Overwhelming Motherhood :: Organizing Hand-Me-Downs

With 4 kids very close in age, I am careful about keeping clothes for the next bébé in the lineup. It saves us money (babies are expensive, yo!) and time spent shopping at a store with babies in tow. I was even pretty darn lucky that my first two girls were born in the same season, so I basically had all the clothes I could need for my second before she was born.

Here is my how-to on hand-me-downs:

The girls’ clothes in my closet

I organize according to size and box accordingly (duh). I prefer the big totes with lock-on lids because then I know for sure that sucker is on and no tatailles are crawling around in there while the box is in my attic. As of now, I have the following boxes: 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-18, 18-24, 24-2t, 3t, 4t, 5t. Some of the boxes overlap, so I keep the upcoming box in their closet to peruse as needed. I only keep clothes that would be “sellable” or no stains, good color retention. I fold/roll and pack tightly into the box, and put the larger size on the bottom and smaller on the top (i.e. in the 3-6 month box, all the 3 month clothes are on top of the 6 month ones). I keep some of the other items needed in there too, i.e. size-specific swaddles, bibs.


Learn from my past mistakes, mamas: shoes need their own box.

12 month is for when she outgrows her current size, and the next sizes are right next door ready to go

I label each box in a duct tape that coordinates with gender (pink for girls and blue for boys) and I write the size on there. I label the front, back, and sides of the box so that no matter how it is stacked, I can see what is inside. SOMETIMES there is too much and I have to split between boxes. So a few of mine are labeled according to size and season, especially in the bigger sizes (2T spring/summer, 2T fall/winter). I do NOT want to go back up in the damn attic because I didn’t get the right box #hotashell #causeLouisiana. 

I go through clothes each season, and each child has basket or bin in their closet for outgrown clothes and shoes. Once these begin to overflow, I get new boxes, drag the closet bins into my room, pour myself a scotch on the rocks, and have a sorting/boxing day.

Now, on to shoes.

I used to keep them in the boxes with the clothes. But y’all, my kids have crazily different shoe sizes.

So, I consolidated all shoes to one box for each gender and used 2-gallon sized (best Ziploc size EVER) Ziploc bags to categorize each size of shoe: all the size 1s in a bag, all size 2s in a bag, etc. Rubber boots get their own bag. Label sizes on all the bags. Again, I keep the next size up in shoes in their closet to be easily accessible when needed.

 Each kid also has an “heirloom” box with their own name on it. I put any special outfits, monogrammed items, favorite loveys they don’t want anymore, and special blankets/quilts in here. They can have these when they are older or have their own children.

We are currently blessed with a home with large closets in the children’s rooms, so I have room to organize this way. Prior to this, I had everything in the attic and didn’t have the luxury of the next size up in their room. The system still worked though because everything was labeled so clearly.

Plus I got a bit of cardio on that attic ladder. #momercise

How do you keep your kids’ clothes organized?

Sarah Keating
Sarah is a 30-something mom of four children under six and wife to her high-school sweetheart. She returned to Acadiana two years ago following her husband’s completion of medical school and residency in Shreveport. After the move, Sarah switched gears from full-time pediatric speech-language pathologist and working mom to full-time stay-at-home mom to her brood. Her current hobbies include “speech-therapizing” her children, re-reading the Outlander series, catching up on her Netflix queue after the kids go to bed, completing XHIT videos at naptime, and taking her medication every morning. She loves and respects the sacredness of motherhood, but sometimes you just have to let go and laugh it out. Motherhood has been the most humbling, and empowering journey she has experienced.


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