More kids means less space but not less clothing, but whether you have one or five, this hack is going to save you time (and save your patience) and will help kids build confidence by doing it themselves.
My original organization hack when it came to kids and getting ready in the morning was working pretty well, they each had one of those closet organizers and each cubby was labeled for each day of the week (similar to the one pictured on the left). The big problem? Space. Those closet organizers took up a TON of room and since they were open if the toddler strolled past a closet with one of them she would wreak havoc on my neatly folded piles that were in the cubbies. Plus, the taller cubbies were out of reach for my four year old, so the whole "get ready on your own" plan didn't work out when I had to come in and get the pile of clothes for him, so we needed a new plan.
Why don't I just let them pick out an outfit each day, you ask? Well, first of all the act of choosing even just a single shirt usually ends up with a pile of rejected shirts on the floor (as well as all the hangers). OR there is a valuable amount of morning time trying to find a specific outfit, is it in the wash? In the hamper? Who knows. And for my four year old, he can't reach the hangers anyway yet, and putting in a toddler friendly hanger height is a no go with my rather adventurous 22 month old on the loose.
Now, each child has their own square bin (we have a few of these super cute ones from the Pillowfort line from Target) in their closet right on the closet floor, and every Sunday night before putting laundry away we sort it out into five outfits (and any sports related outfits that need to go in for the older kids). Each child gets to choose the outfits and gives final outfit approval before each separate outfit is put into a gallon ziploc bag (the slider locks are WAY easier for kids to open than the press and seal ones). We check the weather for the week ahead to make sure we can match up an appropriate outfit, and this way we know where that favorite t-shirt is or the pair of shorts that they need for lacrosse is.
I printed out these free day of the week printables (on card stock, and then cut off the tops to make them squares) and I slide them into the front of the bags, then line up each bag in order in the bin. If there are sports outfits they also go into the bin behind the day the practice is on. In the bags is everything they need: underwear, socks, shirt, pants, etc., the entire outfit in one bag. Also going into the bin are bulkier items that don't fit in the bags like hoodies or sweaters. In the morning they find that day's bag, get dressed, put their pjs into the bin for later that night and put the empty bag back in the bin. If the weekends are more relaxed we have more time to get ready so we don't use the bags, but these are usually a lifesaver when it comes to sports on the weekends too.
The best parts of this system? It all takes place on Sunday nights in one fell swoop. The laundry, the sorting, the haggling over what outfit gets worn for what day, and after all the bags are packed and ready there is WAY less laundry to put away. Jack, the four year old, can easily find and identify the bags for each day and can easily get the slide lock top open and get himself dressed. Because it's all there for him ready to go it cuts way down on time, and eliminating the choice option each morning also makes for a much smoother routine (anyone who has experienced a preschooler who cannot make up their mind about which color underwear to choose can relate).
If the four year old gets upset about not "choosing" in the morning I just remind him that we did all of our choosing on laundry night and he will get to choose again during the next round. If they really want to they can switch outfit days, but for the most part it's all set and ready to go, and it makes what used to be a 20+ minute process every single morning into a nice and quick stress-free part of our routine.
The other easy part is that my kids are perhaps not the best when it comes to choosing a weather friendly outfit. My daughter will come down wearing shorts and a tank top because it's sunny out but the temperature is hovering around 40 degrees. So then up she goes to pick yet another outfit, usually leaving the original one on the floor, and this can happen numerous times. By checking ahead it saves us from those time consuming trips outside "I'm going to see how cold it is" followed by the "IT'S FREEZING" realization not long afterward.
The big family part of this comes into the space. With just these three square bins inside the closet I have fifteen or more outfits all set and ready to go from undies on up. Plus, if you're going on a road trip to grandma's this idea is GENIUS. Pack up the days of the week you'll be there, seal up the bags and you have way more space plus you'll know you actually have complete outfits rather than hoping you coordinated the right amount of socks and underwear.
At the end of the day the pjs are also there in the bin ready to go. Why is it easier for my kids to find these pajamas in the bin rather than their designated pajama drawer? I have no idea, but it just is.
Want some more hacks? Click here to find my DIY for a self serve healthy snack station and find some great chore charts here. xoxo