My mom once told me that when I was born, I had 32 beautiful newborn size dresses to my name. Unfortunately, several of them were never worn because I quickly outgrew them.
When I was pregnant with my own daughter, I remembered this sweet story and found myself wondering—how many baby clothes do I really need in each size?
Striking the perfect balance between too few items and too many (I’m looking at you, mom!) is the key to keeping laundry manageable. You want enough to always have something clean handy in case a diaper change goes horribly wrong. But, you certainly don’t want to find yourself overwhelmed with washing, folding, and storing piles of tiny baby clothes.
Here are some tips for figuring out how many baby clothes you actually need, along with how store and organize baby clothes.
How Many Baby Clothes Do I Need?
First things first, if you’re currently pregnant, you’ll want to stock up on a few newborn and 3 month-old clothes. That’s because you don’t really know how big your baby will be until they’re born. Some of my babies were even too big for newborn sizes!
And then, I promise you that newborns grow extremely fast. So your best bet is to stick with the basics in newborn sizes and plan on them growing out of them very quickly.
Next, establish how often you plan to wash clothes before you start shopping or putting together your baby registry. You’ll need enough clothes to clothe your baby from one laundry day to the next. Even the best diapers can’t prevent the occasional blowout, so this isn’t as simple as seven outfits each week. Assume you’ll need as many as two outfits for each day to account for all the little messes babies make. And while older kids might be able to stretch pajamas over two or three nights, babies will likely need a sleeper for each night.
When it’s warm, a bodysuit could easily stand alone as an outfit. During colder months, however, babies can wear light layers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one more layer than their caregiver needs to feel comfortable so you’ll need an extra bodysuit underneath their outfit each day, as well as outdoor gear such as bunting or a snowsuit.
There are also a few accessories worth having on hand:
- Baby hats (winter and sun hats)
The grand total?
In the winter, this means you could go through 7 sleepers, 14 outfits, and 14 extra bodysuits each week. The summer months could bring along a little less because you won’t need as many layers, but your baby could still need extra clothes with water play or more outdoor fun.
“In the winter, this means you could go through 7 sleepers, 14 outfits, and 14 extra bodysuits each week.”
How to Store Baby Clothes
All those tiny pieces of clothes have to be stored somewhere! A chest of drawers is a beautiful option for baby clothes, but not everyone has space for another piece of furniture. Here are a few creative ways to store baby clothes in challenging spaces:
- These solid wood, under the bed drawers work well for taking advantage of unused space for storing baby clothes. If you are room sharing or adding a little one to a smaller home, under-the-bed storage is a smart approach.
- Take advantage of closet space using this hanging closet organizer. The small compartments are perfect for keeping petite pieces of clothing tidy and easy to access.
- A 4-drawer dresser is great for siblings who will be sharing a room.
- Adding soft fabric drawer organizers to a dresser is a great way to make large drawers more usable for small clothing. This gender-neutral option includes both small and large organizers in grey.
It’s also a great idea to get a crib that pulls double-duty with drawer storage built-right in.
A Crib that Pulls Double Duty
A Mini Crib with Storage
A Dresser Made for Sharing
Best Overall Storage
Tips for Organizing Baby Clothes
Every few months, your little one will be ready for a new set of clothes. This will leave you with the task of deciding how to organize the clothes they’ve outgrown along with items you’ve bought that are still too big for them to wear. (This is a never-ending process, so be prepared!)
Once your baby is ready for the next size of clothes, set aside an hour to organize outgrown items right away. Here’s some tips for organizing and storing all those baby clothes:
- Store + label bins with outgrown clothes. To keep too-small clothes for future children, store them in stackable bins by size. Clearly label each bin with the important details of what’s inside, including size, gender, and season.
- Stash sentimental items separately. If you’re holding onto items for sentimental reasons, we recommend storing these separately to avoid getting them mixed up with items you’d like to hand down or give away.
- Consider selling outgrown items. If you have a lot of baby clothes in great shape (or your baby never got a chance to wear them, consider selling those outgrown items, I like to dedicate a basket in my front closet for clothes I’ve listed online. Each item gets placed in a Ziploc bag, labelled with a few details, like size and price.
- Keep a basket or bin near your baby’s clothes. It can be really difficult to keep track of your baby outgrowing clothes, so it can be helpful to keep two bag, bins, or baskets near your baby’s closet or dresser: one for the next size up so you can easily switch over items as needed and one for clothes that they’ve outgrown. Then, when the basket is full, you can move on to selling or donating them.
- Donate them. For any clothes or baby essentials you’re ready to donate, bag them up and take them to your trunk right away. That way, the next time you’re out and have a few extra minutes you can swing by the closest donation center. As a general rule, donate items to local thrift stores that still have a lot of life left in them but don’t send torn or stained clothing. Clothes that are in very bad shape can be taken to a clothing recycling bin.
Last, but not least, if you’re new to the whole baby clothes world, you might want to consider on asking friends and family for old clothes or scouring for secondhand clothes.
Baby clothes are worn for such short periods of time, that they are absolutely an item working picking up second hand!
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