Organizing Children’s Clothes

My oldest’s clothes are all in her room as we speak, since she’s first in line in the ‘mom’s-going-through-and-taking-out-clothes-that-don’t-fit’ mode for spring cleaning. Yes, I start early, cuz I have six kids. I have to. She has two closets that are packed. Yup, packed. And two totes and a box, along with two brown grocery bags of clothes. Clothes-horse much? Yup. And all of it will get passed down to my two other daughters. SCORE!

Why do I do save my children’s clothing? It’s simple. To save money. (The kids also get a big kick out of taking care of their clothing to see their siblings wear their stuff, too.)

Let’s face it, children’s clothes are not cheap. I talked about this over at TypeAMom.net. I bargain hunt with the best of ‘em, shopping during end-of-season sales, clearance racks and consignment, etc., but the real savings is being able to save clothes from one child to the next. With six children, that savings can really add up. Quick. However, it can also be difficult to store all of it, too. Sometimes I think it requires a special degree of organization to accomplish, though, because even the best intentions of keeping up with it fall by the wayside when you’re constantly adding to it, or digging through it to find something, with the constant “Mooooooom this doesn’t fit me anymore!!” or “Mooooom I don’t have anymore uniform pants!”

I find the easiest way to store children’s clothes is in the storage totes you can find at Walmart, Target or any home improvement store. I use both the solid and clear totes, as I think they work quite well. I used to put tape on the top when we had a house with a garage, but now that we’ve moved the totes to an interior closet (since the military gave us a house with no garage), I had to re-tag the totes with tape on the sides while organizing them.

With six children, the easiest way to do it is to mark the child’s name and the age/size of clothing on the side, and summer/winter if it applies (if it’s both, I leave it as just the size). I actually had, at one point, changed it to just gender and size, but forgot this time when writing the tags out that I’d changed it (whoops). Either way works well (just remember before you start tagging your totes, or drink more coffee, heh).

I should’ve taken a before picture, but this tackle wasn’t planned to happen when it happened. In fact, while it was on my to-do list, I was actually just looking for a missing soccer cleat. Once we started tearing apart the closet going tote by tote, I just dug in and finished what I had wanted to do, so I only have pictures of during the process.

Crazy Adventures in Parenting - Organizing Children's ClothesMe with baby-man perusing baby clothes in a box I’d forgotten about. Pays to clean out your closet!
Crazy Adventures in Parenting - Organizing Children's ClothesLittle dude getting into a Pooh Mobile that used to be his sister and brothers…
Crazy Adventures in Parenting - Organizing Children's Clothes..and also into a poster I found as well.
Crazy Adventures in Parenting - Organizing Children's ClothesEnd result: Success!
Crazy Adventures in Parenting - Organizing Children's ClothesNow all I need is a few extra totes to get rid of those boxes.

What isn’t shown is the totes in my oldest’s room, we’re still going through those. I will finish the rest of the totes this week for my To-Do Tuesday list. There are also totes in my children’s other bedrooms as well. What you see here was just the designated “tote closet” I went through. Because we were blessed to have some big closets in this post home (even though the rooms themselves are small), I’m utilizing the room on their top shelves for some of their totes as well, which will have to be searched through and organized the same way.

It’s quite the process, let me tell you, but it’s SO worth it to save their clothing. If nothing else, it gives you the opportunity to relive raising your older child all over again, putting your newest child in their clothing.


Picture on the left is of my now-four-year-old. Picture on the right is of my almost-five-month-old. Same pajamas. And they look kinda related, don’t ya think? ;)

A few tips on saving clothing for the next child:

  • To save money on these totes, shop during clearance sales, if you don’t mind colors. You’ll often find red and green ones on sale around or after Christmas-time, orange and black ones on sale at Halloween, or after. They’ll also be on sale sporadically during the year, but you can really cash in very soon, when the spring cleaning fever sales start.
  • Be sure to launder all clothing before storing. Ones that are stained aren’t going to get cleaner with storing, so if they’re stained, it’s best to use them as rags or find other uses for them (we use old clothes as play clothes, car washing rags, fabric for crafting projects)
  • If something happened to a label on an item of clothing, so that the size is not easily distinguishable anymore, pin a tag onto it that says what size it is before storage. It eliminates the guessing game later, when going through the tote (if it’s a multi-size tote 3T, 4T for example).
  • Put socks and small items in a bag, so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.
  • If you choose to save shoes, ensure they are cleaned before storing, and place them on the bottom, with the soles of the shoes on the bottom, laying clothes over top the shoes (to prevent dirtying the clothing). I also find perhaps laying a piece of newspaper or something over top helps, too. I only keep shoes that are in excellent or near excellent condition.

Do you save your children’s clothes for the next child? Do you have a method for doing so? Please share with me in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.

For more, visit 5 Minutes For Mom for more projects being tackled, Blissfully Domestic for more domesticated bliss, and be sure to hop over and add your to-do list this week to the To-Do Tuesday mister linky.

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