Wednesday, December 30, 2009

25 You Asked: Storing Kids Clothes?

You ask it, IHeart answering!  Welcome to the first question and answer post!

I received a question from one of my very loyal readers, Heather, and it said:

I got 2 Jumbo space bags for Christmas and took 14 diaper boxes of baby clothes plus assorted bedding of Con's and filled them up. takes up much less space, but not the most organized thing.

What do you do with all your baby's clothing that doesn't fit?

Great question!!

Baby clothes can definitely get out of control, and fast!  Especially when you have generous friends and family, multiple kiddos, or can't resist that great sale!

Here is a couple of ways to keep your baby clothes in line:

Each season, sort through current clothing for each child.  Determine the quality.  Ask yourself, "Do I love this piece?  Do I have someone that can benefit from this piece?"  If the quality is poor (rips, holes, permanent stains), don't feel oh so guilty to toss it.  I like to keep a couple of articles of not so favorite clothing for messy project days and hard play dates, but other than that, don't keep what you don't foresee being worn again.

The next step requires more decision making.  All of the clothes that are in good shape, should then be placed into two new piles.  Clothes that can be handed down to other kids in your clan, or to a friend/family member.  The other pile, is the donate pile.  How do I determine between the two?  I look at the quality, the current styles, etc.... it's all a matter of personal decision.

Now, determining HOW much to keep for the next child in line, is always a difficult thing to do as well.  Too many clothes can be overwhelming, and most often, from my experience, only the favorites get worn over and over, and many others are forgotten and just take up unnecessary space.  I personally try not to save any more than 10 pieces of each clothing type (pants, shorts, long sleeves, short sleeves, pajama sets, etc...)  I find ten to be plenty to keep the kiddos drawers full, but not to the point that they are over-flowing and impossible to close and manage.

Once a donate pile is done, make sure you note what you are donating for tax purposes, and then put it right into the vehicle to be taken to a consignment shop.  Letting that box(es) of clothes sit, will cause unnecessary temptations!

Now, storing hand me downs for the next in line or other family members.  Here is the system I have found to be most effective:

In my storage/utility room, I keep a set of 4 large plastic drawers, that I purchased in singles from Target, for around $10 bucks a pop.  Then I stacked them:

Next I created labels for each drawer, one for shoes, and one for each kid that I plan to hand clothes down to, which was determined by the size of the clothing:


Now, you may be thinking, how many clothes can you really fit into one of those storage drawers?  To show you, I have laid out all of the clothing from ONE drawer, it consisted of:

9 Pairs of Shorts
7 Pairs of Pants
9 Shirts (Including 2 Fleece Pullovers)
6 sets of PJ's
2 Pairs of Swimming Trunks
    A total of 33 Pieces of Clothing!

    As you can see, it all fits nice and neat into one drawer!!

    Other options that could work, are a standard bin(s):

    Or an under-bed storage bin(s):

    Or even hanging them on a clothing rod and sorting them with clothing tags:

    I personally prefer the drawer method because I found I was struggling with bins being stacked, they were much more difficult to get in and out of.  The drawers can stack to save space, and then when I need something, I just have to open the drawer, nice and easy!

    I hope that helps some!  Sounds like you may have some extra paring down to do!?  Don't feel guilty about donating, it's hard to do at first, but it's a great reward for all in the end!


    1. thanks for the free tips!

      i do have a shopping problem. garage sales/clearance racks/online deals, i just can't pass them up.

      i did manage to give 3 diaper boxes away.

    2. Wow, I've been going through your blog and I love it. You are super talented. I just added your button and became a follower of your blog. My blog URL is:

    3. I know this is a really old post, but I hope you get this anyway. I've been looking all over for white bins and the only ones I've found have been from Ikea. Problem is, we don't have an Ikea any where near us. Can you please tell me what you know about the one you shown in this post? Thanks!

      Also, I just recently found you and have been browsing the archives, hence stumbling upon this post. Love your blog!

    4. Hi Beth!

      The bins from this post were from Target for about $8 each. They stack and the drawers are large and deep. They work just perfectly and we keep them in a storage room. I think they also come in white and green. I would check both Target and Walmart, they are made by Sterilite.


    5. Thank you so much! I'm going to go check those out!

    6. Thank you so much Jen! As I was folding my 12 week olds clothes tonight, I was wondering what you would do about all the clothes. (Most of his clothes are passed down from his 22 month old brother.)I didn't realize how much we have until we have to wash and put them away. I was thinking I'd write to inquire about your system, and course I sit down and find you've already answered the question- with some great advice to boot. THANKS again. I feel like I'll probably be saying that a lot as I read through your pages. Iheart your site so much! So much I want to do it all.

    7. Again...GENIUS! This is such a great idea! We have three (two boys and a girl) so we do the hand me downs to brother...and my current system (which I don't have one!) isn't working!!! LOL! So I am going to implement this is fabulous and simple!

    8. Who is "Nash" (the last bucket)? I thought all of your kids start with "P"?

    9. @Maria, Nash is my best friend's little guy, we hand all of my youngest boy's clothes down to him. :)


    10. I have 4 children. Two boys a girl then another boy. My method is a bit more involved but saves me TONS of money. I have a bin in my storage closet for each size AND season. Example: I have a bin full of 5T winter and a bin of 5T summer for a boy and girl. My daughter is only 3 but I have bins set up for her to size 6 currently. That way when I find a sweater for $.25 at a yard sale but it's 2 sizes ahead I have a place where it's out of the way and organized and ready when I need it. :o) Lots of clothes though. But I save an immense amount of money this way. I MAY spend $100 TOTAL on all four kids clothes (including jammies, coats, shoes, socks, underwear) in a year. That's stretching it too. I have pictures :o) I just label with paper and tape (nothing fancy or expensive - but still looks nice) that way I can reuse the bins each season.

      1. Your family is the same as mine, and our clothes organizations are similar, too! My husband was amazed when I tripled our 2nd son's wardrobe just by opening one tote this winter. He often thinks I keep too much.

    11. Great idea! Thank you! I think that if you roll the clothes you may be able to fit more in each bin. I do that when traveling & I am able to fit more clothes in my suitcase, my Granny gave me the idea :)

    12. Hi Jen, great idea. I was wondering where you got the rack that you have your bins sitting in. I have never seen them anywhere. I'm Sharon, I also have an organizing blog at Fairly new, hope one day it can be half as successful as yours. Would love for you to call over and if you have any critique I would appreciate it.
      Thanks again, from Sharon Thoms

      1. Hi Sharon! They drawers are actually single pieces that are stacked on top of one another, I found them at Target.


    13. This is by far my favorite blog. I have a food/recipe blog but I need to become more organized and I find the best ideas here and share them with friends.

    14. I am so glad I found your blog! I am an organizer by nature but 3 young boys take all my energy! ;o) I am so thankful that you share your ideas (and have 3 boys, too) so I'm sure many of my delimmeas have been tackled by you and your team! Ahhhh, I can feel my stress of what to do with all the clothes melting away! :o)

    15. I belong to our local Mother of twins club and we have a biannual clothing/equipment sale. This is the best thing ever because it gives you $$$ incentive to get rid of things and helps you to get over the "sentimental attachment" because everyone in the club is doing it! lol and its biannual so I can shop for our next season as well as organize my own seasonal items that I have bought the year before etc. I keep too big and too small all in the same tubs that get organized twice a year. Its the best thing that ever happened to me because I know I would have an entire room full of nothing but clothes.. ceiling to floor! lol My suggestion: find a local biannual all kids consignment sale and volunteer/participate! BTW I am new here but iheart this website!!!

    16. I have 4 kids and if there is one thing I've come to understand its that there are always more kids to swap clothes with! I have the oldest girl in the group of us that swap and I have the youngest as well. I keep one the memorable outfits and pass on everything else. A ton gets donated because there always seems to be so much. I highly recommend finding friends or family with kids you can swap clothes with. My oldest daughter is 10 her clothes go to 3 different girls those 3 then pass to two others an then down to one more before it makes it back for my youngest who is 19months old. My boys 6 and 5 get clothes from 2 others kids and pass down to one other who passes to 2 others we also donate to a free kids clothing swap an when needed gets clothes from there. My point I guess is that I only keep the special outfits and I only store the next size above what my kids are in. I pass the rest along. To say my place lacks storage space is a serious understatement!

    17. I wanted to share that Goodwill stores will take clothes in ANY condition. No need to throw out stained shirts and holey socks. Save the landfill space and take them to the nearest Goodwill store. Simply place these items into a separate bag and mark them as “salvage clothing.”

      Check out the details here.

      Thanks for your great organizing articles!!

    18. Out of curiosity how many of each type of clothing do you keep as a day to day guideline? Do you use the 10 of each with clothes currently in use? Also how many pairs of shoes? Trying to simplify my kids closet but not sure what they actually need.

      1. Hi Sarah!

        This changes all of the time, but I try to keep a week worth of outfits for the current season, plus two spares along with two dress outfits.

        Hope that helps!

    19. I usually sell my kids outgrown clothes to avoid piling up in their closet. I only not make money out of those clothes but I also save on their next size whenever I used the credits I made when selling those clothes.

    20. Great tips:) I'm using the drawer method in my daughter's closet, but I find the drawers quickly fill up (in fact, they are full, waiting for me to unload them and move the clothes to another storage spot). One mistake I've been making, though, is using cardboard boxes rather than plastic bins. I need to stock up on plastic bins. Thanks for the great post and wanted to let you know you're featured today on Hint Mama:

    21. This post inspired my current system which has been working so well for me!
      I have three boys in a row and a lot of hand me downs.
      Until I read this I was using big bins and every time I thought about lugging them out and going through them I would feel like crying... And then I would buy some things on sale for the next season and when I would finally open the bin I would always end up with too many of one type of clothes and not enough of another.
      So based on this, I used the closet in my baby's room (his chest of drawers fits all his little things perfectly) and bought plastic drawers. I labeled each one by size (2t, 3, 4..) and sorted what was in really good condition by size. Now when a child outgrows something AND also when I buy something for the next season I add it to the correct size drawer.
      When a season is about to begin I can quickly glance through the drawer to see what that child has in his size and what he needs.
      (I have one daughter but most of her things go straight to my niece. I have one drawer for her for last season things that still fit and next season purchases.)
      So much easier than bins!! And no waste/ extra purchases!!
      As always thank you Jen for your simple to use and always on point solutions!


    Thank you so much for taking a moment to join in on the conversation! I read and appreciate each and every comment, however, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious, or spam-like. I would love for this comment section to be used as a place to engage in purposeful dialogue, I only ask that everyone remains constructive and considerate.

    All comments will be moderated and may take a moment to appear.