Have you ever wondered how to store your children’s clothes? Or noticed how much space baby clothes can take up? For such tiny onesies, dresses, shirts, and socks, how does the total volume add up so fast? I have come to realize that if I don’t keep on top of it, my son’s dresser gets fuller than my own! The reason, of course, is that they change sizes so fast, but it still surprises me when it’s time to sort through clothes again and put them in plastic totes by size. Because sorting through the baby’s dresser is something that happens so often, it pays to keep things simple. Here is a process that works for us.
Advantages of Storing Clothes
The two primary advantage of storing your kid’s clothes are saving time and money. With baby number two you will have considerably less shopping to do which translates into more time and money. The icing on the cake is you also get to reuse your favorite little outfits!
Storing Clothes is not for Everyone
Storing clothes does take some storage space and organization. Some moms prefer to buy a simple wardrobe of each size and then sell or donate it right after their little one grows out of a size. With this method you only have the current size and the next size or two in the house at any one time. There are some obvious space and simplicity advantages to this method. Plus, if baby number two is a boy and your first was a girl, many of those saved clothes will not help you until baby number three! If you are finished having children, you will also want to consider not saving clothes. You might save a few favorite classic pieces for your grandchildren, but otherwise the clothes may as well be sold or donated to someone who can use them while the styles are still current.
1) Sort, Wash, and Dry
Clothes must be stored clean and completely dry. Dirt or food left on clothes will settle in permanently while in storage; plus, you run the risk of mildew, smells, and attracting bugs. Yuck! Any dampness will also lead to smells, mildew, and other unpleasantness that will spoil the entire box or bag of clothes. A few days before you plan to go through the baby dresser or closet, start making sure everything, especially outfits that are outgrown, have been washed and thoroughly dried. Collecting everything in the same place all washed and dried is really half the battle!
Don’t use valuable storage space on clothes you do not want to use. Chances are if you didn’t use it with this baby, you won’t later either! Grab a bag and fill it with items to donate or throw out depending on the condition of the outfits. On our of moms, Aimee, is a big fan of minimizing. If you find that clothes are extra-worn, stained or were not used very often…opt to get rid of them. Keep only the ones that will truly be useful!
3) Package and Label
For this step pick a time when you have a few minutes to yourself. Some tasks can be done in little chunks and others, like this one, need to happen during naptime or a mommy break time when you can count on a little uninterrupted time. You can choose to store your clothes in plastic tubs, zippered clothing organizer bags, jumbo-sized ziploc bags, or vacuum bags depending on your preference and the options you have available for storage space. I personally like clear plastic totes so I can stack them and see how much room there is left in the totes. The key to this step is to LABEL. Label clearly – for example “6-12-Month Girl Clothes” or “All Boy Shoes” Do avoid cardboard or open containers since they will not protect from dust or occasional stray insects. If possible store clothes indoors to avoid damage from heat or dampness.
4) The “Active” Box
Valerie, mom of eleven, always keeps one plastic tote as the Active Box. This is a special designated tote for you to add to as outfits are outgrown and to throw newly acquired outfits into that need to be sorted and put into the correct totes later. Each time it’s time to move up a clothing size, you sort out the Active Box and make sure all outfits land in the appropriate, clearly-labeled totes.
Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. You have used your Mommy Break to successfully organize all your baby clothes!
Mommy Medicine is a group of moms that love sharing tricks, tips and strategies with our fellow moms, so send us your mommy questions you would like to see as the subject of a blog. We would love to hear from you! Subscribe here to receive posts straight to your inbox!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/21/2019)
Kate Allen (Flickr)