Organizing winter gear – our DIY solution

Every year we end up with stacks of winter gear all over our house. Eight lonely mittens, six hats that my darling spouse can’t remember fit which child, you name it. I’ve tried bins, baskets, attaching things to jackets, and nothing’s worked. So this year I went for something new, and I’m pretty pleased with my cheap and easy solution:

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This involved an over the door shoe-holder, business cards, binder clips, and a pen. We had the office supplies around so total cost was $7.87 for the over the door organizer (I bought this one because it’s $7.87 (have you noticed I like things on sale?), had free shipping, and came with hooks, but there are thousands of them out there – you can even get a fancy one with a place for notecards)!

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Here’s what I did:

STEP 1 – Try on and cull:

After making everyone try things on, I put things into different categories, like “give away” or “save for later in the winter”. I this got our winter gear down to a reasonable amount per person, putting extras in a backup bag inside the closet. I was then able to see what I was missing and needed to buy, and to see what was too big, which went into a “later in the winter” box in the closet. I wanted this to be the main stuff we wore every day, so the kids or U.S. adults could find (and put it away easily).

STEP 2 – Make labels that everyone can understand:

I wanted the kids to be able to see where their stuff went, and I have a reader and a non-reader, so I labeled the pocket and drew a little picture of the item. I also wanted my spouse to remember where things go as well! I used the backs of old business cards and binder clips since I had those on hand and figured it’d then be easy to change things around as needed.

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Step 3 – differentiate between cold and really cold:

Our kids have  regular fall/winter hats and mittens, but they also have super-warm one for playing in all the snow, going skiing, etc. I made each a separate slot for their cold weather gear and drew little snowflakes on it. Hopefully this will help prevent the morning meltdown of “I want to wear my (lined, incredibly warm, face mask) Pom-Pom hat!” on what are just regular fall days

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Step 4 – Organize by size:

I started with the shortest family member’s stuff at the bottom and went up.

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We’ll see how this goes but so far I am pleased and everyone seems to actually be putting their stuff away!

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