As a self-described minimalist, I cringe when I see closets that are stuffed to the brim with baby clothes. Well, probably any clothes for that matter… but especially clothes for babies! Let’s face it, the littlest members of the family tend to outgrow clothes the fastest, so there is definitely no need to stock up on a million things that they might not even wear. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been really getting ready for baby #2 and I figured it was a good opportunity to take some photos and talk about baby clothes basics, like where to get baby clothes, how to organize baby clothes, how to store baby clothes AND even how many pieces of baby clothes you actually need. Let’s get to it!
Where to Get Baby Clothes
Would you believe that I personally have bought less than a third of the baby clothes so far (and Zachary is almost 2 years old!) because we were fortunate in being gifted so many items. We got the majority of his clothes at the baby shower, and would get a few outfits on holidays like Christmas or his birthday. I also got a big load of hand-me-downs from Zachary’s slightly older cousin (yay thanks!), and we’ll just have to see what happens with baby #2.
I should also mention that I didn’t really register for clothes (for the baby shower), just a couple of basic items. I had heard that people will always gift clothes no matter what, and boy was that right! We did end up having to get some last-minute pyjamas/onesies because the ones we had were too big but other than that I’ve been pretty on top of making sure we have what we need.
Other places to get cheap clothes (if you don’t have relatives that can pass on hand-me-downs) are local buy and sell Facebook groups, used clothing stores, or even end-of-season sales at regular stores (but be cautious about stocking up on too many pieces for future seasons).
I’ve seen the cutest photos of organized baby closets, with lots of drawers and cute hangers. Unfortunately, I don’t think those spaces are that practical, as we have just used our closet to store big things. All of our baby clothes fits into a dresser (that doubles as a change table) and we’ll only use the closet to store clothes that are too small (see 2 points below!).
How to Organize Clothes for Now + Later (clothes that fit, and are too big)
We operated with a one-drawer system, the top drawer in Zachary’s nursery, wherein we stored EVERYTHING that fit him in there (with the exception of hats and shoes). We stored all the too-big clothes that he would fit into next (washed and folded) in the drawer just below that; and all the way-too-big clothes in the drawer below that (unwashed, usually still with tags because there were various sizes).
As he grew out of one size, I would store all those clothes in bags, then move the bigger clothes up to the current drawer, and maybe further separate the “way-too-big” drawer into different sizes.
Obviously as kids grow, their clothes will get bigger and we probably will have to start using 2 drawers, but for now, the shirts and pants are still pretty tiny! I’m thinking we can eventually move the clothes he fits into the lower drawers (so he can dress himself), but that’s still a dream scenario :)
How to Store Clothes for Way Later (clothes that are too small)
If you’re planning on having another baby in the future, it’s very economical to save all the clothes! While I did throw away things that had holes or ridiculous stains, I was pretty lenient on minor stains or small wear and tear. (But let’s face it, babies, especially fresh babies, will most likely go through clothes faster than they can wear them out!).
I mentioned earlier that I would store the clothes that were too small in bags (then in bins under the crib). At first, I would use large freezer Ziploc bags and organize the clothes by type… but that was too difficult for me!
The easiest method for storing our small clothing was to put everything in a bag, mark the clothing size, but more importantly, mark the approximate age and weight of our baby at the time. I then stored the bags in bins under the crib, and recently took them out to prepare for baby #2! If you want to be really proactive, you can also mark notes on your bags, like “too many sweaters” or “need more pyjamas”.
What Baby Clothes do you Actually Need?
Whether you’re planning for a baby, or trying to pare down the stuff you already have, it’s helpful to actually figure out how much baby clothes you actually need. Keep in mind, I’ve survived one baby/toddler at a time so far and did one load of laundry per week- but everyone’s situation might be a bit different. Nevertheless, here is a good starting point:
- 3-5 pairs of pyjamas
- 5 t-shirts
- 5 long-sleeves
- 5 bottoms
- 3 sweaters
- Misc.: socks, hats, possibly tank tops – and lots of bibs!
I tried to make a general list no matter what season you are in, but do keep in mind that if it’s winter, you’ll most likely go through more long-sleeves than in the summer. Newborns will also get their pants dirtier than older babies (why does poo never stay in the diaper!?), and we can usually get 2 uses out of pants for Zachary as a toddler.
I would clean the baby clothes just once a week (mixed in with my laundry), and if there was ever a stain (like literally every day) I would soap up and soak it in the bathroom sink. I definitely didn’t go out of my way to do a super small load of laundry, and most stains would generally come out as long as they weren’t left to dry.
Our Current Setup
With Zachary’s dresser almost empty (and a few photos above showing his current drawer) I’ve since moved all the baby clothes to our new nursery dresser. Here are some photos of how we have it setup for now (and later!):
This is a 6-drawer dresser, and we have the top right dresser designated as our accessories/diaper storage space. The top left drawer is all the newborn/current sized clothing.
The one directly below is for sizes 0-3 months, which I have organized in little piles as well (sometimes babies come out big and they fit in sizes 0-3 right away!). Finally, the bottom drawer on the left is the next size, but I only opened half of the sizes (I can fit two sizes/bags per drawer)
Then on the right sides, I have my next 4 sizes (again still in their bags); we also had a bunch of shoes that I just threw on top of the bags in the correct drawers – but let’s be honest, little babies hardly wear shoes!
I hope this post about baby clothes basics is helpful for any new parents out there (or parents who are up to their ears in clothes and want to scale down!). Having the list of how many baby clothing items to have for each size is also really handy, especially if you are dealing with family members who are over-zealous shoppers!
Most people might try and say “oh, well you can never have too many ____ (insert whatever baby item here)” but unless they’re talking about diapers, there is most definitely a limit!
Good luck :)