A minimal solution to simplify your child's morning routine for school days. Create this 7 -drawer dresser to organize clothing, streamline your morning, and allow your child more rest in the mornings.
Whenever the school year is fully underway and the first weeks of excitement start to wear off, your child's morning routine for school can often take a hit as families rush to get out the door in time. Although our little family has not hit this season of life yet (my oldest is the ripe age of three and stays home for some light pre-school activities) we still like to keep a rhythm that helps our day flow smoothly. We too have been impacted by the chaos of “where did those socks go?”, “I can’t find a shirt to match”, or my ever-favorite three-year-old independent styling choices.
So, inspired by the likes of Marie Kondo, or one of my personal favorites, Allie Casazza and her “Uncluttered Home Course” ….I have been working towards simplifying our home and clearing our unnecessary clutter.
Steps to simplify our morning routine...
Step 1) Get overwhelmed at the massive pile-up of dirty clothes that began when I stopped adulting for a few days. Who has time to do laundry?!
Step 2) Swear to my husband that our life would be so much easier if we could live in a nudist colony. Instead, thanks to our excellent problem solving, decide to eliminate about half of the pile of clothes and take them to the donation center. It reasons that this would probably be more practical, given winter is coming and that the complications of a move to “said colony” right now sounds even more exhausting.
Step 3) Go to the laundromat around the corner to wash all the clothes at once. Because even though we have a perfectly good washer and dryer, the thought of doing one load at a time - ad nauseum, just did not sound appealing or realistic given my current time constraints (husband, pre-schooler, baby, 8 week old puppy, and this Sleep Consultant “biz”). It is weird for me to admit to this, but this is one of my favorite "mom hacks" when life gets crazy. Getting this momentum boost creates a "cleaning high" for me. Imagine knocking out this huge mountain of laundry in one burst. And mamas - picture with me 2-3 quiet hours with a book in a laundromat. This is the "white noise" of motherhood. The whirrrrring and clanking of the dryers nearby and the thought of kids at home with my husband. If you learn anything from this post, neglect your laundry...and then get away to "catch up" at the laundromat. If you know what is good for you, stop at Starbucks on the way.
Step 4) Clear the clutter and create a streamlined system for our clothing that simplifies our morning routine and makes our family time together less stressful. Side note - We are learning how to sort through our items and then take them immediately to donate. Without an immediate purge, the garage just starts to build up with boxes and we don't get that "winning" feeling that comes with simplifying right away. It is truly a weight off of one's chest to unload a car with items that you don't need, but that can benefit someone else!
Once the clutter was cleared, and the remaining laundry was all clean at once…we were ready to store. So, I got to work to find a solution that would allow us to keep everything neatly organized and hassle free for my family. Here is how I did it…
The dresser that maximizes our morning sleep and simplifies our morning routine.
This project took just a couple of hours and cost $109 on Amazon Prime + $10 for the Vinyl Lettering. = $119 Total
Then I connected with Kass’ Krafty Signs in Nampa, Idaho. She worked with me to find a fun font and material to help cut out some vinyl lettering for each day of the week. She had some silver/metallic vinyl on-hand and so we used this to create a “girly” design. I ordered 2” letters which seemed to fill the drawer space well. I think that letters any larger would consume the drawers too much. You DIY'ers could use a cricut machine to make your own letters, or contact a local retailer you know to create a custom font.
My husband helped me assemble the dresser and it went together easily, in less than an hour. The quality of this piece is not top-of-the-line….but this dresser is one of the only ones I could find that actually has 7 top-to-bottom drawers for each day of the week, and since I don’t expect this to be a life-long piece for my daughter I think the quality/price was right on track for this project.
I used some white duct tape on the left side to create a standard, straight line to ensure my letters were indented evenly all the way down. Then I used a light pencil marking to line-up my letters on the bottom. I marked 1" up from the bottom and made that my baseline for setting the words evenly on top. This helped me ensure the letters were hovering in the middle of the drawer where I wanted them. Since I used a light pencil marking, the pencil erased easily when I was done. After lining up the letters, I used the straight edge of my debit card to rub the letters onto the drawers firmly so they would adhere, then gently pulled back the contact paper to ensure the letters were secure.
Finally, we stashed the drawer with my daughter’s 7 seasonal outfits. We have been working towards making her wardrobe “capsule-like” and include her shirt, pants, underwear, socks, and hair accessory in the drawer for each day. Shoes sit nearby on a shelf in her closet, as we only have 3 pairs of fall shoes (Tennis Shoes, Dress Shoes, and Boots for Cold weather). I also have two more spare outfits hanging in the closet that we add to the rotation for when she gets something dirty, and to create a small buffer of clothing so she doesn’t wear the exact same things every day of the week.
My daughter now chooses a drawer at the beginning of the day and dresses herself. I mean, she doesn’t always get her pants on the right way…progress over perfection right?! I can appreciate her independence, and I also value that I didn’t have to scour the house wondering where the laundry got off to, or struggle to get her to wear pants (instead of shorts) outside when it is a chilly fall day in Boise.
The pros and cons of this system...
- Con: I still have to do laundry.
- Pro: I have far less laundry to do since we cleared the clutter and simplified with this drawer system.
- Con: The dresser is a tad on the light side. When all of the drawers are open it could be prone to tipping. The dresser kit includes wall anchors, so I recommend utilizing these if you have a young one at home! You will just need to secure the unit into your wall for safety reasons.
- Pro: This system makes the mornings hassle-free when everything is laid out ahead of time
- Con: There is some effort that must be made to create a capsule-style wardrobe and also line-up all of the outfits ahead of time. I personally feel that this is easier to do all at once though, instead of scattered haphazardly throughout the week.
- Pro: With school start times being so early, this allows your children just a little more time for sleep in the mornings. Sleep is such a huge benefit to growing children, and so every extra minute your child is allowed to rest, maximizes their function during the day. Simplifying their wardrobe (similar to the idea of a school uniform) just takes out the need for decision-making and streamlines the morning routine, allowing for more snooze time, when possible.
- Con: I’m running out of cons here…
- Pro: Your child can take ownership of getting dressed in the morning so you aren’t having to nag them to get ready.
- Pro: My three year old daughter is suddenly excited about singing the “days of the week” song. I am quite convinced that this set of drawers is going to help her make this a more concrete concept moving forward.
I hope this project serves your family well. If you are still struggling with rushed and tired morning routines for school, then I hope this can help your young child get some more rest and reduce the morning chaos. Helping young children get more sleep is what I do best!