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Store & Organize Hand Me Downs

Kids grow up so fast!  One minute they are this precious, fragile little gift that makes your heart melt with each gummy smile and adorable chuckle; the next minute, they are running the house ragged pretending to be a giant monster tractor leaving chaos in its wake like a mini tornado sweeping through each room you just cleaned!  Oh...um...maybe that's just my house.

Joking aside, it really is a gift to watch our little ones grow taller, smarter, and faster.  Sometimes {often times}, the clothes we keep for them cannot keep up with our tiny treasures' rapid growth rate and we're left to deal with a mixture of clothes that are too big, too small and just right {insert witty Goldilocks reference here}.  Thus was my delimna not too long ago.  My big boy is graduating from month sizes to T sizes...hooray!  Now, I needed a way to keep all the smaller hand me down clothes stored {for future kids} and organize them in a way that will be helpful to me when the time comes to reuse them for #2.  I also needed to make the storage side of our closet a bit less closed in since it will share space with our closet office {more on that to come in the near future}.
Here is what the storage portion of the closet looked like before...a crammed, jammed, mixed plate of storage bins filled with infant clothes and toys, moving boxes {from when we first moved here, still left unpacked because there was no room to unpack them}, and a basket of the latest collection of outgrown clothes waiting to be given a decent home.
Before: crammed closet storage 
When it came time to pack our son's infant clothes, it was pretty easy and straight forward.  It also helps that the clothes are super tiny and a little went a long way.  As the clothes got bigger, it got trickier to make everything fit; plus the added bonus of shoes made the task extra challenging.

My first mission was to get rid of the cardboard boxes and give the contents a proper home.  I saved the smaller boxes in case I needed them elsewhere, plus, they were still in great shape.  Next, I decided to make better use of the larger storage bin.
I decided that I would put all newborn needs in the large bin since those little newborn clothes did go a long way.  I managed to fit infant clothes from newborn to three months as well as other newborn gear.  After that, I decided against buying anymore large bulky bins and decided instead to stick with the medium sized bins that were half the size of the larger bin to make storing and stacking easier and more versatile.

My second mission was to make the larger clothes in each size range fit into a single medium bin for easy access later on.  I was able to fit most of what we had in each size range into a single bin, and when the space got tight, I had to re-evaluate pieces to keep.  I knew that we would be having a yard sale soon and needed to build up inventory, and I really didn't need to keep all those clothes I had if it could go to someone else who needed it.

Last, I created labels for each bin to make future access even easier.  My labeling system needed to be simple, concise and needed to make sense to me later.  I started with the size range followed by the contents.  Here's a look at what I put together.  I popped these labels onto 12 x 12 cardstock to make it look pretty...bonus!

After all the folding, organizing and labeling, I wanted to switch up the arrangement to give the space more elbow room for the office space.  The way it was arranged before left little room to breathe while sitting in the closet office.  Now, it feels less like a dumping ground and more like a shared space.
After: organized hand me downs

Ah, I feel like I can breathe again!  By pivoting the way I arranged the bins, it created much more elbow room for the desk that you see peeking into the right there.  Sliding the large labels into the bin not only makes for a consistent look, but it also protects the label from any damage from the outside.

The newborn needs bin that rests on the bottom is loaded with newborn goodness as you can see, and I popped the label into the narrow side as I did with the ones above.  By listing out the contents of large storage bins like this one, there is no guessing what could be inside.  It's all listed on the label.

Here's a before and after that will have you breathing a sigh of relief along with me.
Keeping up with the our littles is one mission I'm glad to be on and enjoy {almost} every minute of.  It was a nice trip down memory lane looking through the baby clothes.  I miss the days when our baby boy was all giggles and burps, but I'm having so much fun engaging with him in conversation and discovering the world we live in through his eyes.  The gift of organization can be just as wild a ride as the one we join in on with our kids.  When creating your own system of storing items, using see through bins gives you an idea of what's inside and labeling makes for a clear system of organization that will be a gift later on.

Have you been overrun by a mixed mountain of kids clothes?  Are you looking for a way to spring clean them out of sight?  I hope that this has given you some food for thought and the drive to get yourself started.  Maybe you approached your hand me down system differently, I'd love for you to comment below and gift your experience forward!

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