If I have learned anything over the past almost five years (since we went from having 2 kids to 5 kids in just seconds) it is that having a system for everyday things is GOLDEN!
In our house, wearing school uniforms five days a week is a thing, so I wanted to find a simple and easy solution to keeping everyone's uniforms clean and wrinkle free. That desire of course came out of all of the past times that I was asked by a child in the morning "where is my uniform?" Only to discover that some were at the bottom of the laundry pile and who knows where the rest of them were!
This system allows me to feel at ease that everyone is covered and by not having to track down school uniforms every morning I feel like I got a little piece of my life back.
But Sarah, it is right before Christmas...why are you sharing this now?!? Because Christmas break is about midway through the year and the time that I find it most helpful to re-evaluate whose pants are now too short or whose pants might now have holes. So feel free to bookmark this to read after your Christmas celebrations or you could even share this post now with a friend who has kids in school uniforms...they just might tell you that this was the most thoughtful present that they ever received. Because every mom is looking to gain a small part of their sanity back and for moms with kids in uniforms...this is it!
It all started because I had a clothing rack that we didn't need anymore. We used to use it as our guest room closet until we did a little remodeling and put an IKEA unit in there instead. I was so close to donating this rack until I discovered that it might be a great place to corral all of the school uniforms. I realize that space limitations might affect some in their ability to try this rack idea, however hopefully this post will still give you some helpful tips. You can find clothing racks just like this at Walmart or Target. I purchased the white pant hangers from Target.
Corralling everything together in one place my friends, is the key!
I keep the rack in our laundry room. That way as clean uniforms come out of the dryer I can collect them close by. I usually lay them out flat, on top of the dryer, and collect them over a few loads and then spend a minute or so hanging them up. We used to take them up to the kids closets to hang up but they never seemed to all be in one place that way (how do they get lost within a 100 foot distance?!?) We were always searching for somebody's uniform or they would get wrinkled and never hung up in the process from taking them from the laundry room to the bedrooms. Now each morning the kids come downstairs and grab their clean outfit.
One thing I found helpful was grabbing some labeled dividers so that no one was confused whose uniforms were whose (they do after all look mighty similar.) Then I hang them up all the same way with each person's shirts first and then either their pants, jumpers, or skirt. This helps keep the clothes all being used & worn the same.
I always hang the clothes that come out of the dryer up on the right and then the kids grab their clothes from the left.
It took a few days of me coming downstairs and reminding them to grab their shirt (on the left) and their pair of pants (on the left) but after that they got it. It is especially helpful for cycling through the boy pants evenly with how prone to getting holes they are.
Typically I shoot for having 3 bottoms and 3 tops for each child. That means that if I only wash one time mid-week the kids are good to go and it means a lot less inventory of clothes that I am keeping around. With five the amount of clothes we have can really add up and I don't want to buy more (or less) than we need. So given the colder weather that we experience in Minnesota, I usually do a combination of 1 short sleeve shirt and 2 long sleeve shirts for each of them. My kids in particular don't mind not having a cardigan and I certainly don't mind since we tried that once before and it got lost on the very first day. I think the feeling of insanity would come if this mom was always trying to track down five cardigans.
The thing I like about this system is that it is really low maintenance and since starting it I can only remember one time that a child was looking for a uniform shirt one day with no success. And that ended up being because mommy didn't have enough whites to run the load and I forgot that all of our daughter's uniform shirt are white and ended up in there. Note to self: Wash the white load mid-week even if it is small.
Christmas break is the time of year that I check-in on everything to see what is still in good shape and fitting the way it should. I like doing it then because it is almost half way through the year and typically gets us through to the end without having to re-evaluate again. Plus all of the kids are home to try on items that might now be too small AND they aren't in school so I can wash everything and inspect it all at once.
This morning I spent about 30 minutes going through all of the uniforms. I like to keep all of the extras (sizes we aren't currently using) in one giant tub.
I went through the clothes and tossed the ones that were stained badly or had major rips in them. Then some of the pants were still in good enough shape that I was able to repair them slightly with an iron on patch and they were good to go!
As I weeded out the stuff that was too small or too damaged I made a list of a few items that we needed to bring us back up to the 3 tops, 3 bottoms count for each person. Now, I've already placed one order from Amazon and plan on shopping online tomorrow at the uniform store since they are currently offering free shipping.
By the time school starts again in January we will be all set to get us through the end of the year!