Free baby clothes are a blessing, but if you’re not careful, you’ll be swimming in them before baby even arrives. To stay on top of these second-hand treasures, you’ll have to be tough. If it’s stained or overly worn, let it go. Before you pack away fuzzy sweaters and warm, wooly coats, do the math. If it won’t fit come December, pass it on. Finally, keep only what you love. If you don’t love it, your little one won’t wear it.
2. Stock the Nursery
Before baby’s big debut, wash all newborn clothing (and anything labeled “0-3 months”) in a gentle detergent and sort into categories. Store items like onesies and pajamas within easy reach of your changing table. Assign accessories like socks, hats and hair bows to their own sectioned-off drawer or invest in a few small baskets. Place pants and T-shirts into drawers, and hang dresses and matching sets in the closet.
3. Stash Bigger Sizes for Later
- Separate any remaining clothes by size, but be wary of inconsistent labeling. Manufacturer-labeled sizes vary greatly. A dress labeled “12 months” by one manufacturer may actually be the same size as a dress labeled “9 months” by another. Rely on labels alone, and there’s a good chance a third of the clothing in your “12-month” box won’t fit by your baby’s first birthday. Use your best judgment. If a particular item seems smaller than the rest, don’t hesitate to stash it away with the next size down. When in doubt, check the tag for a weight range.
Pack clothes into well-labeled, breathable boxes and store in a cool, dry environment.
4. Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself
Tempting though it may be, buying next year’s winter wardrobe at this year’s end-of-season sale is never a good idea. Your little one will grow in leaps and bounds over the next year, but just how much is hard to say. Get your guesswork wrong, and you’ll be praying for snow in July. Better to buy what you need as you need it, and make sure your hard-earned money (and limited closet space) doesn’t go to waste.
5. Have a Plan for Outgrown Clothing
Keeping track of what fits and what doesn’t can be difficult, especially if outgrown clothing begins to pile up around the nursery. To stay organized, keep an easily accessible box for clothes officially deemed too small. Use a permanent marker to label your box with a start date and your child’s current age. When the box is full, make a second notation of date and age, seal it up and store it away. This will not only help you sort clothes by their actual size (as opposed to labeled size), but will also give you an idea of the appropriate season, making it easier to decide what you need and when the second time around. Having an accessible, pre-assigned place for outgrown items also prevents them from creeping back into baby’s closet, saving you the hassle of an extra trying-on session.