Decluttering: Letting Go of the Baby Clothes

I have to come clean–I am a pack rat. It hasn’t been a negative issue because I am an organized pack rat and I had enough room to store a lot of stuff.

Our home in VA had a full basement with wall to wall book shelves. Not pictured is a storage area with even more shelves, much deeper. I miss my shelves.

I purged a ton of stuff when we moved to TN because we were moving into a smaller home without a basement. All the “stuff” we don’t use often was stored in the barn. I need to purge more; thankfully, I don’t have to do it all at once. My plan is to spend one day a week purging.

Baby Clothes

Why is it so hard to give away baby clothes? Because I love to look at them and remember those wonderful, precious baby days. Then it came to me–why not remember with photos instead of boxes of clutter?

So here are some of the baby clothes I gave away. Works for me.

Books…hmmm not as easy. Taking photos won’t work. Any suggestions on how to purge a few hundred books (that I am sure I may need someday)?

Remember decluttering is like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. Stay tuned (or subscribe) for my next bite.

Works for Me Wednesday is a “blog carnival” (explained here). Be sure to check out lots of great tips on Works for Me Wednesday.

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About the Author

Homeschool mom to 11, Marmee to 14 and author.

Comments (30)

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  1. Tami says:

    What a wonderful tip! I have a hard time letting go of baby clothes, too. I love your shelving area and area for school work!

    Thank you for your comment on my blog.

    Have a blessed day! Tami

    Tami’s last blog post..WFMW – Plastic Tumblers

  2. Suzanne says:

    Oh yes- the heartstings that get pulled letting go of baby clothes! I can so relate!

    Hmmm about the books… I would start by getting rid of paperback novels that I am sure are carried at the library (that’s if I were to purge my library- which I can’t bring myself to do).

    The alternative would be to keep the books, and call it your children’s inheritance! 🙂


    Suzanne’s last blog post..Lessening one´s beauty

  3. Suzanne says:

    Sorry- I messed up my own blog address! This is where you can find me….

    Suzanne’s last blog post..Play Stations and Family Planning

  4. Alana says:

    Big job . . . . my mom had someone make a quilt for my brother and myself from our baby clothes. I use PaperbackSwap.com for our books.

    Alana’s last blog post..WFMW: Socks as Swiffers

  5. MamaArcher says:

    no advice here, I think books are easier to get rid of than baby clothes are! You already did the hard part in my opinion!

    As for books, keep the ones you have read more than once and then keep the pretty ones for the shelf, consider getting rid of the ugly ones you do not read.

    I know your screaming vanity right now, but hey, it is a place to start.

    have a great day!!

    MamaArcher’s last blog post..Lord of the Dorks

  6. Pamela says:

    I have a friend that picked one very special outfit for each child, gathered some other special items like their favorite sippy cup or stuffed animal, and put it into a shadowbox frame with their name somewhere on it. It looks beautiful and is the perfect thing to give to your child when they grow up!

    I can’t help you on the books. I love them! Except that I’ve found that if I go through them every couple of years, I can always find some to get rid of because my tastes change.

    Pamela’s last blog post..Works for me Wednesday

  7. Jessica H. says:

    That is a great idea. I am a professional organizer and I often encourage people to do the very same thing with sentimental items that they no longer need, but want to remember.

    Jessica H.’s last blog post..What’s on your fridge?

  8. I try to save a couple of my favorites from each child. It’s so hard to choose, but who has the room to keep it all. The people who do are on Oprah!

  9. Becca says:

    That’s sort of what I do too, except I just take lots of pictures of them wearing the clothes {that subsequently never quite seem to get scrapbooked, hmmm, thats a problem!}.

    I’ve enjoyed looking through your blog and am adding you to my favorites!


    Becca’s last blog post..Homemade Vegetable Broth

  10. Jessica says:

    Baby clothes is hard. My boys are young still and we plan to have more, so I have not really dealt with it. But I have more than I need and I still can’t get rid of any. Especially as a SAHM, I think…..”what if we need” and I justify it by the fact we are saving money by me hanging on to them. Not a good justification.

    I love the picture idea for the clothes. That is why we hang on is for the memories and a picture can do exactly that. Great tip.

    As far as the books, you can always donate them to your local library and if you feel you want to reference or read a particular book again, you know where to find it for free.

    Jessica’s last blog post..WFMW-Password Cheat Sheet

  11. Meridee Marsh says:

    Suggestions for the baby clothes- foster babies, babies from the hurricane areas and tornado areas, single parents that are low income, through your church programs for the needy, babies in Africa, Haiti, check with hospitals and see if they know of new parents in need. the police that see so many in need during “welfare of occupant” checks, social services.

  12. Sherry says:

    Ok. I NEED your basement. Your old one. That is the coolest, most organized space I have ever seen. Wasn’t it hard to leave?

    Sherry’s last blog post..Bad Photo Day

  13. Sharon Sue says:

    I have had a similar problem. Due to circumstances beyond our control we have had to move 4 times since January 2000!!!!!! Hopefully, we will be moving again this spring/summer to a more permanent home. For 12 years we had lived in a beautiful 100 year old Victorian home with lots of room!!!!! I am not exactly a packrat and I am very organized but we had filled up every space in this large home. I had purchased furniture and decorations to fit with the house-we thought we were going to be there for the rest of our lives so I decorated accordingly. We also had lots of storage space-very large attic room/full basement/garage!!!!!!! Then we had to move to a home about half the size. I downsized to what I thought was bare bones. Then 4 years later we did it again-a smaller yet home-downsized more. Two years later we moved into a wonderful larger home with finished basement-one large room just for school, lots and lots of great closets. I thought I had found the perfect home-we were renting but had verbally made a purchase agreement. I had it organized to the hilt!!!!! I had purged so much in the past two moves that I thought I had completed my need to purge!!!!! Wrong!!!!!! The house was sold out from under us and we had to move yet again last April. The fact of moving three times in three years-the last two in less than a year-was bad enough, but to top it off the only place we could find to rent was an apartment!!!!!!!! Do you have any idea how small an apartment is-even though we have a three bedroom and rent two storage garages, we still had to purge yet again!!!!!

    In this past year, I have spent a great deal of time organizing and learning to live in a smaller area. Now that we will hopefully be moving again soon, I have decided that I can purge even more. I have already gone through all our stuff and have learned that lots of my stuff is getting old, so when we move I want a fresh start with my decorating/furniture, so I am getting rid of a lot of stuff and when I bring new in I will be very selective. I also have learned that if I can keep a thing in storage for a year or so, I probably do not need it!!!!! So I am getting rid of stuff I thought I had to have!!!!!

    On a side note, my mother died a year and a half ago and I have had to completely sort her home-my father is a minimalist and doesn’t want most of the things Mom had, she was a packrat and had as well kept all the things that belonged to my sister who died when she was 30-17 years ago. So I have had to sort through both my mother’s and sister’s stuff, figure out what to do with it all, what to keep, what to get rid of and where it was to go, etc.!!!!!! That process is almost finished-I just have pictures and some keepsakes to sort. Thank God all that stuff stayed at my father’s house and I sorted and got rid of things from there. I did keep a few things, gave a few to my children, but got completely rid of most of it. My memories are in my brain, not in stuff!!!!!

    I have kept one outfit from each of my children and a couple blankets in a small box. Most of the things I had for the babies I got rid of years ago. Since my son age 12 is just a few years older than his nephews and niece I passed all his stuff along to the grandkids. I had lots of money when my son was little so I had purchased very high quality clothing. It was a good purchase-my third grandson is wearing it now and it still looks like new!!!!!!! So I have enjoyed my son and grandsons in the same cute clothing.

    As for books, I am passing some on to my daughters and getting rid of everything else that I do not plan to use with my son. I will keep a few reading books for my own reading pleasure but I have finally gotten to the point that I can get rid of books. This has been the hardest area for me. But after almost four years of most of my books, both school and personal being in storage, I have decided it can go. I also am using ciriculum that is different from what I used with my daughters. I am now using HOW and the HOW materials are more what suits my sons needs. I am not involved in the same things I once was, so several books relating to those topics can go. Something else I have discovered is that due to the internet, I really do not need the volume of books I have had for research and such.

    So I am down to my final book sort. As soon as the weather warms up a bit I will be in the garage at least a couple days a week, sorting, sorting, sorting.

    I acutally cannot bear to see my dear husband have to move all my stuff yet one more time so I really want to get rid of tons of stuff. I know he will be happy!!!!!!

    Sorry this post is so long. You can see that purging has become a large part of my life!!!!!! I will be so glad when we get moved out of this apartment and I can start fresh with much less “baggage”!!!!!!!

    God bless you in your sort!!!!

    Sharon Sue’s last blog post..There Is Really Nothing Free

  14. Sarah says:

    I’m salivating at the pics of your wall-to-wall bookshelves in your old house. Wow. Just wow. That would be amazing.

    As for me, I had a hard time purging baby clothes b/c I always hope we’ll have more babies. Most of the clothes we have had were from yard sales though, and since most people hold onto baby clothes for at least 2 years or so before selling them, and my oldest DD is 5 now, her baby clothes would be at least 7 years old, if not older. I have given away all clothes that DD 3 1/2 y.o. has outgrown. Rather than hold onto something I may never use, I’d rather it go to someone who needs it now. If we have another girl, God will provide clothes for her, and babies need far fewer clothes than most people suspect anyhow. (I always found myself putting my kids in my 5 favorite outfits regardless of their size!) I’ve given all of my 2 y.o. son’s clothes he has outgrown, to my nephew. I’ve kept my 1 favorite newborn outfit for each baby, and one favorite pair of baby shoes. Works for me, at least for now.

    I have no advice for purging books. It’s not my strong point. 🙂

  15. Tracy says:

    HI— I wanted to make another suggestion!! I saved only the very special outfits, ( coming home from hospital, first pictures, etc)about 20 of them, in one airtight container in my shed. When I either find time to do it myself, or find someone who can, I plan on making a full sized quilt using PART of the material from all of his clothes, and two or three other coordinating colors. I also plan on using photos I have transferred of him onto the fabric at various stages growing up…….When I am old and alone and cold, I will wrap myself in his images, and in the warmth of the clothes that I lovingly put on my only little one………:)

  16. Baby Sized says:

    I never thought about it. We’re hoping to have another so we’ve kept everything but I guess that will make it even harder to get rid of later

  17. Patrick says:

    Great site, nice content. I’m starting my own kids clothes store also. Please take a look at my site here : Kids Clothing Here . If you have any questions and or comments please feel free to email me

  18. […] Letting Go of Baby Clothes […]

  19. […] Decluttering: Letting Go of the Baby Clothes […]

  20. i love your former basement. I wish I had a basement I’m constantly looking for places to store my stuff

  21. my sister is going to have another baby this year and i am selecting cute baby clothes for her.'”.

  22. when you are looking for baby shoes, choose those that are made from organic materials:`;

  23. Aidan Bailey says:

    baby clothes are nice and cute, we used to shop baby clothes last year for a friend-.:

  24. i love to buy baby clothes for both my baby and my sister’s baby`~-

  25. Baby Cloths says:

    i really like to buy baby things…mainly baby cloths i love to but clothes to my little baby..,

  26. Maya Bailey says:

    my baby’s feet are very cute so i always buy the best baby shoes for her“:

  27. my baby is allergic so i always use hypoallergenic fabric for my baby clothes~~.

  28. Shower Pump says:

    the doctor said that we have an allergic baby that is why we choose hypoallergenic baby clothes `,.

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