How to Store Baby Clothes and Keepsakes

Baby gown
Jasper Cole/Blend Images/Getty Images

Keeping your baby’s precious little clothes and blankets in good condition for future generations is easy to do. Just imagine the joy or embarrassment your child will feel when you share those first clothes with a future spouse! This step-by-step guide will ensure that the items will be stored safely away for a few years until a sibling or cousin arrives or for the next generation.

Get Baby Clothes and Keepsakes Ready for Storage

Get started by making sure the garments or blankets are completely clean and stain free by laundering or dry cleaning each piece.

If you are not sure if the item is clean, it's worth the effort to wash it again to be safe. Pay particular attention to stains and be certain that pieces are completely dry before packing away. Moisture is not your friend!

If you discover stains when inspecting the items, treat them and remove immediately. If the item is washable, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, or Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach are brand names) and cool water. Oxygen bleach is safe to use on both white and colored clothes and can be used for all fabrics except silk and wool. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Completely submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least eight hours. Check the stain. If it is gone, wash as usual. If it remains, mix a fresh solution and repeat. It may take several soakings to remove the stain but it should come out.

For dry clean only pieces, take them to a professional and point out the problem areas. Since dry cleaning is a bit of a misnomer (a wet cleaning solution is used); again, be certain the items are completely dry before storing. I like to wait a day or so before packing away just to be sure.

It is important to use the right type of storage container to prevent yellowing.

One choice is to use storage boxes sold for archival storage. These are usually made of acid-free paper and are perfectly safe to use. However, if you are concerned about the box getting crushed or the expense, purchase a plastic storage box. The box must be made of cast polypropylene to be safe for your keepsakes. Look for the #5 within the recycling triangle or the letters “PP” to be sure that you have the correct type of plastic that will not emit fabric damaging chemicals.

You will also need to purchase archival tissue paper. It must be both acid free and lignin – a chemical compound derived from wood - free.

Wash and dry your hands before handling the keepsakes to get rid of lotion or creams that can stain clothing. If there are any metal buttons on the clothes, remove them and store separately by wrapping them in tissue. The metal can rust or corrode and cause staining.

How to Pack Baby Clothes for Storage

  1. Begin by lightly stuffing hats or puffy sleeves with the acid-free tissue paper. Then, lay each of the garments onto a separate layer of tissue.
  2. Wrap each item with tissue, adding more tissue as needed. Be sure that there is tissue cushioning each fold. This will prevent heavy creasing. Place each individually wrapped item in the storage container.
  1. Repeat steps with each individual item. If you like the scent of lavender, wrap a few sprigs with tissue paper or use a satchet bag and add to the box. Do not allow the lavender to touch any keepsakes directly. The lavender works as a natural insect repellant as well as adding a delicate scent.

Final Tips for Baby Clothes Storage

  • Choose a cool, dry space for storage. Avoid extreme temperature areas like attics, basements and garages. The ideal spot is an interior space away from exterior walls and pipes that might burst; like under a bed.
  • Inspect the treasures at least once per year. Look for any stains that may appear and treat them promptly. You'll have better success the sooner the stains are caught. With clean hands, fold items slightly differently with the tissue to minimize creases and stress to fabric.