Staying warm inside when it's cold outside can be a challenge, especially when gear must travel back and forth to school several times each week. But family manager Kathy Peel, author of Desperate Households: How to Restore Order and Harmony to Your Life and Home, says keeping track of your winter wear doesn't have to wear you out. Here are her tips for storing and tracking it all so when that first snowstorm hits, your kids will be ready (and stay ready right through until spring).
The Right Stuff for the Fluff
Before the first snowflake falls, take inventory of what still fits. "Each family member should have a warm coat, a pair of boots, mittens or gloves (one pair for warmth and another made from water-repellent material), a hat, a scarf, and a pair of snow pants for outdoor play," Peel suggests.
In the Closet
Big, bulky winter coats can be closet hogs. If you're short on space, install hooks for off-season coats on the back of the closet door to give you more room on the rod for the heavy-duty outerwear.
Small-Item Storage Solutions
- Hang a plastic shoe bag on the back of a closet door to keep mittens and hats neat and organized.
- Pair scarves with coats and hang together. Scarves can either hang on the hanger underneath the coat or be stuffed into the coat's sleeve.
- Color-coded stacking bins (blue for Billy, green for Grace) inside the coat closet make it easy for kids to put away their own mittens and hats.
- To keep gear from going missing at school, train kids to zip mittens into pockets or backpacks as soon as they come inside. Or show them how to stash a pair of mittens inside their boots. A hat can be folded to fit inside a coat sleeve; a scarf put in the other.
If closet space is at a premium, don't store winter coats in the attic (heat can damage them). Instead, assemble a spare closet for the basement, garage, or spare room. A free-standing wardrobe will keep clothes dust-free. Or install a rod and hang coats in a canvas garment bag with a clear plastic window so you can see what's inside.