How to Store Baby Clothes

Pile of pretty pink baby clothes topped with a pacifier.
Photo by Photographer's Choice via Getty Images.

Outgrown baby clothes can pile up fast, especially during those early months when baby seems to double in size between loads of laundry. Buried in an avalanche of too-tight onesies and impossibly small socks? Time to dig out!

Packing away those tiny treasures for a future sibling will help you reclaim your nursery—and your sanity. Need help getting organized? We’ve got you covered. Learn how to store baby clothes the easy way with these five simple steps.

1. Clean and Prepare

Before storing clothing away for future use, wash everything in warm water with mild soap. Take the time to refresh your whites and treat any stains. (Yes, you will need to wash everything again before use, but the longer clothes remain discolored and stained, the harder it is to return them to their former glory.) Finally, ensure that all items are completely dry before packing them away. One damp “Hello Kitty” shirt stuffed into a plastic bin can cause the entire contents to mildew!

2. Purge

Baby clothes take a beating, and while it may be tempting to hold on to every precious little piece, some things are just not worth saving. Be tough! If it’s permanently stained or overly worn, let it go. You should also pass on well-worn shoes, which tend to form to their first owner’s feet, making them uncomfortable for younger siblings.

3. Sort by Size

Sorting by size sounds easy enough, but beware of inconsistent labeling.

An outfit labeled “12 months” by one manufacturer may actually be the same size as an outfit labeled “9 months” by another, turning what should be a pretty straightforward task into a tedious game of match and measure. Rely on tags alone, and you may open those carefully packed boxes to find that your new baby has already outgrown a third of his hand-me-downs.

Use your best judgment. Make piles according to labeled size, but remember, when it comes to baby clothes, sizing is far from science. If something seems out of place, don’t hesitate to stash it away with the next size up or down. Another tactic? Check the item’s tag for a specific weight range, which may give you a better idea of where it really belongs.

4. Sort by Type

After sorting clothes by size, separate each sorted pile into seasons. Remove any specialty items, such as swimwear, holiday outfits, dress-up costumes or formal dress items, and keep these separate. (You’ll likely go looking for these specific items later, and you won’t want to comb through a whole box of clothing to find them.) Blankets, wraps, toys and other accessories, like socks and hair bows, should also be tucked away separately, making them easy to find should the need arise.

5. Bag, Label and Store

To keep your piles organized, invest in a collection of resealable plastic bags. Space Bags, which can be vacuum-sealed for maximum storage potential, are a great choice, but extra-large Ziploc bags or any other heavy-duty, resealable bag will also work.

Pack each pile of clothing into its own individual bag and label extensively to include sex, size and appropriate season.

Label any bags holding specialty items with a list of their specific contents, allowing you to find what you need at a glance.

Finally, pack your sorted and labeled bags into a few large boxes. Canvas or cardboard boxes work well for indoor storage, but if you’re storing clothes in an attic or garage, plastic tubs provide better protection from moisture - not to mention those pesky, six-legged intruders.

Label individual boxes well, and store in a cool, dry environment.

For more tips on organizing your nursery space, visit our storage and organization page.