Tuesday, January 3, 2012


We are so incredibly blessed to receive hand-me-down clothes from my niece.  Her and T are a year apart and follow the same growth trend, so what fit my niece last summer will fit T this summer.  Of course, we've also bought some along the way too, and with Baby Girl #2 (BG2) due right around T's 2nd birthday, the sizes and seasons should match.  We are also blessed to get some clothes from my friends from high school who also have young daughters just a year or so older than T.

The bad news is that we have a TON of clothes! Way too much for any one little person to wear, even if you do change their clothes 5 times a day!  On top of that, the girls will be sharing a 3-drawer dresser and a small closet that, luckily, has two hanging rods.  So, with clothes for T and clothes for the new baby, I felt we needed to take some control back. 

The first thing I do, no matter who gives me clothes is to wash and dry them first.  All of them.  T has had sensitive skin and I'm sure BG2 will too, so better to start off with detergent you know is safe.  After washing 5 loads of laundry, it's time to sort:

-by size
-by season
-by type
-by quality

Size, of course, is an obvious one.  No explanation needed there.

Season is critical.  A lot of our hand-me-downs come from New England where winters are a lot colder and last longer than here in the mid-Atlantic.  I'm probably not going to need 5 snowsuits for my entire family, never mind one little person.

Type is more for my sanity.  I love onsies, pajamas, dresses, etc., but how much of each thing do you need?  I figure, if I do laundry once a week (Ha!  I only wish), then I'll need 7-8 of each type.  I pick my favorites and set the others aside.

When we are so blessed to have so much, I have the luxury of being choosy.  I'm probably not going to keep a stained outfit unless I am totally in love with it and really think I can get the stain out.  I also try not to keep ones that are visibly worn.

With all that said, whatever doesn't fit in with my criteria gets donated or passed along to someone I know can use it.  When they are young like my girls, these clothes only get worn so many times and are generally in good condition.

With these bags set to go to Goodwill, I'm ready to start storing items away.  Needless to say, I have more for BG2 right now than T, since BG2 will go through at least 3 different sizes in her first year.  I like each girl to have their own color coded storage bins so its easy to figure out who's clothes are where.  T = green (because that's my favorite color), BG2 = Purple (because that's what Target had!).  I know you're not "supposed" to store clothing in plastic, but I figure, they aren't going to be in there long, 3-6 months at the most!  I also prefer to have transparent storage bins, so you can see what's inside, but also for my nifty size labels!

With T's clothes sorted, I started to tackle BG2's.  I found I had so many 3-6 month clothes that they wouldn't all fin into one bin!  The problem is that in 6 months, we are spanning 3 different seasons, spring, summer and fall. 

Here is where seasonal sorting is really important.  I seperated the 3-6 month bin into warmer and cooler clothes and labeled them as such.  Having done that, I was also able to sort out more types of clothes that I didn't need so many of.  Finally, all of the 3-6 month clothes fit into one bin.  I have already taken all the newborn clothes and put them in her dresser and closet and we have some clothes up to 12 months set aside in her other bin.

Each bin then gets a notecard labeled with the size, and if necessary the season, placed in front of that stack. And, voila!  All sorted and ready to be stored in our basement.  And so pretty too!

So what's next?  Perhaps their closet?  Or under the sink?  You have to wait and find out! :)

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