My 8-year-old daughter, Hope, loves reading. She reads everything from Harry Potter (she's currently reading the 6th book!) to Nancy Drew to American Girl. Recently, she asked if she could buy a book called Clutter Control from American Girl Publishing. Since the room she and Gracie (my 5-year-old daughter) share vacillates between spic-n-span and utter chaos, I offered to buy it for her.
As per her usual reading style, Hope ate up every word Clutter Control had to share and began implementing ideas from it. "Momma," she said, "it says in here that you should buy a six-compartment hanging sweater bag and use it to organize your outfits for the week." "Oh yeah?" I asked, not really giving it much thought. "Can we buy one now, Momma?" my dog-with-a-bone daughter asked. "Sure, we'll go look at Bed, Bath & Beyond."
With three kids in tow, we drove to Bed, Bath & Beyond and purchased two clear, six-compartment hanging sweater bags totaling $40. We brought them home, unwrapped them, and hung them up in the girls' closet. I knew what was coming next.
"Momma, can I put my outfits for school in here now?" Hope asked. My girls go to Catholic school and they wear uniforms, which most moms consider easy-peasy. But just because they wear uniforms doesn't mean they don't have wardrobe dilemmas each morning. Should I wear the jumper or my shorts? Should I wear navy knee-socks or white ankle-socks? Should I wear a blouse or a polo? See what I mean?
So, we picked out five days worth of uniform outfits, including underpants, and placed them on the first five shelves of the hanging sweater bags. We repeat this each Sunday and I have to admit, this simple idea from Clutter Control has made my life (and theirs) infinitely easier and our mornings less stressful. I no longer have to pull clean clothes from the dryer and race upstairs with them each morning. I no longer have to calm a freaked-out Hope when she can't decide what to wear. I no longer have to have to spend 10 minutes every evening laying out tomorrow's outfit for Grace.
And while this idea came from a book for 8-year-old girls, it is an idea that we can use ourselves. We can take a page out of Clutter Control and plan our weekly outfits each Sunday. Or we can use our hanging sweater bag to organize our weekly business tasks, like paying commissions, filing orders, or choosing fabric.
Like most good ideas, this one is small and simple but offers big rewards.