Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to store your kids' outgrown clothes

It is going to happen.

Your children will outgrow their clothes. *sniffle sniffle*

Now, what to do with those clothes is a good question.

Me? I keep them. All. Of. Them.

Right now I can. We have the space. We plan on having more children. I'm not sure which gender our future children will be and I don't want to spend a ton of money buying new clothes when I basically have a wardrobe already... for a boy or a girl.

Since some people have seen, and love, how I've sorted out the outgrown clothes I decided to share.

I should probably come clean about something right now so you understand what is coming next: I have an obsession with my label maker. I really do. I love to label EVERYTHING and it helps keep me organized (which I also like to do).

Alright, so, when my precious darlings have grown out of their current size of clothing I know it's time to pack them away.

I first go out and buy a clear, plastic bin and lid. You want it large, but not too large that you cannot pick it up when it's full of clothes/shoes.

Why a plastic tub?? Can't I just use a cardboard box?? We have to move with the military and I want something to hold up. Filling up old cardboard boxes won't last. And then after going through burst pipes and the damage that came with it, I want something that can withstand the chance of flooding. Also... it's harder for rodents to chew through plastic and get to the goodies inside. And it's not a waste of money! They can be reused once you no longer need them for clothing storage!

Before you do anything more, have all clothing items washed and dried! You don't want to be putting dirty or wet clothes into storage... that's just gross.

Next, I take out ALL of the clothes in the designated size that my children have outgrown. Sometimes there are items that may seem to run bigger than the size on the tag and your child may still be able to wear it, but take it out anyway. It can be sad to pull it out, especially if there are special memories associated with the item. But trust me, in the end it helps. Everything will stay in it's place and you can easily find it when you need it next time around. And it can be an inconvenience to later pull out the tub to place a single item in it later.

Now it's time to sort. Outfits should be folded together. Pajamas are in one stack, pants in another, shirts in another, dresses, jackets, etc.

Once you have all your items sorted it's time to load up. I start with shoes on the bottom of the tub. Then I slowly layer the items in their like groups until the tub is full or I'm out of clothes.

If you have more clothes than will fit in one tub, separate it so that maybe pants, shorts, and pajamas are in one tub and shirts, dresses, jackets in another. Whatever works for you.

Label time!
Here's an example of how I do it:

Size 18-24 months
Size 5 shoes

I place the label on the front (short) end of the tub as well as a long side so no matter which way the tub is stacked I can read what is in it.

You may fear the label coming off if it is placed on the outside. It is a valid concern. To remedy this my other option is to take a note card and tape it to the inside of the tub with the label facing out BEFORE you begin to fill it.

For an additional pointer, put an unused dryer sheet in the bin somewhere to help keep the clothes a bit fresh(er) and help keep out some curious bugs.

If you want to stack the tubs in order by clothing size, be my guest. I cannot do that. Since we bought different types of tubs over the years they don't stack easily that way. But since the labels are in place it doesn't matter... I can still find what I'm looking for.

And there you go. That is simply how I organize the clothes that my kids cannot wear.



  1. Love the new look!

    I realized the other day that I need to buy tubs to keep Munchkin's unworn clothes organized! Nana is enjoying her coming granddaughter and I have clothes from newborn to 12 months so far and it's all cute! I'm so afraid I'm going to forget an outfit. That would be I'm going the clear bin route to store each size till she wears it...then it will store it when she's done:)

    1. Love the idea! When we were expecting William we lived in Japan and would not have had the room to store everything. I just used a large dresser and put each size clothing in a different drawer and once they were outgrown then I put them in a tub. Thankfully we didn't have TONS of clear bins then like we do now... I'm not sure where I would have put them.

  2. I already did some of that, but you pointed out a lot of really helpful things to me! Thank you for the pointers! P.S. Can I borrow your label maker? I just tape note cards to the top of my boxes and it doesn't work so well for finding things . . .lol