February brings snowstorms and even blizzards to much of the country. Busy families find themselves having to find and sort out gloves, scarves, mittens, earmuffs, and snow boots. Then they need a way to deal with the wet ones after an afternoon playing in the snow. Ideally, you set up a system for winter gear months ago and are now just tweaking it based on actual use. However, if you don’t have a system, it only takes a little bit of planning, sorting, and labeling and your coat closet, mud room, or entryway can be neat and organized.
If you have kids who are close in age/size or you and your spouse like unisex apparel, there may be some confusion as to which item belongs to which family member. Start by getting everyone together and sorting out gloves, mittens, hats, etc.
Once everything is sorted, consider taking a picture of each family member wearing their stuff, or at least sitting with it spread out in front of them. If there are unclaimed items, create a “guest list” that includes sizes, colors, etc. That way when someone loses theirs, they can claim something from the guest box and designate it as theirs.
A bonus to the sorting process is that you can identify worn, ripped, or outgrown items and make a shopping list for replacements.
Choose a storage system that takes into consideration both your specific needs and the space available. Baskets, bins, and even cubbyhole systems can work, with each person getting a designated space for their stuff OR similar items being stored together (such as all scarves in one bin and all gloves in another). A simple drawer system can also be easily installed in most closet and mud rooms, whether it’s a converted dresser or one of those plastic organizers. Another option is to get one of those shoe organizers that goes over the door. Each pocket can be clearly labeled with the item and owner’s name.
Boots are usually a big problem, as they can take up a lot of room if you have a large family. Consider setting up a tray system that allows the boats to drip. This can be placed at the bottom of a closet, under a bench, or even inside a truck, chest, or storage bin — just make sure the tray is leak proof and there is some air circulation. And, of course, be sure to empty and clean the try on a regular basis.
The biggest issue with snow gear is that it’s usually wet when it comes in the door. The simple solution is to keep a laundry hamper by the door as kids come home from school or after a Saturday afternoon play session. Take all the items directly to the laundry room and do a quick dryer spin before putting items away. You can even rotate this chore amongst older children.
What tips do you have for keeping your family’s winter gear from taking over your home?