Friday, May 4, 2012

Storing Outgrown Children's Clothes

This post is for Ellie, who specifically requested it.

What to do when all those adorable clothes you have lovingly chosen (or been gifted or inherited) is too small?

These are the drawers of our baby girl's dresser. Packed to the gills. And she is already in size 6-12 months.

Luckily, we already had a girl (who is now 4 1/2) when we had our newest addition, so I have every conceivable outfit the new baby might need. I had also thought ahead to the possibility of more children when our oldest was young, and I started space-bagging them. An aside- "space-bagging" is a word in my world, just go with it.

My mother in law introduced me to Space Bags, maybe you've seen them on an infomercial? Or Bed, Bath and Beyond? They are big plastic bags that you seal up then suck all the air out of with a vacuum hose attachment. I *strongly* recommend the "large" or "cube", the "Jumbo" will weigh a ton and you won't be able to move it once you suck all the air out, who knew kid's clothing was so dense?

The clothes keep piling up. Or as in the picture below, the outgrown receiving blankets and burp clothes. Thank goodness we are over the massive spitting-up stage.

Every 6 months or so, I collect (collected, as in past tense, but I'm doing it all over again and it's easier to tell you about it in the present tense) the outgrown clothes, and place them in a space bag. Important- the clothes are CLEAN and STAIN-FREE. Yes, that was worth yelling about. Because really I'm yelling at my past self, who placed clean (1 point for me) but stained clothing in a bag over 4 years ago and now I've paid to move that clothing, I'm excited about getting it out for the baby, only to find that it still has poo/spit up/food stains on it. Believe me, even with our third, I still don't want her in a onesie that has her older sisters poo stains on it. That's just setting the bar a bit too low.

There was a period when our daughter didn't walk yet and she knee-walked. I'm pretty sure we won't have any pants from that phase. And the year our son was spilling food down his shirt? Probably no shirts from 2 entire sizes.

I store the space bags in a pile in a closet under the stairs. I wish I could show you some lovely image of them all lined up on shelves, but I'm keeping it real people. 

I do use my handy label-maker so that I know which is which. 

storing outgrown children's clothes in space bags

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Anonymous said...

This is a great solution! I have those large plastic storage bins and used to label them and stack them in the basement. Now my son's pants all have holes in the knees so I'm sure I won't be storing those. :)

Krystle @ Color Transformed Family said...

That is a great idea. I have just been stashing Noah's in an empty storage cube in her room. But now that she is almost six months old I am running out of room and need a way to store them.

Colleen said...

I always feel like putting away outgrown clothes is a big project! We pass on alot and what I get back I sell it on craigslist. It's so nice to unload it!

Unknown said...

Great solution because the 4 billion plastic totes are working for me!

McKae @ Kaes Corner Design said...

Great solution! I've been putting off putting away old clothes because I didn't know what to do with them, and I'm sad that my baby is getting big :(

Kristen said...

We've have done the same thing, but honestly we've had no luck with the space bags. We had two that were defective right out of the box (you can see where there is a problem with the zipper part). The other problem I've had (and maybe you have a solution) is that when a bag isn't full, I'll fill it up with the next size or season. So I may have summer/winter 2T in a bag, but then I have to open it when I need the winter 2T and have to restuff it with the size that is coming out of my child's drawers...I'm not sure I'm making sense. And unfortunately, ours have to go in the attic where there may be critters, so we have to put them in bins in addition to the bags, which is a hassle to figure how to get things to fit and then lift them to stack! I wish I had a nice big closet like you!

ellie Hajdu said...

Jessica! Thanks for posting this! Those are some great ideas. Now I just have to go through the pile of baby clothing and sort them. Thank you for your help! Lovin the blog! xoxoxo Ellie

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

I have always been fascinated by those infomercials and commercials. but never knew anyone who used them ... until now!

A ringing endorsement!



Maury @ Life on Mars said...

That's a great idea! I wish I were that organized!

Kelli said...

Great idea! It is such a big project to go though out gown clothes.
Have a great weekend!

Rachel said...

That's a great idea! I've never used space bags, but I certainly need some for all of the baby clothes around here.

Karen At Home Blog said...

Hello! It's funny you wrote about this today, I spent nap time packing up Jillian's 12 month Winter clothes. I store them in all those Target diaper boxes.

Have a great weekend!

Camille said...

This is such good advice. The clothing thing can be so overwhelming to me! Looks like you have enough until your kids turn 18 and move out of the house!

Kristen Whitby said...

This is such timely and needed advice!! I am going to buy space bags TOMORROW~! And I can't wait to get my 'space bagging' on!

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Wonderful way to store these away...I really wish that they had been around when my girls were little. Hope you have a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

I love Space Bags, too! They do work! We use them for winter coats off-season, since they are so bulky and take up precious closet space. I love how you have all the sizes sorted and labeled! I have been wanting my own labeler. I think it could be very dangerous because I am sure when you have one, you want to go around and label everything!

Eclectically Vintage said...

Girl - if you knew about all the stained, outgrown clothes, junk drawer filled boxes and useless stuff I've hauled from house to house (and paid top dollar to have it moved), you would die! My poor hubs!!

Great idea for the space bags - but since I have twins (two and through!), I was happy to give their old clothes to friends (while of course saving the cutest things)!

thistlewoodfarm said...

Great idea Jessica! I used tubs which took up so much more space. I really need to try those space bags!

Hope you had a great weekend!

nicolette {momnivores dilemma} said...

i've used those with out of season mattresses, but never my kids' clothes.

my mother allows me to store all 5 years of kids' clothes at her place, but this month i hope to weed out the stained preparation for what will be a 3rd boy...should we have another...

:) sharing at pinterest in my organizing section...

have a great week, jessica!

Lynn Wood said...

Storing all the extra junk is always such a problem for me. This looks like a great solution!


Erika . . . with a K said...

I need to get this organized. Right now I keep a big bin in the baby's closet and toss it in when it's to small. Now it is full and I need to do something like what you did here! I would love for a big storage closet like yours.

Tisha Clapp said...

This is fabulous!!! I've been using storage bins, but sometimes I have wasted space for one size while another bin is overflowing. Rushing out to get some bags. Thanks for linking up!

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