You want to keep the clothes that your child has outgrown to pass them onto her younger siblings so you can save your wallet and the planet, but you keep forgetting about them or can’t find them when you need them. Sounds familiar? Well, they say, all you need is love. But in that case, you may also need a system to organise hand-me-downs. Read on…
Step 1 | Set up a schedule to go through your child’s clothes and organise hand-me-downs
The ideal is to put immediately aside clothes that no longer fit your child or that are damaged so they are not mixed with the clothes she can wear. That will save you a lot of time and frustration when it comes to getting her dressed. Keep a box at the bottom of her wardrobe for example where you can “dump” her outgrown clothes as it happens.
If you struggle to make decisions on the spot, block a few times during the year to go through your child’s clothes and check what fits (and that will go back into her wardrobe) and what doesn’t. These times will also be used to organise hand-me-downs.
The younger the child, the more frequently you’ll have to go through her clothes – babies tend to outgrow their clothes very quickly indeed. Before or after a birthday, before or after Christmas or any other holiday, the beginning or the end of a school year, or at the change of season are a few options for you to consider.
Step 2 | Sort the clothes
Gather all your child’s clothes in one single location. Don’t forget those in the laundry basket (make sure to wash them first) and ironing pile. Add the ones that were passed onto you by family or friends. And the ones that you’ve bought but were too big to be worn just yet.
The clothes that still fit, that are in good condition and that you and your child like can go back into your child’s wardrobe.
The clothes that are worn off, stained and ripped can be tossed or be sent for recycling.
The clothes that are too small for your child but that are still in good condition can go into a hand-me-downs pile. Depending on your family set-up, sort this pile into the following categories:
- Size – I’d advise you to use the actual age of your child rather than the age indicated on the tag of the clothes as a size 2 can vary greatly from one brand to the other
Step 3 | Purge the clothes that no longer fit your child
Go through each of your categories and decide what to keep.
Let go of those that are uncomfortable wearing or to troublesome to dress your child into, that you never liked and are unlikely to get the younger sibling to wear. Take into consideration your child’s personality, colour and style preferences.
If you have too many in one category, keep your favourites only. Clothes that you don’t want to keep for the younger siblings can be donated, given away or sold.
If you come across clothes that you are particularly attached to, you may want to put them in a memorabilia box instead of passing them onto another of your children.
Step 4 | Containerise
Fold the clothes neatly. Store each category in a box, basket or container. If you can, use the same storage system. Make the size of the box the limit to how much you’ll keep.
If you don’t have enough clothes in one category to fill a box, use dividers such as cardboard paper or Ziplock bags to contain each category together.
Step 5 | Label
Label the box with the size, gender and season, and if they are meant for a specific child, add the name of the child they are destined to. This is critical so you can find the clothes you need when it is the right time.
Step 6 | Store the hand-me-downs in an accessible location
Boxes should be easily accessible. Consider the upper shelves in your child’s wardrobe or under her bed.
Items that are too bulky to be folded can be hung in the child’s respective wardrobe. Keep all the hand-me-downs on one side of the wardrobe with, if it helps, a tag attached to the hanger indicating the size.
You can apply a similar system for toys and books so that those that are not age appropriate can be stored apart so as not to confuse you and create space in your cupboards and on your shelves.
What tips do you have to organise hand-me-downs? Leave them in the comments below.