Every mom, willing to admit it or not, has struggled to organize the “to grow into” and “outgrown” piles of baby clothes. It’s inevitable. The little monkey’s grow out of one size and into the next at twice the speed of light, so you get caught in this constant circle of restocking, and putting away. When Hattie was first born, I had a manageable amount of clothing for each upcoming size (through age 12 month). I actually fit everything into size coordinated shoe box sized containers and tucked them snugly under her crib. Life happened between now and then, and the crib had to be lowered, friends brought over much more clothing, the grandmothers and I went a little girl shopping crazy, and I also caught
a few a lot of really fabulous sales, therefore our clothing stash outgrew the bottom of the crib and flooded Hattie’s bathtub. Due to the fact that I have a wonderfully beautiful shower curtain, custom sewed, from floor to ceiling, that totally blocks any and all visitors from witnessing my horrific collection of lacy, pink, beautiful, tiny little outfits I thought I would be safe (unless of course you peek behind bathroom curtains while you tinkle to make sure no monsters, serial killers, or child ghosts linger in the recesses of the tub, which is exactly what happened when Ben’s best friend came over for a visit.) I was busted. I also had decided that I wanted to give Hattie her own little bathroom, so it was time to conquer the clothes. I busied myself with reorganizing all of the clothing into age appropriate piles.
The sizes run so different from brand to brand, but this is what worked best for me:
- Premie and Newborn
- 0-3 month & 3 month
- 3-6 month & 6 month
- 6-12 month & 12 month (this will envelope the 6-9 month and 9-12 month category)
- …….and I only have a twelve month old, so my categories end here, but you get the picture.
I liked having both the 3-6 month and 6 month (for example) in one bin, so that when the time came, and I pulled this size out for her to wear, I would be able to have on hand things that fit now, and things that would fit in 3 hours (joking….more like one month down the road), and since babies grow like weeds, and since some brand’s 3-6 month sized clothes fit the same way as another brand’s 6 month sized clothes it was best to have it all out so that I wouldn’t miss out on her wearing it. Because believe me, that’s what happens when it stays boxed up-you miss the short window of opportunity.
Once I had everything organized, to an extent, it dawned on me that if God blessed us with more children (specifically Baby #2) I would have to go through ALL of the boxes of clothes to pull out all of the “gender neutral” numbers if the little angel would happen to be a boy (to clear up any confusion, we don’t want to find out the gender of any of our children before their births). I tried to imagine chasing a toddler, nursing a newborn, and sorting through boxes and boxes of clothes. Ain’t gonna happen. So, I diligently went back through my organized clothes and pulled out everything that was gender neutral-which ended up being a pile of yellow and green outfits, most likely sporting ducks. (Since Hattie’s gender was unknown I had quite a bit of newborn style clothes that a future baby boy could wear. Score!) This meant that every size had both a pile for girl clothes, and a pile for gender neutral clothes, doubling up my quantity of boxes, but worth every penny (plus, the boxes for gender neutral clothing ended up being significantly smaller than that of the girl clothing). I carried out the same separating process with the 0-12 month toys, and the baby blankets.
It was finally time to box everything up! I headed to Wal-Mart with my supply list and stocked up on boxes that would fit the bill. In the early months of organizing Hattie’s clothes I would buy cute little pink boxes or boxes with pink or red lids, but lo and behold, the stores sell out of these very quickly and you will never ever ever ever be able to find them again no matter how hard you scour the internet. This means my boxes become an array of mismatched-ness which makes my Type A tummy turn-in a bad way. I chose clear boxes with white snap on lids, which I’ve seen in the store for years now, so I know that when I need more, they are bound to have some to match. They also come in a variety of sizes, so I was able to snag some smaller ones for littler piles, and a few larger ones for big items. I added these supplies to the boxes that I already had, and I was in business.
I then created some labels in Microsoft Word using the Avery Postcard Template #8387 (the size of the squares was perfect for what I needed), but instead printed them onto Avery Full Page White Sticker Shipping Labels (this way I just cut out the different labels, and then stuck them directly onto the box). You could also print them onto the Avery Postcard sheets, which makes it really easy to separate each label, since they come perforated, but then you have to tape each one to the boxes, and I would rather cut than tape, so that’s how I did it, but to each his own (if you wanted to be really thrifty, you could just print it onto paper or cardstock that you are bound to have lying around your house, cut them out, and tape them onto the inside of the box facing outward (to protect the thin paper from the exposed elements)! I used pink text for the girl clothes, blue text for the boy clothes (yes…I have purchased boy clothes already), and yellow for the gender neutral clothes. I added a little bird in the coordinated color because it was adorable. You can view and print my labels by following this link or you can use it as a reference to make your own!
I stuck those babies onto each box, loaded up Benjamin’s truck and hauled the loot to my in-law’s attic for safekeeping, because until we build the big house, we just can’t store that much stuff! (credit owed to my dear friend Lauren for abandoning her law school studies to help me finish out the project…I may have bribed her with pizza…)
I was so glad to have the items tucked away neatly, plus, my in-law’s attic is accessible via permanent stairwell, so when Hattie outgrows something else I just tote it upstairs and tuck it away!
Now little bit has her own little bathroom full of Alphabet bathtub toys and bright hooded towels. My heart swoons. Plus you can’t beat filling up her tub in 2 minutes flat, it’s so convenient compared to the tedious filling of our Jacuzzi tub. My water bill thanks me.
Here are some tips if you plan on organizing any of your baby gear in the near future:
- I included socks for each age group in the clothing boxes. If the socks go from 0-6 months, I include it in the 0-3 month boxes, because they will most likely begin wearing them within that time frame.
- Shoes are divided into 0-6 month shoes, and 6-12 month shoes, and from there you can start with the actual sizes (4,5,6, etc) because up until this point you are dealing with the soft soled crawling shoes and every store’s sizing runs differently, so at least you have an idea of what age range the shoes will fit at. I also try to save all of the really nice shoes original boxes for storage, I’m not sure why…I just like to do this.
- I put all of the 0-12 month toys (play mat with hanging toys, rattles, chew toys, etc) away quickly since after 12 months they begin to lean towards hands on toys, puzzles, dolls, and things of this nature and this momma doesn’t need toys coming out of her ears. It was sad to put them away, but the sooner the better!
- Remove ALL batteries from any toys that you may be boxing up to avoid leakage while being stored. This may be tedious but well worth your time.
- I had mounds of baby blankets, and at this point, she wears coats and hats to go outdoors so blankets are reserved for napping, sleeping, and car rides, therefore 54 blankets of various shapes was no longer necessary. I boxed these up to free up more room in Hattie’s closet.
- A box for “accessories” when it comes to little girls is necessary. You want to have an organized place for tiny necklaces, bracelets, belts, pacifier clips, and hair supplies that baby outgrows, and they are too delicate to throw in with the clothing so preparing a separate box, although small, is a swell idea.
- I had bigger boxes for my larger items (Boppy, Boppy covers, bassinet linens, Baby Bjorn, and things like the extra padding that they put in your car seat for smaller babies that your toddler won’t need. These are all important things, and the more organized you have them the better, so that you don’t claw your eyes out looking for them down the road, plus they are protected this way!
- I keep a small box labeled “Hattie’s Keepsakes” and a flat, long box labeled “To Grow Into” under Hattie’s bed, and they are both thin enough to fit even when the crib is at its lowest setting. I keep little things like Hattie’s baptism candle, and special notes or special gifts in the keepsake box, and I will transfer it to a nicer “hope chest” once we build the big house. I also love shopping the end of season sales for future sizes at my favorite store (Baby Gap and Old Navy have awesome sales!!!) so I keep all of these in the flat box for quick pulling once she reaches that size.
Organizing children’s clothes is a never ending process! I have to pull things, put them into storage, and take new items out on a monthly basis! It’s even a line item on my chore list! Hopefully this tutorial can help make your life a little more organized and your baby clothes a little more approachable! Plus, think of all of the new clothes that you can buy once your old ones are organized and packed neatly away!