4 Reasons I Purged Almost All Our Baby Clothes

posted by Andrea | 07/17/2013

baby clothes

Back before I was pregnant with Nora, I would frequently organize for families with young children — and often times, a huge source of clutter for these families was the lack of storage for all their out-grown baby/kids clothing (or in my opinion, the fact that they wanted to keep way too much stuff.)

Sometimes, they did have other children to eventually pass the clothes down to, but MOST of the time, they were just hanging on to boxes and boxes and boxes of baby clothes “just in case” — using up valuable storage space in their own closets, in their kid’s closets, or in the basement to do so.

I remember one family in particular. They were in the process of moving across the country, and despite the fact that her children were 7 and older, they were moving into a smaller home, and they had very limited storage space in their moving truck, the mom still refused to get rid of any baby clothes.

It was obvious that she was emotionally attached to the sentiments behind the baby clothing so I didn’t push too hard, but I did decide that whenever I had kids, I would purge the majority of my out-grown baby clothing unless I had another baby who could wear it immediately after.

That might sound overly harsh, but I’ve pretty much stuck to that decision… and here’s why:

1. I might never use the clothing again.

Yes, Dave and I would like to have more children eventually, but there’s a chance we might never have another girl. And even if we do have another girl, if she’s not born in the Fall like Nora was, much of the clothing wouldn’t work anyway.

Or, what if we have a couple boys and then another girl 8 years from now. I can almost guarantee I’ll want to get new items at that point.

I know SO many people who hang onto clothing, take up storage space in their home, move boxes to new homes, etc. and then never end up using the clothing. Then, by the time they finally decide to part with it, it’s too out-dated to sell so they end up giving it all away.

Think how much time and space could be saved by simply getting rid of it right away — not to mention the money that could be made by selling the clothing when it’s still in style.

2. I’ll have several months to prepare for the next child.

Even if we have another child soon, I’ll have several months to prepare for the birth — so it’s not like I’ll be caught off guard with no clothes for my newborn baby.

I’ll have plenty of time to shop garage sales, borrow from friends, or find rock-bottom clearance deals at the store. Meanwhile, Nora’s outgrown clothing has been used for over a year by other friends, family, and neighbors who we’ve either lent it out or given it too — and I’ve enjoyed the extra storage space in our house!

3. Babies don’t need that much stuff.

Babies don’t really “NEED” much clothing — especially in the beginning. Yes, it’s fun to dress them up all cute, but as long as you have a handful of white onesies, socks, and sleepers (all of which I did save), you’re good to go for at least the first 2 months.

After that, I can most likely find everything I needed via garage sales (for about $0.50 an item) or by borrowing from friend (see below).

4. I can borrow most of what I  do ‘need’.

I was fortunate to be able to borrow a whole bunch of clothes for Nora from Dave’s cousin who has 2 girls a little older than Nora. And now that Nora is grown out of her clothing, we’ve passed most of it along to others as well. Sometimes they give it back (and then I loan it out again or donate it) or sometimes they just pass it along to someone else they know who’s having a baby girl.

However, even if Dave’s cousin didn’t have something I needed (like a snow suit and boots) I just asked around to friends on Facebook and within a week I had 2 different snow suits for free. One snow suit went back to the original owner and I passed the other one on to a neighbor who has a girl 1 year younger than Nora.

Not only did I save a bunch of money by borrowing, I’m also saving other friends lots of money by sharing our clothing — and we’re all saving tons of storage space in our homes (and keeping extra clothing out of landfills).

 

I realize many of you might think I’m totally crazy, but for me, it all comes back to #1 above. I simply can’t justify storing something that I might never need ever again (even if I have plenty of space.)

Who knows if we’ll ever have another girl.

If I knew I was pregnant with another baby girl right now, I would most likely start saving a few more of Nora’s 12-18 months clothes (the stuff she’s growing out of right now), but since that’s not the case, I’m going to keep donating, selling, and lending her clothes out to anyone who can make use out of them.

If the time comes that I need more baby girl clothes, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble restocking our nursery closet for free or at rock bottom prices!

Oh, and if you’re wondering how I store and organize the small amount of baby clothing I do save (like white onesies, sleep-sacks, pj’s, socks, bibs, etc. read this post

What are your thoughts about storing extra baby clothes?

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Filed under: HomeKids StuffOrganizingPurgingStorage

 
 

72 comments

  1. Meg

    07/17/2013

    I only saved a few pieces of baby clothes from each of my kids. We have one “memory” box of things I cannot bare to part with. And then I took other clothes from each child and made a baby-clothes quilt! It was heart-wrenching to cut up the clothes but the end result is one of our most cherished possessions! And in the end, my kids still had so much to give away or donate!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I love the quilt idea — it’s actually what I suggest to many mommas who are having a hard time purging those sentimental baby clothes!

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  2. Carly

    07/17/2013

    I had 3 girls in 3.5 years and I’m SO thankful I stored all our baby clothes! I know I am definitely the exception though! We live in a tiny (900 square feet) condo and I had to store some of it at my MILs house, but it was worth the cost savings I think. Now that our family is most likely complete, I’m really looking forward to getting rid of stuff as my baby outgrows it!

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  3. Tonya

    07/17/2013

    I feel the same way! My daughter is 2 1/2 years old. I save very little of her outgrown stuff. Lack of storage and not having much money to buy next season’s stuff is why I consign almost everything she grows out of. I love not having to budget for her clothes & shoes. I just collect the money from the consignment store when I’m ready to shop.

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  4. Meghan

    07/17/2013

    I had 3 girls in 3.5 years as well and I stored my favorites of our baby clothes until I knew we were done. I have my absolute favorites in a box and my MIL is going to make me a blanket with those.

    I did just help a friend that has 2 boys, one 8 and one almost 11, purge her boys clothes. She had NEVER gotten rid of any of their clothes! Crazy, huh?? I came out with 4 huge black garbage bags full of clothes for my yard sale :) But she wouldn’t let me touch the baby clothes under 18 months. I’m proud of her for getting rid of as much as she did though!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Wow Meghan — you get “friend of the year” award! And honestly, I see situations like your friend’s all the time. It’s crazy how attached people are to baby clothes, but you’re right… at least she let you purge some stuff already!

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  5. Angie

    07/17/2013

    I had four boys in 7 years, so I kept everything, and I was amazed that we could use almost everything, even though they were all born in different seasons and have different body types. So I am very glad I kept everything, but as soon as the last one was born, I started getting rid of everything.

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  6. Beth

    07/17/2013

    Personally, I had 2 daughters 3 years apart. After the 2nd I gave away everything as she outgrew the clothing or baby gear. Then we had a “blessing” daughter 8 years later. We got by on hand-me-downs and as little baby gear as possible. That little blessings is leaving the nest for good in 3 weeks,…non the worse for wear! I saved very few memory items as I too do not like to save and store all the clothing.
    However, have a little story to share. I quilt memory quilts and t-shirt quilts for people and a year ago I had a mom bring 3 very large tubs of baby and childhood clothing for me to make a quilt for her daughter who was now graduating high school. She saved EVERYTHING! The most amazing part for me was that she knew the history behind each garment. I had bibs, panties, hats, socks, dresses, shirts, shorts, pants, pj’s…you name it. The quilt was queen size when finished, with lots of scraps for the trash bin.
    My poor daughters will not have memory quilts like that…..

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    Andrea Reply:

    those quits are cool, but I think your daughters will be just fine without them :) maybe you could do a t-shirt quilt for them instead (with all t-shirts from high school and college)

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  7. Rebecca Goldie

    07/17/2013

    Ahhhh…. if I had purged, I would be broke and going crazy right now trying to re-purchase everything we need. My daughter is 4 years old and she is now having a baby sister coming in the same season (very much planned to save $$$) – we have saved many hundreds of dollars on clothes and other baby things just by keeping a few totes in the attic where we never have to look at it (for the most part). I’ll only save clothes up to a certain age – and anything stained gets tossed, anything borrowed gets returned. As the new baby grows out of it, we’re going to purge. But we just couldn’t afford to buy it all again – even at garage sale prices – especially when so much of it was barely used. But I admire your effort!

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    Aa. Reply:

    I think that the idea Andrea underlined was that it depends on a multitude of facts and circumstances, and she really showed that for her, in the context of relatives borrowed clothes & co, purging is not wasting money at all.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yup… exactly! Thanks for pointing this out again :)

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  8. Tammy @ SkipperClan

    07/17/2013

    I did the same thing! I even see military families doing this and there are weight limits with those moves. It’s helped me to see other things like that as well: better to have it in use with someone, somewhere and trust that God will provide a giving person when we have need again!

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  9. Living So Abundantly

    07/17/2013

    I normally am on the same wave length but not with this post. ;) I am pregnant with my second, and they will be 14 months apart(same season). I’m sooooo thankful I did save his clothing for our next baby(many clothes are neutral). Not only have I been crazy busy with my current baby, but I’ve been exhausted from nursing and being pregnant(yes, you can get pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding–but we are very excited!). To have to deal with finding a bunch of clothes would have been insane. I LOVED your list of things to buy for a baby, but I definitely needed way more clothes than you had listed. That’s with me doing a load of laundry a day, too. My baby spit up a lot at first, so I was elbow deep in All Free and Clear and dirty clothes(saves so much money than buying Dreft or a special baby detergent). I think if your children are spaced a good distance apart that makes more sense to get rid of more clothes, but when they are close like ours it is more sensible to save the clothes. Because of your site, I did start using ThredUP and love it. =) Okay, that’s my two cents, even though it’s a penny for my thoughts. ;)

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    Andrea Reply:

    congrats on baby #2! You’re situation is definitely unique, and as I mentioned in the post, I WOULD save baby clothing if I had another child coming along immediately after. I didn’t really start purging any of Nora’s clothing until she was 4-5 months old and totally out of her 0-3 months clothes — and by that time, you would have been pregnant already so you would have known to hold onto your stuff.
    Obviously, the things I do won’t work for everyone… the main point I want to make is that if you’re not using something, it’s probably a good idea to purge. In your case, you are using your things so it’s totally cool to hang onto your stuff.
    Oh, and yay for using ThredUp!

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    Living So Abundantly Reply:

    Thanks! I love your blog and have gotten so many great ideas from it. Thankfully my hubby and I are both purgers. =) We both have a parent who has so much stuff, and it’s overwhelming to them and us. Wishing you a great break this month! :)

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  10. Verity

    07/17/2013

    Your two points at the beginning were really funny!

    I agree with you. I think you make some great points.

    We have kids fast – I’m 5 months pregnant with #4 and our 5th anniversary is next month so keeping clothes is a little more practical for us. (We also don’t plan on stopping soon. Yup. We like kids.)

    However, I keep the clothes to a minimum by:

    1. Not buying the normal kid outfits. Each of my kids have 5 – 8 mix & match play outfits and some dressy clothes. That’s it.

    2. Only keeping the play outfits that survive them in perfect condition. NOTHING stained. This means I usually keep 3 – 5 play outfits and half the dressy clothes.

    This means I only have 4 boxes of outgrown clothes I’m storing. And since we don’t find out the gender each baby, I’m ready for whatever baby I have in November. :-)

    Great post and great points.

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  11. Mrs. A

    07/17/2013

    I have boxes of clothing

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  12. Mrs. A

    07/17/2013

    Where do you sell your clothes?? I’d love to sell my daughters.

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    Carrie Reply:

    I hope you mean sell “my daughters’ clothes. : )

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    Jennifer Reply:

    Chek your town, or a nearby one, for a children’s clothing resale shop. We have Once Upon A Child. You can sell your clothes, strollers, and other baby items for cash or 5% extra for store credit; you can also buy things really cheap. They have strict policies, so things are in good condition.

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  13. Liz

    07/17/2013

    Great points, however I think I am on the other side of the spectrum than you with this one. I’ve had 3 children in 3 1/2 years and hope for one more, Lord permitting. Girl, boy, girl…and even though the girls were born in opposite seasons, one in January and the other in June, I am thankful I saved each and every one of my first daughters clothing items. It saved me so much time and money, NOT to have to go out and buy clothes all over again…I too shop at garage sales and second hand, so most of their clothes are not “in style” anyway, so therefore, I will not look to re-sell a lot of their clothes. I will look to donate or give away…sometimes it’s not about making money in the end.

    With that said, I have started to buy “newer” clothes from stores that I know will keep their color and shape, since I have 2 girls now because I know they will be used over and over again, with hopes of consigning them once my husband and I are done having children.

    Also, we have a fairly large storage area in our basement that we use to store the clothes. We store them in plastic bins according to size so it’s not super overwhelming.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Kristen

    07/18/2013

    We just had our first baby, a boy about a year and a half ago and my Mother in law saved a few special items of my husbands and passed them along to the baby. It was so neat to see him in clothes that his daddy wore 31 years ago and they were so on trend because they are very retro at this point :o) People loved it when I would tell them he was in his Dad’s shirt and couldn’t believe what good condition they were in. I saved those so that hopefully my son’s son could some day where his grandpa’s clothes too. and I’ll save some of each babie’s clothes for their babies. But not everything.

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    Andrea Reply:

    cute! I have a couple dresses that my mom saved for my daughters (Nora already wore them) and Dave has a couple shirts/outfits that his mom saved for him. If we ever have a boy, we’ll get those outfits from his mom :)

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  15. Jennifer

    07/18/2013

    I’ve been keeping just my favorites. Good point about the births being in the same season. My first was born in Nov. I guess if #2 will come along in the spring/summer those thick, long newborn things won’t be any good! Hadn’t thought about that. Thanks!

    I love a nearby resale shop, Once Upon a Child. They buy and sell clothes and other baby items. I keep my favorites, pass down some other really cute stuff to the little cousin, and sell anything to the resale shop that is left and not stained.

    I make stained shirts into little rags for little meal messes.

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  16. Tabitha

    07/21/2013

    I kept my sons clothes but I did limit it to two bins and about a weeks worth of basics from newborn to 2T. I organized it by size inside the bins. I also had a place for it in his closet so it hasn’t gotten in the way by keeping it. I’m a big fan letting my space allow me to have what I only have room for.
    We are glad to be having a second boy to use the clothes and once he is done using them, I plan on making a quilt out of the clothes as a keepsake.

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  17. Christa

    07/25/2013

    Great advice. It’s also less emotional baggage you are carrying around in hopes of having another child if you never do. Just looking at those baby clothes and wishing they were being used can be hard. It took a few years, but I’ve purged most baby stuff after having 2 kids and didn’t mind at all having to buy thing new (well new to us anyway since we love yard sales) for our 3rd which is 6 yrs younger than our 2nd. Love all your organizing ideas. Thanks for sharing. New FB follower too.

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  18. Maria

    08/02/2013

    Our friend knew a family impacted by Hurricane Katrina that had a daughter just younger than mine. It was a blessing to both of us for me to pack up all the baby clothes and send them soon after it happened.

    I definitely understand keeping the clothes for new babies coming along, but have one suggestion. Think ahead twenty-five years. There are lots of pictures of me and lots of pictures of my little sister at the same ages dressed in the same cute dresses. My Mom only saved a few dresses so it was a bit challenging deciding who got what. My suggestion? Always buy one or two new outfits that are just for that child so they have something that they know was theirs and theirs only.

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  19. Kate - Crazy Lovely Me

    08/02/2013

    Late to the party – my mother actually kept some of my baby clothes. Now granted, I did have three younger sisters (twins three and a half years younger than me, and the youngest nearly eleven years younger than me) but among my boxes of “keepsakes” there is a ridiculous amount of baby clothes (also – leftover cups and plates from my first birthday party…). When I suggested purging some of them my mother basically had a cow. Being older and wiser now, I still plan on getting rid of almost everything eventually (I have no sentimental attachment to them, it’s not like I remember wearing them). My plan is to save the items that could potentially be useful to me when my own children come along, but since the fashions of the late 1980s are not the same as the fashions of the late 2010s will be, most of it will be going away.

    So another good reason to get rid of things – don’t burden your children, years later, with the job of subtly making their old baby clothes disappear!

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  20. Courtney

    08/06/2013

    We ended up having 4 girls in 7 years all born in the summer months. For some reason I had a feeling I would have all girls so I decided to continue to store all of the good condition baby clothes (and all the other sizes since then). It has been such a money saver to be able to use the same gender clothing items for each girl. Plus it is kind of fun to say, “lets go shopping” as we head to Mommy’s storage room of nicely organized bins in the basement. Now we are officially done having babies and I am slowly giving the baby clothes to friends with little ones. It is such a freeing feeling to part with the clothes we no longer need and I am so looking forward to less storage bins in our basement! We love simple living and especially an having an organized home.

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  21. robbie @ GOING GREEN MAMA

    09/09/2013

    I will admit, when my son was 3, I purged. Everything. Crib. Pack n Play, Clothes. You name it. It was emotionally hard for me, because 1) it admitted to myself this season was “over” and 2) the uncertainty of IF there was an unplanned pregnancy since my husband was out of work. But I really think it helped me grow in my trust in God, as He takes care of our needs.

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    Andrea Reply:

    You are not alone Robbie — I know lots of parents (and grandparents) who struggle with purging unneeded baby items. Since I knew that Dave and I eventually wanted more children, we did keep our crib, pack n’ play, bouncy seat, and jumper as they were all in perfect condition, gender neutral, and they fold down for easy storage. However, we got SO many clothes given to us as gifts and hand-me-downs. I knew I didn’t want to “waste” the space storing them since we might never have another girl to wear them!

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