The Great Bi-Annual Clothes Sorting Extravaganza

Look at that impeccable organization! Note: The torn sign on the side does not correlate with what is actually in the Tupperware. Also note, my broken laundry basket. I’ve had that broken laundry basket for 3 years. I can afford a new one and yet, for some reason, I continue to use it as though the struggle of not having any handles makes me a stronger person.

Do you ever do the fun thought exercise of what your family would do if you died?

I do. It’s really a fun thing to think about. Try it! (Just kidding. Please keep pretending you will live until 93. It’s for the best.)

Although I would like to think my family couldn’t possibly function without me, Nat is such a primo dad they would be just fine (alas). Of course, they would miss my guiding, maternal presence, which consists of me shuffling around the house, looking at my phone while picking up their shoes and sighing loudly about what to make for dinner. 

However, they would have a hard time with clothing.

I, like most mothers, am the Clothes Person. I buy the clothing. I wash the clothing. I sort the clothing. I put away the clothing. I make sure the clothing is appropriate for the weather. I make sure the clothing fits. I throw away or donate the old clothing.

I do the clothing. It is solely on me. (In the first bullet of my Mom resume it says: Dorothy Robinson, Doer of The Clothes.)

Do I do this well? Not really. My children kind of look like adorable chimney sweeps most of the time but they are happy, warm, well-fed chimney sweeps so that is all that matters (right? right. Let’s just pretend like there isn’t such a thing called Instagram).

See? Adorable chimney sweep.


Nat and I have defined roles in our day-to-day domestic life. And we could easily step into each other’s parts (for instance, he does most of the food shopping and prep; I could do that. I do the bills and scheduling; he could do that).

But, I’m not quite sure he could do THE CLOTHES. And sometimes I wonder if I make THE CLOTHES harder than they need to be.

Let me explain: I’m currently writing this surrounded by the kid’s winter clothing which I lovingly put away in the spring (read: hastily threw into a large Tupperware container).


Because I live in a terrible place that dares to have seasons as well as a small house with small closets, I do the following twice a year:

  1. I  go through everyone’s drawers / bins / closets. I throw what can be donated into one pile. I throw what can be stored for the next season in another pile. I throw away the clothing that cannot be saved.
  2. I go through the large Tupperware with their stored clothing and wash what they can wear in the new season. I put it away in their drawers.
  3. I make a mental list of what I need to purchase (I usually buy two nice knit sweaters for each kid and one really nice outfit from somewhere fancy — like Boden — for special occasions / picture days so that I can look at photos in 20 years and think to myself, “My children always looked so put together and not at all like character out of a Dickens’ novel.”). Everything else is OldNavy or second hand. (Speaking of second hand, I’m especially digging PoshMark these days where I can pick up second hand stuff pretty cheap, like snowpants and boots and other must-haves they only must-have, like, twice a year.)
  4. Speaking of second hand, I sort through the clothing friends have donated to me and that I’ve stashed in the garage. (I love second hand clothing as I like not caring what happens to said clothing. I also like it for environmental reasons. But it also really adds to the chore of THE GREAT BI-ANNUAL CLOTHES SORTING EXTRAVAGANZA)

It seems so easy to write it out like this but IT IS NOT. It takes forever. Forever, ever, ever. It’s never ending. Why don’t I live in California? Or somewhere with bigger closets? These are the things I think while I spend days upon days doing this.

I think I’ll be done sometime in December.

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