My love-hate relationship with The Bins

29 Oct

The Bins

Today’s the day. I knew it was coming as the season began to change this month. Three weeks ago, it was Columbus Day Weekend and it was almost 90 degrees; my kids were in bathing suits. Two nights ago I was putting away laundry and there were still shorts and t shirts in the piles of clothes I was putting away. But, I knew it was coming.

One of my aunts calls the fall and the spring “The Black Holes of Fashion” because you never know how to dress. It might be chilly in the morning and hot by afternoon or cold at night and warm all day. It’s a constant game of layering outfits when I get my kids dressed each day or even myself: short sleeves and sweatshirts or long sleeves and leggings but no jacket.

Usually I look for a long weekend to do my bins, to switch my closets over, but judging from last night’s weather forecast for this weekend prior to Halloween, I told my husband, “It’s time,” and up into the attic he went last night so that when I arrived home there were stacks of bins halfway to the ceiling, full of clothing.

I am grateful that we have three girls and lots of girl cousins because get lots of hand-me-downs and we hand everything down after we’re done, to pay it forward. I can’t even imagine having to buy all new clothes for a boy and a girl for example, every single year, as my mom must have had to do. When you have “one of each” you can’t hand anything down from one to the other. But, having three girls and so many hand-me-downs to store, presents an issue: where do you store all those clothes for years and years, and how?

Originally when we had one daughter and no idea who was going to be born next, we saved everything and we had one stack of bins in our garage. I stored them labeled with a Sharpie marker by size and by season since here in New England we are lucky enough to have all four seasons. I narrow it down to Winter and Summer, lumping spring and fall in there as well. As we had more and more daughters however, and acquired more and more clothes (the outfits seem to multiply like the proverbial rabbits) we had to come up with a better way to store it.

Our solution was to have someone come in and access our attic for us. We were unable to do a pull-down stairway method, so every spring and fall my husband brings in a ladder from outside, sets it up in our bedroom and up he goes to take down the bins. Then I sort through all of the clothes, sending off anything that we’ve grown out of for good to the next lucky girls, and then sending him back up into the attic with the bins re-labeled for next year’s season. It’s a whole weekend process at least.

Currently we have ten bins and three bags of assorted clothing ready to be sorted this weekend. It’s a grueling process, but I will say this: I have an odd attachment to their clothes. I get very sentimental as I put them away each year and I get a slight thrill each fall and spring as I take the clothes out of the bins. I find myself saying, “Oh I loved this outfit on your sister!” as I pass it down to the next daughter. I love to hear them be excited when a certain outfit is now theirs, something that they always admired on their older sister. Or, as I pass down the special occasion dresses, I remember the photos they took or an event they attended in a particular dress, and I do get somewhat misty-eyed, I must admit. In fact, when it came time to give away my baby clothes for good (only saving the dearest and most special pieces) I photographed every single one. I have a folder with 42 pictures of baby clothing in it on my Kodak Easyshare site.

So as much as I am dreading my task this weekend, I am thankful to have the abundance of clothing to pass down to my girls, thankful I only have my oldest daughter to outfit each season, and I am looking forward to seeing what clothing is going into the drawers this year that we’ll be oohing and aahhing over this time around.

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3 Responses to “My love-hate relationship with The Bins”

  1. Theresa Deal November 3, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    I know exactly how you feel, having three girls myself! It’s a bittersweet process every season to take those bins out and go through each piece-all the memories! (some things I say to myself, “why did I save THAT?”) However, just like you, I am so grateful to have so much to pass down. When I feel the stress of the ‘bins’, I remember that my girls are growing every day, enjoy this time while it’s here. Embrace the bins!

    • thewholebagofchips November 6, 2011 at 9:15 am #

      I actually DID have a few “why did I save THAT” moments this last time around! From here on in…embracing the bins!

  2. Jamie November 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    I have two girls and I save EVERYTHING of my older daughter’s to pass down to my younger daughter. Much sadness this past weekend as I realized that a pair of uber cute pink and brown Merrell Mary Janes had a broken buckle and little sister would not be able to wear them. I have one huge bin filled with baby/toddler special outfits but, unfortunately, my seasonal rotational system is not as organized as your bins! It’s more like throw stuff in a pile on a shelf in the closet or stuff them in a bag and under the bed. Ahem…

    p.s. too funny on black holes of fashion…indeed! My 4th grader wants to wear shorts to school this week but we just had the fireplace going a few days ago.

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