Tips for sorting baby clothes

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As your little one grows, they will go through a lot of clothing sizes, especially during their first year of life. Whether you are planning for future siblings or are on the receiving end of lots of baby clothes and items from friends, you can quickly become overwhelmed with piles of clothing. Not only does this take up precious storage space, it can be extremely frustrating sifting through incorrect sizes to find something for your little one to wear…Especially when there is a sudden change in temperature or you realise you have been cramming your little one’s toes into something that doesn’t fit anymore.

Managing the influx of hand-me-downs

This is the time everyone likes to give us things. Whether it’s your sister-in-law, your friends, a work colleague – everyone! Once people know you’re having a baby, they will want to give you their hand-me-downs. Why? Because they’re dying to offload their hand-me-downs to someone that they love. It tends to be easier, for some reason, for people to give their hand-me-downs to somebody they already know than giving them to a charity. So you need to be prepared.

Staying organised through each stage

It is a good idea to get some small storage boxes that are around 32 litres for each ‘size’. During your baby’s first year of life, they will go through (at least) 4 sizes, so you will need to have 4 small boxes, and either organise them by sizes for the first year (i.e. 0000, 000, 00, 0 and size 1) or, alternatively, split them up over 24 months (i.e. 0-6 months, 6- 12 months, 12 – 18 months and 18 – 24 months). 

If you are limited in space, you could opt for 2 larger boxes and store them for the next 12 months ahead (i.e. 6-12 months and 12-18 months). If you are going to hold onto things for another baby, you can be rotating the boxes (i.e. once you’ve taken out the 000s, you can easily put them back into that box once your little one has outgrown them.) Of course, if there are any items unfit for reuse, dispose of them accordingly.

Storing your baby clothes

There are generally 2 places you’re likely to be able to store these containers: either on the top shelf of your wardrobe or under the cot/bed in an under-bed storage container. Be sure to always measure the depth and height of your space before heading off to buy your containers. If you are planning on storing these on the top shelf of a cupboard, make sure that the containers aren’t the type that can easily fall off (i.e. with wheels). There are also some great storing boxes/containers available with dividers in them, which makes it easy for storing multiple sizes in one box.

Have a donation box ready

One of the most frustrating things that can happen is when you pull out a singlet, dress or shirt that fit 3 months ago but no longer fits now. Or when you have a sudden change in season and that jacket they were wearing the last time it was cold is now too small. 

So what do most people do? They fold it and put it back in that drawer or cupboard, and it just ends up regurgitating time and time again. (If you know, you know!)

A good idea is to have a donation box or bag ready, even if this is just a cardboard box or Chinese laundry bag. Reserve a space in your cupboard to keep it and when something no longer fits, put it straight in the donation bag. This way you won’t have to cull as much, as you will be culling in the moment, as you notice they outgrow particular garments.

Hanging vs Folding

This can be dependent on whether you have a boy or girl and what type of clothing items they typically wear. For example, if you are hanging skirts, dresses, tops and jackets, this will take up a lot more space than if you are simply hanging a few shirts and jackets. Depending on the size of your wardrobe, you may opt for some internal hanging shelves for foldable items.

Tip: I suggest hanging anything that opens with buttons or zips and/or that is collared or hooded. We need to utilise and maximise our space as best as we can. Also, something to think about is the material your clothes are made from. Anything that is ‘slippery’, like lycra, silk or satin, belongs in a drawer, basket or hung in a closet – not on open shelves. 

When you’re setting up for a baby, you will need to invest in a good set of drawers. Don’t worry so much about the whole cupboard, as you will mostly use drawers during baby’s first year. There are plenty of options available on the market that are nice and wide – and some even include a change table attachment.

Now, you’re not going to just throw everything into the drawer, you’ll need to use dividers! This will help you keep all of those little items of clothing in place and in order for easy access. For example, by using 3 dividers you will be able to create 4 sections to keep the short-sleeved onesies, long-sleeved onesies, jumpsuits, leggings, etc., ordered.

Label, label, label

Once you have categorised your drawers, it is important to label each section. This doesn’t need to be obvious and can appear on the inner lip of the drawer. Labelling is important if you want or need others in your home to help put washing away and/or dress your child. By giving them instructions on how the home operates and where things go, they will be successful in helping you.

Folding Techniques

I prefer to fold using something called the ‘sweet spot technique’. This is where you fold in thirds, and then you line them up as you would books on a bookshelf, but the opposite way – so it’s like files in a filing cabinet. This way you can easily see everything you have and avoid having to rummage through a jumbled mess to find the right item of clothing.

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