Keeping track of your children’s clothes, what no longer fits, what will fit another child, and what should be donated? This can all be overwhelming, complicated and time consuming.  Here are some tips on keeping it simple, maintain-able, and compact as possible:

  1. Keeping it simple: Don’t over categorize by size, season, and gender. It can quickly get out of control, becomes time consuming to maintain, and takes up more storage. Not all sizes are equal, not all clothes are for one season only, and not all clothes are gender specific. There is an enormous variety in sizing and fit in clothes. Have bins that encompass broader categories. For example:
  • New born
  • Toddler
  • School uniforms
  • Shoes
  1. Limit what you keep: Only keep the outfits that are favorites and are in excellent condition. The “Rule of 3” is a popular choice – 3 pants, 3 shorts, 3 skirts. Etc. This will help you prioritize the favorites. If you are keeping clothes for memories sake you need to limit this as well. The “Rule of 1” works best here – and they need to be in excellent condition and a favorite too.
  1. Donate: Keeping clothes for a friend or relative who “might” have a baby takes up valuable storage space, and might be forgotten. There are plenty of women’s shelters and community groups who would be grateful for these clothes.
  1. Keep it maintainable: Keep the next two sizes up on hand for each child (either hanging in the closet or folded in a drawer) for ease of rotation. Other clothes can be stored in a temperature-controlled environment in bins. Don’t stack the bins. Firstly because lifting one off to get at the one below is a deterrent to maintenance (because it’s either too heavy or awkward to lift). Secondly, lids crack, which means that the contents are not sealed and become vulnerable to dust, bugs, and mildew. If you are storing on shelves, there are great acrylic ones available now that are easy to assemble and adjustable. Make sure you measure your bins prior to purchasing the shelves – or measure the shelves prior to purchasing bins! There’s great variety out there to choose from – but measure first!
  1. Keep it safe: There is nothing more disheartening than opening up a bin of clothes only to find they have moths, bugs, or are stained from dust or mildew. It is important to get storage bins that seal tight. Clear bins are always good because you can see what is inside. Vacuum-packed storage bags are great. You can fit a lot of clothes in them. They don’t let dust, moths, or bugs in. Putting the vacuum bags in a bin is also a good idea, as you will get more in the bin. But be aware – the bin will be a lot heavier.
  1. Location: Where to store children’s clothes? I’ve found that the best place to store clothes long-term is on the top shelf of an indoor closet. Basements are fine but be careful about moisture getting in and the clothes becoming mouldy over time. Under the bed is also another good place. Again though – be careful – underneath beds attract a lot of dust and bugs – so keep them airtight.