How to Organize, Store and Keep Track of Hand-Me-Downs


If you grew up with siblings then I don’t need to tell you about hand-me-downs. Heck, depending on how many brothers and sisters you had, you should probably be the one writing this article. Growing up I only had one sibling and I swear half of my clothes were hand-me-downs. Whether they were that pair of pants that just barely fit, or that weird red batman shirt with the off-putting stain on the shoulder. Whatever the case, if my sibling outgrew it. It probably ended up in my closet. When the time finally came around, I was starting to care more about what I was wearing and adding items to my closet. Things quickly got out of hand. Lost I was in a sea of clothing. Some that fit, some that didn’t. Some had holes, and some articles of clothing that were brand new. Needless to say, it was a mess. So I began to ask myself. How can I keep track of all these clothes? How can I possibly make all of these articles work for me, and even more so how can I find them in a way that doesn’t make me wanna tear my hair out every time I open my closet? Well, I decided to take my wardrobe’s fate into my hands by developing an organizational system that works. So if you’re also someone who struggles with what to keep and what to throw away. Then read on my friend, because this is the guide for you! 

The Broad Strokes

First, let’s start with the broad strokes. Now, this first step is going to be the most time-consuming and difficult of this process. But it will also put you in the best position for recontextualizing your closet. To start, you’re going to need to buy a pack of trash bags. Take out three of them and label these the keep the maybe, and the donate bags. Now take all of your clothes out of your closet. You can pile them up on your bed, or your floor. Whatever works. Just make sure you have enough space to work with. Now here comes the time-consuming part. I want you to go through each article of clothing in that pile. If you haven’t worn it in over a year, donate it. If it doesn’t fit correctly, donate it. If you pull out the piece and it doesn’t immediately spark a sense of happiness or remind you of a certain evening then donate it. I know this sounds like a strict routine but as you go through your clothing and notice less and less of it is getting stuck in maybe limbo land you’ll start to thank me. That ugly old shirt you got for your birthday three years ago? Donate. Those lovely leggings for tweens keep! Now after you’ve taken the first pass of your clothing take your donate bag and move it off to one side. Then take your maybe and your keep bags. Dump them back out into a little pile. Your old maybe bag is now your second donation bag. Repeat this process until you have just one large keep bag, and two donate bags. Once you’ve completed this initial pairing down of your clothing, you’re well positioned for step two!

Clamping Down Your Closet

If you’re anything like me. Whether intentionally or not, your closet becomes something of a disaster area. This is a confession of a serial closest dumper, but before I got serious about organizing. I used to just throw everything in the closet. Old shoes. Coats that were out of season. You name it, I threw it in. But now I’ve come to realize something. An organized closet leads to an organized mind. I don’t just organize my closet because it helps me find the things I need. I organize because it grounds me. Keeps me spiritually aligned with my surroundings. So my next piece of advice is obviously. Organize your closet! This can be done in a lot of ways. Some people even buy closet organizers. But to my money, all you need is a system. For example, my system is ultimately pretty simple. After I’ve paired down my clothes. I take what remains and I organize them. Shirts in one pile, pants in another, leggings in another after that. After I have all of my piles sorted out, I pair like items. Pants go with underwear and socks, shirts go with jackets and undershirts, etc. Then I create a gradient from left to right, starting with my socks to my shirts and jackets, and finally encompassing all of my clothes. This allows me to know exactly where something is at any given time because all I have to do is “read” my closet. This is perfect for anyone like me, who maybe only has a few minutes to get ready in the morning.

When you’re trying to reorganize your space. It can be a daunting task. However, it’s imperative that you don’t become overwhelmed! When you recontextualize your relationship with the space you live in. New perspectives emerge in your thinking. New pathways of thought form, and your brain conjures new ideas as a result. Organizing your old clothing is a great way to jumpstart this process!