Day 22: The annual clothes-sorting

Today we only did a couple hours of school: Bible, history reading, journaling, and grammar. Then we got down to the real order of business for the day: clothes-sorting for fall! For quite a few hours today, 6 kids had ALL their clothes spread all over the floors of three bedrooms. At one point I was doubting my ability to finish the task, and thinking I’d be lucky to just have paths through the rooms by bedtime. Forget completing the job. But we all worked like chickens, sorting and tossing and trying on item after item, until finally around 7 pm we had things neatly folded into amazingly spacious drawers and 5 garbage bags of clothes to pass on to others. Feels really good to get that done, even if I am a limp noodle tonight.

Today I headed to the store again, to take advantage of that great sale on apples at Paul’s. I bought 13 pounds for 33 cents/lb. Paul’s also had 7 ounce bags of tiny adorable Mexican pasta for 20 cents each, using Paul’s ‘points’. I usually pay between 80 cents and $1/lb for pasta, so this was a good deal. I bought about 4 lbs. I also got a gallon of milk ($1.78), a loaf of garlic bread ($1), 4 lbs of pears for 50 cents/lb, and 5 lbs of still-green bananas that were marked down in the bargain bin for 33 cents/lb. Altogether I spent $18– great considering I got 22 lbs of fruit and several other things for that price! I’ve spent $287 this month on groceries– $13 left to last one week. I think we can do it.

Breakfast:: Yogurt (I made more this morning) with raspberry jam, OJ, and cereal
Lunch peanut butter sandwiches and apples, eaten quickly in the middle of our clothes sorting chaos
Dinner: Beef stew with potatoes and carrots, made by the kids while I ran to the store, with cookies for dessert.


  1. LOL! We too did this yesterday…. only for 10 kids and an impending move next month in the back of my mind. Whew… what a job!!!!

  2. We just did this as well! I got summer clothes put away, fall clothes tried on, and anything that wasn’t working boxed for donation. It is an all day job! Thankfully, it only has to happen twice a year!!!

  3. Gracious. I’m exhausted after going through one kid’s clothes!

  4. Good for you! Jealousy is still a sin, right? 😉

    I started sorting last Saturday, got discouraged after finishing five children, and quit without doing any of the clothes for my 2 year old and the baby to be born next month. Then I got sick and have done nothing but school and the “essentials.” We still have piles of clothing in each of the kids’ rooms. Mostly stuff to be bagged up and donated, and then some others that I need to go through. Ugh… I doubt that I’ll be able to do much more until next weekend.

  5. Oh, the whole clothes sorting thing. It is sooooo on my list of things to get done!

  6. Mary, do you think it saves money to go the store more regularly and only buy items for a couple meals at a time?

  7. Thank you for reminding me of another reason to be grateful we ilve in Southern California! 🙂

    I did want to ask though, could you please share how you do Bible time? Do you have a devotional time and then a Bible lesson for school? Does that make sense? We are just starting out on this journey and are trying to find what works!

  8. Hi Erin,
    My book explains in much greater detail, but in general, the less often I go to the store, the more I save. Usually I plan 2 weeks worth of meals, and then do a big trip twice a month. The trips in between those big trips are teeny ones, where I just skim the best sales at a specific store, usually no more than once or twice a week. I try very hard to keep tightly to my list and avoid impulse buys. The shopping I mention in this post took 10 minutes and was combined with other errands.

  9. Sue from Buffalo says:

    The problem with sorting the clothes here is that we still have warm days ahead mixed with cool. I try to keep some clothes out for both. It’s funny because I’ll pack a lot away and then “stragglers” will start filling up more laundry baskets.

  10. i want paul to open a store by me!! his prices are great!

  11. I started our clothes sort this week too and realized about halfway through why I hate it-such a huge mess it makes until it is done!! But we are getting there-good for you for getting it done in one day, it is usually a week or so process for me, hahaha!

  12. I’m with Michelle–a little jealous–and wondering how in the world you can do all that in one day!!
    We are in that awkward “the-AC-is-still-running-but sometimes-it-gets-chilly-at-night” stage.
    I only have an almost 3yo girl, a 15-month-old son, and another due in March (so I am storing away both their clothes, not knowing whether Little Boo is a boy/girl).
    We started sorting last Thursday, but were packing & left for a church retreat Friday – Sunday. Came back, tried to get caught up on laundry, meal planning, housework, etc. . . between a couple of dr’s appts, the kids getting colds and not sleeping through the nights and my extreme pregnancy fatigue, the clothes are still out.
    In fact, this morning, my husband expressed his irritation about how, in a couple more days, they will have been out for a week. 🙁 Trust me, I’m more frustrated about it than he is!
    I was going to get on it tonight, right after the kids went to bed, but my daughter pooped in her underwear and was filthy, so we just had an impromptu bath . . . okay, I’m going to get off the computer now. . . and go sort those clothes . . .
    It’s not often that I feel a real need to vent on the internet, but you’re post completely applied to where we’re at. . . or where we’re NOT, but where we WANT to be! 🙂
    I’m still wondering how on earth you did it in one day for so many people!! You’re my hero!!

  13. I was just wondering what you do about holding onto clothes to pass down between kids. I WAS holding on to EVERYTHING which was a lot due to my mother being an insane shopaholic but now we have 6 people living in a 3 bedroom “renovators delight” (with internal walls on only 2 of the bedrooms and 1 “open plan” living/kitchen, and no wardrobes for the kids) I have had to cull big time. I am on the verge of getting rid of EVERYTHING we don’t wear and just buying as needed from op shops (thrift stores you call them) and new for the “good stuff” – I am pretty sure my Mum will stop buying for us when we get rid of it all and I am worried about the expense of keeping everyone clothed. How do you go clothing everyone on a budget? Do you limit the amount of clothes each person has so your laundry doesn’t, you know, EXPLODE? Hang on, you probably answered these questions in the book. OK, I will buy your book next time I have a little cash but any tips in the mean time would be MOST welcome 😉

  14. The ONLY way I got it done in a day was by getting the kids to work alongside me. My 15 year old actually sorted his own. Then I had a 14 year old and three 11 year olds hard at work the whole day right alongside me from 11AM to 6 PM, non-stop except for lunch. And the 7 and 4 year olds ran little errands for me and helped fold their own stuff.

  15. Yes, I did write about this in my book, but I do limit the quantities to keep. About 6 pr jeans, 15 short sleeve shirts, half a dozen long sleeve shirts, etc….

  16. My husband had my kids do this ON THEIR OWN a couple weeks ago while I was taking a nap. I was grateful it got done, but I have no idea what they put away. The other day, my skinny 9yo dd came downstairs dressed in size 4/5 shorts! “How did these get in with my clothes, then?”, she asked. Ahh! I’ll probably have to have another go at it with me involved this time.

  17. 1.78 for milk! what! I am lucky to find it for less than $3.