I love organizing. Usually. But kids’ clothing is always one of those things that never seems to be totally in order the way I want. Inevitably, we get tons of hand-me-downs (which are awesome) and acquire random things along the way that I’m not always sure what to do with. When it comes to a baby, it can be difficult to predict exactly which size they will need in a certain season, so I always end up keeping more than I probably need just in case. My kids are currently 3 and 1 and on the smaller end of the growth spectrum, yet I have clothing in sizes all the way up to 6X for them both! Not to mention a baby on the way in October, so I’m just not sure what we will need, especially since we are not finding out the gender of the new baby.
I was feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of a new baby coming and not really knowing what I already had in terms of baby clothes for each gender. Some of this feeling is probably the result of the nesting instinct that is kicking in, but I like to ride that wave and get as much done as possible while I’m motivated!
After my son was born, I got lazy in my efforts to keep outgrown clothes organized as I was changing out his drawers to the next size up. I started just throwing things, unfolded, into bins that were generally a certain size, but not always. Or I would get something on sale for the next season, throw it in a box, and forget about it by the time we actually needed it and either rebuy a similar item or just never use it. It was time to have an intervention!
After I removed all of the gender neutral baby clothing I had for the new baby to start out with, I went to work. To start, I took every item out of the box and arranged it in a pile for each size category. For example, I had piles for:
And so on....
I didn’t want to combine any of the similar sizes because they tend to fit differently, and it gets confusing when I’m trying to load and unload the dressers.
I started out neatly folding everything and stacking it together folded side up in plastic storage bins. I did this for all of the girl clothing. Then, once I got to the boy clothing, I had a revelation.
If I just folded it all and neatly stacked it in the bin, I wouldn’t know where one size stopped and another started. There had to be a way to separate the sizes so I could just grab what I needed when I needed it rather than rechecking all of the size tags for the millionth time…
There are probably more efficient or prettier ways to do this, but I think it’s ok to work with what you have! I decided we would use garbage bags to create a membrane around each size category before stacking them back into the boxes. I am SO glad we did it this way! For each size, we took the neatly folded pile and carefully created a brick shape within the bag so it would fit snugly into the boxes. Then, we used a Sharpie marker and labeled the bag with the appropriate size category. Finally, we stacked them in the boxes Tetris-style with the labels facing up to minimize the need to dig through.
The reason I love this bag and box method is whenever I need to add something to the box, I can find the size I need right away, pull out that bag, and add the item without any guesswork. Then it stacks right back in where it was and nothing has been messed up in the process! Also, when I need to swap out the sizes, I can just grab the bag and go! Sweet relief!
Lastly, once each box was filled, we used our trusty label maker to label each box with the size range it held. I highly recommend using clear boxes so you can see what is inside, and then storing them only one layer deep with the label facing out. This makes it much easier to quickly find what you’re looking for without digging through stacks of huge bins and having to open the lids.
I also decided to tackle the shoes, hats, and other little things that always seem to get lost in the mix while I was at it. Using smaller shoe-sized boxes, I separated the shoes by size and closed them up into their corresponding mini box. I did the same with the extra bandana bibs, baby moccasins, and hats. Separate the little things into their own boxes, then label away!
It feels so good to have the kids’ clothes in order now, but to be honest, I’m looking forward to the day this new baby is born so we know which set of clothing we can get rid of and I have closet space again!
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