Ask the Organizer: Organizing Children’s Clothing

Earlier this month, I posed the question, What is your biggest issue when it comes to clothes clutter?  and the majority of your answers implied that children’s clothing was a pretty big issue in your home.

So today, I’m excited to read Andrea’s tips to help us declutter and better organize our children’s closets. Over the last several years, Andrea has worked with many moms with different ages of children (and different sizes of closets). She also has a 5-month-old daughter… so she should bring some interesting perspectives to the whole topic of clothes clutter!

If you’re overwhelmed with your children’s clothing, here are a few tips that might help you gain control of their closets. (These tips also work for adult closets too! :))

1. Purge

The first step in dealing with any type of clothing clutter is to look over everything you have and start purging. I know firsthand how quickly the amount of children’s clothing grows — especially with all the different sizes and seasons — so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have plenty to purge.

Only keep the items you absolutely love, unless you have a younger child who will soon be wearing the hand-me-downs. And unless you have vast amounts of extra storage space, I would strongly encourage you not to hang onto clothing for the possibility that you might have another child, who might be the same gender, and who might be born the same time of year as your current child/children. It’s just not worth the space it takes.

Try to eliminate your emotional attachment to the items and instead, come at it from the perspective that by getting rid of the clothing, you will free-up more space for items you actually need.

I’ve also found it can be easier to purge if you give/sell the items to another mom who could use them for her child. We have received tons of hand-me-down clothes gifts and are so thankful every time.

2. Evaluate

Now that your children’s closets and dressers have a little more breathing room, don’t rush out to the store to fill them back up again. Step back and take a moment to evaluate what you actually need for each child.

If you do laundry regularly (which I assume you do), your children probably won’t need more than a few nice outfits, a handful of play clothes, and some PJ’s. See if you can get by with the clothing you have. If there is something you need, jot it down and take that list with you to your next neighborhood garage sale.

3. Rotate

If you have multiple children, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll end up with all different sizes and seasons of clothing. Plus, you know that the size on the tag isn’t always accurate — for this reason, it’s important to regularly rotate your children’s clothing!

Since I still have a small infant, I try to rotate her clothes every 6-8 weeks (or as she grows out of them). With older children, you’ll probably only have to do this every season or every year.

I simply put bins on one of the shelves in her closet and any time she grows out of something, I add it to the “too-small” bin. As she grows I pull clothing from the “too-big” bin — which contains any hand-me-downs, garage sale finds, and clothes gifts we’ve gotten.

When the “too-small” bin is full, I purge the items I don’t love, and store the rest.

4. Store

Unless you are finished having children (and have absolutely no sentimental attachment to your baby clothes), you will probably need to store some of your children’s clothing. If possible, it’s always the most convenient if you can store the clothes right in the child’s room who will wear them next — in the bottom drawer of a dresser, under the bed, or on the top shelf of the closet.

If you don’t have room in the bedrooms, I’d suggest using large clear plastic tubs or vacuum-seal bags to roughly sort the clothing by gender, season, and size. Oh, and make sure you clearly label the contents so you can actually find the clothes when you need them.

And as you put items away for storage, remember to continually question whether it’s really worth the space you are taking up to store the item… oftentimes it makes more sense to purge the items now and borrow or buy used if you need them again in the future.

I think Crystal shares my same philosophy when she says, “It’s just not worth it to keep items you aren’t using if you don’t have anywhere to store them”.

5. Repeat!

Unfortunately, your children’s closets will not magically stay organized after just one purging session! So as they grow, you’ll have to repeat these steps on a regular basis.

However, keep in mind that you don’t always have to do all the “dirty work”. Encourage your children to get involved in the process — I can almost guarantee they will be more likely to keep their space organized if they helped in the process!

Of course it’s never fun to get rid of cute baby and children’s clothing, but I always remind myself that by keeping less “stuff”, I then have more space, time, energy, and money. Plus, by donating some of the items we no longer need, I’m helping other moms too!

What are your tips to organize children’s clothing?

Andrea Dekker is a wife, mom, blogger, organizer, speaker, and founder of Simple Organized Living. Her goal is to motivate and encourage others to “create their best life” through simplicity and organization.

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Comments

  1. says

    These are great tips. When I was cleaning my sons closet I noticed I have quite a few items now that he has outgrown. I may need to do a box for Thred Up or find a new home from those items.

  2. K harrington says

    I just do not agree with these methods at all! I had 2 thats right 2 unexpected pregnancies and I WAS on the pill. If I had gotten rid of my clothes we would have been in serious trouble! I could go on and on about why I disagree, but all in all I say take the time to store it. You may not know what your financial position will be when the next one comes along! You just may need all that stuff! AND all four of my boys WERE born in the same season!

    • Nora says

      K,

      A little off topic but I would suggest at looking into NFP- Creighton Method. If your on the pill for medical reasons it especially helpful. If you are trying to avoid pregnancy it’s more accurate than the pill and doesn’t have all the nasty side effects that the pill has.

      Nora

      • Andrea says

        NFP is a great way to learn about your body and cycles. But keep in mind that just like every other type of birth control (except abstinence), it doesn’t always work ;)

    • Christy says

      I disagree too. I have 2 boys, March and November birthdays. We also live in SC so the idea of seasonal clothing is somewhat different than say Michigan. It was beautiful weather the week #2 was born and then got cold and stayed cold for here last winter. So we did have to get new 0-3 clothes but that mostly came as Christmas gifts since family asked what he needed. Then when we got to spring we had onesies from the first ones Charleston 100 degree plus summer, so I got some pants and goodies at a consignment shop. Summer worked out as he started wearing 12 months way early! Winter worked. Now spring again and I did have to get some filler pieces in 18 mos. We have 24 mos and up in both seasons. We have saved so much $ even though the space is a challenge. Townhome, no attic or garage.

    • says

      That’s pretty much the reason we’ve held on to most of our clothes – we did have three boys in 3 1/2 years, and the third one was a surprise :). The first two were born in the same season, but they were huge, so the third son, who is smaller in general, can still wear their clothes even though he was born in a different season. Clothes are expensive, and we had some really nice things – Gymboree, Janie and Jack, etc. – that people had handed down to us. I found that vacuum bags under the bed allowed us to hold on to what we had.

    • says

      @Kharrington: Thanks for your comment. I also pack and store all 3 of my children’s clothing. They are ages 7, 4, and 2, and I have infant to current clothes stored. I use totes that are labeled by girl/boy, size of clothing, and season. These clothes get loaned out to those in need and to friends. If some of the clothes don’t come back, then no big deal. However, I do not have a huge home (1,900 sq. ft.), but we put shelving into our storage closet, and I only keep what we need.
      I’m thankful to store these clothes because someone I know or myself might need them again.
      This post does have some good points (labeling, using containers, etc.). Just do what works for you.

    • Kadee says

      We had 3 boys in 4 years. The 3rd was supposed to be a girl – we were adopting and could chose gender. I *almost* got rid of all the boy clothes, but something told me to hang on to them, and I’m so glad we did when a little boy became available that we just couldn’t say no to. Had I given away all those clothes, I would have been kicking myself! You just never know what will happen!

    • carrie says

      I agree and disagree with this article. Disagree because I have 3 girls 11, 7, 4 born in June, January and March. Because I have saved their clothes I have saved a ton of money on clothes. Of course I have a carport that was turned into a storage room so I have the room to save clothes. I have one tote for each size. I do this to save money and because you never know what the finances will be like in the future. If you can’t afford new clothes for baby #2 or 3 you will be very thankful you saved. On a side note, when I do decide to get rid of them I will have one heck of a yard sale.
      Now the things I agree on is purge for sure. If you don’t like something don’t keep it. If there are stains don’t keep it. Also keep on top of the cleaning. I have a laundry hamper that is in a closet that I put the outgrown clothes into. When it gets full I clean it out. If I don’t do it then the pile gets VERY high, not that I have ever done that.

  3. Debbie Briner says

    I like this post. I have done this for awhile with 3 kids 18,14 and 11. It is very hard to purge clothes because someone is attached… :)

    • says

      YES!! Once the kids get attached to stuff, it’s a whole different ballgame!!! (and they totally get the from their dad ’cause I’ll get rid of anything!) ;)

  4. josi says

    that closet looks beautiful… and i think after awhile you can get rid of the items ..usually some one has clothes to hand down for small children

  5. says

    I’d love to hear some tips from larger families. We have 5 and would love more. I purge and rotate regularly, but we still have several large bins of clothes. They are used again every 2-3 years (we have a nice boy-girl pattern going) so it seems silly to get rid of them. Maybe I just need to get used to the idea that more people take up more space :)

    • says

      I think you are right. I have 3 boys (and 1 girl) that were all born in the fall. One is nearly 9 and the other is 5 months. I saved a lot of our boys’ clothing and I am using the 9 year olds on the baby we have now. It has saved us an abundance of money. However, I do get frustrated with how much room it takes up. It’s insane. I keep thinking that we should be able to get rid of more when I survey it. However, every time the baby moves into a new size and I can just go open a bin and retrieve the clothing, I feel like it’s worth the space it takes up.

    • Mary says

      We have 4. In the spirit of more people take up more space, I gave up my linen closet for clothing storage. I put cleaning supplies and towels under the sink the the kids bathroom. Sheets are stored in an under the bed box. That gave me a nice closet for the clothes we are likely to use soon. I store the next two sizes for my oldest daughter as well as the size in between my girls in that closet. I also have clothes for the baby there – the sizes he’s outgrown as well as the next two sizes. (My oldest is 7 and we no longer have clothes he will grow into from other people!) The rest of our hand-me-downs are in the basement.

      I know we’re lucky to have the storage that we do. But I totally disagree with the author of this post that it makes sense to get rid of stuff only to buy more later. My infant son was born 7 years after his only brother. If I had gotten rid of those clothes, I would have had to spend at least $50 to get enough clothes for his first 6 months, even at garage sales and thrift stores (probably more!). I guess if I had to rent a storage unit because I was storing the clothes, it would be silly, but they are under the stairs in the basement . . . so it would just be wasteful!

  6. Staci says

    I’d be in trouble if I got pregnant because, save for their coming home outfits and one or two special outfits for each of my two kids, I got rid of all the baby stuff once we decided our family was complete. If I were to get pregnant, we would make it work even though we got rid of that stuff, and with our limited space, my sanity is worth way more than the cost of the items we’d need to replace! We are lucky enough to have extended family, awesome thrift stores, and plenty of yard sales so I think we’d be okay even if we were in a tighter spot financially. However, God willing, I’ll never need to put my money where my mouth is :P

  7. Mo says

    I want to know about the shelves in that closet. It looks like it’s just painted plywood or MDF supported and secured on wall cleats. Does this sound right? My biggest pet-peave with my kids’ closets is the wasted space under the 2 ft of space their hanging clothes take up :) A couple shelves with baskets/bins would give me SOOOO much more functionality in their closets. (and no, I’m not that flighty that I haven’t thought of doing this before but we just recently moved into our house and I like to “live with it” a while before I make changes :))

    • says

      I want to do this in my boys’ closet too – the “wasted” space right now inevitably becomes occupied by them and their blankets when they’re supposed to be sleeping, and then they start pulling all the clothes off the hangers! It would be much easier if we had shelves in there so they couldn’t even fit into the closet :).

      • Emma K says

        In my daughters closet when she was little I could put her dresser in it and still hang clothes on top to utilize the space. In my son’s room, I ended up putting tubs of clothes on one side of it and I had a small butchers cart that I also put it to use for storage.

      • Emma K says

        Where we are currently living the closets are all located in one bedroom. So my three kids all have clothes hanging in the same closet. I use pink hangars for my daughter, blue for my youngest son, and white for my oldest son so the clothes are separated easily.

        I went through our tubs of clothes and consigned outfits that I didn’t love or that we had a lot of before our move. We still have a lot of clothes but we are able to reuse them and I’m purging more as my youngest outgrows them.

      • Heather Neely says

        I use something like this (hanging shoe organizer) in my little ones closet.
        http://www.lulusoso.com/products/Hanging-Shoe-Rack-Walmart.html
        I have 2 side by side and it gives me room to fold the shirts, shorts, onsies, pants, etc and I just stack them up in there. I hated the wasted space as well, and I have never kept outfits on hangers (maybe I would with little girl dresses, but I have 2 boys!)

      • says

        I bought those wire organizers that make boxes. The kind you bought in college and have to put together? You could also use those white, particle board ones. Target has them on sale this week.
        Anyway-
        It sits on the my girls’ closet floor. I stacked it three boxes across and two boxes high. I put toys in the top row and shoes in the bottom row. (If you reverse that you just get dirty toys.)
        It fits very nicely under their hanging clothes. And it cost me under $20. And I can reconfigure it any time as my needs change.
        Hope that helps!

    • Andrea says

      For narrow closets and lightweight items, MDF/plywood and cleats would work just fine. Depending on the size of the closet and how handy you are, it may be cheaper/easier to buy the Closetmaid wire shelving.

  8. says

    We only have one son, so I know it’s a lot less of a challenge to organize his clothes.

    I love the too small/too big bin idea. It’s nice to always have bigger clothes on hand when you’ve got a baby who can outgrow an outfit while he’s wearing it! We’ve actually been using something similar.

    Our son is a really big guy, so we’ve learned the hard way that month sizes not only don’t mean much, but they’re not even consistent brand to brand. Before he was born, I organized his clothes into bins by month size. Whenever he outgrows something, new clothes from the next month-size up replace the outgrown outfit. The outgrown outfit goes straight into a trash bag of other outgrown clothes. When the bag fills up, it gets labeled by month and tossed into the attic. At least next time we’ll have clothes sorted by actual size instead of label size.

  9. says

    Two things that help me keep the clothes under control: 1) I have to like looking at it, and 2) it has to fit with what our lives are really like. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten something from someone else, and it just sits around never being worn, because I just don’t like the look of it. Also, we’ve gotten lots of nice things, but we don’t go out that much or get dressed up, so lots of sweaters or button-up shirts don’t really fit our lifestyles.

  10. Sakura says

    I read a post last year that talked about only having a small number of clothing items per person. That’s what I’ve done for my 8yo. He has a Tshirt, tank top, and shorts for everyday of the week. We have 10 pairs of underwear and socks for him along with 2 dress up outfits for church, 2 hoodies, 2 sweatpants, 4 pairs of jeans, 2 jamies, 2 pairs of gym shoes and 1 pair of dress shoes. I usually buy him 1 winter coat, but now he’s starting to fit into the ski coats I’ve saved from his older brother, so I won’t have to buy one of those for a few years. My son has a much easier time putting his clothes away when I wash them and picking out his clothes is easy also. When winter comes he’ll have long sleeve shirts instead of tank tops and more jeans and only a couple of gym shorts for basketball. This system has worked out great for us. When he’s outgrown his clothes we give them to the neighbor who is a couple of years younger.

    • Ann says

      My kids are younger (an almost 3 year old son and an almost 7 year old daughter). I’m always curious about the families that have an outfit for each day of the week. My kids love to play outdoors and seem to be stain magnets! :) How much time do you have to spend in stain removal to keep their smaller wardrobes stain free? I pick up nearly-new clothes at garage sales and pay $.25 per item. At that rate, I’ve decided I’m better off to buy extra and let them play without worrying about their clothes so much. (I don’t find myself over-reacting to stains when we have back-up outfits). I tried the “7 shirts, 7 pants” method one winter, and I actually had to go to the store and pay full/clearance price for new things to replace the stained ones so that my daughter had more than 3 stain-free shirts. I’m just curious to know a little more about how you make it work!! :) Thanks!

      • Heather says

        Maybe it’s your laundry detergent? Or are you using warm water to wash?
        I am kind of lazy about using the stain stick (one will last me a year), but most of the stains come out anyway. I have 4 kids, and I also let them do whatever outside without fussing to much about it. I try to use the “better” brands on sale with coupons. I mostly get All, but will occasionally get some Tide and Gain, which I alternate in. My son has a red shirt which I save for spaghetti nights – wish I had thought of that with the girls.

      • Sakura says

        We get a few grass stains on his pants when spring time hits, in the summer he lives in shorts and a tank top, and in the winter he’s usually in his thermals, jeans and snow pants. Some of his shirts get stains on them, but nothing that oxiclean hasn’t gotten rid of. Also, I guess I’m not too stressed about the stains. He’s a kid, they stain things. We have some nice shirts for him to wear when he goes to church or to do something special. He also loves wearing his cub scout shirt as a dress shirt. Please keep in mind my son is 8, I started this when he was almost 7. In one year we went from a size 5/6 to a size 10 thanks to a growth spurt. I buy all of his clothes on sale or clearance when they are not in season. The hardest part for me was when he seemed to outgrow all of his pants in one week.

  11. Meredith says

    The “what if I have another baby” question kept me holding on to everything. I’ve finally let go and just kept the best outfits. It really does feel good to get rid of it. Someone else is now being blessed by the tons of clothes I was holding on to!

    • says

      I just recently did this with my daughters’ clothing. We have 3 boys and 1 daughter. The boys’ clothing has been passed down to each boy. Our daughter, though…most of her clothes are like new! Everyone loves to buy for girls, it seems! I have a really hard time getting rid of nearly new stuff, and I’m not sure if we’re done having children or not (probably, though) and if we did, who knows if it would be another girl and if the seasons would match. Anyway, I saved it for a couple of years and then I decided it was just time a couple of weeks ago. My son has a lovely kindergarten teacher whom we have grown to love. I bagged everything up that was her small daughter’s size and sent it. I only saved a handful of outfits. I had a little trouble giving the Gap, Gymboree, Janie and Jack, etc. But, the gratitude for the lovely clothing was enough to just absolutely bless my heart and encourage me to keep blessing others. Sometimes it is easy to just give the play type clothing away but when you give the really nice stuff, it is that much more of a blessing to someone and comes from the heart.

  12. Jenna says

    I think the biggest thing about children’s clothes that I had to learn, was not to buy so many. When our first daughter was born she was in a new outfit every day, but as we had our second daughter we realized that kids just don’t need so many clothes. Now our girls are 6 and 4 , they have a few play clothes, 2-3 church outfits, and 2-3 nicer jeans/shirts. They survive and i don’t have to worry so much about storage, etc.

  13. L says

    I have three children, two girls (three years apart) and one boy (my baby, almost 12 :) When my oldest outgrows anything, we go through it, anything that looks in pretty good condition gets passed on to my next daughter. She is old enough now (almost 14) so she gets asked if she thinks she will want to wear it in a few years. Now that she is older, hand me downs do not get forced on her. She has her own style and her own opinion on what she likes. The clothing she agrees to gets put in under bed storage. This has been wonderful to have, especially jeans, dress pants, dress shoes, t-shirts and sweatshirts, ready to be worn. The “trendy” items usually don’t get purchased in the first place, but if they do, I usually do not keep things that will not stay in style. When my second daughter outgrows her clothes they get sold at Platos Closet or at a family garage sale or donated.

    Since my son is my one and only boy, his clothes get sold at Once Upon A Child or at a family garage sale or donated. Space is somewhat limited, which is nice in a way, that way things get moved out when we are done with them.

  14. Kim says

    I thought the ideas are very helpful. We have had several cross country moves where we did not keep the outgrown clothes, even though we were expecting to have more children. Each time the Lord has provide what we needed, actually an abundance. But I think that this is an area where we all have freedom to do what is best for your family.

  15. Anitra says

    I love the idea of the too-big / too-small bins. Too bad that with a closet that holds dress clothes & toys for two kids, and a small dresser that holds both their clothes, there’s no room for doing that for two kids.

    I do tend to take note of what is too small and pull it out when it comes out of the clean laundry. The problem is that then I end up with a pile of “t0-store” or “to-give-away” kids clothes in MY room until I have time to get up to the boxes/bins in the attic!

    I suppose under-bed storage (in the kids’ room) might help with this problem. Hm. That’s something to ponder.

    • says

      I feel like we could be clones in this department. I LOVE the idea but we have absolutely no room in this house to do that (family of 6, 1300 sq. feet). I need to figure something out, though. I know if I get creative, I can do it!

      • Anitra says

        I hear you. My two kids are a boy and a girl, and they share a room (and yes, I do hand-me-downs from the girl to the boy), a closet, and a dresser (1 drawer for each kid, plus 1 drawer for cloth diapers).

        Of course, both kids seem to have the habit of going through a growth spurt JUST as the seasons change, so I’ve been limiting how much I buy ahead of time. But now with this seasonal change, I’m realizing I don’t have much in the next size for my daughter, and what I _do_ have is mostly winter-y stuff. Oy.

  16. says

    As the mom of a larger family (12 kiddos – we don’t think we are very big tho ;), I will share what has worked for us.
    We keep only the best clothes to pass down, but we DO keep some. I have a big Rubbermaid tote for each child, marked with their names, and I keep any clothing that is saved for them to grow into in their box, including if I have come across a super-great deal and bought for the next season. Usually, one child’s ‘good’ clothes are saved for the next of the same gender to grow into (unless there is an age gap of over 3 years – not worth it unless the clothes are special or timeless styles). Often, a child’s everyday clothing isn’t in good enough shape to justify keeping for the next child. I keep a separate bin for shoes as they cannot be rotated like clothing, and keep all seasonal items like parkas together in other bins.
    We do a spring clothes change out, and a winter clothes change out. That’s it unless someone has a growth spurt. Of course that doesn’t work for babies, but once the kids are a bit older, that’s the way we do it.
    I would not store them in the bedrooms unless I had absolutely nowhere else to store them. Out of the way, in a garage, storage barn, or under steps is a better use of our space.
    I tend to save over trying to buy used – it is seldom that I find what I need used at the right time, and I my time is too valuable to have a ‘to find’ list and have to keep going to the used stores. I would rather wait for a killer sale at Lands End and buy $200 worth of t-shirts and dresses all at once – at $3/shirt and $6/dress since I’d pay that much at goodwill anyway; I actually save money this way over buying at goodwill since I seem to collect stuff I don’t need if I do the used store thing…

    My most valuable tip on getting your kids clothes under control is to match outfits. Pair up dresses/leggings, pants/shirts… I fold leggings with dresses, and if the boys have ‘matching’ outfits, then I will fold one inside the other too. Often, I would find that my kids had 15 pairs of pants and 25 tshirts – and only use the top 3 or 4 because they would just grab what was on top. Now we have purged down to just over a week’s worth of outfits, and the kids have a much easier time keeping their drawers neat, and I don’t spend nearly the time trying to ‘help’ them organize too many clothes into a space ample for their real clothing needs but too small for the surplus.

    We either have control of our things, including clothes, or they have control of us. Overload on clothes just isn’t worth the life-draw! LOL!
    ~and it works for toys too! ;)

    • Brooke says

      We only have 2…so far :) but I absolutely love your advice! I completely agree about buying quality items, I too end up with things I don’t need playing the Goodwill “game”. I also loved the tips about matching outfits. In fact, with the weather getting warm I think I may work on that tomorrow! Thank you!!!

    • Erin says

      love your advice! Only one kid, but what you said is what you said is what I was just starting to figure out! Once we hit 18 months, the clothes just get too stained and worn out so they aren’t worth saving. All my clearance rack/ garage sale finds also left me with a too many clothes and odd numbers of pants/shirts and no real outfits. And it was mind numbing trying to keep track of what we already had and what we still needed. Now when she needs a new size/season we just buy all at once 12 outfits and 2 pairs of shoes online from whoever is having a big sale. I love all the time it saves {from shopping to laundry} and I love that her closet is super tidy, organized, and all the outfits match! To me that peace is well worth the $70ish we spend every about 6 months.

  17. says

    I saved all but my least favorite clothes from my first son, and our second son, born exactly 3 years later is now wearing them all! It has been a huge blessing to have clothes and shoes in the next size already on hand. :-)

  18. Melissa says

    We hung onto all our baby clothes through 2 kids and 4 moves and decided it just wasn’t worth it! We had to pay more to move and store the additional clothes each time, and we ended up with a girl, then a boy born in different seasons…then when our third came along, he was not only born in a different season, but taller and skinnier than our older son so that very little of the clothes we had saved still fit.
    I think the ideas in this post are great, but like many other techniques – any kind of organization will only work if it works for you. Sometimes it takes trying a lot of different things to find what works for your space and lifestyle.

  19. Jen says

    We label and store clothes for our 3 – the older two are girls so there is a constant rotating going on there. But what I find is most helpful for clothes that are bought ahead or given to us is little tab dividers with the size and I always have the next size/season hanging up so I know what I have or what I need when I see a sale. I learned that if Its packed away I might forget to put it to use. We use our nursery closet for this for all 3 of the “next up” sizes since our girls share a room and closet.

  20. margaret says

    Sentiment is my problem for sure. I think the first child’s clothes are the easiest to get attached to. There are “firsts” of everything! I have gone through some of her baby clothes and given to friends the ones that I can live without. There are a few clothes I know I won’t ever get rid of just because they were made by my grandma.
    It’s not too bad right now though to have to store clothes since we are not done having kids. I’m pregnant right now with another girl. Most of the clothes from our first will work (season-wise) for this one.
    I’m actually good at getting rid of things, but baby clothes seem to be the exception. :)

  21. Catherine says

    My suggestion for anyone would be to look at Elfa closet systems from the container store. We did our kids closets when they were babies and have been able to raise hanging bars as dresses got longer, add shelves and drawers as the need arose, switch shelves from one closet to the other, etc. it is kind of expensive but it always goes on sale 30% off in December. They will custom design a closet for you and cut everything to size. Another great thing is that it only requires a few screws so it’s great if you are renting and can’t put alot of holes everywhere and you can take it to the next place you live and put it up again and get whatever additional pieces you want. Id say it’s the best thing we have spent money on in our house! I don’t work there – just love elfa :-)

  22. Allison V. says

    My three kids are very close together, 1 girl & 2 boys. I have been given many hand-me-downs that are several years too big, but that is a huge blessing! I have no extra money and have had to purchase very few new items. So, with that many extra things, I have to be really organized! I have each sex, season, and size sorted into plastic grocery bags and labeled, and those are in plastic tubs. Very easy to grab the next season without wondering what will fit. Of course I give the girl clothes away and save the boys for the youngest to grow into. My kids are small so they can usually wear everything but jeans for at least two years.

    • Allison V. says

      Oh, and I usually save one (or two for tiny babies) item each time I clean out, my favorite or something sentimental, for my kids to give their kids one day. I have one box just for those.

  23. Amanda says

    I think it is well worth the space that it takes to save most of the clothes that no longer fit my children, seeing as we are not “done” having kids. I have 3 boys, and we save nearly everything to pass on to the next kid.

    Here is a system that has worked well for us: in the closet for each boy, I keep a giant Ziploc bag so that as they grow out of clothes, I toss items into the bags. As the bags fill, I can label them with the appropriate size of the clothes inside of them, seal it up, and toss it in the basement. These bags hold a TON of clothes and can be reused. They are relatively clear as well, so that makes it easy to see the clothes or shoes inside. It is not a perfect system, but it has worked for us for 6 years now.

    The nice thing is that when the kid enters the next size, I just have to go down and find the bag with that size. I usually try to wash up the next size and have it ready and in a bin under their beds.

    My 1 rule for getting rid of clothes now is this…if I never put it on my child for the entire length of time that they are in that size, then I obviously don’t like the outfit/item, and I get rid of it. This works while they are young and I’m the one picking out their clothes, of course. :)

  24. Carrie says

    I have five boys who range from 15 to 3. It is a huge job to keep their clothes in order. I have at least one boy born in each season. I saved almost all their clothes and it has saved me a fortune. I remember my mom loaning out baby clothes, maternity clothes and baby items out at church. Some of the items were broken or not returned. When she was pregnant again, my parents were really struggling financially. They did not have money to buy more. I rarely get hand me downs for my kids and I dont want to be dependent on somebody else. Unless you are super cramped for space I would hold onto things. I had 3 kids in 1 bedroom and a very small house and we stored clothes in labeled totes in the garage.

  25. Ashley K says

    We have two children, one son (4) and one daughter (2) and one on the way. We weren’t sure whether we would have two or three children so I decided to keep clothes from both of them (in case number 2 was a boy and now so I have clothes for either sex). The way I keep from having too much to store is I limit myself to one storage box per age (generally 0-6, 6-12, 12- 2t and 3t-4t). As they grow out of things I perge by thinking whether they wore it very often, whether its still in good condition and whether or not I would want the next one to wear it (if they were the same sex). Luckily all my children have been/ will be fall babies so the seasons work perfectly. I kept clothes because 1. I didn’t want to re-buy for cost reasons AND time reasons and 2. I thought it would be sweet for the new baby to wear something the big sibling wore. Once we know what sex this baby is I plan on sharing with friends or our towns pregnancy care center. :)

  26. says

    I love the idea of having a bin for too big and too small. I have a system set up very similar to what Andrea talked about. I wrote down what I have in each size on 3×5 cards and store them in my filing cabinet so I know what have in each size and of what type of clothing (onesies, shirts, pants, ect). I kept 3 to 7 of each item per size.

  27. scout says

    When the labeled size is not accurate, I take a sharpie, cross it out, and write in a better one. Otherwise I get the clothes out of the wash and forget which was the weird one.

    • Catherine says

      ugh, yes, I should have done this with my 1st daughters clothes. I’m now going through them all because I have another baby. Thankfully, I put them away all organized by size, BUT I find myself searching through all the bags anyway because I remember how there were some clothing marked with larger sizes that fit at a younger age.

  28. Heather says

    I was the very lucky recipient of bags of gently worn boys’ clothes that are anywhere from one to three sizes ahead of my oldest son’s current size. The bags included items for all seasons (including winter coats and snow pants). I created a Word document that organizes all of the clothing by type (winter coats, jeans, long-sleeved t-shirts, etc.) and by size. I carry this document in my purse. When I come across a fantastic sale (like $3.00 fleece pants at the GAP outlet), I know that my boys have enough fleece pants in size 10/12, but need a couple of pairs that are size 8. I update my document as I receive or purchase more clothing. All future clothing is organized and labeled (by size) in Rubbermaid bins in my basement.

  29. says

    “I would strongly encourage you not to hang onto clothing for the possibility that you might have another child, who might be the same gender, and who might be born the same time of year as your current child/children.”

    I totally agree! I have 6 kids and am pregnant with #7, and I eliminated our kid’s clothing stash. I found that it didn’t really save me money, it caused more stress for various reasons and created a ton of clutter, even though it was organized well.

  30. Emily says

    my best storage solution is to share the clothes we want to save. I have sisters and sisters-in-law who live in the area, and we all have small children (11 kids ages 5 and under). Whatever sizes we’re not using, we share with the mom who needs them. It has worked out well because I had boys first and my sister had girls first, so we each have a bigger stash of boys or girls clothes.

  31. Virginia says

    I love the idea of having bins for “too small” and “too big” in the closet! I have never thought of that but always struggled with what to do with the clothes as they out-grow them without getting the storage totes out of the attic. Thank you for this extrememly helpful tip! :)

    • Stacey says

      It might have something to do with the weather where they live. A month ago the temps were in the 80′s in west MI. In the past week temps at night were below 30 and daytime highs in the 40s. Later this week it should be in the mid 80′s, but then only in the 60s next weekend. It’s hard to have multiple seasons of clothing available this time of year in this neck of the woods! For little ones who grow quickly, that means lots of layers, etc., and the warm weather clothes worn a month ago may well be outgrown by the time the next warm spell comes!

  32. Liz says

    I will be facing the what to get rid or keep question in a few months. Both my brother and I are expecting this summer and neither of us know what we are having. This will probably be my last due to my age. My storage space is very limited and if I happen to have a girl – then I will have double the storage issue because I already have 2 year old boy. They will share a room.

    Here is my question. I was contemplating getting a cheap dresser to put in the closet to store next seasons clothes and whatever doesn’t fit in the space we have in the room. I think this will still leave room for tubs of my clothes, fabric and toy rotation – I hope.

    Then, I noticed in the picture the hanging canvas storage system and now I am wondering whether that might be a better course of action. Do they really store a lot? Any thoughts on whether anyone thinks a dresser would be better vs the canvas unit?

    I also want to be able to store some toys too.

    • Andrea says

      I found the hanging canvas things on sale for $5 each at Home Goods, which is much cheaper than a dresser. I figured if it didn’t work for the kids, it might work in another area of the house. Otherwise, I’d pass it on to someone else.

  33. says

    We haven’t decided for sure if we are done having children, but just can’t justify taking the space to store clothes for a “maybe.” I was very glad I had stored things from my first to my second, since I had two boys. But I do find that some things that fit my first, don’t fit my second as they have different builds. And there are always those few things – holiday outfits, picture outfits, that you want to be unique for each child. So I am saving just a few of the best things from each size and selling the rest this spring in a garage sale. I figure if we decide to have another one, then we can ask for clothes for gifts and we have plenty of friends to get hand-me-downs from!

  34. Anna says

    I’m not very good at finding time to sort everything at once, but I do keep a box for too-small, and out-of-season handy. When I do the laundry I make separate piles for those items, and that way gradually cull through everything. This method helps me.

    I kept all of my baby clothes while we were on a one-a-year kind baby boom. But now that my youngest is almost three, I have been getting rid of a lot and passing them on. I bought almost nothing for my kids to wear, God provided all of it from Grandmas/Hand-me-downs/gifts. Since I know of another family with a child just smaller than mine, I’m passing the blessings on to them. I’ve still saved some infant clothing, and special outfits like baptismals, or hand sewn/embroidered pieces that my kids may want in future. But I do not miss the other stuff that I passed along, and it’s very fun to see some of my kids clothes being worn by someone else; not sitting in a box. The bottom line is, I know God will not let my next baby go naked.

  35. says

    What a great post! My favorite idea is having the 2 bins for too big and too small clothing. When I get to the point where my kid’s clothing is too small, it stays in their closet until I have time to pull the bins out of the garage. I will definitely try out this idea!

    We recently had a big move where we needed to downsize significantly. I was amazed how much space our kid’s clothing was taking. We freed up so much space just by donating/getting rid of these items!

    Thanks for the great tips & ideas!

  36. says

    When my July girl was eight months old, we found out we were expecting again (and our second girl was born in December). I had already boxed up her 0-6 months clothes to give to our neighbor who was also expecting a girl, so I also took the mindset of seasons and unknown gender and got rid of it. We’ve had so many clothes donated to us that finances and paying for clothes were never an issue, and I refuse to let fear (i.e. what if we can’t afford to buy new clothes if we have another one?) dictate my decisions.

    One AWESOME resource I’ve found is the Just Between Friends Sale (www.jbfsale.com), which is a consignment event with locations around the country. Tag items, drop them off, and wait for your check in the mail. I have shopped at every event. Even though I have yet to tag and sell (my girls are 21 months and 5 months), but have friends who had great success in doing so.

  37. Erin says

    This post inspired me to let go of clutter! I had 10 66qt bins of baby clothes. {and I only have 1 kid who is only 2!} I felt like they were taking over all the storage space and was thinking about getting rid of them. But I want more kids and wasn’t sure if I should keep them for the next kiddo. After reading this, I decided to pare down our supply only to the first year and then keep only 10 outfits in each size. I can’t believe how many ugly, stained, mismatched, and never worn outfits I have been hanging on to!!! De-cluttering feels so good!! Less really is more!