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The BEST kids clothes organization tip

Okay, let’s talk about kids clothes organization.

I have four sons that are fairly close in age, which means when it comes to clothing them I pretty much have it made. So far I’ve only had to buy (or am gifted, gotta love grandparents) clothes for #1, and then #2, #3 and #4 all get his hand me downs. None of them are at the age yet where they care what they wear, so I’ve spent something very close to $12 to dress all of them (not including shoes…gah, shoes).

However, keeping their clothes organized is a special kind of torture. The sizes are arbitrary since it varies from brand to brand, plus my kid may be wearing size 4 bottoms and 7 tops…which means I could pretty much rip out the tags and be just as well off. My boys also share rooms and closets, so even if I miraculously get everything sorted it only lasts a hot minute before everything is mixed up again. I mean, the other day I told my kids to get dressed and my seven-year old came out in a t-shirt and a pair of 18 month pants. They went down to about his knees and were skin-tight, but dang it, he got them on and he was ready to go.

Enter this tip. It’s insanely easy, takes no time at all, costs nothing, and saved my sanity.

I call it “the dot system.”

How to organize kids clothes when you have all the same gender close in age

Here’s how it works :

Each kid is assigned a number of dots depending on their birth order. My oldest son is one dot, second is two dots and so on and so forth. I went through all my boy’s clothes and dotted it appropriately, using a sharpie to put them in the back by the tag. As soon as one of my boys puts something on and it looks a little tight I add a dot and put it in my next son’s drawer.

clothing organization


That’s it, that’s the whole tip. So easy, right? I can’t believe I struggled with kids clothes for so long when there was such a simple solution. Not only can my kids now get themselves dressed and not look ridiculous, but folding and putting away laundry is so much easier. My husband does it perfectly now too…though I will kinda miss finding little boy t-shirts hanging in my closet because he thinks they are mine.

Anyway, you can adjust this for your own family (like stars for girls and dots for boys if you have multiples of both genders) but I just had to get the word out. I just started this last month and it has seriously been a sanity saver!

kids clothes orgainization


You may also like :

The Less Mess Project – Pantry Reveal

How to make book slings (and keep kids books organized)

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  1. Best. Idea. Ever. We have two boys and two girls. My oldest does the same thing as yours and gets very annoyed when I won’t let him wear pants that go above his knees.

  2. My kids are 6,5,4,3,and 1. I’ve been putting their initials in their clothes for years! This dot system looks great too!

    1. Do you just scratch out the initials when the clothes get passéd down to the next kid? I though about doing that, but figured I’d end up with a whole mess of initials by the time something made it’s way down to boy #4.

      1. I learned to be very flexible and go with the flow! I have six dil and 17 grandchildren with another girl on the way.
        They are all so good to me…you will find out someday! XO

  3. >facepalm< WHY oh why, did I not think of this when my kidlets were itty bitty? I guess I ought to be grateful the two boys never wore their sister's dresses. You madam, are a genius!

  4. Yes, I first saw this in Amy Dacyczyn’s “Tightwad Gazette”. Amy had six kids and wrote three very popular books about the tightwad lifestyle. I would highly recommend “The Complete Tightwad Gazette”, still available used on Amazon. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to live better and have fun through thrift.

  5. I laughed so hard! My kids are close together in age, and we made it to a birthday party once where boy #2 wore boy #1’s pants…and spent the whole evening running around holding his pants up while the rest of us laughed! Thanks for your blog, realistic view of budgeting, and for having pictures of a real house that looks like you live there. I’m a fan!

  6. I LOVE the dot system. I learned about this a few years ago and it works great! I love the dots. I used to do initials, but I’ve got 6 kids, and that just gets messy, like you said. I just dot the clothes for the stuff that gets mixed up..I have boys that are 10 and almost 8…and it is awesome because clothes go from one right to the other. So simple!!!

  7. My gram used the line method back in the 1930s!
    | for the first son
    || for the second
    ||| for the third
    I also have 3 sons and my second son asked me why everything he owned was size eleven! Haha.
    Love your stars idea for girls! Very smart!

  8. I’ve done the dots for years, it’s so fabulously simple, isn’t it?! And it has the added benefit that ANYONE can sort the clothes and get them right :) As for socks, we have one big basket that is the family sock bin, all socks get matched and tossed in…. I figured long ago that my life was too short to fiddle with kid’s having individual socks, lol. They all get tossed in, except for my husband’s, his get sorted to his own drawer; makes laundry even simpler :)

  9. This is flipping BRILLIANT. Luckily I just have 2 girls so keeping their clothes organized isn’t too tough (especially since my oldest is small and my youngest is on the bigger end) but I will tuck this hack away for when their clothes get more unmanageable—or when they start fighting over them. (UGH teenage years!)

  10. Wow! What a clever idea! I just loved it, how it didn’t came to my mind?? I did it yesterday and now the fight at home just stopped. Rooms look more clean and in order, because all kids know which are their pants and they are not on the floor

  11. Loved this idea. Also the latest reveal of your laundry room. My daughter has three sons so I used the “dot” tip for her and have passed along your clean laundry in a personal basket idea to her.

    One of her great hassles is 50 million shoes in the foyer, as everyone takes their shoes off as soon as they come on. I wondered if you have any clever ideas for corralling those!

    Thank you. I love reading your blogs, watching your house take shape and your family grow.

    All the best

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