I love hand-me-down baby clothes. Wrapped up in a bit of nostalgia, previously worn clothing & essentials are economy at it's finest. If you plan on having more than 1 child, it's inevitable that you'll have to consider what to do with all the clothes, shoes, coats and essentials.
Ten years and four kids later, I've become a master of the hand-me-downs with a method focused on saving the essentials and not loads of unnecessary extras.
- Sort and store by size & gender, not season.
- Only save a specific number of each item type per size (6 tees, 4 leggings, 3 blankets etc). It's likely you'll be adding new clothes with each child and too many clothes equals too much laundry.
- Donate or sell clothes that your child never wore, was uncomfortable or fit funky.
- Save only the best quality essentials! Unless you are specifically saving for play clothes, do not save clothes that are overly worn, stained etc.
- Store clothes in a large plastic storage containers with tight fitting lids. I love to throw in a few lavender sachets to keep the bugs away and to keep clothing smelling fresh. I've found it best to store clothing away from the closet as it's too tempting to dig back in, which ultimately creates an even bigger mess. Make sure your long term storage is sufficiently dry (no mold!).
- Get in the rhythm of sorting before every season. For me, this is 2x a year: early spring for spring/summer and early fall for fall/winter. Storing what I want to keep, pulling out what is needed next, selling what is still good and donating the rest. I then take note of who needs what for the season in order to fill in any wardrobe gaps.
- Make sure that everything you save for later is clean, folded and in good order.
- When buying new clothing for my children, I choose quality over quantity. This doesn't necessarily mean expensive, isn't it just the worst when fancy brand name clothes wash up horribly? Clothing made of quality fabrics that wash up well are the ones to stick with.
- The less you buy & have, the less laundry you'll do and the less you have to store, go through and re-sort! I know it's easy to overstuff our children's closets but it' ok to become an essentialist.
I also have an ongoing keepsake box for each child, saving special pieces of clothing or item that distinctly reminds you of your child at a certain moment in time. For me, this has been my boy's pajamas, albeit worn out, I'll snip off a square to keep. I've also kept my oldest son's messy shirt he wore to toddler art class and all my boy's lamb booties. Having only 1 daughter her keepsake box has grown a bit large, but so be it! You'll be glad you kept these items later, so much wrapped up in this short bit of time when our babes are young.
Donating, selling and giving:
If you have a handful of clothing and essentials that are no longer needed, consider your options.
- Give. I have blessed many expectant families with baby clothes, essentials and gear. Being generous is a good seed to sow and always welcomed.
- Donate. Donate to a local thrift shop or other meaningful organization. For me, these are usually the items i know i will not be able to sell.
- Sell online. I have had great success selling (and buying!) on eBay, Kidizen and ThreadUP. My favorite is Kidizen.
- Sell local. Consignment shops take all the work out of it and are a great community option.
With a method in place, keeping all the hand-me-down clothing and essentials organized is simple and you'll find joy "shopping" for the next season in your well stored collection.