Families with more than two kids--how do you know what to save for the next round? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 02-02-2006, 03:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I am usually pretty organized, but suddenly the balance has tipped and I am now overwhelmed with out of season/outgrown but soon someone will grown into clothes. Does anyone have any great ways of organizing the ebb and flow of hand-me downs, etc. I use a system of clean plastic bins, but the volume is getting to me. We live in an apartment and storage is limited.

Thanks for any suggestion or tips.

Happy mom to DS2000, DS2002, DD2004, DS2006 and DS 10/2009:
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#2 of 15 Old 02-02-2006, 06:10 AM
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#3 of 15 Old 02-02-2006, 08:42 AM
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I saved outfits that seemed timeless - none that were too fussy. I saved dressy clothes that were worn once. I saved the slings and baby bjorn. I got rid of anything mechanical, bottle related, that had winnie the pooh on it and anything that I thought was ugly (mostly gifts and hand-downs). I saved socks and anything that I was too sentimental to part with.
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#4 of 15 Old 02-02-2006, 10:49 AM
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I don't know what I would do if I had *no* storage space. I keep ONE bin for each size, starting with the youngest's kid current size and ending about one or two sizes beyond the oldest child. I do not keep more than one bin's worth of clothing for each size. I also have one bin for winter outerwear, one for winter shoes and boots, one for summer shoes and rain boots, one for diapers and covers.

I keep only the things I really found useful and/or loved. I aim for solids and stripes for boys, and indulge in a few flowery girly things if they are practical (t-shirt dresses and leggings, for example). Anything "iffy" that doesn't fit my "system" goes away. Anything that is not all-cotton (my personal peeve) goes away. Anything I simply do not like goes away. I will keep lightly stained stuff if it's practical and a favorite.

As for baby stuff, here is what I kept between babies: infant carseat and mirror, boppy, bouncy seat, exersaucer, cloth diapers and wipes, changing table and pad, diaper bag, a small box of rattles and soft dolls, high chair, slings (okay, slings are my weakness!), and nursing/maternity clothes (one bin of each).

We kept a pack-n-play but hardly ever used it. We also had a gymini blanket that only got used for the first baby - tried with the others, but with toddler siblings baby wasn't safe on the ground anyway. Some of the stuff on my list isn't really needed - I found the bouncy seat and exersaucer to be extremely helpful for a short period of time, but not necessary. Also changing table is optional but it's where I kept my diapers and I've had kids in diapers for nearly 8 years straight now, so it is a "permanent" fixture here.

I thought it was well worth keeping this stuff between babies, as mine are closely spaced and I can't imagine having to scare up everything over and over again. On the other hand, plenty of people I know swear by giving away all baby/kids clothes because they get a constant stream of hand-me-downs from other people and always can replenish what they need.


Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#5 of 15 Old 02-02-2006, 02:54 PM
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I currently have 2, and we plan 2 more in the future, but we want about 4-5 years before the next "set" of kids. I kept most everything from #1, but I found that w/ #2 I didn't put that many of the old clothes on her, just a handful of sleepers and stuff. Most of the stuff crammed in the drawers was just not used. After baby #2, I'm getting rid of 90% of it! The only thing I plan to keep is the crib, and possibly the swing and playpen. I put each girls' special outfits in their keepsake box (and cloth dipes I loved, blankets, ect.). As for what I'm keeping from #1 to #2 clothing wise from now on, well, usually between teh grandparents the girls get 3ish new outfits per season, and I like to buy a new outfit or two, so the get plenty of nice stuff to wear. I'm planning to only keep 100% stainfree stuff, that is in EC for playing outside in. I've also been decluttering, so I'm keeping the number of outfits each child has to 5-7 good outfits,and 7-10 play outfits (7 bottoms, 3ish extra tops). This has helped me put our "clothing bin" into perspective. I took a little notebook, and wrote out the size each girl could be this summer, and number 1-7 nice outfits, and 1-7 play outfits (with a space for extra shirts). Then I went thru the bins, and filled in. If I got to 7, then I had to get rid of something. So far I know that my baby has plenty of nice outfits, but could use some play outfits, and that my almost 3 year old will probably need some of each before summer. So, when I'm checking the TP or e-bay, I don't overbuy. My goal is to get down to just 1 big rubbermaid container (I currently have 2).

I really think we try to keep more than we will ever need. Each child will get a few new outfits for him or herself, right? And the fewer items you keep, the less you have cluttering up your house and taking up space. B/c of this change in keeping so fewer clothes, I can get the laundry COMPLETLY done at least once per week! That never happened before, and I really think the reason was that I knew it didn't have to be done, taht I had antoher sleeper/ect. so I'd put it off.

One way I've used to justify going ahead and getting rid of the baby items, is to go and look at the items used in the consignment store. If I can sell it for say $20, and a good used one is $40 in the second hand store, is it worth $20 for me to have to store it for 2-4 years, or is my storage space more valuable?
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#6 of 15 Old 02-03-2006, 06:10 PM
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#7 of 15 Old 02-03-2006, 08:21 PM
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We don't have alot of space either. Our ds are 5 years apart, and we didn't plan on the second for a while. I got rid of everything from the first up until he was 4/5 when we found out we were having another boy. I am not really holding on to anything from the first. Snowboard equipment, fleece, gloves, etc, but no clothing or shoes. I figure one: I don't have the space to hold things for 5 years, and two: they won't be in style or will be pretty used by the time he's ready for them.

Aidan 8/11/99 Bryn 9/7/04 Jardin is here! 8/23/10 ~Kindness is My Religion~ Dalai Lama
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#8 of 15 Old 02-03-2006, 09:27 PM
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I save all the clothes and get rid of them as they wear out or as I discover they dont work for us.

BUT We have a shed for storage sowe have room for the above. We use the bins.

Who knows how many more kiddos we will have
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#9 of 15 Old 02-03-2006, 11:47 PM
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The easiest thing is to downsize the number of items you have for them. I have 3 girls, the last 2 were 1year apart. I have a big box in my closet that all the off-season clothes go into. Then in the spring I dump it out and take out what fits, toss what's stained, put aside what I can pass off to other people and refill it with the past season's clothes. The box was from when we bought our tv. For clothes that get handed onto me I put ontop of the box. The girls are 3, 4 & 7 and don't go through clothes quickly. If during the season they outgrow something and it cannot be passed onto the next child it gets tossed into my closet.
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#10 of 15 Old 02-04-2006, 06:01 PM
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I don't have a ton of storage space, but I don't have a ton of baby/kid's stuff, either. I've passed on things that neither of my children wore at all and things that I didn't think anyone would be able to wear again. Everything that was halfway decent, I kept. I'm currently gestating #3, but we really don't have that much stuff. My kids are slow growers and tend to wear things out as often as they outgrow them, and we didn't have a ton of nice, new stuff. We're only planning to have one more after this, so while I'm pregnant with #3 I will (very sadly) pack up everything that is not seasonally appropriate for the newborn (I've got winter 0-3's which BeanBean wore, but BooBah never did because she was born in the summer, for example) and keep going from there.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#11 of 15 Old 02-05-2006, 01:46 AM
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I used to keep everything but no more. I keep the really, really nice stuff if it has sentimental value. The rest goes. I am forever blessed with hand me downs from neighbors and friends and the resale stores are really great around here. I also get stuff from garage sales and free cycle. When I did save I either forgot to pull it out, it wasn't the right size for the season/child, it got lost until it was too late. Now I donate at the end of the season and feel pretty good about that. We don't have alot of money so I can rarely donate money to good causes. Donating our clothes makes me feel good and doesn't really take much away from us. That said, I do keep winter coats, boots, snowpants and the like. Most are unisex.

Amy - Blessed wife to Jesse (the best dad in the world), mother of 10 on earth plus 8 in heaven.   PROUD to be a Catholic! : winner.jpg familybed2.gifhomeschool.gif

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#12 of 15 Old 02-07-2006, 10:04 AM
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I have found, for myself, that when I give things away I receive what I need in return. The Law of Reciprocity so to speak.

If the outfit doesn't pull at my heartstrings, I give it away.

I feel a personal conviction not to sell things for profit but to give.

When they were babies I had more clothing pulling at my heartstrings. Now, they're older, it isn't as big a deal....plus they totally destroy their stuff!!!

Debra Baker
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#13 of 15 Old 02-08-2006, 12:46 PM
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But what if you don't have a good source of hand-me-downs?

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#14 of 15 Old 02-08-2006, 02:13 PM
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With my first I saved everything that wasn't ruined (holes, broken zipper etc.) I mean everything. After my second was born I went through it all and got rid of half of it (2nd child different gender) I kept all my favs, kept anything gender neutral and anything worn only once or twice. I got rid of anything worn out or things I just realized I didn't like after all. Some I sold, some I donated, some I tossed. After I got pregnant with my 3rd, I got rid of most of what was left from the first time around and half of what was from the 2nd go round. I still had more than enough without it overflowing everywhere.

As for gear, I saved everything that was still good (first bouncy seat was hand me down through the entire family, my first kid eventually killed it LOL). Most of it like the pack n play we didn't use much but it came in handy when I did need it and was something I didn't want to have to buy again. The infant toys I kept half of them, got rid of the rest. Bibs, blankets all that I saved because you can always use those.

Now we are done, no way I'm having more and we are sure of this so everything that is outgrown by the youngest goes. Anything that the middle fits into that the youngest won't (different season and they have different body types) gets sold or donated. Same for the oldest.
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#15 of 15 Old 02-09-2006, 11:59 AM
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Do you have a friend who has a lot of unused storage space? One of my friends offered her basement to us because we have very little storage also, and five children. She took my maternity clothes and may take some furniture.

Also, do you have a group of friends you could coordinate clothes swaps with, friends who would take good care of the clothes? They could take the clothes their children fit in (that yours don't), thereby giving you storage space, and you could borrow clothes your children fit in.

I hope you find a good answer to this. If it came down to it, I'd pare us all down to about a week and a half's worth of outfits.
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