Here’s something I didn’t know before becoming a mom: managing your child’s clothes is a full time job. Literally just keeping Lyla clothed takes up so much of my brain space. Does she have play clothes, church clothes, shoes, and pajamas that fit? She needs enough for multiple outfits a day on messy days, but not so much that she doesn’t wear things before she outgrows them. She’s in 18 month size at one store, 12-18 months at another, and some 18 month clothes are too big. It’s a lot to keep up with, and that’s not to mention pulling things she’s outgrown and making decisions about whether to keep them for a future baby or donate them. And if you keep them, how do you store them? This is why the Proverbs 31 woman got up so early! I’m certainly no expert, but I wanted to share the basics of my approach for any other moms who might be interested.
- Buy minimally: The easiest way to keep clothes from piling up is to be conservative when buying. Babies grow SO quickly. Realistically, they’ll only get to wear things a few times. The caveat? They may go through multiple outfits a day, depending on how messy things get. I like to buy for Lyla one size at a time, but I don’t wait until she’s grown completely out of her current size. When her onesies start to get hard to put on, her pants turn into capri pants, and her little toes are pushing her jammie feet, I go ahead and get the next size up. Be mindful of the seasons when buying. Are they outgrowing things at the end of summer? Buy fall clothes in the next size up, with a few transitional pieces to carry them over. I don’t impulse buy. If I see something cute that catches my eye, I make myself come up with multiple different places she could wear it. I check to make sure it will be easy to put on and take off for diaper changes. I never just toss something in my cart. Of course I still have fun dressing my little baby doll, but I try to avoid wasting money on outfits she won’t wear.
- Purge frequently: Each time Lyla grows into a new size, I purge the old size from her closet and dresser. I go through her clothes as if I know for sure we will have another girl and save what I want. I don’t get everything out at once and make a huge, overwhelming mess. As things come through the laundry, I set them aside. While she plays in the floor in her room, I grab the old size from her closet. I go through her dresser while Andrew is watching her in the evening. I may spread it over a whole week if that’s what’s realistic. When I’ve got everything collected, I separate into keep and donate. I use clear tubs for storage because I like seeing what’s in there at a glance. I label in Sharpie what size is in the tub. Donations go into paper bags and get taken to a local charity that serves women & families, or to a friend with a younger baby. Is there a foster family in your social circle? Ask if they know anyone fostering a baby wearing that size and bless them with it!
- Donate generously: Speaking of donation, I really encourage donating vs. consigning. I know there are some who are able to make very good money by consigning, and maybe if I had multiple kids or a high volume of items I would do it too. For me personally, it is not worth the amount of time consigning takes to make that money. That’s just my personal economy. There’s nothing wrong with consigning and it can be a smart, frugal way to serve your family. I’m just convicted that I don’t NEED that money, but someone might really need those clothes. I like to get things out of my house as soon as they stop serving our needs, and the thought of holding on to a ton of clothes waiting for a consignment sale or for someone from Facebook to Venmo me gives me acid reflux.
Again, I’m no expert, but these are the things that have made this Hurculean task feel manageable. Over the course of the last 16 months, I’ve gotten into a groove and found the system that works for me. Do you have any questions about how I shop for, store, or otherwise keep up with Lyla’s clothes? Any tips of your own? Share them in the comments!