Overwhelmed by piles and piles of baby clothes? Here’s a method for keeping everything sorted and knowing when to get rid of things.
Parents struggle with the absolute mess of baby clothes that invade your life when you bring a new baby home. Clothes that actually fit, clothes that are too small, clothes that are too big, clothes that are the wrong season, new clothes, hand-me-down clothes, clothes with stains, clothes that say they are one size when they are clearly another size—it’s easy to throw everything into drawers and pretend the chaos doesn’t exist.
I was determined to stay organized with the twins, and, to my own surprise, I’ve actually been able to it for the past year. It does require some vigilance—I have a day every few months where I go through everything as outlined below. But having a long day here and there means that their nursery stays organized, I’m not frustrated because clothes don’t fit, and I can find what I’m looking for the first time. Here is my method and tips for maintaining it!
Before you even bring your baby (or babies!) home, you’ll likely already have a lot of clothes. We had clothes from preemie through 2T, both gifts to us and generous hand-me-downs from friends, plus one or two outfits I bought myself because I couldn’t resist. The initial organizing was a good “nesting” activity for me while pregnant.
Start by making piles. You’ll want one pile for each size you have. Because baby clothes sizing varies, I put each item in the pile of the age it started (so, an item labeled “6m – 12m” would go in the 6m pile, while “9m – 12m” would go in the 9m pile). If something looked substantially bigger or smaller than the other clothes in the pile, I’d move it up or down a size.
You’ll also want a donation pile. See the section “Tips for Deciding What to Keep and Donate” at the end of this post for what to put in this pile.
Once you have your piles, use plastic bins for each size, except for the size you expect your baby to wear when he or she is born. Label each bin with the size and store it. I put ours in the nursery’s closet (you can see them on the top shelf and to the right).
For the clothes your baby will wear, drawers seem to work best for me. We have a three-drawer dresser below our changing pad. The top drawer has odds and ends—changing pad covers, diaper cream, diaper bags, bibs. The other two drawers have clothes—onesies, shirts, and jammies in the middle drawer, shorts and pants in the bottom. I don’t really fold anything, but put them in neat-ish piles.
Twin mama ain’t got time to fold double the onesies, yo.
You’ll also need a place to put outgrown clothes. I use the second drawer of the dresser in the closet (the top drawer has keepsakes and the bottom drawer has sheets and mattress covers). Whenever the boys outgrow something, it goes into the drawer.
Once I realize that we’re really moving up a size (most things are getting snug), I have an organizing day. I take everything out of their dresser and pull out everything in that size. There may be a few things they still fit in, but it’s just easier at that point to move them up a size so I can donate all of the smaller size at one time, instead of in batches. Then pull out everything from the next size bin and start fresh with a new bunch of clothes.
Once you have all of your too-small clothes organized, pass them down to a mom friend (if you’re a mom of multiples, there are always moms who want matching sets!) or donate them to a local charity like a women and children’s shelter. NICUs will take preemie clothes—it made it easier for me to donate their tiny tiny outfits knowing that they would be keeping other tiny tiny babies warm.
Tips For Deciding What To Keep
Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you maintain this system.
Donate clothes you know you won’t use: While the number of hand-me-downs we received was downright amazing (people love helping twin mamas!), there were quite a few things that I knew I’d never put the boys in. I’m not a fan of shirts that say things like “lady killer.” I also don’t love all the character clothes—my baby doesn’t need to be a walking (er, crawling) billboard. Some materials, like terrycloth, aren’t my favorite. Some I knew were just not made for my skinny little boys. All of these went directly into the donate pile.
Donate clothes that are the wrong season: We had some of the cutest snuggly 3-month jammies given to our boys. Fleece-lined with little bears all over them. I loved them. Yet when my boys were wearing 3-month clothing, it was 100+ outside. I don’t think they ever got to wear them—by the time it was cool enough, they were on to the next size. Clothes like these are awesome to donate to a friend whose baby is six months younger than yours!
Donate or toss stained clothes: If you’re fine with stained clothes, by all means keep them. But I knew that I’d always reach for the non-stained ones and the stained clothes would just sit in the drawer. You can try and remove the stains if you’d like, but, again, I knew that I’d never give it a shot when I had so many other clothes to choose from. Ones with smaller stains went in the donate pile, ones with big stains went into the trash bin.
Keep one (at most two) outfits from each size if you’d like: I’m not a monster. I know baby clothes can be very sentimental. I’ve kept an outfit from each size that I particularly loved. Their little preemie rhinoceros onesies are my favorites. I hold them up and can’t believe they used to fit in them. But don’t go crazy. Things are not memories. Just hold onto a few things and let the rest go.
If you’re a mom, have you been able to maintain a semblance of order when it comes to baby clothes? If so, what was your method? I’d love to hear more in the comments!
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