On the previous Podcast or Post, we discussed How to Declutter Clothing & Decide What Clothes to Keep. Today we’re going to continue the discussion on decluttering clothes as it applies to children’s clothes.
We’ll discuss when you should declutter outgrown kids’ or baby clothes, 8 tips for decluttering outgrown children’s clothes, 5 tips for organizing & storing outgrown clothes, a few storage methods you can use, & 4 ways to declutter kids’ clothes you no longer want/need to keep.
(Below you can read the post or play the podcast version- about 15 mins.)
✅Free Clothes Decluttering Cheat Sheets (PDF)- These take you through the steps of decluttering clothing, whether for yourself or for your kids.
✅How to Declutter Clothing & Decide Which Clothes to Keep (Podcast or Post #16)– This Podcast or Post shares several steps and tips for decluttering clothes, many of which apply to decluttering children’s/infant’s clothes.
✅Ideas for Upcycling Old Baby/Kids’ Clothes- This post from kidspot will give you some inspiration if you want some crafty ideas.
✅One Decluttering Question to Ask Yourself (Podcast or Post #6)- This question can be applied to decluttering clothes.
✅Vacuum Storage Bags- These are the vacuum bags we got from Amazon, which work really well. They come in different sizes. (You can use a vacuum hose to quickly suck the air out, but they also come with a pump.)
✅Storage Bins- Storage bins come in different sizes and can be useful for storing outgrown baby or kids’ clothes you want to save.
In the 3 situations we’re about to discuss, these are all great opportunities to sort through and purge your children’s clothes.
If you pack away seasonal clothing, look at which clothes your child won’t be able to use by the time you unpack them.
When I pack away winter items, for example, if I notice some of my kids’ clothes are just barely fitting them now, I know that by next winter they will be too small, especially for the younger kids, because they grow pretty fast.
But take into account the age of your child and their growing patterns.
For example, a teenager may not necessarily grow out of something between seasons. They may even stop growing altogether.
But a healthy 2-month-old is not going to fit the same size clothes in a year from now.
If your child is growing or has worn out some of their clothes, they may need to exchange their current wardrobe for some new items.
If your child’s dresser is overstuffed or their closet is about to burst, this is a sign it’s time to help them reorganize and declutter some of their clothing items.
Chances are there are at least some items that are either too small or that your child isn’t even wearing that can be decluttered. When your child has less clothes, but still enough clothes, it’ll be easier for them to manage what they have, put them away, and find what they’re looking for more easily.
If your kids are old enough, this is a fun way for you to see what fits and what doesn’t. Put on some music and have fun!
If your children are still infants, you can gently try outfits on them if you aren’t sure what fits.
Baby clothes are pretty consistent with sizing within the same brands. So if you notice your 3-month-old is a little too big for a Carter’s brand 3-6 month onesie now, chances are all of the onesies you have in that size and brand will be too small as well.
Any time I realized one item in a brand was too small, I’d immediately remove all the same items in that brand from their drawers.
When my kids were babies, I’d usually already have a set of clothes the next size up packed away. So I’d grab the clothes I had for the next size and place them in their drawers after I took out the ones they outgrew.
Note: I recommend double-checking each type of clothing per brand if you notice a baby grows out of one item. For example, pants may still fit in a size and brand that a onesie is too small in.
When your kids have too many clothes that currently fit, allow them to decide which clothes they want to keep & which they want to declutter.
As a side note: you’ll want to make sure they aren’t keeping things that no longer fit just because they like them. And you’ll also want to make sure they aren’t decluttering too many clothes that still fit, and that they have enough clothing in each category of clothes they need.
I personally recommend washing all of your household’s dirty clothes at least once a week. So you’ll want to make sure your kids have enough school clothes, casual clothes, pajamas, undergarments, dress clothes, socks, etc. for what they need on a weekly basis.
If your kids don’t have enough clothes to last them at least a full week, make a note of what they need, and put it in your budget to purchase more. (Or if you’re a parent who makes your children’s clothes, and you’re crafty and have the time, then make plans to make them more of what they need.)
Whenever I notice something is too small on one of the kids, I remove it from their wardrobe immediately.
I also have the older kids bring me clothes they’ve outgrown to pack them away or declutter them.
Whenever your child has too many clothes that fit, and you need to decide which to get rid of, always choose the things they don’t wear as much.
The same principle applies to decluttering baby or toddler clothes if you have too many in the same size. Chances are you don’t dress them in every outfit equally. Some infant clothing is harder to put on than others or may not be as practical.
When clothes are folded and hung up properly, more clothes will fit in your children’s closets and dressers.
Kids who are old enough should be taught how to properly put things away. When they just stuff clothes in their dresser without folding or organizing them, things will not fit as well.
If you get or make clothes that your children like to begin with, they are more likely to wear them. Even as toddlers, my kids have been picky about which clothes they want to wear. So we try to include even the younger kids in decisions about new clothes.
Unless your child doesn’t have enough clothes, teach them the principle of the ‘one in, one out’ rule.
Whenever they get a new clothing item, your child should declutter a different clothing item. They might choose to declutter one that is worn out, has a hole, doesn’t fit, or that they aren’t using.
This rule can be applied to other areas of decluttering for your kids as well, such as toys.
By learning to get rid of old items as they get new ones, this will teach children the principle of decluttering from an early age. And it will help them to not hold on to too many things as they grow older. So it will help them to develop positive habits when it comes to ‘stuff’, which they can carry into adulthood.
First, determine if you’ll have a future use for them.
When a child outgrows clothes, do they have a younger sibling that can use them? Or is it possible you may have another child in the future?
If the answer is no to both questions, then you can get rid of them using one of the decluttering options we’ll discuss later in this post.
Or you can choose to upcycle your baby or kids’ clothes.
But if your answer is yes to either of the questions we just asked- if you have younger children or may end up having more children who can use them- you may want to pack away outgrown clothes and keep them.
Take into consideration the state of the clothes and if it’s worth taking up the space to store them until they’ll be used again.
Instead of taking the time to pack away clothes that may not be used again for years, some parents prefer just to get new clothes for younger children or a new baby, whereas others would prefer to be more resourceful and save on funds by using what they already have.
There is no right or wrong choice- do what works best for your family’s circumstances, storage space, finances, and sanity.
My one decluttering question I ask myself, as I’ve discussed in a previous Podcast or Post, is: “Is it worth my sanity keeping this?” And if the answer is yes, I will keep it. (You can listen to or read the full Podcast or Post for a complete explanation of what I mean by that.)
Personally, I keep outgrown clothes from the older kids for the younger kids. But I never keep clothes that are worn out or stained. Those I will often cut up and repurpose as cleaning rags.
Later in this post, we’ll discuss ways to declutter old kids’ clothes. But for outgrown baby & kids clothes that you choose to keep, or for clothes that don’t fit them yet, here are some tips for packing them away.
Always label the outside of the bins, boxes, or storage bags with what’s inside. I always label mine by size and gender since I have both girl and boy clothes packed away.
I personally use Sharpie markers for labeling because they are easy to read.
I use the website/app trello (the free version,) to keep track of things I’ve organized or packed away.
You want to remember what you have, and you don’t want to forget to unpack the outgrown clothes when the time comes.
I do a combination of folding and rolling clothes similar to Marie Kondo’s style of folding clothes.
You want to keep things organized so they are easier to keep track of and find.
Be cautious about storing outgrown baby or children’s clothes in places susceptible to mildew, moisture damage, or extreme temperatures.
I personally don’t store much clothing in my basement because there can sometimes be moisture issues. Some people may have similar issues in other locations too, such as an attic or garage.
So take into account how well the clothes are protected with the storage method itself, as well as how ventilated the storage location is that you choose, and how susceptible it is to moisture, temperature, mold, or mildew problems.
My favorite storage method for packing away kids’ clothes is to use vacuum bags.
Just make sure that whenever you buy storage solutions, the size is practical for where you want to put them and how much you plan to store in them.
Or if you have extra space on shelves or in a closet or dresser, this space can be used to store outgrown clothes you want to save.
I’ve personally passed on some of my baby clothes to other pregnant moms so they could use them.
I think when we are able to pass things along to someone who can use them, this is a kindness on our part. There are a lot of expenses when someone has a child or new baby, and buying all the clothes new can cost quite a bit.
Personally, I have only given away clothes that still looked to be in great condition. I won’t pass along things that are too worn out, have holes, or are stained.
Some parents have made a little cash by reselling kids’ or baby clothes that are still in decent condition. There are different places online where you can post items for sale, such as Craigslist, Facebook, ebay, or letgo. Some people may also advertise items for sale in a local newspaper or pennysaver.
Make sure if you sell any items to someone face-to-face that you don’t personally know, that you’re safe about doing it, and take precautions.
For example, you could bring someone with you and meet the person in a public place. Be careful about what payment methods you accept either online or in person. Unfortunately, there are people who do try to scam others that are advertising items to sell.
Alternatively, there may also be one or more secondhand stores in your area that give you cash for certain clothing brands- either up front, or after they sell. Keep in mind, though, that these stores are unlikely to accept all of the items you bring there.
There may be a homeless shelter or other facility in your area that helps out those in need.
Or there are probably one or more second-hand stores nearby that accept donations of used items. This is a great way to pass things along quickly so they can be used by someone who needs them.
For children’s clothes that are no longer presentable, tossing them is always an option.
Of course, you can throw out any clothes you want. Even if they are still usable, it may be a challenge to get rid of them.
I personally don’t like throwing things out that are still in decent condition. But if you know you want to get rid of them, and that’s what you need to do to get them out of your house, then that’s okay.
Sometimes to get our home decluttered and under control, it may be more practical to toss things. Then perhaps going forward, you’ll implement other solutions for items you want to declutter that are still usable.
So those are some tips for how to declutter and organize kids’ & baby clothes.
If you haven’t yet checked out our previous podcast or post on decluttering clothes tips, check it out here. There are helpful tips mentioned there that can also be applied to decluttering infant & children’s clothes.
✅ Don’t forget to download our Clothes Decluttering Cheat Sheets if you haven’t yet.
These will help you to get started decluttering clothes- whether it’s your kids’ clothes or your own clothes.
In the next Podcast or Post, we discuss kitchen decluttering tips.
I also just made a course specifically for decluttering the kitchen. (Get on the waitlist here.) So hopefully I’ll see you there.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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