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How to store baby clothes for future siblings

Babies come with a lot of clothes – not just cute day wear, but also pyjamas, sleeping bags, socks, shoes, jackets, hats, swimmers, bibs, burp cloths, hair accessories, blankets, and linen for the bassinet and/or cot. (There’s also maternity clothes and other baby stuff such as bassinets and change tables to consider but let’s leave that for another blog!) Depending on which way you look at it, this is a lot of stuff to store or a lot of stuff to replace if needed again.

When considering whether to keep your baby’s clothes (and other items) for younger siblings, ask yourself these two key questions – it’ll help you to determine how much and what to keep:

- Why do you want to keep these items? Perhaps sentimental reasons – some items are special and you don’t want to let them go? Or environmental reasons – you prefer to reuse what you have rather than buy new? Or financial reasons – you’re on a tight budget and want to save money, or you’ve invested in high-end items that would be expensive to replace? Or maybe you want the convenience of having most things on hand when needed and only having to buy a few items instead of a wardrobe-full? It could be a combination of some or all of these reasons.

- How much suitable storage space do you have? It’s a good idea to set a limit on how much space will be allocated to storing these items and where exactly that will be. Consider storing items in the top of a wardrobe, under a bed, in a spare room – or perhaps even in roof storage, garage or shed. If you have minimal space, you’ll be able to store only a small amount of stuff, whereas if you have a more generous amount of space available, you may wish to store more.

Once you determined your reasons for keeping your baby’s stuff and how much storage space you have, you can refine your collection, then categorise and label, and contain and protect it:

Refine your collection

Keep items based on your needs and how much storage space you have. Only keep the items that you love and will use again, are in good condition, and will fit in your allocated storage space.

Keep in mind that:

· Some elastics may deteriorate over time.

· Any future babies may be a different gender and born in a different season, therefore needing different colours, styles and sizes.

· Similarly, toddlers can be a different body shape and have different tastes/preferences to their older siblings.

If you don’t have much storage space, consider loaning items to a friend/family member who has a younger child and ask them to return them when they’re finished with them. This saves you having to store them for a long period of time.

If you choose to let go of most items, there are lots of ways to source the things you need when the time comes - hand-me-downs from friends, family and neighbours; opportunity shops; online through Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, or local buy, swap and sell groups; or buy new.

Categorise & label

Group and store the items in containers/bags by size (00000, 0000, 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, etc), gender (unisex, boy, girl), and season (summer, winter).

Clearly label each ‘group’ with the size, gender and season – and even include a succinct list of the contents (for example: Girls size 1 winter tops, bottoms, pyjamas, jackets & beanies). Put a label on multiple sides (e.g. the top and two sides) of the containers so you can easily locate items in storage.

Contain & protect

To avoid mould and mildew, ensure that all items are properly clean and completely dry before storing them. Small moisture absorbers can be placed in the containers/bags to help ensure dryness.

If storing shoes, store these separately from clothing and linen, and consider including an open box of bicarb soda to absorb odours.

There are a range of storage options available – choose something that fits the dimensions of your space and is suitable for the environment. For example, if you’re storing items in the top of a built-in wardrobe in a bedroom, then medium storage containers or vacuum bags may suffice. Avoid large containers – they can be too awkward and heavy to handle safely when filled.

If you’re planning to store items in a garage or similar space that is less protected from dust, moisture, insects and rodents, then you’ll need to take extra measures like using robust storage containers with a tight seal and enclose moisture absorbers.

Before using your items again, it’s best to wash and hang in the sun to get rid of any musty smells.

If you’re intentional about what baby clothes you keep and how you store them, then your most loved and needed items will be in good condition, and easy to find when you need them – and they’ll only take up the space you allocate in your home.

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