I have always been a fan of stockpiling children's clothes, buying them at thrift stores and storing them in rubbermaid bins. Every 6 months or so I pull it all out and carry the "new" clothes upstairs to swap out with the too cold/too hot/too small clothes currently occupying dresser space. However, my bins have become a mess with size 12 stuff in with baby items and girl clothes in with boy stuff. Yesterday I discovered 10 pairs of pants that can fit Will in various locations. This was an expensive mistake, but I can take comfort knowing that he will wear some of them out, leaving the rest for Charlie and Timmy to grow into.
Last week I re-read The Tightwad Gazette III, a collection of articles from Amy Dacyczyn's newsletter. While some of the information is dated, I found her clothing organizing system to be the solution to my problem. The mother of 6, Amy made the same mistakes I did until she created a card for each child with the items needed down one side and the sizes across the top. She put a check mark for each item of clothing in its proper spot. This method allows her to see how many shirts/pants/coats are already in storage in each size. Since I just sorted out the winter gear for my brood now is the perfect opportunity to make up these cards for stocking up in the future.
1 day update: I took 2 hours to inventory all the boy's clothes. Now I just have to put the information onto cards. Luckily I only have to do this once, all that sorting wore me out. To recover I had to lie down with a bag of m&ms and a sudoku puzzle book for 45 minutes.