my child, no underwear will be shown)

folded tan shorts, with folded green and white striped t-shirt and pair of black socks stacked neatly

Fold each item neatly.  Place the shirt on the bottom with shorts (or pants or skirt), underwear and other accessories on top. You’ll place the shirt on the bottom so that your child can easily choose which outfit they want for the day.  If the distinguishing item in the outfit is a skirt or pair of pants, then place that on the bottom of the pile so that it is the one easily seen.

folded green and white striped t-shirt with tan shorts folded inside

Fold the clothing packet together neatly into a size that will fit neatly in your clothing drawer.  You want to be able “file” the clothing packets rather than stack them for easier access so consider that when folding your clothes packet.  Filing the clothing keeps your children’s drawers so much better organized (even for an 11-year-old boy!).

overhead view of clothes folded neatly in drawer with labels "Field Trip" and Gym

File the clothing packets in the clothes drawer and slip the labeled divider over the specified outfits for the week. 

I allowed my children to pick from any of the non-designated outfits each morning, but they knew that on those specified days, they needed to choose the labeled outfit.  By helping your child preselect the 5 outfits for the week and then choose from those outfits each morning, you are helping encourage their independence and decision-making skills. (Oh, and making your busy school day mornings a bit easier, too!).

overhead view of clothes folded neatly in drawer with labels "Field Trip" and Gym

This tip for organizing school clothes worked for my 3 children and our busy life.  Preselecting the week’s outfits and taking the time to organize clothes for back-to-school will save you time each morning and will make the morning go much more smoothly for you and your child.

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  1. Such a great idea. I don’t ha w young ones at home but it think I will try this system out for myself. I could group shirts and pants together with shoes and jewelry. Speed up my mornings and make sure I don’t shuffle around I
    In sweat pants all day

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