I have 3 kids, a teen a 2 yr old and a 3 month old. We don't normally hand the teen's clothes down to the 2 year old, so I am not storing clothes for 13 years.
But it only makes sense to hand down the 2 yr old's clothes to the 3 month old, since they were born in the same season. It doesn't make any financial sense to get rid of them, then buy new when the younger one needs it, we don't have much money.
In addition to that, the 2 yr old does get hand me downs from cousins and such. And the 3 month old is starting to outgrow stuff, but DH and I aren't sure we are done havng kids and if we do decide to go for more, they will be close together too. So again, it doesn't make financial sense to toss stuff out that we are probably going to need again soon.
I just don't have a system for managing the storage of this stuff. We have tubs of stuff that is currently "between kids." like 12 month old clothes. But I am out of storage for the newborn stuff that doesn't fit dd3 anymore, so it's still in the dresser, with the 3 month old stuff (we put both in the dresser at the same time when we loaded everything in the tubs in the first place, so nothing has been removed.) DD2 just recieved a bunch of stuff from her cousin that will fit her this summer, but is too big and the wrong season now. It's just sitting in bags on top of the tubs.
Suggestions or ideas (other than get rid of it.)
We have 1 child but plan on having more.
We too got big plastic tubs. We have kept any clothes that we find really adorable or were expensive to replace. We kept a certain number of sleepers and onesies...but got rid of others.
I am thinking of buying a set of those vacuum pack bags. This will help us to store things better and in less space. And hopefully also keep the dust out.
Me 40 . Partner to mamacolleen 33 . DD born July 2009 . Twin boys born Nov 2012.
We are a family that loves
I have 2 boys that are 3 years apart. I found it was easiest to keep an underbed tub for clothing too big for the oldest, what the oldest was wearing in his chest of drawers, an underbed tub of clothing too big for the youngest, what the youngest was wearing in his chest of drawers, and then a box for storage anything coming off the youngest.
As a season would start to change or if I saw a big growth spurt I would sort through the "too big for" tubs and move anything that would fit soon into their drawers for use. As I would discover something that was too small for one child it would be moved on down into the next tub or box. When the end box was filled I would label it based on the ages my youngest son was when he wore the items and store it. As you know children's clothing is so varied in sizes that this was easier for me. (At one point my DS was wearing 18 month items with 3 yr old items so it made no sense to try and divide it up by size). Then if I had had another child I would have grabbed the earliest box and gone from there. The reason I never divided anything by season was that you can wear most everything all year except say shorts in the winter or a winter jacket in the summer. I did not want to forget a cute outfit if say the time of year it fit my child was not the season it was made for.
As my boys have grown this system was eventually downsized to nothing. My oldest very rarely gets anything much too big to wear and when he does it just goes into his chest of drawers with everything else. Now the boys are close enough in size that anything my oldest stops wearing can pretty much be worn right away by the youngest. When my youngest is done with something it still goes into a box but now the boxes are donated or handed down to friends/family.
I did plastic totes and organized each age / size of clothes in them - 0-6 months 12-18 months, 2T, 3T etc. I have all girls the first two are 4 years apart, the next two are 2 years apart. Most of the time clothes from the middle go straight to the youngest with maybe a season in between. I find that if I load the tote as they outgrow stuff (clean, folded, organized) I'm more likely to use the hand-me-downs and not go buy more clothes. I did one year where I didn't search through the hand-me-downs and just got new (from thrift or clearance) and then when I searched my hand-me-downs I got upset because there was so much cute stuff that now didn't fit youngest DD and we had to get rid of.
For the most part DH and I are done - so everything that the youngest doesn't fit goes to a girlfriend of mine that has 2 DDs younger than mine.
If your teen is same gender as the other too - I would hang on to those clothes too - if you have the room for it.
I store all of our bins - doubled up - in the side attics. Make sure to label clearly so you're not searching for sizes later on.
Honestly, I think the most important aspect is to"shop at home" before buying anything. My folks helped my cousin and her family clean up after a flood this summer, they had tub after tub of clothing in their basement (they have four kids total) but my mom said she doubted that my cousin ever went back and looked for stuff instead just bought new
I have two kids of the same gender (almost 9 and 5 1/2 currently). I save DS1's stuff for DS2 (but he is pretty hard on stuff so sometimes there is not much left) despite having the same gap in age as lucyem I find that stuff can not go directly from DS1 to DS2 (DS1 currently wears 8's and DS2 wears 4's). I currently have three sizes in my inventory. I noticed that I had only a single pair of size five pants of any sort of wearable condition.
The number of tubs and how organized they have been has depended on the age and the size of the clothes in question. Directionally I try to save like sizes and seasons together, but it's far from prefect.
I save some things from my 19yo for my 14yo and some things of his for my 4yo. Dress pants, dress shirts, polos and athletic pants and shirts really don't change that much over the years. It's worked out well.
You can cram a bunch of those big Ziplocks under the bed, in a closet, etc. IME tubs are too rigid and thus not so efficient. The Space Bags tend to develop little tears and are then just really expensive plastic bags. I have actually sucked air out of the big Ziplocks with success.
Also we got some bed lifters at Bed Bath and Beyond for out guest bed and I have every piece of clothing, toy, and baby item my 22 month old has outgrown under a double bed with room to spare.
THe only other suggestion I have is to create a map or list of what you have stored where.
Our closets have "eaves storage" that go beyond the bars. We have dozens of "bankers boxes" that I labeled with size and season of all the clothes and then stuffed back in the eaves with a garbage bag of smushy stuff (winter coats etc) on top. This worked well for me as I've found that small rigid containers work well in those spaces. The soft bags were a mess. My one problem is that I didn't remember what sizes I had gathered from friends and neighbors. And the boxes were under each other so I couldn't look easily. I ended up going back to my neighbors to sort through here 18+ months stuff when I had already looked through it. I came back with even more stuff and wasted my time. This time, when I loaded the bins into the eaves I made a map of what was in each box and taped onto the door frame of the closet. Now I know what sizes I have stored away. My underbed space holds the wrapping paper box and DDs has her junk. Under the crib holds the crib bumper (not using) some toy boxes and the baby bathtub when we had one.
I have them in vaccuum sealed bags to help protect from moisture. I had them stored in regular tuperware type containers and somehow they got wet (Im thinking it was one of the times we moved, I just didn't catch it) and a bunch of stuff got ruined. All the baby clothes I have saved fit in two large sized bags.