Rehome the old, extend the just-about-fits, and make space for something new. Now is the perfect time to clear out your baby or toddler’s wardrobe - here’s how to do it in half an hour!
If you’re anything like me, more tends to go INTO your kid’s wardrobe than comes out. Which in time leads to daily rummaging through higgledy-piggledy piles of clothes in search of an outfit, occasionally finding forgotten and buried items that you wish they’d worn more …
So every 6 months or so, I try to do a wardrobe clearout. It can feel like a big job but I usually get it done in half an hour, and it’s so worth it!
STEP 1: Cull!
Go through and weed out everything that’s too small, too worn or just doesn’t get worn at all. Be ruthless - if in doubt, take it out!
If in doubt, take it out (but not my cute little bear onesie, mummy!)
STEP 2: Organise what’s left
Group the clothes by type if you haven’t already: eg tops, bottoms, onesies, knits/ hoodies, nightwear, one-pieces like dungarees or dresses, accessories. This is a good time to just have a general tidy-up if needed. Make sure you can see everything at a glance when you open the wardrobe or drawers.
- Run your eye over the clothes and look for any obvious gaps or things you’re running short of (especially the kind of things your kid wears every day).
- Think about how the clothes work together when it comes to dressing your child. Can you mix and match? Do all of the items go with at least a couple of other things? If not, try to think of a colour or style that would match several of the clothes you have. Buying just one or two co-ordinating pieces could give you many new outfits.
Quality plain basics are ideal for mix-and-matching
- Do they reflect what your kid’s into right now? This doesn't really apply for young babies, of course, but toddlers love to recognise favourite toys, animals, colours etc on their clothes. My daughter asks for her purple socks every day!
- What size clothes is your child usually wearing and how much longer will they fit? If you have clothes that are probably only good for another month or two, start looking out for replacements (or buy again in the next size up if it’s something you love).
Spot check for stereotypes creeping in!
As you’ll know if you’ve read my other blogs, I am really passionate about getting rid of gender stereotypes from kids’ clothing. So I like to use these clearouts to do a quick visual check of my kids’ wardrobe to make sure they’ve got a good range of colours and designs, that there’s no accidental pink- or blue-washing going on!
Take notes on your phone of anything you need to get or look out for, so you always have a list handy when you go shopping. That way, when you’re tempted by cute stuff, you can at least check if it’s cute stuff you need!
A clearout makes room for some new purchases - like these fabulous tiger leggings!
STEP 3: Get the old things moving on or out
Now look at the pile of things you took out. For each item, ask yourself 3 questions:
1. Can you get any more wear from it?
- Winter clothes into spring - knitwear could be worn open/ unbuttoned as a loose layer; find lighter tops for warm trousers or jeans; dungarees could be worn with a short-sleeve body underneath
- Summer clothes into autumn - layer short-sleeve clothes over long-sleeved vests; use leggings under skirts or shorts; put rompers over a body and tights, then layer a cardi over
- Bodies and vests - consider bodysuit extenders, which snap onto the poppers to add extra length in the body (like these). These are especially handy if your child is tall and slim.
Knitwear, if you live in the UK, is basically all-year-round wear!
2. Do you want to keep it for a sibling?
Bag these clothes up and store them, ideally in a separate place. Label each bag with the sizes so you can just open them in sequence when your younger child reaches the right age. Ta-da! (I actually love rediscovering old favourites when I open a long-stored bag: so many memories come flooding back.)
3. If you’re finished with it, how can you rehome it!?
The key is to get old clothes out of the house before they mount up. Have some big bags ready to sort them for recycling, donation, sale, or to pass onto a friend. Bag up and put them somewhere you’ll see them and get it done!
Anything you can’t bear to get rid of? I am AWFUL for hanging onto things for the memories, especially now I’m sure I won’t have any more children. But my advice is that if you want to keep things for sentimental reasons, put them in another place - a memories box, or a drawer in your own room. Just take them out of the kids’ wardrobe.
Another good tip is to keep a ‘finished with’ box in your kid’s wardrobe. As soon as you take something off thinking 'that’s the last time he/ she can wear that', pop it straight in that box when it comes out of the wash. It’ll make the next clearout even quicker!
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