How I Store and Organize All Our Baby Clothes

posted by Andrea | 02/25/2013

About 18 months ago, I posted pictures of our soon-to-be-baby’s closet… and all the cute baby girl clothes inside. It was neat, organized, and everything was in its place — obviously, because there was no one to wear the clothing or mess anything up yet!

Now that Nora is officially 15 months old, I’m happy to say that although it took a bit of time to figure out a “system” that worked, Nora’s clothes are still relatively organized.

It’s not a fancy system — just a small closet, a dresser, and a few inexpensive organizing tools — but it works for us (at least for now!)

The Dresser:

I found this dresser on Craigslist for $40 — delivered to our home!

I painted it red and distressed it with white paint and some sanding… I just LOVE how it looks in Nora’s room. Not only has it served as our changing table for the past 15 months, it also has TONS of storage! Oh, and here’s a link to the simple DIY Photo Collage above her dresser.

 

TOP DRAWERS = Diapers + Miscellaneous

I keep the left drawer stocked with diapers and use the right drawer for hair accessories, lotion, diaper rash cream, other toiletries, and some medicine. There are also a few “toys” to keep Nora occupied and less squirmy while we change her diaper!

 

SECOND DRAWER = Pants + PJ’s

I keep fleece pj’s on the right, and the pants folded and organized on the left. I use clear plastic drawer organizers that are actually for adult socks.

This method is the same method I use to fold Dave and my t-shirts, because it allows us to see each pair of pants (or each t-shirt), the different color options, etc.

Here’s a side view of how the pants are folded (in thirds).

I realize that most infant and toddler outfits come in “sets” with pants and a shirt, but I’ve found that I get SO much more use out of her clothing if I separate the outfits and mix/match pants and shirts.

Also, you’ll see there are 3 “rows” of pants. I have them roughly organized by size so the ones on the left are still a little long, the ones in the middle fit perfectly, and the ones on the right are starting to get a bit short.

 

THIRD DRAWER = Clothes that are too big

We are VERY fortunate to get lots of hand-me-downs given to us from friends and family… and I’ve also used some credit to shop at online consignment shops like ThredUp. Because of this, I have a nice assortment of clothing for Spring, Summer, and even a few items for next Fall.

I keep ALL clothing, shoes, and accessories that are too big in the third drawer. Once the drawer is full, I stop accumulating more :)

Since this drawer is really easy to access, I can quickly scan the contents and pull out anything I think might fit.

 

BOTTOM DRAWER = Extra Diapers

Yes, we have lots and lots of extra diapers (there are more in the closet), but my mom and I majorly stock up when we find a deal, and then I don’t need to buy diapers for months.

And for the record, I have nothing against cloth diapers; Dave and I just REALLY didn’t want to wash diapers. I suppose we could probably save money in the long run, but we get ridiculously low prices on our diapers, I don’t like doing laundry, and neither one of us likes dealing with poop any more than we absolutely have to. So for us, the time saving is worth any extra money we spend on disposable diapers :)

 

The Closet:

The closet has basically been functioning the same way for the past year… just with bigger clothes inside!  Right now, the top shelves just hold more diapers, wipes, and a few toys/books that she needs to “grow into”.

We keep her diaper bag on the “main shelf” for easy access and the laundry basket at the bottom — along with a little stool I use for reaching the top shelf when we need more diapers.

HANGING SPACE:

I hang almost all the shirts, just because we have plenty of hanging space and this makes them easy to see. I know it might sound a little over the top but I’m a huge advocate for using all the same hangers. Not only does it look really neat and organized, it also helps to save space because the hangers “fit together”.

I purchased 2 packs of these children’s huggable hangers before Nora was born and I’m extremely happy with them. The clothing never, ever slips off and they are very space-saving. We actually use the same hangers (adult size) in our closet.

I also hung a cloth shoe organizer from the bar and I use that to store all her onesies, sweaters, and other clothing that isn’t as easy to hang.

The clear plastic drawers hold her socks, slippers, tights, hats, and gloves. Her shoes sit on top of the drawers.

BASKET STORAGE:

When we built Nora’s closet, we specifically left enough room for the three baskets I received as a shower gift. We’ve used them for all sorts of different things over the past year, but right now, this is how we are using them:

LEFT BASKET = clothing that is too small and needs to be stored or returned to it’s owner

MIDDLE BASKET = extra toiletries, medicine, burp cloths, bottles, etc.

RIGHT BASKET = extra bedding, baby blankets, extra changing pad covers, etc.

Eventually, we will most likely change this closet to have 2 hanging rods, but for now, I like the extra storage of the baskets and shelves.

 

Storage for Outgrown Clothing:

As I mentioned above, we are very fortunate to be able to borrow a large number of clothing from family and friends. We’ve also been lending out some of Nora’s outgrown clothing. Because of this, we don’t have a lot of outgrown items to store (win win!) Just an FYI, if you’re wondering how I keep track of all the clothing we borrow and lend out — you can read about that here!

The 3 boxes below contain all our extra baby clothing (I put a baby wipes container next to them so you can get a feel for the size of the boxes — they are NOT big)

boxes of extra clothing

I found that the small but sturdy boxes from my ThredUp orders are the perfect size to store Nora’s outgrown clothing. Plus, by giving myself a specific size allotment, I don’t keep too many extra clothes that we might never need.

These boxes contain some of my favorite outfits and articles of clothing I want to hang onto in case we have another girl some day — and there are other gender-neutral items that will work for all future children (white onesies, extra burp cloths, baby hooded towels, infant slippers, swaddling blankets, etc)

The boxes are labeled by size/season and stored in an upstairs closet.

  • Newborn – 3 months
  • 3-9 months winter/spring
  • 6-12 months summer/fall

boxes of clothes

Obviously this system won’t work forever — especially once her clothes start getting bigger, or once another child is introduced to the mix. But for now, this system is working well.

I’ve been very diligent not to accumulate or “hoard” too many baby things. Even though we’re planning to have more children at some point, I just don’t like the idea of storing so much stuff that others could be using instead. Who knows, we might never have another girl — in which case I would be wasting tons of space in our home storing items other families could be using.

Plus, we purchased everything from garage sales or Craigslist for pennies. When it’s time for another baby, I’ll have fun looking for more deals and steals — in the mean time, I’ll enjoy all the extra space in our home ;)

Do you have any other tips for storing or organizing baby/kid’s clothes?

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35 comments

  1. Rebecca

    02/25/2013

    I probably store WAY too much stuff. In my defense, I’m pregnant with my third, I’ve had two girls and they were born at different times of the year. Plus, people won’t stop buying them close. Last year, I posted a video about how I do it. I HATE changing out clothes. I love that they are older now and I only have to do it like every six months!

    http://www.findingmyblog.com/?p=313

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Congrats on baby #3! And yes, people won’t stop buying Nora clothes either — which is just one more reason I’m trying to be diligent about moving some of our less-liked items OUT OF THE HOUSE! We are continually getting more! I’m grateful for how much money these gifts of clothing have saved us, but also don’t really think a 15 month-old baby NEEDS this much clothing!

    [Reply]

  2. Jen @ Creating Chaos Blog

    02/25/2013

    Thanks for sharing! I have been using a similar system for Elise’s clothing. Do you save things that are stained? I debate if it is worth it, will the stains get worse? Or, is it worthwhile because a future child can still wear them around the house (or add their own stains!)?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Jen, I personally made a “rule” for myself that I wouldn’t save any baby clothing I didn’t absolutely love or anything that wasn’t in great condition. I can find so much clothing for pennies via Craigslist or garage sales (or just borrow from friends) that it’s not worth it for me to save everything. However, if you have the space and don’t mind storing it, I’m certain your next baby won’t care if they wear stained clothes :)

    [Reply]

  3. Carrie

    02/25/2013

    I’m so happy to see I’m not the only person that uses the same color hangers. I only buy white hangers. It makes my closets look so much better.

    I have 5 boys, so storing clothing is a never-ending battle. I use large storage totes which are labeled with the size. I no longer have to save clothes after boy #5, so I keep a container with my nephews’ names on it for them to pass down to. I also save all shoes that I can. They are all in clear plastic shoe boxes, labeled and sorted by size in a large closet. I have over 30 pairs.

    [Reply]

  4. Five4FiveMeals

    02/25/2013

    Yes! I needed this. I am sorting through clothes from our older baby for our new baby (coming in 12 weeks). Everything is shoved in plastic crates. It’s a mess.

    [Reply]

  5. Melissa

    02/25/2013

    I love the shelf with the baskets. I don’t think it’ll work for my girls who are 5 and 10 now, but I love how organized that closet it. Right now I’m trying to figure out what sort of closet organizer will work for my girls closets, to keep their clothes but also their basekts of shoes and barbie stuff galore.

    [Reply]

  6. Jen @ ThisCrunchyLife

    02/25/2013

    I get it why you don’t want to store a bunch of stuff, but I don’t find it too difficult to stuff clean clothes into a bin to store for the next time we need it. We have two boys 20 months apart in age and I have bought absolutely nothing for our 1-year-old. Even if we had a girl, I would still be able to use much of the clothes. To keep storage to a minimum, I try to not get too many clothes to start with. If we don’t use them, I’ll just donate them or sell them in the future.

    As for stained clothes, I cut up soft-textured, heavily-stained clothing to use as baby wash clothes for wiping up at meals. Clothes that are in better shape, I use for tie-dyeing. It is a lot of fun and no one will ever notice the stains.

    Thanks for sharing what works for you. The closet looks amazing, btw, and I absolutely love the changing table/drawers.

    [Reply]

    Five4FiveMeals Reply:

    Jen,

    Have you tried BacOut? I use it on our cloth diapers, but it gets stains out of everything. It got olive oil out of a dress and the stain had been there a year! It’s pricey, but I figure it has saved enough clothes to be worth the price.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jen, I’ll have to remember your tips for cutting up stained clothing as wash cloths — we are always running out of wash cloths!

    Also, I agree that it’s not “difficult” to store all the baby things — my point is that if we don’t ever have another girl, we will be storing ALL this stuff for year and years and never use it. By that time, it will probably be out of style and no one will have benefited from all the cute things!

    As I mentioned in this post, we are keeping all gender neutral items and several of our most favorite outfits… so we’ll be ready if another girl is ever in the picture :)
    Also, since we borrowed so much of our clothing and received many gifts of clothing, I’ve probably spent less than $40 TOTAL on all clothing for Nora’s first year… so I guess I figure I’d rather just keep a few of my favorites and then have fun finding (or borrowing) what we need whenever it’s time for another baby.

    [Reply]

    kat Reply:

    HaHA so true about the out dated clothes! My first daughter was born in 1996, I save almost everything tote after tote. We didn’t get pregnant again till 2010 ( we tried it just really took that long) I could not believe how out of date most of it was…. sometimes I was like did I really put our daughter in this, its crazy!

    [Reply]

  7. Prisha

    02/25/2013

    I like the way you have stored Nora’s clothes. We are expecting a girl in June, and I was wondering how to store her clothes in already limited space in our apartment. The way you have arranged the dresser is really inspiring. Thanks for sharing this!

    [Reply]

  8. Lauren @momhomeguide

    02/25/2013

    I like the distressed red dresser — really cute! I used to get a lot of hand-me-downs from friends for my kids, but I don’t get as much anymore. But I am actually happy about it, because it gives me less clothes to store and sort!

    [Reply]

  9. stephanie

    02/25/2013

    As a mom of 2 boys, I never realized how much stuff even BABY girls have! Tights, sweaters, shoes, hair bows, etc!

    I have found that the pampers boxes work well for storing outgrown clothes. I have one box for each size. Slap a label on the front of it, and it works. :)

    [Reply]

  10. Kelly

    02/25/2013

    I’m wondering what you do with all the stuff she’s outgrown and you’re not storing…? My problem is my system is ‘no system.’ It’s really bad! I work full-time and hate getting rid of stuff and am so obsessed with making sure these clothes get into the right hands and outfits stay together and …..so on! I need to clean out!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Kelly, I’m not sure what you mean by “clothing she’s outgrown and I’m not storing”?? If she HAS outgrown it, I either put it in storage or donate it to a friend/thrift store right away. If she HAS NOT outgrown it, the clothing stays in her closet.

    [Reply]

  11. Maria

    02/25/2013

    Andrea,
    We do foster care and had three boys placed in our home between the ages of 8 months and 2 1/2 years. Lots and lots of boy clothes, in three consecutive sizes! People gave me new and used clothes for them, I bought some things, their families sent some things.

    My question is–HOW do you keep track of what specific clothing items were borrowed from someone else? All those clothes just run together after a while.

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’d suggest writing initials on the tags of the clothing in permanent marker. Or, as I suggest in my post from Saturday, you could just write it down.

    [Reply]

    Alissa Reply:

    I borrowed clothes from several friends after my 2nd child and I took pictures of the clothes and then tagged that photo so I remembered who to return them to. It worked great!! Just an idea for you :)

    [Reply]

  12. Tracy @thecityofmotherlylove.com

    02/25/2013

    Aw, such a nice job!!!! And, those little clothes. My guy is 6, and I miss those teeny tiny clothes. Enjoy :)

    [Reply]

  13. Jaci

    02/25/2013

    Horay for organization! I am expecting in May my second girl! Right now all of my daughter’s clothes are under the stairs in a closet. We have a house that has great…tons of storage, however I have sorta lost track of all that is in there! I plan to go through it all in the next few weeks when my mom comes out for a visit! Thanks for the tips! need to get on the ball here the clock is ticking down till number 2 arrives!

    [Reply]

  14. Shelley

    02/25/2013

    For our school-age boys, we have shoe organizers in their closet. As I put their laundry away, I put a complete outfit (pants, shirt, socks, underwear) on each shelf. It’s a time saver for me, and they get to choose what they wear. It’s very rare that someone requests to wear something different than what’s in the “cubbies”.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is a great idea Shelley — so do you use the shoe organizer fo their daily outfits… or were these 2 separate tips? Just curious!

    [Reply]

    Shelley Reply:

    We use them for every day–except Sundays (church clothes).

    [Reply]

  15. Nala

    02/26/2013

    Hi Andrea,
    I love that you have a system that works great for you, thank you for sharing!

    One problem I had (tho I am finished as we have four boys) was to have different friends/family offer and lend me clothes – I was afraid I’d get them mixed up and not be able to return it to the rightful owner.
    In the end, if I didn’t know the friend too well (but she insisted on lending me clothes), I ended up not using most of it and returned it after a few months so I didn’t have to worry about losing some of her clothes. I didn’t need too many anyway.

    Do you ever have such a problem, or do you have a creative way of keeping various peoples clothes set separate?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Nala, I just wrote a post about “How I Remember to Return” on Saturday :)

    [Reply]

    Nala Reply:

    thanks for replying Andrea. I read your post over the weekend, and thought it was great too. However, I wondered if you have a system for remembering which “pink dress” is from so-and-so, and which “white onsies” is from so-and-so….

    Once, I made a mark (on the tag, after asking permission from owner) on tag for every single item I “borrowed” from one person. The other set of clothes I borrowed from another friend, I took photos of each clothing, to make sure I wouldn’t mix them up!
    Crazy, isn’t it? I was wondering if you had a better system going….

    [Reply]

  16. Laura M.

    02/28/2013

    Hey Andrea,

    After raising three boys who have all moved out of the house already I can really appreciate your storage ideas and solutions. What i used to do was to keep shelves in my garage that would be filled up with clothes for the seasons and then i would rotate them from the garage to the kids closets and back as the seasons changed. I never wanted to waste valuable closet space on heavy winter clothes during the summer, and the same with bathing suits and warm weather clothes during the winter. Doing that allowed me to make the most of their closet space and also made it easy to do the season-swap. I’m sure as Nora gets older you’ll continue coming up with creative ways to keep her space organized and under control :)

    [Reply]

  17. Karen

    08/30/2013

    It looks so well. I thought I was organized until I saw this. Well done, I will be buying the shoe holder and clear box for socks today. Thank you

    [Reply]

  18. Susan

    09/10/2013

    Hi Andrea! I love the idea of the Children’s Huggable Hangers, but did you pay full price for them? That seems expensive when you can get the plastic ones for only 30 cents a piece.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I honestly don’t remember Susan. It was a couple years ago already. I’m thinking I paid around $8.00 for a set of $25 — but I also have lots of Amazon.com credit so I technically didn’t use my own cash :) Also, I’ve personally never been a huge fan of the plastic hangers because everything always seems to slip off and that bugs me — so for me, it was worth spending a few bucks extra, especially since we didn’t have THAT many baby clothes to hang and I think I’ll be using them for many years!

    [Reply]

  19. Shelly

    09/19/2013

    I know this is an old post, but it’s one of my favorites. Since having baby #3 a few months ago, I refer to it often. I love the dresser as a changing table idea. I didn’t do that with my others but now it seems so practical. My question is about onesies. How do you store onesies and sleepers? They bug me because they don’t fold well or seem to store neatly. Do you just fold them up like t-shirts and put them in a drawer?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Shelly — and congrats on baby #3!

    As for the onesies and sleepers, I do mention that in this post but you were probably too sleep deprived to see it :) I keep them on that cloth shoe organizer on the far left side of the closet. That seems to work really well for us and I actually still store onesies that way (no sleepers for Nora anymore).

    [Reply]

  20. Jackie

    10/17/2013

    I have a question for you. I have a 4 year old daughter (as well as 6 year old triplet boys). We have always been very blessed to recieve all my niece’s clothes she has outgrown. We have been so blessed that I am not sure what to do with all these clothes. All the bigger sizes are stored in labeled containers in our attic. When she outgrows something I pass it along. The clothing that is her current size is abundant. I have filled her dresser and closet. I am out of space. My question is, if you have so many clothes should I get rid of some? All of these were given to us free. I should also mention my daughter hates jeans. I literally have over 20 pairs of jeans in her current size. Thank you for any advice. I am feeling a little overwhelmed.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, yes, YES!! Definitely get rid of anything you don’t need, use, want, or have room for — especially if it was all free to you.

    We get lots of hand-me-downs too and before I even put it in storage, I look through everything to check for holes, stains, worn spots, etc. Then I also weed out anything I don’t love, anything that won’t be the right season, and anything I know Nora won’t wear (she won’t wear jeans either so I never keep them).

    Hand-me-downs and other freebies are awesome but don’t let them overwhelm you. Just get donate anything you don’t want and think of all the other people you’ll be blessing in the process!

    [Reply]

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