How to Store the Clothes Your Kid Has Outgrown

Reader M wrote in with a request for a story about how to store the clothes your kid has outgrown… Here’s her question:

Your “Organizing Thursday” post inspired me. Would you consider doing a post about storing baby/ kid items that your kid has outgrown?

Interesting question, M! I think I’ve written about this before, but can’t find the post on point — for my $.02, we like a clear plastic “sweater bag” system (affiliate link). (Update: shoot, just found it — but my older post was more on how I keep track of which kids clothes I’ve bought for which sizes, which is a system I still use and am thankful for when I have, say, a slight inkling that maaaaybe I have more 3T lighter weight pants somewhere but can’t find them physically, then check my files and realize NO, I don’t, and off to the stores I go.) When J, my eldest, was first starting to outgrow stuff, I would dutifully wash and pack away all of his too-small baby clothes, not entirely knowing if I was saving them for sentimentality, baby #2, or, say, some massive future donation.  The baby stuff mostly fit in one sweater bag for the first 6 months, I think; we didn’t start having to expand to multiple sweater bags per size range until we hit the 3T sizes, if memory serves.  I wasn’t terribly fancy with labeling the bags — I’d usually just scribble “2T” on a PostIt on the top or side of the bag. We kept them stacked in the space between J’s dresser and the wall for the longest time; now we also keep them stacked on a corner shelf.

These days there are two more steps to my storage process: for J’s too-small stuff it tends to go in a basket in my closet before I start sorting it. He may have 2 or 3 sizes out at once — or I may find stuff from last season that I forgot to put away. When I’m ready (i.e., when the basket is spilling out and threatening to overwhelm my closet) I sort the kids clothes by size into sweater bags. (If the sweater bags are overflowing, I try to break them up into 5T winter and 5T summer, but I’ve found I end up rifling through any bag labeled 5T when the time comes.)

As for the second step, that’s dealing with H’s too-small stuff, and that goes in a second area. (By which I mean I throw it in the same corner every time. Yep, Martha Stewart and Marie Kondo would be very proud. (Kidding.)) By separating it out, that at least gets it out of the laundry rotation and, again, when it’s threatening to overwhelm the area, I tend to sit down and look at the stuff.  We think we’re done having kids (we joke that I’m 98% sure and my husband is 125% sure), and, to be honest, most of the stuff we’ve bought is looking pretty nasty by the time two boys have worn them — so in the past the unwearable stuff has just been thrown away, although in the future I’m going to look for  a textile recycling program in our area. Most of our kids’ clothes come from Carters/Old Navy/Gap/Lands’ End — but I can definitely see the argument for buying really nice children’s clothes if you expect to have many kids because, the theory is, more expensive children’s clothes last longer.) Of what’s left, some stuff will be sent to my cousin’s baby; some will be donated. A very small portion of it I’ve sent to ThredUp for resale. And a very, very small portion of the stuff my husband and I choose to keep for sentimental reasons.  Thus far, our “sentimental clothes” collection fits entirely in one sweater bag, and I’m going to try really hard to keep it to that… but we’ll see when the time comes.

Three more random notes:

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Make Bathtime Easier with These 10 Tips

make bathtime easierBathtime with babies and little kids can be many things: fun, relaxing, hectic, boring, etc., depending on your kid’s age, current mood, and general attitude toward baths. Have you developed any tips and tricks to make bathtime easier?

First, I’ll share a few things we’ve done at our house to make our son’s bathtime easier:

1. Cushion your knees with one of those squishy kneeling pads that some people use for gardening or other home chores, like these. (I may have even picked up ours in the dollar section of CVS.) They make kneeling on the floor in front of the tub much more comfortable! This product is even fancier and more functional.

2. For a kid old enough to stand when you get her out of the tub, buy a hooded bathrobe like this one. It’ll keep her warm without any effort on her (or your part) — when you’re getting out the hair dryer or whatever — and it’ll start the drying-off process before you turn to a towel.

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How to Save Money on Baby Gear

Save Money on Baby GearWhen you’re pregnant, it can be overwhelming just thinking about all the stuff you’ll have to buy and get ready — but thankfully, parents can find plenty of ways to save money on baby gear. Before you run out to start your registry at a baby gear superstore like Babies “R” Us or Buy Buy Baby — or before you click over to Amazon — do your research and think about what you’ll really need. If there’s something that you won’t use right away (i.e., something for an older baby, not a newborn), consider putting off the purchase until you know whether it’s really necessary.

To complement our baby registry series, we thought we’d gather some money-saving tips for new parents and parents-to-be. Please add your own in the comments! What are your favorite ways to save money on baby gear? Did you (or will you) set a budget for pre-baby purchases or just play it by ear?  

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Finally Friday: Compressed Towels (aka Emergency Wipes)

compressed-towels-emergency-wipesSeveral weeks ago, we were on a plane and had a toddler poop emergency — and I had packed the extra wipes somewhere “clever,” which is Casa Griffin code for “no idea where.”  YEP, super smart. I found myself wishing desperately I had this odd little compressed/condensed towel that I’d found years ago at one of those random card/gift stores in New York. I came home, hunted on Amazon, and BEHOLD: super teeny tiny towels.  These individually wrapped towels, when compressed, are about the size of a very large pill (maybe 3-4x the size of a Tums or Zicam) but, if you add water, they expand to be slightly larger than a diaper wipe, and of similar quality.  My bet is that they’ll be a better option than just plain wet bathroom paper towels or toilet paper if there is another similar bathroom or sticky-hands emergency in our future. They’re small enough that I have two of them in my purse’s makeup bag (even though we’ve started potty training).  You can buy a set of 12 for $3.59, Add-On shipping at Amazon. SE NW9510-12 Compressed Towels (12 Pack), Small/9-1/2″ x 10″, White

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Postpartum Tuesday: Oogiebear Ear and Nose Cleaner

oogiebearWOW: there are a TON of new products to help when your baby has a cold.  I remember being amazed at how TINY my boys’ little noses were, and how bad I felt if they got so stuffy they couldn’t sleep. At the same time, MAN did they hate the sprays, the Snotsucker, the Boogie wipes — and half the time whichever instrument of torture I selected wouldn’t even get the job done if I got my squirmy baby to sit still long enough.  SO: To add to your arsenal, there are new things the kiddo will inevitably hate, but hopefully will get the job done for you — including the pictured Ear & Nose Cleaner from Oogiebear, which is kind of a teeny plastic spoon that you use to clean their nose and ears, apparently. (There are also a number of nose cleaning tweezers!) The Oogiebear ear and nose cleaner is $9.95-12.95 at BuyBuyBaby and Amazonoogiebear Ear & Nose Cleaner

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Feeding Tuesday: Dishwasher Safe Divided Plate

dishwasher safe divided platesMy eldest is in that phase where none of his food can touch (and he also eats about a third of the foods he used to eat when he was an adventurous toddler), and I’ve just kind of decided to lean in rather than wringing my hands over it too much.  I bought some beautiful BPA-free plastic divided plates a while ago that say they’re dishwasher safe, but my new thing is that I want to wash anything plastic by hand. This just meant that the fancy plates were never free, or it felt like my husband and I were doing the dishes all of the time.  So I went on a hunting expedition, and found these shatterproof glass plates from Corelle — with divided portions. They come in 8.5″ plates as well as 10.25″ plates, and they come out beautifully in the dishwasher.  They’re $7 per plate over at Amazon (with bulk discounts available — 6 plates for $30, for example); Corelle.com also has them for $6, but if you buy 4 you save 30%. Another bonus: they’re really thin plates, so they take up much less room in the cabinet. Score.  Corelle Livingware 8-1/2-Inch Divided Dish