It’s almost that time of year again…time for The Great Clothing Swap. The time when clothes from last season are replaced with clothes for the upcoming season. It’s not exactly my favorite time of year, as I dread the loading and unloading of bags.
It always seems like an overwhelming amount of work. But now that I finally have a good system in place, things speed along much more smoothly. And for that I am grateful.
In just a few months, my husband and I are going to have our fourth little one! Because I have taken the time to organize and take good care of our children’s clothes, we should have most every type of clothing article we could possibly need for this new little boy or girl. While these are fairly worn clothes, they still have lots of life left in them for a new one.
Here is my tried and true, works-for-me method:
I use the XL-size Ziploc bags to store all of our outgrown children’s clothes in. While I like the fact that the XL Hefty bags have a zip top, in my experience these zippers are not reliable and break after just a couple of uses. That’s money down the drain and extra work for this Mama. Believe me, stick with the XL Ziplocs and you’ll like your results.
Why do I use Ziploc bags instead of totes are some other storage container? I tried totes in the beginning with our first baby and quickly found out they could not be stacked without bowing in the middle. Bowing = a poorly fitting lid = bug entry. Mama doesn’t do bugs of any type. Ever.
Baby clothes are broken down into 3-month sizes: NB and 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months and 9-12 months. I do not sort by season for the Baby Days, only by size. So on my label on the outside of the bag, it reads: GIRL 3-6 months or BOY 6-12 months.
Once clothes hit the 18 month mark, I start to sort them by season, gender and size. So my label on the bag would read: GIRL 2T Mostly Summer.
Some items require their own storage in a separate bag:
- Burp Cloths/Blankets/Baby Towels and Washcloths
- Cloth Diapers by size
- All feeding supplies, including sippy cups, pump parts, spoons, etc.
- All baby toys (12 months and under)
- Shoes – I have gender separate bags of shoes with sizes 2-5, sizes 6-8 and sizes 8-12 sorted in their own bags.
After using this method to store children’s clothes for 5+ years, I can promise you this: You will not remember what is in the bags. Label them very, very well. You’ll like your results so much better.
For example: I try to put all of the nice dresses in one bag for that size of clothes. I make sure the label reads: GIRL 18 months, includes Sunday dresses and tights. That way, if I need to quickly pull the nice dresses in that size I know exactly which one of the four 18-month bags to look in.
Or I label the bag: BOY 3T, includes all underwear. Now I know which 3T bag to look in to find the underwear. More importantly, if I leave a pair of underwear out during The Swap, I can easily find which bag to put it in. It makes things so simple.
Once the bags are filled, they are stored in our attic until we need them again. Thankfully we have a lot of floor space and I arrange them grouped by size. All boy sizes 0-3 months are stored together, then boy sizes 3-6 months are stored together. Boy clothes are on one side of the attic and girl clothes on the other side.
When I pull out one size of clothes, there is an obvious hole where they will go back into storage once that size is outgrown.
One big question: Why in the world would you keep all of these clothes? It takes so much ‘work’, why do it? Doesn’t it just create clothing clutter?
All of those are legitimate questions and I’ve even asked them of myself! Is this really worth it? My answer is a resounding ‘yes’. By keeping the clothes from one child to the next, we don’t have to re-buy entire wardrobes of clothing for our children. I truly see it as being good stewards of that which God has blessed us. I am so fortunate and grateful to stay home with my children each day, and one way I can help us make it on one income is to take good care of our current belongings.
Are you looking for some other great resources for dealing with clothing management? Look no further! Here’s a plethora of fabulous ideas from my best bloggy friends:
- Tara from Feels Like Home is making a dynamite baby quilt from her little one’s clothes. If you just can’t bare to part with those baby clothes, this is a wonderful way to keep them forever.
- Amy from Raising Arrows is posting on how to store hand-me-downs for the larger family.
- Nony from A Slob Comes Clean deals with clothing as clutter.
- Angie from Many Little Blessings writes about sorting through your own closet to help manage clothing.
- Cheryl from Adventures of a Somewhat Crunchy Mama gives tips on how she organizes her clothes before storing them.
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