When we were preparing for our first child, it was like we literally had a new roommate moving in (go figure!). During the pregnancy, we kept accumulating more and more clothes, toys, contraptions – whether it was hand-me-downs, gifts, thrift store finds, etc. – these little people come with a lot of stuff! Now that she’s a year old, I thought it would slow down, but it hasn’t really. Anytime we visit family our little one always receives gifts, and since she’s always growing I’m always stopping by the local thrift store to pick out new sizes of clothes for her.
A couple months ago I got pretty overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we had for our one child, many things that she only used a couple times or not at all. I set out to pare down and organize all of our baby/kid stuff, and I’m now just about done with it all. This post is a list of tricks, tips, and products I used that would be helpful when trying to organize your kid’s stuff.
Organize, then declutter.
I used to think that getting rid of things before trying to organize would make the organization part go faster, but that’s not true. If you don’t know what all you have, how do you know if you need to get rid of something? This was especially true when I was working on her toys. She has so many! If I didn’t get all of them out at once and figure out that she had 3 stuffed animal bunnies then I wouldn’t have determined that we needed to get rid of two of them because they’re all so cute! Sometimes things that are sentimental you know you’re going to keep regardless, but other things you just end up holding on to because you think you need extras, when you already have extras tucked away somewhere else.
Store current/upcoming clothes in a hanging closet organizer.
Clothes that my child is currently wearing (fitting into), go at the top shelves of this hanging shelf organizer
Then, on the lower shelves I put all upcoming clothes – those that are several months (or years) ahead of her current size. That way when she has a growth spurt, I know just where to find clothes that will actually fit!
Some clothes you may want to go on hangers instead of being folded up. Keep the current sizes close to the front of the closet and the upcoming sizes towards the back.
Store old clothes in labeled Ziploc bags & plastic tubs.
For clothes that are now too small, ask these questions before deciding to keep these clothes in storage:
- Am I planning on having more children?
- Are these clothes still in good condition?
- Do I actually like these clothes or were they given as a gift/special occasion?
- Did my child actually like wearing these clothes, or were they a hassle to put on, wash, etc.?
- Do the seasons make sense with where we are living now/will live in the future?
I organize old clothes by size and type. For now I put them in Ziploc bags and label them since baby clothes are so small, but when they get bigger I’ll use plastic bins. Here are all the baby clothes I’ve kept so far from the first year:
Mount bookshelves onto the wall.
Unlike traditional bookshelves, these mounted bookshelves can’t be pulled down on top of a little child! They are perfect for little ones to display their book collection without the danger of a bookshelf falling on top of them. They also make a cute decoration for a nursery, before your child is actually reading on his own. Our little own has tons of books already of her own (and loves to “read” to herself) so I am actually going to be making some of these for her soon. You can also use mounted spice racks instead – they may not be as visually appealing but they’re definitely cheaper.
Give stuffed animals their own perch.
I always wanted one of these as a child and now I’m going to make sure my children get one! My little girl loves her stuffed animals, but I hate seeing them strewn around the floor all the time, begging to get lost or dirty. This net is super cheap, easy to install, and versatile! Plus, it uses up corner space and not floor space – best deal ever!
Create a shadowbox of their mementos.
I plan on doing this for each one of my kids – a shadowbox from their birth (as soon as I finish our wedding one, of course!) As mothers it’s natural to want to keep every little thing our child used or loved – “This is the first French Fry she bit into, and this was his first fingernail clipping!” OK, maybe that’s a little over-the-top, but you get it. Most of these “memorabilia” just end up in a box, forgotten. Consolidate those papers, photos, footprints, etc. from baby’s birth or first year(s) and make it into a work of art to hang on the wall! Visitors will love seeing the tiny baby things and you’ll actually get to remember this stuff while simultaneously saving space in the back of your closet.
Rotate your child’s toys using fun containers.
If your children have lots of toys and you can’t bear to part with any of them, rotate them out every couple weeks or so. Right now my one-year-old has two sets that we swap out (and clean, because she still puts her mouth on everything) once a month. This gives your kids some variety without having a million toys that come out and have to be put back again every single day.
Using fun containers to store the toys will make it even more exciting when the new rotation gets swapped in. Our favorite toy container is this turtle ball holder:
This helped us so much when we were teaching our little girl about picking up her toys! It has a hole where you can pop the balls back into the turtle, which turned clean-up time into a game. It also just sits on the floor with most of her toys in it, and it’s not like a basket or bin that she can dump everything out at once – she has to take all of her toys out one at a time.
I hope these tips and products help as you try to wade through the chaos of kid’s clothing and toys! If you have any other tricks that have worked for you and your family, send me a comment!