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Getting your kids’ closets organized for back-to-school

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SEATTLE -- As the kids get ready to head back to school, you may be taking a look in their drawers and closets, perhaps wondering how things got so messy (and where all those clothes came from)!

Darcy Camden is a personal stylist; as the owner of the company Styled Seattle she works with people of all ages on building stylish wardrobes. But before you can build a wardrobe, whether you're a parent or a student, she says it's key to take inventory of what you already have. Darcy says spending a little bit of extra time up-front on organizing your closets can save you time and money in the long run, particularly when it's time to head back to the stores to freshen up your kids' closets.

Here are Darcy's rules for back-to-school wardrobe organizing for families:

RULE #1: Go through everything you already own BEFORE you buy anything new. It’s important to spend time organizing your closet and purging away items that don’t fit before venturing to the stores for back-to-school shopping.

RULE #2: Try everything on! The best way to do this is to take everything out of the closet and dressers. It only goes back in the closet if it fits. Organize all well-fitting items by putting similar items together (e.g. pants with pants, sweaters with sweaters, t-shirts with t-shirts).

RULE #3 (the GOLDEN RULE of closet organizing!): If it doesn’t fit, you can’t wear it! Pass it on, store it for later, or donate it! Clothes that are too small can be passed to a friend or family member or can go to a thrift/consignment store. Anything barely worn or anything that still has the original tags attached is a great candidate for consignment. More worn-out or damaged clothing can go to Goodwill or Northwest Center.

RULE #4: If you don’t like an item enough to take the time try it on, then it probably won’t get worn and should go in the donation pile!

RULE #5: Make a list of items that need to be replaced, and prioritize those items when you do your back-to-school shopping. It’s very easy to get distracted in clothing stores, so you always want to go to the stores with a plan.

RULE #6: Initiate positive conversations about clothing. If you encounter items that your child barely wore, ask them why they didn’t wear them and be open to the answers. Your child probably has a good reason (“that fabric is itchy” or “I can’t run in those pants”). Styling is a usually a process of trial and error. It’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t so that you don’t waste money in the future. Hopefully, you’ll end this process knowing a little more about what your child likes and dislikes, which will help make shopping easier for everyone!