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How To Store Extra Kids’ Clothes
There are so many different ways to save money on kids’ clothes, but most of them involve buying sizes that your child isn’t currently wearing. I used to sort the extra clothes by size into totes and then forget what I already had stored.
This created an entirely new dilemma! How could I coordinate outfits? How was I supposed to remember which kid needed snowboots when I ran across a sale? I was on a mission to save money, time, and space when I designed this system. I wanted to make it easy to find the clothes in the first place. More importantly, I wanted to actually remember what we had stored!
I started limiting what we kept in the first place. Only items that we love get to stick around. I keep track of this easily by using the free printable inventory list that I created! You can get your own copy as a gift for joining my newsletter here:
More Isn’t Always Better
Before we get started, I want to clarify a few things. I am by no means saying that you need this many clothes. Honestly, ten shirts is probably overkill! The list is mostly so that I don’t keep more than I need, not less. I inherited what Chris lovingly calls the hoarding gene, so I have to fight my natural instinct to keep everything I like. (You can learn more about how I do that in this post.)
If you are at eight shirts, for example, and you feel like it is enough, stop there! My family does have one exception to the list. We keep two coats for each kid. That way, if we take a break from playing in the snow, they can put on the dry one and we can go back out to play when we are ready. I know not everyone needs two coats, so I modified the printable. Do what works for your family.
Find out how we organized our laundry in order to skip folding!
Kids’ Clothes Storage Hack!
I was wracking my brain about how to organize the clothes and keep them sorted but easy to pull out. Parker only had one size up, but Aaro had about three sizes that I wanted to keep track of, and multiple seasons within the sizes as well!
In the past, I would have put them in a box, forgotten about what I had, and ended up with way too many clothes. It was a waste of my time, space, and money. I really wanted to fix it going forward.
My new method came from my son’s rubber band gun. Yes, you read that right! I was sitting among this huge mountain of clothing, trying to make my laundry life easier somehow, and I looked down. There it was, my elastic hero. I grabbed the stack of size 4 pants I had just folded for Aaro’s future, wrapped the band around them, and my system was born. Obviously, you don’t have to use the gun ammo, a plain ole rubberband would be just fine. 😉
Let’s Break it Down
Now, the basics of this system are obviously simple. Fold the clothes, and keep them together with a rubber band. The key to making it last is in the details. While you are sorting the clothes, use my printable checklist to keep track of exactly what you have.
Describe The Clothes In Detail
You want to describe each item in enough detail that when you read the list, you know exactly what item you are reading about. You should be able to picture it in your mind. My lists always look something like this:
Sort Clothes By Season
Make sure that when you are sorting your piles, you create one for each style of clothing. For example, you want one pile for long sleeves, and one for short sleeves. If you download my printable checklist, you should have a clear idea of what to do.
Note: For my baby girl, I have more options as far as types of clothing go. For example, she doesn’t just have pants, but leggings, and tights. I count a dress and one pair of leggings/tights as a shirt and pants to keep things simple. Sometimes it is so hard to limit her clothes!
Having the seasonal traits of the items listed on the checklist is huge! This will simplify so many parts of your home because nothing will be hiding in another room-it’s all right there on the paper.
We don’t mate our socks anymore! See exactly what we do now.
Rotate The Clothes By Season
When the seasons change, do “the swap”. For example, I have started to take t-shirts out and trade them in the fall for long-sleeves. My kids will only have long sleeves from then until we do it again in spring, but it makes it so that they aren’t wearing long sleeves in the summer. Kids have to be taught what is appropriate for the weather, and this system just takes care of that for me. One less day-to-day responsibility!
This is also really helpful with accessories. I store coats, jackets, gloves, and shoes(in a jumbo ziplock bag) with this method. It’s great because I know exactly what I need to get for the next season, and who needs it. That way I can shop sales and such.
A Quick note: This is kind of silly, but I will say it just in case. If we haven’t filled all of the slots for long-sleeves, then I will usually keep whatever our favorite short sleeves are into the winter. However, if we have already filled up the ten slots, I will force myself to put them all away for next year, or get rid of them. There is no reason to buy more if you already have enough that will work. Short sleeves are fine for winter, as long as you have a sweatshirt handy. Just not the other way around!
Bundle the Clothes With A Rubber Band
Once the stockpiled clothes have been put on your checklist and sorted by type, make some quick labels. These don’t have to be fancy. They will make it quick and easy to know what size you just grabbed, and what is in the bundle. The categories should be the same as the ones on the checklist, just add a size to it. A simple piece of paper will work perfectly for labeling.
Now that you are all set up, it is time to fold the clothes and keep them together. This is where the rubber band comes in! Once you have a category folded, use the rubber band to hold the stack together. That way there is no digging into the abyss of a tote and having to refold and re-organize! Slip the label under the rubber band and voila!
Store The Clothing In A Dry Place
The hard work is done. All that is left is to pile the bundles into your container. I put the biggest size at the bottom and work up, that way I don’t have to dig around too much. You could go the extra step and bag them by size, but I have found that it isn’t really necessary. If you plan to skip the top size for some reason or expect to add a bunch to the bigger sizes soon, it could come in handy.
As far as a container goes, I decided to go with a clear tote. A plastic tote is easy to store, seals well and is durable. One tote should fit everything you need if you are using my checklist, at least for a size or two for a single kid.
In my daughter’s room, I use a rolling tote beneath the crib. It is a great use of wasted space, convenient to get to, and out of the way.
Having a clear tote also makes it really easy to see your inventory list! I drop the paper against the inside and put a pen right next to it so that I have one handy for any changes to the wardrobe. As the sizes change, it is simple to replace the old list with the new. Keeping everything convenient is the biggest homemaking tip I can offer!
Will This System Last?
In order for this system to last, you have to make the size swap all at once. I think this has been the biggest adjustment for me.
Sizing runs differently depending on brand, so I used to try and take out a piece at a time as it was outgrown. The problem with that is that I would forget once it was washed. Then it would make it back into the drawer when I did laundry, only for me to realize that my kid was wearing an item that didn’t fit. Again.
For brands that consistently run large, I usually sort them into the next size up. That way they will be pulled out when they have more of a chance of fitting.
If you aren’t willing to part with a couple of things that still fit your kiddo(whether it’s the wrong season, or just runs large), then this system probably won’t work for you. It felt wasteful at first, but I have saved so much money from not impulse buying things we don’t need that I’ve realized it is just part of the game.
So Many Benefits To Staying Organized
One of the things I love most about this system is that it has allowed me to let Parker start picking out some of his own clothes. I know that we have all of the basics like jeans and underwear covered already. Because we don’t need much, I don’t feel like passing out when I see the retail price if what he chooses is not on sale(which is rare, we only shop sales for clothes!).
We also talk before we leave, so that when we go to the store, he knows exactly what we are there to buy. It has worked surprisingly well. I love that I am teaching him life skills like money mindset and that more isn’t always better, and he thinks it is a pretty cool thing to pick out his own stuff!
Overall, this system is working far better than anything else I have ever tried. Having an inventory list is such a game changer. Make sure to grab your copy as a free gift for signing up for my newsletter!
UPDATE: While school shopping, I realized that I left out the most important part! Every time you update the list, take a picture and keep it on your phone(or drive, prime photos, whatever) so that you can reference it whenever you need to. Having a list that is inaccessible will do you no good. Happy organizing!
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Don't forget to check out The Ultimate Christmas Shopping Planner to help you enjoy the Holidays on a budget!