Babies outgrow clothes so quickly that it might feel they only wear an outfit once before it’s too small for them! So what should you do with old baby clothes? You can always donate them to charity or give some to friends or family. But what if you want to store them somewhere at home? Perhaps you’re planning to give them to friends at a later date, or you want to keep some as keepsakes, or you might be thinking of having a second baby in the future?
In this article, let’s look at some of the best ways to organise and store old baby clothes.
Should you keep your baby’s old clothes?
If you’re planning on having another baby one day, you should definitely keep some of your old baby clothes. Although you won’t know the gender of your future baby, you can keep neutral colours, whites, or anything else which you think will look fine on boys and girls. Of course, if you’re planning on giving a lot away to a friend or charity, this is easier to sort out as you can just pile everything together. Once you’ve collected all the clothes, here’s what you should do:
- Your first step is to chuck all the old clothes in the washing machine so everything is clean and fresh smelling. Clothes which have been left for a while can smell stale and a bit musty.
- After this, sort through all of your baby’s old clothes by size, type and put anything which you don’t want into two separate piles. One pile for items which are ok to use, but you don’t really want them anymore. These can be given away to charity or friends who are expecting a baby. The other pile can contain clothes which aren’t fit to use or give away to anyone. Maybe they are badly stained or ripped. However, don’t throw these away as you can use them as rags for cleaning. At home, we have a whole pile of old baby clothes which we use for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom.
What is the best way to store old baby clothes?
Once you’ve sorted through which clothes you want to keep, here’s how you can store them:
- Start off by folding the baby clothes, making sure you keep the right sizes together.
- Wrap all of your baby clothes individually with acid-free tissue paper. This will prevent creasing.
What can you put them in?
After everything is folded and covered in the tissue paper, place the clothes carefully into vacuum storage bags, making sure they are all labelled with the correct size so you’ll easily be able to find what you want at a later date. You can stick a label on the outside, or insert a paper one in the bag itself (vacuum storage bags are transparent so you can easily see what’s inside). Although you might feel vacuum bags are unnecessary, they drastically increase the amount you can store away once the air is sucked out.
How do you store old baby clothes in the loft?
Once all the clothes are in storage bags, place them in plastic containers. You pick these up fairly cheaply from IKEA, or you could ask your friends if they have some spare. You could also consider using some old suitcases. My wife has loads of her clothes in suitcases up in our loft, as well as clothing for our children. Label the containers by attaching a sticker, or writing directly on the container itself.
You can put the containers upstairs in the loft, but ideally you want to put them somewhere where the clothes won’t be exposed to big variations in temperature throughout the year. Some lofts can get quite cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Placing them under a bed is ideal, but you need an elevated mattress and frame so you have enough space to slide the storage containers underneath.
I’d avoid putting them in a garage or basement, as the clothes will be exposed to damp and mould. We did this with some baby clothes and they attracted some mould. However, we didn’t put these in vacuum bags which might have helped. Due to the lack of space in our flat, we had no choice to put the clothes up in our loft, and the clothes seem ok there.
After you’ve stored the baby clothes away, don’t just leave them unchecked. Make sure you inspect them at least once a year and look for any stains, signs of damp or mould etc.
What can you do with old baby clothes you no longer need?
There are a few things you can do with old baby clothes, if you decide you don’t want to use them for another baby in the future.
- Create a keepsake
Just because you might not be planning another baby doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a memento or two. You can keep a few items, particularly those which are precious to you and store them somewhere safe. For example, it could be a cuddly toy, a hat, a sleepsuit or a small pair of socks.
- Donate the clothes to charity
Plenty of mums and dads would love some baby clothes so why not give them to charity? There are plenty of places which would accept them, such as Goodwill, Red Cross, the Salvation Army and homeless shelters.
- Sell them online
You could always sell some baby clothing online on places like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Craigslist and Ebay.
- Recycle them
For any clothes you can’t sell, you can recycle them. Just find a local clothes and textiles recycling bank at your local waste disposal. In the UK at least, you can also sometimes find them in car parks.
- Give them to friends or family.
Do you have a friend or family member who’s expecting a baby? They may be really grateful to receive a few baby clothes to help with costs, or to save them a bit of time shopping for some themselves.
- Use them for cleaning
Finally for clothes which are stained or damaged in some way, you can always use them as rags for cleaning around the home.