Drama-Free Dressing for School


For the first month of the school year, my husband and I had morning battles with our 6-year-old about appropriate school clothes for first grade. When we said, “Go get dressed,” she’d come out of her room wearing a leotard and ballet flats. Veto! And then we had an exasperating back-and-forth of which clothes were appropriate for the weather and school activities. A simple rearrange of the dresser drawers drastically reduced our morning drama. I have two easy tips for you.1. Keep all approved clothing in one place.

I created a “school clothes drawer”. Alexandra is so independently-minded that having an outfit laid out for her made her feel micromanaged and she’d usually reject it on principle.  Instead of having dress-up and play dresses in one drawer, and socks and tights in another drawer, I moved all clothes that are approved for school days into one drawer. You could do the same with clothes hanging in a closet by keeping school clothes hung together in a distinct row. This makes expectations clear and ends negotiations, but it also gives the child choices.


Please know, I resisted the urge to style the snapshot of that drawer, in the interest of a truly typical portrayal.

2. Store folded clothes upright.

This is my lazy efficient adaptation of the KonMari folding method. I fold the sleeves back and the shirt in half horizontally, like my mom taught me. Then, I fold dresses and shirts in half again. Rather than laying them in stacks on top of each other, I stand them upright with the shoulders down.

I fold pants in half vertically and then in half horizontally, and line them up on their sides. (The pants are only loosely inspired by KonMari’s method.) This method not only takes up way less space, it makes it easy to see everything in the drawer. If my kids are choosing, they don’t rummage through it all looking for a favorite anymore.


Gabe’s school clothes are not all in one drawer, because he’s not resistant to his outfits being laid out for him, and because he has not acquired any clothes unsuitable for preschool. I could go on a tangent about how young girls are bombarded with objectifying pretty princess marketing messages, and how they’re more likely to receive impractical clothing gifts, while most clothes for young boys are comfortable for both school and climbing trees, but I will leave it at this complaint for now.

Bonus ramble on dresser organization! If the mood strikes while I put clean clothes away, I implement the KonMari recommendation to order clothes left-to-right from heaviest to lightest. So, the thickest sweaters go on the left, grading to light t-shirts on the right. Also, in each category, colors go from darkest to lightest. I enjoy this, but often, I just get the clean clothes put away without fussing over exact order. However, I am always compelled to put Gabe’s day-of-the-week underwear in chronological order, despite that he doesn’t care at all what day of the week his underwear declares, unless it’s Pizza Friday.

How is your morning routine going? Do you have tips for a smooth transition from bed to school?


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I'm Anna, and I love to create and recognize beauty at home and in heart. I share inspiring interiors and my Finnish-American lifestyle in Minneapolis, MN.

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