Here is a simple tip that will help both kids and adults get ready in the morning more quickly and easily, so you can get out the door for work and school without losing your mind.
The tip is to lay out your clothes, or your children's clothes, either the night before for the next day, or for the whole week, to make getting dressed in the morning easy for everyone in the family. In fact, this is such a great habit to get into I've actually made it one of the Declutter 365 missions!
That's why today's mission is to get in the habit of laying out your clothes and your kids' clothes ahead of time, either the night before, or for the whole week at a time.
This mission is designed to be done while we're working through the Back to School Organization Challenge here on the site, since this is a time we're re-working our morning routines to make sure everyone gets ready in the mornings to get out the door for work and school. However, you can do this whenever it works best for you.
I've found that if you don't have a lot of trouble getting yourself or your kids ready in the morning right now, perhaps because you already have a good morning routine in place, or have a lot of time to spare, then this mission won't make a huge impact on your life. On the other hand, if you currently dread the task of choosing your clothes in the morning, or your kids can't seem to decide what outfit to wear to the point it's making you late or close to late each morning, adopting this habit can be a real game changer.
Laying out your clothes for later is pretty simple, it just takes forethought. The night before, or perhaps Sunday evening before the week begins, you go ahead and choose the outfits you or your child will wear in the future, and gather up all the parts, such as the top, bottom, and any accessories you want to go with it.
Make sure to designate a space for the clothes you've laid out, such as on top of the dresser if you're wearing it the next day, or in a hanging closet organizer with multiple shelves such as the ones shown to the right, if you want to lay out multiple outfits at once.
This photo on the right was sent in by a reader, Marina. She said, "This is how I organize my son's clothes in his closet." Notice how she's got various cubbies for separate days of the week. That way she or her son can group clothes as outfits and have one ready to grab each day of the week instead of having to match an outfit during the morning rush.
When you lay out your clothes ahead of time you have one less thing to do in the morning, and the advantages you'll find of doing this each evening or weekly include:
The simplest way to organize multiple days of clothing at once is to use a hanging closet shelf organizer. These come with between 5-7 different "shelves" so you can plan outfits for just weekdays, or for the entire week. Here are some available ones:
I find seeing ideas put into action by others helpful, to help me visualize how I would do it for myself. If you're the same way you'll want to check out these photos below, because this has been a pretty popular suggested habit as part of the missions, and several readers have sent in their photos showing how it is working for them.
As always, I encourage you to tweak the ideas to work for you, so some people have chosen to lay out their clothes for a whole week, while others just for the next day, and even additional variations. That's what you'll see below.
The photo above is from a reader, Stephanie. She said, "My daughters school things labelled."
Similarly, here's another photo below, from another reader, Angie, who also decided to do this. She said, "This year we bought 6 hanging shelves from Target. Each day has clothes, socks, and accessories. They put their stuff in it Sunday night for the entire week. No more hunting and rushing before school. Working awesome for us!"
If getting a whole week's worth of clothes ready at one time seems like too much, because of lack of space or other reasons, why not try just doing one day at a time? It can still work well. Here are some example pics from readers:
The photo above is from a reader, Beth. She said, "My children wear uniform to school - we live in Britain. I put two Command hooks on the back of their door; each night at bath time I sort out their uniform for the next day. They each have an underwear drawer; it's a simple matter to get dressed in the morning.
Similarly, another reader, Sunny, shared the photo below. She explained, "My three year old is very particular about her outfits. She lays her clothes out every day, all by herself." I love that she lets her daughter do this for herself, plus can you imagine how much more patient you can be the night before as your child chooses their outfit, instead of in the morning while you're running late?
This also shows that Sunny and her daughter have decided to gather all parts of the outfit together, including underclothes and socks. You can just do the main part of the outfit, or be more inclusive, including choosing accessories as well if you want!
There are also alternatives to this idea that are designed to help you or your kids more easily group outfits together, even if you don't completely choose the outfit ahead of time.
For example, a reader, Hayley, sent in these photos below of how she helped her daughter have paired outfits ready to wear, but without having a specific outfit designated for each day. This could work well for kids who want to choose what they're wearing based on how they're feeling that particular day, for example.
Hayley said, "I did this for my daughter's clothes so that she has an easier time pairing outfits. It's also low enough so she can reach everything on her own. I put her "nicer" clothes (so she has to ask to wear them) and longer dresses up top. The little clips are from WalMart and hang perfectly on the hangers!
(I've also added a referral link to similar clips, in case you want to do this too!)
Another idea that can help with mornings, but allows your kids to pick their own clothes, is to clearly label dresser or other clothes drawers. Then, your child can just grab one item from each drawer to get himself or herself ready for the day.
Here's a photo example of this, sent in by a reader, Betsy. She said, "We do something similar but I also use pictures so my little kiddos can be more independent. Everything is at their height so they can get all of their own clothes in the morning (and put laundry away)!!"
I hope these tips and pictures have inspired you to lay out your clothes for the next morning.
When you begin to get organized, or declutter, the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
Top image courtesy of Amazon.com, showing the Rubbermaid Closet Jumbo Shelf Organizer
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I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!