Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Definitive Guide As to What to Keep and What to Give Away when it Comes to Baby/Kid Clothes

Are you doing the 40 bags in 40 days challenge?  Me neither...but I am doing a simplified version of it and focusing on de-cluttering this Lent.  I like to get rid of stuff and keep my house nice and uncluttered.   Or at least uncluttered...the nice part is highly questionable.  

Do you ever grapple with what to keep and what to get rid of when it comes to baby/kid clothes?  I do. 

Maybe you're planning on having more children or hoping to have more and you don't know what you should keep and what you should get rid of.   

Maybe you're struggling financially or on a tight budget and don't want to get rid of something only to have to buy it again.  I am too.  

Maybe at the same time, you don't have room to store a bunch of stuff. Or you will be moving and need to de-clutter.  Me too!

And maybe you know someone who could really use those clothes.  You neighbor who's having a baby or someone from your church or your sister or that mom in playgroup.   There's definitely virtue in passing things on to someone who can use it, rather then letting it languish in boxes. 

What you keep and what you get rid depends on your family.  But, in my 12 years of parenting with 4 kids,  here is my definitive guide of what I found makes the most sense to keep or get rid of.  


-Anything you already have that a child that will wear within 2-3 years.  I refuse to keep clothes longer than 2-3 years, so unless I have a child that can wear it within the next 2-3 years, I get rid of it.   So, if you have 2 girls that are 8 years apart, get rid of all the clothes as the older one outgrows it.  No need to hang onto stuff for 8 years, that's just crazy.   

There are a few exceptions of things I keep longer than that.  Those are

-bathing suits 
-rash guard shirts

These are items you typically need and are harder to find in thrift stores and hand-me-downs.  Especially the rash guard shirts....I like my kids to wear them for sun protection at the beach and pool and they aren't easy to find on the cheap. 

Dress Clothing 
-dress shoes 
-dress clothes

Not a bunch of these, just one or two outfits.  Just because these aren't as easily found in thrift stores or as hand-me-downs.  It would be a shame to spend money on a beautiful Easter dress when you already had one. 

Uniform Type Clothing
-white shirts (polo and button-down)
-black/navy/tan pants 
-black/navy/tan skirts

This is most important for kids once they reach age 4 or 5 or so.  There have been numerous activities my kids have been part of where they want everyone to wear a white shirt and black/blue/tan pants or skirt.  So,  I keep these because you never know when you might need them. 

Any Outfit you Really, Really Love

-Just because you really love it.  I do have a few outfits that all 3 of my girls have worn, even though there is 8 years between Greta and Elsa. I cherish those outfits..but there are only a very few of them.


-you always need socks

Warm Weather Clothes (especially that which is gender-neutral)

-coats/jackets/snow gear
-winter boots
-warm, fleece pajamas

Again, because this stuff can be harder to find (especially if you live in an area where it snows only occasionally), is more expensive and in a pinch you can always fudge on boy/girl stuff and let anyone wear anything.  That way you have those snow pants and hats and mittens when you need them.

Cloth Diapers
-if you use them, they are definitely worth keeping.  

Get Rid Of:

Basically, just get rid of regular, every-day clothes.  They are easy and inexpensive to acquire and typically get handed down, so someone may very well just hand you a big bag of clothes before your next baby comes along anyway.

This includes




-play dresses

-cheap clothing

-anything Carter's 

In my experience, Carter's clothes just don't store well.  They are super prone to baby stains and age stains and just aren't worth saving. 

-nothing special everyday clothes


-any baby clothes which are highly seasonal and gender specific.  

Assuming you don't have another baby on the way and don't know if you will need these again, get rid of baby clothes which are highly seasonal and gender specific.  Babies outgrow clothes really fast, and in order to use that super cute, newborn sized sun dress, not only would your next baby have to be a girl but she would have to be born in the summer.  It's been a looooong time since I took statistics, so someone correct me if I'm wrong please, but there is a 50% chance your next baby will be the same gender and a 25% chance they will be born in the same season as your last baby, so that means there is only a 12.5% chance you would use that item again within the next 2-3 years.  Get rid of it.  Unless you live in FL and it's summer all year long.  Then consider saving it.

When in doubt....get rid of it.  I've kept way too much stuff over the years and most of it, we actually didn't use again, either because I forgot we had it, or it was packed in the wrong box with the wrong size/wrong season. Better to pass it on to someone who could actually use it.  Over the years, I've had to buy very few things,  (mostly thanks to friends who are more than generous with hand-me-downs) and I discovered that for most regular clothes, it's just not worth it to keep them.  So what are you waiting for?  Go start getting rid of some stuff!

What have you found makes the most sense to keep or get rid of?  

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  1. Thank you! What about toys, books, baby monitor, and boppy pillow...did you save those? I'm thinking I've held on to those for too long :-)


    1. Hi Heather! I definitely don't keep toys, books (unless it's a really special book) or things like that. And, I never missed them either. I've never really used a boppy pillow, but I probalby wouldn't keep it. I hadn't kept my baby moniter either, but I only really used it with one of my children (John). When we had Elsa, our house was so small, you didn't need a moniter, so we never missed it. LOL

  2. I took photos of my favorite outfits,before sending to charity.

    When I had my fourth, someone gave me a ton of infant clothes never worn! She received them at her baby shower.


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