Lost and (waiting to be) Found Kids’ Clothes

by On March 20, 2014 in General

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School lost-and-found areas aren't always this contained. Credit: www.fcusd.org

School lost-and-found areas aren’t always this contained.
Credit: www.fcusd.org

At school drop-off the other morning, I saw other parents walking by me, staring. I know what they were thinking.

“Why is she hanging up all the kids’ clothes in the lost-and-found box?”

I had eyed that Matterhorn-sized pile of abandoned kids’ wear before, thinking it odd that the provided hooks and hangers are never used. ?Surely it would help kids and parents find lost items if they were hung up neatly, right? Still, I never thought to tidy the mess myself until my desperate need to find lost items arose.

Parents know the drill. The seasons change. You drop some serious green to purchase your kids’ proper winter coats and industrial strength hoodies to supposedly “last the season.” Hah! Hah I say!

“Seriously?” I asked my six-year old when she admitted to the second lost coat in as many days. She looked guilty and apologized, but won no points when she added, “can’t you just go buy another one Mommy?”? (Was that my voice reciting my parents’ “money-doesn’t-grow-on-trees” lecture? Why yes, yes it was. Sorry mom and dad, I get it now.)

So we searched under beds, in the car, and the last four places we visited that week. I made repeat visits to the school lost and found, willing those coats to reappear.

Kids winter clothes - so needed, so easily lost! Credit: gracey; morguefile. http://mrg.bz/2cESZf

Kids winter clothes – so needed, so easily lost!
Credit: gracey; morguefile. http://mrg.bz/2cESZf

And that’s when it hit me.? That pile included many brand spanking new items,?unclaimed for days, even weeks (I’m a frequent visitor; I know the stock.) Weren’t other parents looking for costly lost clothes too? Weren’t their pocketbooks stinging from purchases that lasted a mere week?? Was I the only one sorely tempted to “accidentally take” other kids’ winter coats from the pile? (Curse all those names written on tags anyway.)

I decided most parents were understandably too harried to sort through that daunting pile.?That thought gave me additional incentive to methodically hang all the waiting-to-be-found clothes on hooks and hangers. Well…that, and my mildly obsessive tendencies to straighten.

When I was through, I bit back a “ta-dah!” ?It looked like an approachable store rack! A sense of satisfaction washed over me, especially when another parent came up and exclaimed “Jack, THERE’s your soccer hoodie!”

My work was done.

I think I earned some good karma too, because later that day, my kid found her hoodie on the playground and her winter coat in the black hole that is her bedroom closet. Someone needs to learn the “hangers and hooks” trick, too.

Parents, are your kids repeat offenders in the lost clothes department? Do you have any helpful tips to share?



Diana is a sociologist, freelance writer and mom, though rarely in that order. Her writing spans topics from parenting joys and challenges to prevention education. She writes a monthly parenting blog for Yahoo and has published feature articles on adoption, family rituals and the childcare industry for parenting publications. Diana earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. These days find her hanging with her husband and book-loving six year old in the San Francisco Bay Area, while happily blogging and serving as a reading advocate for Bookboard.

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