The War on Clutter: Managing my children’s clothes from size to size

by Melody on February 23, 2012

I am officially waging war on the clutter in our house over the next few months.  I’m going to be tackling one room at a time, making sure that each item in our house is useful, functional or just loved.  If you’re following along with me, I’m loosely following the recommendations of Stephanie O’Dea from her outrageously amazing Totally Together planner.

The focus from this past week was to organize and go through my children’s clothes.  I generally do this on a day-to-day basis so it never gets too overwhelming, but thought I would share my process anyway.

We have 2 boys about 21 months apart, which has definitely streamlined the process.  We are never holding on to clothes for very long, especially since my boys are not tiny in any sense of the word.  Plus, I swear the minute I start to get comfortable with them wearing one size, they’ve shot up another two.  How does this happen?

Here’s the breakdown for you:

My sweet Little Dude wears the clothes until they are busting at the seams.

When either of my boys have grown out of their clothes, they go into this basket to be organized.  I try to stay on top of it, but it often times starts falling over from the sheer weight of clothes before I get to sorting.

Clothes that my older son has outgrown goes into these labeled Ziploc storage bags.  I have bags for each size, plus an additional bag for shoes and winter clothing.  If you look closely, you can see a pudgy little hand in the background.  He was “helping”.

My good friend Sarah has a sweet Little Dude who is almost 1.  Any clothes that don’t fit either of my boys get passed on to him.  This makes the separation process easier for me, as I get to see them on a cute babe one more time before passing them on for good.

When Sarah returns the clothes to me, they get thrown in the Giant Pile o’ Stuff that is earmarked for the children’s consignment sale at Columbia Community Church in Richland (registration is now open if you’re interested!).

I don’t pass on or get rid of everything, I’m not overly sentimental but I do have a soft side for my Little Dude’s clothes.  I judiciously save a few items, like the Big Brother shirt my oldest wore to the hospital when my youngest was born.  I also saved one of the newborn baseball onesies that both my kids wore, just as a reminder of how small they once were.  I saved a few of my favorite shirts that they wore and the most adorable pair of camouflage baby Crocs you’ve ever seen.  At this point, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them, but I just can’t bear to give them away.

I do have to admit that I think my process is significantly streamlined by the fact that I have 2 boys.  I’d love input from those of you with both boys and girls or with more kids than me.  How do you stay organized?  Please share your tips and tricks!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather February 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm

My process is very similar to yours. My boys are also 19 months apart. Once our little guy gets done with clothes they are given to the military base where families in need can get clothes (and other items) for free. Now we are at the stage where there is no in-between, it goes out of big brothers closet and straight into little brothers. It’s nice, I must admit! We just recently got rid of dressers and went to a cube type system…. it really allowed me to see where they had to many or nor enough clothes. 😀


Miss Jay February 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I buy a lot of clothes used to begin with, so by the time they are outgrown, they are usually not in any kind of shape to pass along. (Especially my son’s clothes!) Also as they get older they slow their growth a tad, and are actually wearing them for longer.

Every couple of months (usually post growth spurt) I go through and pull out all the outgrown clothes and add in the ones I bought to replace them. I take the old clothes, if any are in decent shape I offer them first to friends, second to a consignment store, and third to Goodwill. (Mine are 4 & 7, not saving any for another baby)

I do have 2 storage bins, 1with clothes to grow into, and 1 with a few sentimental favorites. Maybe someday my son’s bride will oooh and aaah over the cuteness. Or laugh at the outdated styles. 🙂


Carrie February 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I have 2 girls, 2 years apart and a son, who’s the youngest. The girls clothes are passed down but I tend to only keep about half of my oldest clothes for my younger daughter either because of stains or I’m just tired of seeing it!! And I usually save this swap for twice a year which goes along with a children’s consignment sale (Just Between Friends) in my area. I have to say that I love these sales both for making a little money back and for finding new things for my kids. I admit I’m a bit of a clothes horse for my kids & I’m always on top of my stains! (For the most part, but I do have 3 kids!!)


Heidi February 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I pull clothes out seasonally, so at the end of each season I remove everything that will be seasonally innappropriate for the season we are going into (shorts and tank tops, sundresses, sandals come out in fall, sweaters, cords, long sleeve shirts, heavy coats and boots get pulled in spring) and store them away in large totes that are sorted by gender and season, not really by size. My kids are boy-girl-boy, so my older boy’s clothes get sorted and I only store and save favorite items for my younger son (3.5 year gap, so it’s too much to keep everything) in totes that are labeled with the size and season (eg. 4 spring/summer, 5 fall/winter). My daughter tends to wear her summer clothes for multiple years because she just gets taller, so I set it aside to look at the following year and decide what to sell and what she can wear again – most fall/winter clothes are outgrown after one season. Anything outgrown gets pulled from the totes and sold at my favorite consignment store or given to friends at the time when we are moving into the season those things are for. It means a lot more storing (6-8 totes in an extra room – and everything has to sit and wait up to 6 months from the time it is pulled until it can be sold) but it is what works for me!


Terri February 24, 2012 at 5:48 am

I just found a super easy way to get rid of outgrown clothes with a new service by Thredup. I Ordered a free empty bag, stuffed it full of outgrown children’s items and left it by my mailbox for the mail carrier to pick-up.

I got a credit for $14 (can get up to $20 per bag)

You earn money for every item that meets their quality standards. They will find new homes for your pre-loved clothes.

For new members this link will get you a $5 credit toward your first box:


Suzanne February 27, 2012 at 9:26 am

Hi Melody, your comment about “separation anxiety” caught my attention. I’ve found moms have a hard time just dropping nice things their kid’s have worn at the backdoor of a donation store. And, some moms hang onto things forever just because they have a hard time parting with them. I’m STILL find myself in that category occasionally.

Anyway, I want to mention to you. Here, you can list your nicer things for sale online, for free (there are absolutely no fees, and its really easy to list). And, you name the price. If want to get rid of it, price it to sell. If you’re not sure, name a price you’re willing to get paid to part with it. We monitor the brands and conditions of the listings, so you can be sure your stuff isn’t being listed next spam and/or poor quality, too.

You can check it out at We have a lot of new things and promotions coming in March 1 (e.g. Pin to Win a $350 spring wardrobe for your child). Keep up to date on

Great article and discussion, I pinned it!


Karla February 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I’ve begun seriously simplifying our posessions, from kitchenware to toys, but I do find it hard to get rid of baby/kids’ clothes because we have a boy (2) and a girl (4) and I’m not done having kids!

I DO pass on clothes to friends who have babies, but they usually get given back. There are some clothes I find I didn’t like as well as others, so I’ll pass them onto someone else (like a friend or the mother’s group at my church) or donate them. If I have LOTS of, say, onesies in a particular size, I’ll try to stick to a few favorites just in case we have another of that gender. I’ve swapped things on and brought things to consignment stores, as well.

I have some bags/bins just like yours into which the outgrown clothes get thrown; I go through it when it’s overflowing or when I suddenly get the urge to organize. Since we’re also borrowing clothes from someone else, I have to be zealous in sorting my piles, but the fact that I have to go through them from time to time – and the bins where they end up being stored in the basement – is good because I end up re-evaluating what I currently have based on how big the assortment of clothes is getting.

For each child I have a bin where I keep various mementos – baby books, birthday books, handprints, special cards, etc. so I did save a hospital blanket and a few newborn outfits for each one. My first was only a week early yet preemie-sized and I STILL can’t believe she wore those things!

It’s hard to stay away from all things girly when you have a girl, but I do try to keep in mind that it might be nice to pass things down to her brother, so I may look for something gender-neutral. He was able to use quite a few of her hand-me-downs because they were basic socks or jeans, neutral shoes, etc. Since we’ve been lucky to get quite a few hand-me-downs from other people, I’ve made myself a rule not to by anymore new clothes unless it’s something they absolutely need – like socks for my daughter (I got white). This way I’m also not as likely to be attached to the clothing and won’t feel as bad passing it along to someone else.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Blog designed by Sharon at Good, True & Beautiful using Thesis

WordPress Admin