1) There is no guarantee that the next baby will be the same sex as the current child. Yes, many baby clothes are unisex, but trust me, you WILL succumb to some of the cute girl-specific or boy-specific outfits out there. If you don’t certain doting family and friends will gift the child with them!
2) There is no guarantee that the next baby will be the same size as the current child. Yes, different babies might go through certain sizes at whatever ages, but they also have different shapes. One child might be stocky and strongly built, needing large leg holes in clothing, while another is slight and long-limbed, needing snugger clothing with longer sleeves and legs. Don’t assume all of your children will have the same shape.
3) Season-ability – chances are slim that your kids will be wearing the same size clothing at the same time of year. Those cute pumpkin or Christmas elf costumes won’t necessarily fit the next child at the appropriate time of year. Those flannel and corduroy hand-me-downs are going to be awful to wear in the height of summer, and those skimpy summer clothes won’t be much good in the depths of winter.
4) Magically appearing mystery stains. You were certain the clothes were stain-free when you packed them, and yet now there’s lots of yellow stains. Residue can build up in fibers over time, even with good, repeated washing. If left undisturbed to sit, especially if in a warm environment, these invisible stains can yellow as they age, becoming unsightly. However, if clothing with such invisible staining keeps getting used the stains keep getting treated and don’t have time to age and yellow. Better to make sure kid clothing remains in use!
5) But this outfit was so adorable! Then take a picture! I have ONE outfit from when I was a baby, one my grandmother hand-smocked. It’s all cotton, and the dress has gotten quite faded and thin (transparent, almost) with age, and quite fragile. I stuffed my two girls into the dress at the appropriate size (about 3 months) and snapped their pictures (then took them right out of it again). I’m keeping the dress because I love the artistry in it, but I won’t pressure my kids to hang onto it once they’ve grown. I have other old clothing items (including my mother’s wedding dress, now 50 years old) that will never be worn again in our family that are cluttering up my house. Why? Sentimental value to certain family members. I’m simply waiting for the time when certain older relatives have passed on, and then I’ll pass on these items. I have a certain space in one closet where these are kept – I consider this “rent” the price I pay to humor certain older relatives. As to my kids’ baby clothes? I took pictures of the kids in their cutest outfits, and passed the outfits on. I’ve since gotten some pictures of the cute recipients also enjoying some of the special outfits!
6) Babies and small children amass a LOT of apparel, which steals your time. Not all stores size things the same way, so for one brand a size 4 is the same as another brand’s size 5. Trying to keep the clothes that are all the same actual “real” size together is impossible – they will get jumbled. Each time you want to use or pass on some of the clothing to a child who “will fit it soon or now” you have to sort through it all to determine what really will fit and what won’t. Just pass the clothes on as soon as your child outgrows them, and you will never fight this battle again!
7) You will also save a lot of space, since you aren’t storing multiple monster bins of clothing.
I hope this helps. I’ve learned that the same principles work for my own clothing. I stopped working in February this year (office job), while my sister-in-law has started working (part-time, but also with an internship for school). I sorted through my work clothes, kept one week’s worth (for committee meetings or other events at our kids’ school), and gave the rest to my SIL and niece. I instructed them to keep what they liked and could use, and to pass on the rest.
Happy Monday, everyone!
FlyLady here: These are all great reasons!!
Grab your declutter kit and start going through all the tubs of clothing that you have stored.
Now is the time to bless others.