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Are you still pregnant or with a newborn and were gifted a whole lot of baby clothes from family and friends that you don’t know where to pack? Or has your baby grown out of their clothes and you are looking at ideas on how to store baby clothes for the next baby?
Whichever the reason, storing baby clothes can become quite a daunting task! I know that and I feel you, I have been there with my kids.
While, at first, you thought you could easily fit everything in the dresser or in the closet of the nursery, you soon realize that’s not going to happen: there’s just so many, and they are all of different sizes. Babies grow so fast when they are little!
If you didn’t have a system in place to organize and store baby clothes away, while keeping track of where each size is, you’ll soon get lost. Storing baby clothes, whether short term or long term, requires some thinking and careful consideration. You can’t just throw everything in a cardboard box and forget about it, because you’ll either get a headache later on trying to find the right clothes, or your clothes might get damaged with time and you won’t be able to re-use them.
So, what is the best way to organize and store baby clothes so that you can easily find them when you need them, and so that they don’t get damaged? Well, while there is no ‘one best way’, there are a few smart baby clothes storage ideas that I am going to share with you in this article. You can then choose the one that best suits your situation.
I am also going to include lots of tips for storing baby clothes that I have learnt along the way and that will help you stay organized.
Things to Consider before Storing Baby Clothes
Before I dive into all the tips and ideas on how to store old baby clothes, there’s a couple of things that I’d like you to think about and consider. You answers to these will determine which storage solutions you can use and which ones you can’t.
Your Available Storage Space
First of all, how much storage space do you have in your house? For example, do you have a garage or a basement where you can fit lots of big boxes? Or are you limited with space and would need to squeeze things in your closets?
This is quite important, as people with little space for storage around the house probably won’t be able to store their baby’s clothes in big boxes. I couldn’t for example – that was never an option for me. I live in a small house and the only places where I can store my baby’s clothes are the closets in a hallway and bedrooms or my small garage. So I had to use lots of small boxes (labelled correctly) that I could then squeeze in all the little available spaces.
The Environment in which you Store Baby Clothes
This is also a key aspect to consider, because if you don’t store baby clothes according to the environment they are in, then they are just going to get damaged.
For example, basements and garages can get quite humid, with lots of moisture in the air. This can easily damage cardboard boxes, so plastic containers would be the best option. Another example is clothes that are stored in direct sunlight: this can actually fade clothes, so best if they are packed away in a container that’s not transparent.
Also think about how easy it is for bugs or insects to potentially get to the clothes and damage them. I have found cockroaches in my baby’s clothes once when they were stored in a cardboard box in the garage: now I always make sure all clothes are in airtight containers if I store them there!
How Long are you Storing them for?
Finally, are you storing them for a couple of years or for many years? Are you planning on having another baby in 2-3 years time or are you storing them for your grandchildren?
Understanding this, together with the environment highlighted above, will guide your decision on what to store them into. Natural materials like cotton, linen, silk or wool, need to breathe for example, and won’t do well in airtight containers for too long. Or cardboard boxes and plastic bags deteriorate with time, and will need to be changed after a few years, whereas plastic containers are way more durable.
How to Store Baby Clothes for Years to Come
Without further ado, here’s how to store old baby clothes for yeas to come. Whether you want to keep the clothes for the next baby or for grandchildren down the line, most tips and ideas will apply to both scenarios.
1) Think of the Best Way to Organize Baby Clothes
First thing first, you need to have a system in place and know how to organize baby clothes. How are you going to pack them so that they are easy to find? How do you want to bundle them together?
Lots of people like to sort baby clothes by size: i.e. 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, etc. Other people prefer to do it by season, or season combined with size. There’s even people that sort by type (onesie, pants, jackets, etc.) within sizes / seasons. Choose what you think will work best for you and your family.
I personally like to organize baby clothes by season first, then by size. That said, I live in a very temperate climate where we don’t really experience 4 separate seasons, so I sort everything only by summer (warmer months) and winter (colder months). If you live somewhere else where you actually need to rotate through 4 set of clothes a year, then you might prefer to sort just by size, otherwise you might end up with too many piles.
The other reason why I like to sort by season as well as by size, is that kids are all different. Some are tinier and some are bigger than others. I soon found that out with my second daughter, who’s so much tinier than my oldest one! She was 12 months old and still wearing some 3-6 months old clothes.
Also clothes have all got different sizes! Have you already come across a onesie that says 6-12 months, but could actually fit an almost 2 years old? I hate that, but it’s the sad reality of being a parent 🙂
So, when I need to find clothes for my youngest that I had packed away from her older sister, I find it so much easier to look for the box labelled for the next coming season (which may contain 2 consecutive sizes), instead of opening a box of a certain size and then be annoyed if have have to sort through clothes in the boxes for the next size up.
Finally, I don’t personally store baby clothes separately depending on their type. I pack everything (onesies, tops, pants, jackets, etc.) together, but try and keep them slightly separate in the boxes or containers. Reason for this is that I often find myself having to wash clothes again when I take them out of storage, so they’ll get mixed up again anyway. The only exception is shoes: I do store shoes separate from the rest of the baby clothes.
As you can see, there’s different baby clothes organization ideas and approaches that you take when storing baby clothes. I have given you some ideas here, but remember that it’s really up to you whichever system you want to use.
2) Choose what to Store Them In
Here’s another important thing to keep in mind when storing baby clothes: where are you going to pack them in? Here’s some baby clothes storage ideas:
- Vacuum Sealed Bags
- Storage Containers
- Plastic Storage Containers
- Fabric Containers / Organizers or Storage Boxes
- Cardboard Boxes
- Plastic Bags
Vacuum Sealed Bags
Storing baby clothes in vacuum sealed bags is a great idea if you are short on space around the house. These bags suck out the air from all of your clothes, reducing the space they take up considerably.
They come in different sizes, so you can choose whether to pack everything together, or pack things separate (tops with tops, pants with pants, etc.). I usually prefer to pack things in smaller bags, so I can fit them nicely in little spaces in the closets. Bigger bags can also be a bit harder to maneuver and squeeze in storage spaces: once they are sealed, they are hard like big bricks. That said, big vacuum sealed bags could fit nicely under the bed for example.
One of the biggest disadvantages of vacuum sealed bags is that clothes will get lots of creases, and you will need to iron them or re-wash them once you take them out of storage to take all those creases off. Not the biggest deal for me, but I can see how it could be annoying for lots of other people.
Also make sure to add a label on the inside before you suck the air out, otherwise they are pretty hard to label on the outside! You could write what they contain on the plug (depending on the plug), but that won’t be very readable.
Overall, I think this system could work quite well if you have very limited on space and want to store things nice and flat under the bed maybe. Or lots of people even like to pack baby clothes into vacuum sealed bags, and then add the bags to bigger storage containers.
|✅Don’t take up lots of space|
✅Transparent so you can see what’s inside
✅Available in different sizes
|❌Clothes get lost of creases |
❌Not good for natural fabrics for too many years
When looking at storage container for baby clothes, you can either use plastic storage containers or fabric containers / organizers.
Plastic Storage Containers
Plastic storage containers or plastic bins are one of my favorite ways of storing baby clothes long term. You can fold and pack clothes away nicely in them (no creases like with vacuum sealed bags) and you can easily label them to know what’s inside.
They are hard and robust, so you can stack them on top of each other, and nothing happens to the clothes if they get wet (if you move house and they end up being under the rain for example). Plus, if the lid seals it well, it’s hard for insects and moths to get in.
That said, there are lots of plastic storage containers out there. How do you know hot to choose the best storage containers for baby clothes? Well, here’s some important things you should know.
First of all, a good storage container should be air-tight, particularly if you are storing clothes away in the attic, basement or garage. The only exception is for natural fabrics that need to be stored for many years to come: like I mentioned before, fabrics like cotton, linen, silk or wool, need to breathe and will get damaged if left in airtight containers for too long.
To find out if the containers are air-tight, look for latching lids with a rubber seal, like these IRIS storage big totes. These are also transparent, which can be an advantage if you want to see what’s inside. You could even have the label inside to avoid it coming off the outside.
Also be mindful that clear containers are often made of polypropylene, a material that becomes brittle in cold temperatures. So, if you live in a cold climate, make sure not to store them in the garage or the basement when it gets pretty chilly. If that is the case for your, then look for plastic storage containers made of high-density polyethylene, which is way more resistant, like the Rubbermaid Brute Totes for example.
Here’s a picture of the totes that Emily from Small Stuff Counts has used to store her baby stuff, including baby clothes, in her basement. She’s actually packed her clothes in vacuum sealed bags, and then added them to the blue plastic totes.
Other nice features to have and to look out for when buying storage plastic containers are:
- Wheels for bigger containers, so you can wheel them around, in and out of storage
- Handles on the side to lift them up easily
|✅Robust and durable|
✅Can be transparent so you can see what’s inside
✅Available in different sizes
✅Easy to label
✅Keep clothes tidy
|❌Can become brittle in cold climates|
❌Not good for natural fabrics for too many years
Fabric Containers / Organizers or Storage Boxes
These are also quite handy to store baby clothes in, but only if they have a lid, if you can keep them in a closet (they won’t do well in attics, garages or basements), and if you use moth protection! The ladder is very important if you want to preserve your baby clothes!
I once stored a whole lot of wool diaper covers together with my first baby’s cloth diapers in my closet and, by the time I took them out of storage for my second baby, I discovered they were full of holes because moths had eaten them. I couldn’t stop crying – I had lost so much money!
Be mindful that mothball and moth crystals can thwart infestations, but contain pesticides that can be harmful to people, babies included. Also, they work by releasing fumigant gas, so they must be used in tight-fitting containers, rather than in closets or drawers, to be effective. A good remedy instead of mothballs or moth crystal is lavender: sachets filled with lavender will repel clothes moths and will leave a nice scent behind too.
Because these fabric containers they are not airtight, they are perfect for storing natural fabrics long term. Plus, similarly to plastic containers, they can be stacked on top of each other and are relatively durable.
A disadvantage is that they are not so easy to label unless they have an actual slot in front for a label. It’s almost impossible to stick a label on the fabric!
That said, these storage boxes have a transparent plastic film on the size that makes it very easy to see what’s inside, including a label.
✅Available in different sizes
✅Can be easy to label
✅Keep clothes tidy
✅Good for natural fabrics
❌Doesn’t keep moths and insects out
❌Can get damaged with water
Oh do I love cardboard boxes for storing baby clothes! I know carboard boxes are probably not the best idea, particularly if you really want to store clothes long term, or if you are going to leave them somewhere where it’s easy for them to get wet or dirty (or for bugs to get in).
But, if you just plan on storing them for a few months up to a maximum of 1 or 2 years, they can still work a treat! My daughters are only 2 years apart, so the clothes never stay in a box for too long.
I actually stored most of my baby clothes in cardboard boxes I got from supermarkets or people who moved houses. The biggest advantage is that they cost absolutely nothing, and they are so easy to label!
✅Available in different sizes
✅Very easy to label
✅Keep clothes tidy
❌Doesn’t keep moths and insects out
❌Can get damaged with water
❌Only good for a couple of years
Finally, storing baby clothes in plastic bags is also an option. And I don’t mean big rubbish bags (that wouldn’t be too clever, as your clothes will be a mess inside and they are super easy to rip apart), but small plastic bags or storage bags like zip lock bags.
However, if you are wondering how to preserve baby clothes, this is the least recommended way, mainly because plastic bags don’t allow your clothes to breathe, and also trap moisture, which quickly transfers to your clothing causing it to become moldy. Yes, they might seem like a quick and inexpensive way to store your baby’s clothes away, but definitely not the best one.
If you do choose this method, make sure to store your clothes somewhere dry or do what lots of other moms do and pack all the little bags together in a big storage container.
|✅Very cheap||❌Trap moisture so clothes become moldy|
3) Sort Through Them
Right, after you’ve chosen how you want to pack your clothes and where to pack them, another important tip for storing baby clothes (and one that many moms skip) is to sort through them and get rid of as much as you can!
I bet all moms have been in the same situation where they’ve been gifted tons of clothes for their little ones, but there are so many outfits that you’ve actually never used. Okay, maybe once when you visited the person that gave you the outfit as a gift … just to make them happy 🙂
Or how about ugly hand-me-downs? I get it, it’s nice to receive baby clothes for free, particularly if you are on a budget, but if it’s something you already know you are NEVER (or almost never) going to put on your baby, then do not pack it away. Instead, add it to the pile of clothes to give away to a charity or to someone else.
I swear I could have saved so mush space in my house by not packing certain baby clothes. I am not sure if it was more the guilt of giving away something that was completely new, or the fact that I new they came from a lovely thought from either a friend or family member. Do not fall into that mental trap!
If you have an older kid, this could actually be a good and cheap indoor activity for them to do on a rainy winter day. Get them to help out and toss anything that they don’t think should be kept for any future sibling.
4) Make Sure they are Clean and Dry
Now, this it possibly the most important thing to do when you store baby (or any other) clothes away: really make sure they are clean and dry!
First of all, you definitely don’t want moisture in them: this can cause mold and mildew to grow while they are in storage. To be extra safe, particularly if you are going to pack your clothes somewhere humid like a basement or a garage, pack some moisture absorbers together with the clothes.
Second, you don’t want to put them away with stains or food on them. Food residue can attract insects, while stains will never go away if you don’t treat them before storing them away. In fact, the longer you wait to remove stains from clothes, the harder it’s going to be to treat them.
One of the very best tips I got from my midwife for poop stains, particularly if you are breastfeeding, is to hang your clothes under direct sunlight. I swear it’s like watching magic happen as they disappear completely! This is actually my number one tip for washing cloth diapers as well.
If you are going to store cloth diapers away with baby clothes, also consider stripping them to make sure they are properly cleaned.
5) Label Them
Time to label the boxes or bags now! Don’t forget to do this so that you don’t have to go through everything when you need to get new clothes out for your second or third baby.
Make sure that the labels can’t fall off as well. For example, labels stuck on the outside of a storage containers can easily be ripped off or can come off with moisture or if they get wet.
I recommend having the labels inside if you have transparent containers, otherwise stick them with some tape on the outside, but don’t leave them in places where they can get lots of moisture.
If you are using carboard boxes, you can just write on them with a pen or, even better, a marker. Very important though! If you are using a marker on a cardboard box that’s got a shiny film of them (like a diaper box!), make sure you let it dry before packing it away! I have done this mistake once, where I didn’t let it dry enough, and when I packed it away I brushed it against something else: everything that I had written become totally unreadable.
If you are looking for some cute and printable labels ready to cut and stick on your boxes, check out these free labels from Darling Doodles.
6) Pack Them Away
It’s now finally time to pack them away.
Cool and dry spaces, like inside a closet, are preferable when storing clothes away. However, I am very well aware that not everyone (me included) has got that luxury of having extra space in the closets. So, attics, basements or garages can do too.
That said, if you have a choice, stick to basements or garages instead of attics. The extreme heat from the attic could easily damage your clothing fibers and any elastics in them, plus it can lead to stains.
Basements and garages are okay but, like I mentioned before, be careful about what kind of storage container you are using if you are storing baby clothes in any of these environments that are subject excess moisture. I would really go for a good quality and airtight plastic container if I were you.
Also remember to avoid storage locations in direct sunlight if you are using transparent containers, because the sun can fade clothes.
7) Start Storing and Rotating!
You are almost there mama, now it’s just time to rinse and repeat! At any change of season, take your older baby’s clothes out of storage for your little one, and sort through and pack away anything that they have outgrown. If you have nailed the system, it should be very straightforward!
Extra Tips for Storing Baby Clothes Long Term
While all the steps and ideas highlighted above include the basics when storing baby clothes away, there’s some extra tips I have learnt along the way when cycling through my babies’ clothes. Here they are. If you have a little bit more time, I suggest you keep on reading!
1) Wait a Little Longer before Packing them Away
I have a slight hint of OCD, so as soon as I pack something, I have to store it right away. Out of sight, out of mind. However, when storing baby clothes, being too quick can mean a lot more work afterwards.
Nothing disappears so easily around the house like baby clothes, particularly socks. I can guarantee you that the first time you pack, you are going to miss a top that’s still in the washing, or forget a change of clothes that’s still in the car. So, give yourself a couple of weeks before storing the boxes or bags of clothes away, so that if you do find extra clothes to pack away, you don’t have to re-open everything.
2) Keep Small Containers Handy
I also recommend you keep at least one smaller storage container or box somewhere easily accessible – could be even in baby’s nursery.
Babies grow out of clothes in stages, as some items are smaller or bigger than others. It doesn’t happen all at the same time. So, having a container close by will allow you to temporarily store away the clothes that are starting to get to small.
You can then store everything away at the end of the season.
3) Don’t forget the shoes!
I know it sounds a bit silly – of course I won’t forget the shoes, you are probably thinking. But it happened to me and I think it can be quite easy to pack everything away and totally not think about the shoes.
We sort of packed all of my first daughter’s shoes together in one box, thinking that was going to be fine. However, when the time came that we had to look for shoes for our second daughter it was a nightmare trying to understand what we had in what size. We actually ended up buying extra shoes we thought we needed, and wasted some money we could have saved instead.
4) Store some Bigger Sizes with the Smaller Clothes
Store some clothes that fit a bit bigger together with their respective smaller size. You never know how big or small your next baby is going to be compared to your previous baby!
Some babies fit in 12 months clothes when they are 6 months, whereas some babies fit in 6-12 months clothes when they are almost two. However, it’s better to unpack something a bit too big now and leave it out for a few months, than having to unpack multiple boxes because what you were looking for was not in the first box you opened.
5) Wash them when you Unpack them
Unless you’ve been able to store baby clothes in a breathable box in the closet for multiple years, and when you get them out of storage they still look perfect, I would give them another wash before you start re-using them for another baby.
This is particularly true for clothes that were stored in plastic storage containers or in carboard boxes and plastic bags. They will probably smell when you take them out and I think could do with a little freshen up.
Clothes that were stored in vacuum sealed bags, on the other hand, will be full of creases. So, a wash and spin in the dryer will make them look good again.
6) Keep Clothes for Grandchildren Separate
I like to keep some baby clothes for any possible future grandchild. My mom passed on to me some of my clothes for my children and, while most of them are out of fashion by now, some are still perfect and have a very strong sentimental value. I’d love to do the same with my kids.
I don’t particularly keep too much: some tops and onesies here in there. However, I like to store these separately from the rest of baby clothes, so they don’t get mixed up.
I also keep these somewhere accessible in one of my baby’s room, so I can keep adding to them whenever I need to.
7) Keep Similar Items Together
Keeping similar items together, like pajamas with pajamas, long sleeves tops with long sleeve tops, pants with pants, etc., will make it a lot easier to organize your clothes and transfer them to a dresser or a closet when you take them out of storage.
This is not a must really. You can totally store baby clothes by mixing everything together, as long as you keep sizes and/or seasons separate. However, going back to that OCD trait that I feel in most of you, I know you will appreciate this tip.
8) Smaller Sizes to be More Accessible
Also keep smaller sizes in boxes that are in front or on top, so that they can be more accessible. The bigger sizes can be at the back or at the bottom.
Or, at least, keep them all in order. For example, have smaller sizes on the left and bigger ones on the right, so that you move up a size the more you move to the right. Don’t just throw a whole lot of boxes together.
If you end up having a few years between your children or many children, and need to sort through a hell of a lot of boxes, you’ll thank me for this tip later.
9) Keep a Record
Unless you have everything stacked up nicely somewhere, and you can easily see where all the labels and everything is, make sure to keep a record of it all. This doesn’t include just clothes, but toys or anything else baby related. Because I am guessing that if you want to keep baby’s clothes for the next baby, the same applies to everything else.
For example, I have some boxes in the garage, some in my closets, some in my daughter’s room, and some stuff like the bouncer or the exercauser plus some boxes of toys on the roof (I don’t have a proper attic). If I didn’t keep track of where I store everything, I’d be so lost. It will also make it so much easier when you need to go through your newborn baby checklist for the new baby.
One interesting thing I have recently discovered and that I am quite keen to implement are labels with QR codes. They work with a phone app, so that you can easily scan the code and enter all the information about the box on the phone: where it’s stored, what’s inside, etc. I first saw the idea from this post from This Shade of Teal, who uses the Duck Pack & Track product available at Walmart. However, there’s other similar products available on Amazon as well, like the ToteScan Intelligent QR Labels.
Tips & Ideas for Storing Baby Clothes: Final Thoughts
Here it is mama, all my best tips and ideas on how to store baby clothes, whether for a couple of months, years or many years to come for your grandchildren. I hope you’ve found all your answers here and that you’ve come up with the perfect system and storage solution for you and your family.
I know the whole process can be quite daunting, particularly if you haven’t had a proper system from the start and now you face a huge pile of clothes that you need to sort through. However, I promise that once you start digging into it and you get the hang of it, you’ll be so satisfied and your life will have just got a little bit easier!
Just to summarize, try to store baby clothes somewhere cool and dry, like a closet. If you can, then storing them in a normal fabric storage box or cardboard box should be fine, as long as you add in some protection from moths.
Otherwise, you can also store clothes in a garage or basement. Just be mindful that these areas can get very cold and humid, so you need to protect the clothes by the moisture in the air by storing them in airtight containers. Attics should be the last resort, particularly if they get very hot, as excess heat can ruin the fabrics.
Finally, if you are very short of space, consider vacuum sealed bags. These don’t take up much space and you can easily store them under a bed.
For more tips and information on how to tackle life with babies, also check out these articles:
- Baby on a Budget: Top Tips on How to Save Money with a New Baby
- 26 Baby Diaper Blowout Hacks & Tips (NO more Mess!)
- 18 Pacifier Alternatives (for Babies & Toddlers!)
- 18 Tips on How to Soothe a Crying Baby
- How to Stop Breastfeeding a 1 Year Old at Night
Are you a mom who’s looking at how to store baby clothes and have some questions that I haven’t answered above? Or do you have another storage idea for baby clothes that you have used successfully and that I haven’t mentioned here? Then please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!
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