Organizing Kid’s Clothes


This past weekend I finally tackled a project I have been dreading and avoiding for months: organizing the girls’ clothes.

Before Philomena was born I sorted out all of her clothing loose into big totes, but I learned this didn’t work well for us. As she changed sizes so quickly I was having multiple sizes piling on top of each other in her closet before they made it into the big tote, the sizes in the big totes were getting mixed up, and before I knew it I had a mess.

The urgency to get this sorted out is compounded by the fact that Zelie now needs to wear these various sizes that had gotten shoved into random Trader Joes paper bags and then sent down to the storage room in the basement.

Supply Set Up

I went to Dollar Tree and got a bunch of these Heavy Duty Storage bags in three different sizes. They come in Large, Xtra Large, and XXLarge. I also bought a pack of big permanent markers. I already had plenty of large plastic totes in the basement for putting the bags in later.


Survey and Sort

I then gathered every last item of the girls’ clothing, coats, shoes, and accessories from the basement, our bedrooms, and the coat closet. Lovely, isn’t it? Surveying the damage was awful but necessary. (I also went through all of my maternity clothing in this process, but still, most of it is just kids stuff.)


Then I sorted.

We have been generously given many hand-me-downs from friends and plenty of these have gotten lots of use in our home. However, some of these clothes simply weren’t our style, or in some cases were in wider cuts that didn’t fit our super skinny little ones right. Anything we weren’t going to use got put into bags for the thrift store. I also tossed anything ripped, badly stained, or stretched.

For baby sizes I just made stacks on the floor, but I found it easier to lay the bigger sizes in piles around this big tote.

Then I just started making piles by size. Once I had found everything for a particular size, I labeled the size of plastic bag that would fit it and put just that size in that bag.

I did combine Newborn and 0-3 mo in one because our babies usually only fit newborn clothes for a couple weeks. All other sizes got their own bag.

One nice thing about these bags is that you can squeeze out all the air and seal them, and they’re practically vacuum sealed. I was so pleased with them!

I then filed away each of these bags in a row in the larger totes, which we are now vowing to keep accessible so that sizes can be easily retrieved and returned.

My sizes aren’t getting all mixed together in my big totes anymore!

Planning Ahead

Philomena is currently in 3t, so I made sure to put one of the empty bags labeled for her size in her closet, and Zelie has a bag labeled for 6-9mo in her little drawers. This way when they are done everything can be put right into those empty bags, filed in the totes, and then the next sizes brought out.

I decided to put big bulky items like coats and snow suits loose in a tote as we don’t have many of them anyway.

All of the small accessories like shoes, hats, and gloves were put into their own plastic bags and we will grab what we need out of them when the time comes. (I am incredibly minimalistic with those things so I think this is manageable. I keep one pair of gloves and a hat for each winter size, and for shoes I just keep a pair of church shoes, a pair of every day shoes, and a pair of either rain or winter boots in each size, depending on the season.

Ahhhhhhh! Order, sweet order! This is everything we own for both girls, outside of their current items in the bedrooms.

I am going to go back to Dollar Tree and grab a few more boxes of the bags so I will have more for additional sizes as they come, or for boys clothes if we get lucky with a little guy one day!

This project was such a pain, but it feels amazing knowing it is completed. We also removed several bags full of donations or trash out of here, too, which feels so freeing.

I hope this method works well for us in the long term. I’d love to know how you sort kid’s clothing. Is it anything like this?

10 thoughts on “Organizing Kid’s Clothes

  1. Sorting kids clothes is such a pain! I love your system and will have to look into those bags. I separate my boys’ things in plastic bins, but have to keep fixing them since we have such a wide range of temperatures here in Virginia.

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  2. Just did this in January!! It felt sooo great and I minimalized a lot. We are having a boy in April and we have a 1.5yo girl…God willing, we’d love more children but I did NOT need to keep as many girl clothes as my daughter had had– we too had many hand me downs and I felt that I wasn’t being a good steward keeping so many ‘just in case’ God blesses us with another girl in the future. I donated a ton to the local crisis pregnancy center and still have plenty is we have another daughter. I really like your bag idea — that is something I did not do and will probably wish I had when going through totes!! Maybe for our boy’s clothes… 😉


    1. I felt that way with some of the clothes we had been given. Even if it wasn’t something I was in love with I felt I needed to keep it. Letting go of those so someone else could enjoy it was so wonderful. I’m glad you too are finding a balance. Prayers for your coming bundle of joy!


  3. We also use the vaccuum seal bags for baby clothes and storing our newborn cloth nappies. We donated a lot and just kept the basics like singlets, bodysuits etc and some special outfits. The rest we donated. Once we have completed our family I will donate it all to the women’s shelter or pass it on to a pregnant friend/relative.


  4. I sympathize with this battle SO MUCH. While incredibly thankful of clothing gifts and hand-me-downs, if I don’t stay on top of it, the clothes situation quickly devolves into chaos!

    I do something similar – garbage bags of sizes divided by gender, with a little tape “tag” on the drawstring indicating what size, and then stuffed into big totes stored in the garage. We were swimming in a huge lot of girl hand-me-downs from newborn to 2T, so I recently split out a 1/3 for us to keep and gifted the other 2/3rds to a soon-to-be new mama in the family. I’ve also minimized drastically to only a handful of pants/shirts per size, a few jackets, one nice church outfit, etc.

    I highly recommend a children’s consignment store for gifted clothes you may not use and/or items you used but may not work for the next kiddo or you can anticipate not using – not because you’ll get your money’s worth out of the clothes, necessarily, but it’s nice to have a little store credit or cash from trade that you can use specifically on seasonal items you may need that aren’t in your lot or end up lost or ruined and in need of replacement. Many a well-intended but would’ve-never-been-worn outfit gift has been transformed into overlooked items in their wardrobe without a drop of mommy guilt. 🙂


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