Ways To Organize Baby Clothes – My Method For Prepping & Keeping Them Organized
One thing that babies come with is a gynormous amount of STUFF. Among all of the stuff that they require is an astronomical amount of clothes! Finding the best way to organize baby clothes can feel like an impossible task. However, with a good system in place getting all of the clothes sorted and figuring out how to keep baby clothes organized is not as daunting as it may seem!
I prepped a few sizes of baby clothes in bins before our first baby was born and felt pretty on top of having everything organized. It wasn’t complete false confidence – I WAS organized until she arrived and started wearing 3+ outfits a day! I quickly realized the uphill battle of keeping baby clothes accessible for our daughter to wear, constantly preparing the next size of clothing for her to grow into, keeping all of her laundry clean, and dealing with the organization of outgrown clothing. I ended up with piles of clothing everywhere and needed to come up with an organized system – FAST.
I’m happy to report that after two babies I have now established a relatively stress free and easy method for how to organize baby clothes in our house.
In this post I’m going to share with you my simple method for how to organize baby clothes. It’s not the prettiest Pinterest-worthy method where my daughters closets have pretty sections for every little accessory – but it is easy and functional for our chaotic lives where we simply can’t put each thing away in picture-perfect fashion on a daily basis. I’m going to break down how I prep baby clothes before my babies are born, my non-traditional method for keeping clothing sorted and accessible for everyday use, and how I organize outgrown baby clothes for each of our children.
How To Organize Baby Clothes Before Baby Arrives
For me, organizing baby clothes before my babies arrive is the easiest part of the baby clothes organizing process! I basically follow the below 3 steps to be sure I am ready for the practical clothing needs of our new bundle of joy.
- I purchase or pull out of storage clothing in sizes newborn through 6 months. The first 6 months of your baby’s life are hectic and go quickly! I highly recommend having clothing ready for this entire period so it is one less stressor for your tired brain to keep up with. Before our first baby I purchased clothing for her first year at yard sales. For our second baby, I simply needed to pull all of our oldest daughter’s outgrown clothing out of storage to be prepared for the first six months.
- I wash all of the clothing with Dreft detergent. After purchasing the first six months+ of clothing for my babies, I washed all of it. Many babies have super sensitive skin that can react to common laundry detergents so I used Dreft to be sure that it would be gentle on their skin. (Since Dreft detergent is unscented I also LOVE their scent pellets. I used them as well and even when my babies didn’t smell so grand on their own they smelled cuddly fresh because their clothes smelled amazing!)
- I fold all of the baby clothes and sort by size. After all of my baby clothes are washed with a gentle detergent I fold them and sort them by size (newborn, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, etc). I keep any clothing that is labeled simply “3 months” or “6 months” into the smaller size category since I often found that if I put them higher my baby would already be too big for them by the time I pulled them out. For example, if a onesie was sized for “3 months” I included it in my 0-3 months pile.
- I keep newborn clothing separate and the rest in accessible bins in my child’s room. After sorting all of my new (or pulled from storage) baby clothes by size, I set the newborn size aside and put each of the other size piles into small accessible bins in my child’s room so they were easy to pull out as my child grew into them. The newborn clothing I kept out and ready for immediate wear.
My Non-Traditional Method For Keeping Baby Clothes Sorted & Accessible
Yes, you read it right. I have a very non-traditional method for keeping baby clothes sorted and accessible for everyday wear. I don’t use a dresser and barely use the closet (gasp!). Since we spend most of our waking hours downstairs and we didn’t want to be constantly running upstairs for clean clothing (since babies dirty their clothes OFTEN), I decided to keep all of my babies’ frequently worn clothing downstairs. This also allowed me to pick out outfits and put away clothing even when they were asleep – which is about the only time you can accomplish anything with a small baby!
Many of the principles for my method would apply for using a dresser or closet as well, so if you prefer to go that route you can still keep a very similar system. However, below are the details of my method for how to organize baby clothes without a dresser. (You could also use this method as one for how to organize baby clothes without a closet since I barely make use of the closet except for a few items and accessory storage.)
- Keep clean clothes in small, closed, and labeled bins DOWNSTAIRS. I purchased some cheap bins at Walmart and kept 6 of them under our changing table in the living room. While it may be tempting to use pretty fabric bins to keep everything, we also learned the hard way that bins with lids that latch are key to this system working well. With open fabric bins your child will be able to access everything and throw it across the room as they get older. I kept each bin labeled with a phrase such as “Child’s Name – Pants & Pajamas” or “Child’s Name – Shirts & Accessories.”
- Separate “nice clothes” from “play clothes” and tops from bottoms. As you can tell from my notes above, I also recommend keeping nicer clothes separate from play clothes and if possible tops from bottoms in your bins. I kept 3 bins for each child – one with play clothes tops and accessories (socks, underwear, etc.), one with play clothes pants and pajamas, and one with tops and bottoms that I considered “nicer clothes.” Doing this made it easy for my husband to find clothes for days when we were just planning to be at home vs. going to an event and also made it easy for me to allow our toddler to begin picking out her own clothes as she got older without having her make a wrinkled mess out of all her nicer clothes.
- Use small bins inside of the larger bins for socks and accessories. You could do this in a drawer or bin, but I recommend using small boxes or bins to keep your child’s socks, underwear, and accessories all in one place. This makes it easy to open the bin or drawer and grab a quick pair of socks without digging through all of the clothes.
- Hang “special wear” clothing in bedroom closets. While I kept almost all of our childrens’ clothing downstairs, I did use the closet for any of their “formal” dresses for holidays, etc. Hanging JUST these items is an easy way to find a formal outfit for when needed and keep these items from getting wrinkled in a drawer or bin.
- Keep a laundry hamper right next to clothing bins for dirty items. Dirty laundry piles up quick! I found it extremely helpful to keep a tall mesh laundry basket right next to the changing table so as soon as our babies were changed their dirty clothing could be thrown in. This kept almost all of the laundry – clean and dirty – in one location so we didn’t have piles strewn throughout the house.
How To Organize Outgrown Baby Clothes
- Keep a bin/hamper to throw CLEAN clothes in as baby outgrows them. I emphasize washed here because the last thing you want to do when you pull out outgrown clothes for a second child (or to consign, etc.) is to have to wash them all. I kept a tall mesh laundry bin tucked in a hidden corner in the living room near our changing table to throw all of our girls’ clothes in as they outgrew them. This made it easy to keep them all in one place and not get frustrated pulling clothes out of their bins that were too small for them to wear. As I folded the laundry I would throw any clothes that I knew the child had just outgrown into the hidden laundry bin.
- When the bin fills up sort the clothing into piles by size. After the bin was full of outgrown clothing or I knew that our child was well passed wearing any of the sizes that it contained, I would dump it all out and sort it into piles based on size.
- Place each pile of clothing into a trash bag or bin and label with the corresponding size and season. You don’t need a ton of bins to stay organized when sorting baby clothes. I’m cheap so I used kitchen trash bags and threw each pile of clothing sorted by size into a bag. It looked a little bit messier than a nice stack of bins would have, but it did the job. I labeled each bag with the exact size and season of clothing it contained so that if I needed to pull clothes out for another child I knew exactly which bag to grab and I didn’t have to go through them all looking for what I needed.
- Keep all of the bags or bins in an accessible location. Once you have your bins or bags filled and labeled, I highly recommend keeping them somewhere that is accessible (even if you think you’re done needing them). Throwing outgrown clothes in an attic is a nice way to keep them out of your hair, but if the weather suddenly shifts, if you decide to sell items at consignment or yard sale, or if you have another child who ends up needing them, they are much harder to get to. In addition, I kept bags labeled for all of the clothing my girls would need in FUTURE sizes along with the bags of outgrown clothing. This kept everything organized as I purchase ahead and it could all stay in one place. I wouldn’t have wanted to run up to the attic every time I needed to pull out the next size of clothing for either of my girls.
If you have a baby on the way or are right in the trenches with one, I hope that these tips were helpful to you! There’s no one right way to handle the laundry chaos of a baby but this is the method that worked well for our family. It’s not the prettiest, but it’s relatively easy to maintain and I always knew right where to look for an article of clothing that either of my girls needed. In time you will find a system that works well for your family – and it may or may not mirror the system that we used!