First I will say that I do not enjoy this task but thankfully it only has to be done 2 times a year. Transitioning from tank tops and shorts at the end of summer and the packing away of long sleeves and heavy coats at the end of winter. By the end of the season I am so over seeing the same clothes on the kids anyway, I guess that part I do enjoy, along with having it done!
First things first, make sure you have enough time. Don't rush it, make it 2 separate times if you need to but don't try to rush through it all.
Prep your boxes or bins, baskets or whatever you are using to sort.
I have 6 bins I use.
~ Keep in drawers
~Keep for next year
Keep in drawer is something that is going right back in.
Keep for next year, stuff that will likely still fit in 6 months and is in good shape
Hand Down, outgrown by this kiddo but in good shape for the next
Donate/Sell. Honestly, sometimes I never want to see something again and if it's not worth it to sell we will donate it or hand down to another family that can use it.
Scrap, there is only so much you can do with a shirt that was put over chubby thighs and stretched out. If it's cotton I will keep it to clean stuff up, or use it to stain wood.
Once the current stuff is sorted. More prep. Get the kiddo ready! I can't tell you how much this part of the project will determine how it ends. In smiles and probably some mama tears or tears of frustration from everyone! Bathroom, snack and then distractions put away just sets the stage for a smooth transition. We have a speedy try on everything questionable session. Sometimes it's hard to know if something is going to fit without trying it on. Sizes on labels can be very different from brand to brand.
~If you are a momma of more than 1, do 1 child at a time. It's already daunting, don't make it harder on yourself with more stuff than you have to have out at once.
~Keep 1 top and 1 bottom from the sell or donate pile handy. Just in case there is a weird weather day. You don't want to have to dig through a bin for them in the mad rush before school or bed the night before.
~Get the stuff that is going out, OUT as soon as you can!
~Label your bins/boxes with a label you can see easily
I have found that the more often I do this, the more often I buy less the following year. Seeing stuff that was not worn much before it was outgrown is a sure sign that our kids have too much.