After a few weeks of decluttering our own clothes, defining our style and planning our wardrobe, it’s time to move on to the children’s clothes. We’re going to spend some time this week making sure our kids’ clothes are all sorted too. Here’s how to declutter and store children’s clothes.
Measure your children
This sounds obvious, but work out what size your children are wearing – and what size they’ll need next season. This isn’t so critical once they are a bit older and don’t grow quite so fast, but when they are tiny, it’s tricky! They can be too small for something one week, it will fit the next week, and they’ll have outgrown in by the next.
Think about temperature too. They won’t need thick wooly jumpers in the UK until October – and by that time, they might have outgrown last year’s size.
Take everything out and declutter
The easiest way to do this is by putting everything out onto the bed. Use your bed and transport drawers if you need to!
Work through category by category, and only put clothes back if it fits, or will fit very soon!
I absolutely swear by drawer dividers, especially for children and small items. Keep like items with like, and keep school uniform separately if you can.
Throw away or recycle anything stained, stretched or faded. Sometimes it’s hard to see this with baby clothes as you get distracted by the cuteness or the memories, but there’s no point keeping anything which isn’t pristine.
How to store children’s clothes
Obviously, if your youngest is your last child, or if you aren’t planning any more, or if you have children of different genders and aren’t planning any more, keep a few items for sentimental if you like, and then pass the lovely things on.
However, if you want to keep the clothes for younger children, read on.
Only keep the things which you really love, and which are in really good condition.
Children get given lots of clothes, and it’s lovely to buy clothes for children. When Ben was a baby, we were given a huge box of boys baby clothes from family friends who were moving overseas. Because I was really worried about the financial costs of me going on maternity leave, I kept it all and tried to use it.
This actually was a big mistake. Lots of it was stretched or a bit stained. Lots of it just wasn’t what I’d choose for Ben. But I was so overwhelmed by feeling guilty if I didn’t use it, that I forced myself to. I bought one ‘good’ outfit per size (which inevitably he was sick on) and I certainly didn’t get much joy out of dressing him.
It took me until he was around 9 months old to get over that. I didn’t dress him in anything expensive or over the top: just supermarket basics really, and they were great. It was partly about me giving myself permission to buy things for him, and partly getting over the guilt that I should be using someone else’s cast-offs.
It’s funny, isn’t it, the things we do to ourselves as parents. But we shouldn’t feel guilty about how we dress our children! It also taught me an important lesson: we shouldn’t feel like we have to accept things, and we have to be very careful about the things we offer to pass on.
How to store children’s clothes
I’m going to tell you to do something that I haven’t done. Use vacuum bags to store clothes.
OK, I’ve used vacuum bags, but not for children’s clothes.
I used bins: the kind with flip top lids that you can access quickly and easily. They stack, yes, but that’s about all they do.
And here’s the thing: you don’t need to be able to access these clothes quickly and easily. You need them to be packed away, taking up as little space as possible, for when you do need them.
So, here’s how to store children’s clothes:
1. Sort into size groups.
2. Make a list of what you’ve got. You don’t need to give lots of details, but know how many vests/tops/trousers/skirts you’ve got. A general colour scheme might help too.
3. Store one age size in one bag. I recommend these Vacuum Bags and Storage Set, as you can keep them all together.
Why do I need a list?
When you have a list, it’s really easy to see what you have and what you don’t have. So you can see that you have 10 short sleeved vests in age 12 months, but only 2 in age 9 months. You’ll know what you need to buy!
I’d love to know how you get on with this challenge – do let me know in the comments! Next week, we’re sorting our our accessories.
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