School's Out for Summer: What About this Year’s Uniforms?
It’s the end of the school year.
For children finishing at their current school this can be a worrying time, and for children starting the long holidays, it may be a tough call to make them think about their uniforms. But now’s a good time to sort them out to save yourself time in the pre-term rush at the end of the summer holidays.
Don’t be lulled into thinking there’s plenty of time. There may well be, but human nature suggests that if we don’t deal with this now, we may not deal with it at all.
So here’s our short, five point guide to making sure that going back to school will be as pain free as possible, from a uniform point of view at least.
1. Empty school bags
They may not be being used until next year, but school bags are notorious hiding spots for half bags of food, left over lunch items, and empty lunch boxes full of crumbs. Get these little ‘petri dishes’ for mould out and washed before they climb out of their own accord. Once cleaned they can be used again. If left over the summer, attempted rescues may be futile.
You may find goodies like school reports that haven’t (yet) been handed to you, magazines full of things to do over the summer, letters from the school, odd bits of uniform and more.
If you’re lucky, you may even find out what homework, if any, has been set for starting back next term.
What does the school bag itself need? A good clean? A repair? Taking out of circulation completely? Do it now and it won’t be haunting your summer holidays.
And regular contents like pencils, sharpeners, maths things? Check for breakages. Are pen’s working? Do pencils need sharpening? Do it now or pop these things aside for ‘I’m bored’ moments over the holiday period and help your children learn organisation and responsibility by fixing, cleaning, sharpening and otherwise preparing these things themselves.
2. Gather all uniform items together for washing
Sort your items into piles for washing. And whilst you’re turning them through the right way, check those pockets – which parents haven’t found sweets, gifts from friends, broken pens that can leak all over all of the clothes and more?
If anything is beyond repair, now’s the time to throw it out. (Many charity shops get paid by weight for old clothes.)
Everything else needs to go through the wash. Storing things dirty will make stains hard to move and may even cause mould.
3. Ironing and repairs
Once you have your nice dry, clean clothes, it’s time to iron them. Ironed clothes take up less space and ironing offers a chance to examine them more closely. Check for:
- Stains that haven’t come out
- Frayed cuffs and hems
- Loose buttons
Fixing these things now will relieve issues on the first day of school. For some items, like school ties or school branded book bags, you may still be able to buy replacements before the school closes.
And then there are socks. Many schools have socks or tights in colours that your children won’t want to wear over the summer holidays. Pair them up for storing. What to do with the inevitable spares is up to you.
We most definitely had a sock monster in our house. One that stole at least one sock every time the washing was done. Despite that, I kept a small drawstring bag for all of the spares, the odds that came out periodically for matching or despatching. (Some animal rescue places like to keep a supply of old, clean socks for pet mice, hamsters or ferrets that like to sleep in them.)
4. If it doesn’t fit now…..
For most children, the usual trajectory is that they’ll be bigger at ‘back to school’ time than they are now. Items that don’t fit now won’t fit come September.
Think about passing good quality items on or selling. Some schools, for example, make money for their PTA (Parent Teachers Association) by selling on second hand uniform.
The sooner things that don’t fit are out of your hair, the sooner you’ll free up more space, see the gaps in uniform and know what’s still to do before next term. There’s every chance that children from other classes/years at the same school are getting rid of good quality pieces of uniform too, which can save you money. Bear in mind, however, that two months may not seem like a long time, but for a growing child it can result in being a whole size or two bigger.
If you have pairs of socks that are too small, in school colours, the school may be grateful for them to pass on to families who they know are struggling financially, or for children who need loaning uniform because their own has got messy or wet at school.
5. Fold it away and store until just before school term
A week or so before school term, sooner if you’re away for a last minute summer holiday, you’ll be able to see at a glance what you have, be free of the majority of last minute ironing issues and know exactly what you still need to buy.
Of course, if you have a younger or smaller child who is likely to grow into items that are too small, put them in a box, and store in a cool dry area. Be sure to mark the box with what’s inside and what sizes.
If your school has a uniform that changes for the summer months, put the uniform away separately, clearly marked, even if it’s already too small. You are unlikely to sell it on until next summer when other parents may be looking. Putting it away properly will make it easy to sell on, and keep it in good condition.
Note: children moving schools
If your child is moving school next term, they may well have shirts signed by colleagues or mementoes from friends that look meaningless. Before washing or throwing away, check in with your child and save yourself from unnecessary upset!
And the uniform that’s left over? If you don’t have another child waiting in the wings to take it on, remember Mari Kondo’s advice.
Thank those clothes for their useful service and move them on. Whether you donate them, sell them, or decide to keep them for sentimental reasons, be positive about what you do with them rather than shelving the decision and taking up space unnecessarily. That’s when ‘precious’ or a collection becomes ‘clutter'.
At easyStorage we wish you and your children a fantastic summer break – and we are, of course, here to meet all of your self storage needs.