My super-smart (and super-organized!) sister-in-law gave me the idea to arrange clothes vertically in drawers back when I was writing this post with 100+ Organizational Ideas (worth the read–or at least a skim–if you haven’t seen that one yet!). I already layered my bras in a row, but I never thought to do it with my clothes. I started by lining up my swimsuits and cover-ups. Those always seemed to slide around on me when stacked in piles in my drawers because the fabric was slippery, and I could never find what I needed. But with my new system, now I can see everything at a glance; bikini bottoms stay coupled up with tops so I can easily find a match; and my drawer never seems to need much straightening anymore!
After I saw how well that was working, I tried the method on my six-year-old’s drawers. Now let me tell you, that child was born to make a mess. She is expected to put away her own clothes (her clean laundry is left stacked on her bed), and I can’t tell you how many times she has taken the pile of clean laundry and shoved it under her bed, in the corner of her closet, or (my favorite) on her doll’s bed with a blanket over it and the doll neatly on top a-la-Princess-and-the-Pea-style. So you can imagine what her drawers used to look like most of the time.
A few months back I tried folding her clothes vertically like this so she could see it all, and I can’t even begin to tell you how well it’s working for her!! We do help her a bit as she puts the clean laundry away neatly like this (she does her best but she is only 6 after all!), but I’ve showed her how to pull the one thing out that she wants and leave the rest as is, and she is really doing a nice job with it, I must say. I find that she wears a larger variety of her clothes now rather than what was always on top before; I’m doing less laundry because stuff is no longer spilling out of her drawers (and you can never figure out what’s clean or dirty when it’s in a heap on the floor!); and she likes that she can spot all her clothes in one glance, so it’s easier for her to get dressed. I now have every single drawer set up like this for her (with the exception of socks and underwear)–what a difference!
I am now moving down the line and rearranging all the drawers in our house… see some visuals below. I swear that I didn’t touch anything for the “Before” shots. I simply opened those drawers and snapped a picture before I pulled everything out. Let’s face it–it’s almost impossible (especially for kids) to keep drawers neat when trying to find what you need if the clothing is stacked in piles. Why did I need my sister-in-law to teach me that vertical layering works so much better?! I can’t believe I never figured this out sooner! At any rate, I know I’ll never go back to my old method again! You’ll have to give it a try and see if it makes a huge difference in your house, too!
Look at the pile of shirts below that I pulled out of this drawer! My daughter couldn’t find anything in there, and it was frustrating for her when she wanted a certain shirt and it was nowhere to be found. Along the way, she would create quite a mess as she dug around, trying to find it–often to no avail! She frequently started her mornings exasperated by this whole struggle. (This daughter likes her ducks in a row!) As you can see above, now every single shirt is easy to spot–I even went a little crazy and arranged them by color. :) She has been wearing things lately and saying, “I forgot I even had this!” Now getting ready in the morning is much less stressful for her.
(It really is amazing to me that all those shirts can be seen in a single glance in this drawer now–I swear that I didn’t remove any. If you are looking closely to compare, about 3-4 shirts in each column aren’t visible in the picture since they’re in the back of the drawer… but they’re all there!)
Her shorts drawer… when I lined everything up vertically, I realized how much space was being wasted in this drawer!
Her leggings and tights… again, we were wasting so much space in here! She can see everything easily now, and the space on the right can be used for other things such as rolled-up belts, socks, etc.
Pajamas… this child (as a middle child of four girls) has a LOT of PJ’s! Throw in some hand-me-downs from sisters, cousins, friends, and a few gifts at sleepovers along the way, and she is (happily!) the PJ queen! We could hardly close this drawer before, but look at it now! For this particular drawer, I decided to layer the clothes in two long rows (instead of columns) with her cold-weather pajamas in the back and her warm-weather styles in the front. This way, she really won’t even touch the clothes in the back for a few months so her drawer will automatically stay neater, and it will be easier for her to find what she really needs. This fall I can then flip things around and move the warmer PJ’s up to the front.
I continued drawer-by-drawer all around her entire room, but you get the idea. This is also the best way to store bras, as you can see below. They are easy to see this way, and you also keep the molds intact, prolonging the life of the bra. A good bra can be pricey, and you want to take care of it!
Speaking of bras, I have to tell you about my very favorite one!! I discovered this “no back fat bra” when I was pregnant with my second daughter, and with the exception of when I’m in workout clothes, I literally will not wear any other style of bra anymore. This one is so comfortable–it’s smooth across the cups to give you good shape, and it makes a huge difference across your back! It really helps to eliminate “back bulges” underneath your armpits. Honestly, you won’t even believe the difference!!!! You can even wear a fitted shirt and know that your back will stay as smooth as possible in this bra. I have even given this bra to a few friends as gifts (is that weird?!), and other friends have picked it up, too, after hearing all of us talk about how awesome it is. They were all like, “Why didn’t you tell us about this sooner?!” We all swear by it now… The nude tone is also perfect (for me) because it blends so well with my skin coloring. Even in a white t-shirt made with thinner fabric, the bra is virtually invisible. I love it!!!
Oh! One more thing… I am waaaaay too impatient to wash my bras (or anything!) by hand, so I use a Bra Baby like this (love that name!). You secure the bra inside and then you just throw the whole thing in the washing machine. Pretty cool! When you spend a lot of $ on a nice bra, you want it to last, and this is a great way to take care of that investment without taking a lot of your time.
I love this system for keeping bikini bottoms and tops together, and everything stays put even though the fabric is slippery. I can also find what I need without digging around.
And finally… just so you know that I live in the real world and not in La-La-Land, surrounded by neat drawers and perfect organization everywhere I turn… this is what was going on for the 60+ minutes it took me to rearrange all of my daughter’s drawers. My youngest was successfully destroying her sister’s room all the while. She busied herself by climbing up and down this old couch tucked against one wall at least 200 times while throwing her sister’s treasured stuffed animals onto the floor one by one. Normally all the stuffed animals are lined up “just so” by my second daughter who likes things a certain way. She was in for a surprise when she walked into her room after school (yes, my kids are STILL in school!) to find her animals everywhere, her nightlight broken, and (gasp!) her American Girl Doll’s carefully arranged accessories all messed up! Typically, this would be cause for revolt, but when she saw that it was the baby who was the culprit (who can do no wrong in this family as of now), she just smiled and shook her head at this silly nonsense! Whew! I lucked out on that one…
Well, this idea was going to be last week’s Friday Fast Tip, but it became Tuesday’s Lengthy Tip instead (not quite the same ring to it)! I hope you feel inspired to try rearranging a few drawers yourself–I’d love to know if it makes a difference for you!
Feel free to check back every Friday for my next fast tip or idea (unless I’m running late, like today!). :)
What simple organizational change has made a world of difference for you?