Here are kids clothes storage ideas and organizing tips, to make sure the clothing saved to pass down from one child to the next will actually be used as planned, and easy to find it when you need it next.
If you’ve got a child you’ve got clothes for that child, and all those clothes can be both quite expensive and take up a lot of space.
Those kids’ clothes also don’t last very long. Sometimes that’s because your child is hard on them and rips or stains their clothing, and sometimes it is because their little body just grows quickly and perfectly good clothes no longer fit anymore.
The question then becomes what to do with all those perfectly good, but too small, clothes.
If you’ve got younger kids, or other friends or family with smaller children than your own, one possible thing to do with those good but too small clothes is to store them, so they can be used for other children down the line.
Speaking myself as a mother of three, I know a thing or a million about hand me down clothes. I was the fortunate recipient of some of these clothes from other friends and relatives, and was very grateful to receive nice clothes without having to spend extra money.
I also saved many items from my older kids so younger siblings could wear them, and there are some fun pictures of the kids wearing the same outfit years apart. I was grateful for not having to spend more time clothes shopping, or to spend extra money then too, because kids aren’t cheap!
I’ve also been the mom cleaning up and decluttering my kids’ closets and rooms and getting rid of a lot of clothes by passing them onto yet another friend or family member, keeping the cycle going. I loved getting rid of the stuff once it had become clutter for us, and blessing someone else who would appreciate the clothes.
So I know what I’m talking about when I say, (1) I absolutely love receiving, using, and then passing on hand me down kids clothes; and (2) dealing with organizing and storing these clothes takes some work, but it’s worth it.
From my own experience here’s some of the tips I learned for storing and organizing kids’ clothes for passing down to other children later.
Steps Reader, Jalin, Took When She Received Hand Me Down Kids’ Clothes
When you receive bags of hand me down clothes from friends or relatives, or gather up your own older child’s now outgrown clothes with the intention of setting them aside for a younger child, you’re in for a big organizing project. However, if you do the project right you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money in the future when those younger children grow into the clothing sizes you’ve set aside for them.
A reader, Jalin, sent in the three photos below, which I placed into a collage, along with a short story of how she organized the hand me downs she received, and it showed the steps in the process you need to take quite well, so I’m sharing her story with you below.
Jalin explained, “I have just spent the last two days sorting clothes for my girls. I just had my fourth girl and there is almost a five year gap between the last two and had given away all the clothes for both my boys and girls about four years ago (except the ones the youngest could still grow into).
Over the years clothes outgrown have been thrown into bags and tossed into the garage. Since the new baby came we have been given loads of clothes and they have also found their way to the garage. I now have them all organized and I feel so liberated!!!!
The first photo is a picture of where I started after pulling all the clothes from the garage and put in my living room for sorting.
The second photo was taken during the sorting process. I felt like I was buried in clothes. They are going to be labeled today and taken back to their new home in the garage. I will send a picture of that when I am done.
The third picture shows that they are now on the shelves. Yay! But as I was making room on the shelves I found a tub and another half dozen small bags of clothes. Now to figure out what to do with those clothes. As you can see they are really full. But progress has been made and I can go back to the living room and reclaim it after the clothes tornado hit it.”
Declutter First: Tips For What Clothes To Save & Store
When you receive hand me downs, or are choosing which of the clothes from your own older child to save for younger kids, you will need to make decisions about which clothes to save and store.
As always, declutter first. Remember, you’re not obligated to save everything. Only store what is worth saving, because it takes a lot of effort and space, so you don’t want to keep clutter.
- Get rid of anything stained, extremely worn out or ripped clothing that you do not choose to repair.
- If you always hated an article of clothing, such as it was hard to put on, or didn’t stay buttoned properly, or just was ugly, there is no reason to keep it.
- Consider how many of particular types of clothing items you need, and keep only the best of the best. For example, choose the best 8 shirts for that size, in a variety of colors, and get rid of duplicates or extras that are just OK, but not great.
- Wash clothes before storing them. As explained in the 5 rules of clothes storage article, you need to thoroughly wash clothes before storing them. This is especially true of baby clothes, where lots of mysterious yellow stains can often be found on stored baby clothes. These yellow stains are the result of proteins from spit up and spilled milk breaking down with heat and time.
The photo above was sent in by a reader, Kristin, who had gone through the sorting and decluttering process. She said, “Sorted through all our babies clothes. Put in containers sorted by 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, and so on. Plus two bins for selling and one of toys to sell, one of my maternity clothes to sell and one to donate.”
Sort & Store By Size, Gender & Season
Once you’ve gotten rid of excess clothes, and have decluttered down to what you want to save for later, the next step in the process is to sort. You definitely need to sort by size, but in addition if necessary you can also sort by gender and season.
Ideally you’ll have a storage bin available that will hold only one size of clothes in it, instead of needing to hold several sizes. If you can separate the sizes completely you won’t have to do much if any sorting when it’s time to reuse the clothes later. Instead, when your younger child has a growth sport just grab the bin with the next size up and you’re ready to go!
You’ll do a lot of sorting and storing at first for baby clothes, which kids grow out of within weeks or months, like size 3 months, 6 months, etc., and as the kids get older there are less sizes to deal with, typically 2T, 3T, 4, 5, 6, 6X, etc.
The photo above was sent in by Beth, who explained, “We get so many hand me downs I have them for the next 4 sizes for my boy, and 3 sizes for my girl. They go into Rubbermaid tubs labeled by gender, size, and season. I tape them shut so the lids don’t pop up. We have kept them in the garage since our oldest children outgrew them, which is eight years or so, and everything has been completely wearable.”
You Can Make An Inventory To Track What You’ve Got
Earlier I mentioned the idea, when decluttering, to only keep certain amounts of different types of clothes, such as shirts, or PJs, pants, socks, etc. You can, if you want, make an inventory of what you’re storing and saving to help you with that task.
[Click here for printable]
The advantages of an inventory include knowing what you’ve got, so you can shop sales or thrift stores to fill in any gaps in the wardrobe, or to help you understand when you have too many of certain things, and make it easier to get rid of excess.
Here’s a printable clothing inventory form you can use to keep track of the kids clothes you save, if you wish.
You can also create your own personalized inventory if you wish, like a reader, Jodi, did. She sent in the photo below and explained, “Our process has evolved over the years, but with 3 boys there are always lots of hand me downs. I’ve started keeping an inventory on the outside of the bins so I know what needs to be replaced (and what we have plenty of). I usually buy at the end of a season a year ahead to keep costs down.”
Make Sure To Label Your Clothes Storage Containers
As you accumulate outgrown clothing that you’re setting aside for younger children, you’ll start to get a lot of different boxes with different sizes and seasons. Make sure to label the bins legibly, and in a way that they won’t lose their labels, so you know what each box contains.
Here’s an example shown by a reader, Desiree, who sent in this photo:
Find Suitable Out Of The Way Location To Store Clothing Bins
Finally, find a suitable out of the way location to store the kids’ clothing bins holding all your hand me down clothes. Clothes take up a lot of room, so be prepared to find a large space for them, such as the top or bottom of a little used closet.
You can also use other locations for clothes storage, such as the attic, garage or basement, but they have their cons since they’re typically not climate controlled. For example, basements can be damp, but if yours doesn’t attract too much moisture it may work for clothes storage, like a reader Krista, uses hers for, as shown in the picture below.
Make sure to check out the article with the 5 rules for clothes storage to learn more about the best ways to store clothes, so they’ll look good when you’re ready to use them again.
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