sorting children’s clothes

Sorting children’s clothes is one of the most time-consuming tasks in the home. I usually do it seasonally, working up to it as it takes significant time and energy. Put simply, I’ve got to be in the mood. A certain level of ruthlessness is also required as it’s far too easy to get bogged down in nostalgia and letting go is subsequently impossible.

A few weeks ago I went through the big plastic box of size 000 to size 1 clothes and pulled out everything that would be suitable for the next six to twelve months. It was a job well done but on the flipside, Percy has already outgrown a collection of teeny tiny clothes; I’m pulling clothes out of boxes and replacing them with smaller versions. It’s a cyclical chore and in keeping with my desire for a minimalist wardrobe, I figured it was time to embark on a new sorting system. I’ve embraced a “clean as you go” mentality; eradicating the need for a mammoth sorting session.

At the bottom of the wardrobe (Percy and I share) I placed a plastic tub with a lid and a small cheesecloth bag of lavender (to ward away bugs). Every time I try to squeeze Percy into an item that no longer fits I place it in the tub. Day by day the tub fills up and when it’s brimming I’ll move it to the top of the wardrobe to be stored for the next baby.

I’ve done the same in Che and Poet’s wardrobe; a box for hand-me-downs and a bag for the op-shop.

Do you love or loathe sorting through the wardrobes?

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Showing 12 comments
  • Jacinta

    Next baby? So there will be a next baby?? 😉
    I tried that with my girls stuff, but it just doesn't work due to seasonal things and the fact that my middle girl still fit size 1-2 well into her third year! It gives me a headache everytime I even try to think about it!!!


    Definitely loathe! It always seems to come around so quickly that I need to clear out their wardrobes. I use the crate in the base of wardrobe method for the littlest one, but usually just a seasonal sort for the big boys (alone. So they can't "help" 😉

  • Reply

    I quite like it. When we had out fourth and last baby I was able to clothe a dear friends baby from birth to 5 years (we had a boy she had a girl). I was able to hand everything over in tubs organised into sizes. She was so appreciative and I get a real kick when I see Lucy in Ingrid's old clothes as it brings lovely memories of my only girl!!

  • cocoreinhart

    This is such a wonderfully simple idea, one that I've been trying to implement forever! Maybe this time.

  • Kathy

    I love the little knitted jumper that Percy is wearing…. Beautiful. Regards Kathy a, Brisbane

  • Audrey

    I do a similar thing, although as I fade in and out of the 3rd baby 'will we won't we' I am either ruthless in culling for the op shop, or hang on to most of it! Basically means that if we do have a third child, it will have very odd sizing options 🙂

  • Vicki Doak

    I quite enjoy sorting clothes. I get excited to discover what's in the bags that have been stored away in waiting. I too have a pile for hand me downs and a pile for the op shop. It's an ongoing job that's for sure.

  • Olena

    I recognize myself in sorting of children's clothes. Having the first child of 15 months old, I've been sorting regularly since her birth, and I quite love it : embracing the fact that she's growing, that seasons are changing and discovering the things that were bought, gifted or given that will serve her for some time. I am also using the system of op-shop and few hand-me-downs bags (to give back and to give away). Despite such regular clean-ups, I don't see her wardrobe as minimalist. But that's an other discussion : limiting the things that should get in our wardrobes.

  • Marcia Francois

    I loathe the process but I love the end result – clear cupboards and plenty of white space 🙂

  • Amanda K.

    i have two — soon to be three — children who are very close in age, and we have very, very little storage. My process is to only have a few, high-quality items that they can wear over and over again so their dresser and closet isn't too messy.

    I think sorting their clothes is a nightmare. I like to have my kids' stuff sorted by size and gender, but there are three "genders" when they're little — girl, boy, gender neutral. Then there are the random size 2T shorts that my 4T son can somehow still wear. And then we have bits that are formal or for certain holidays that I don't want to accidentally skip over. I have a giant bag in the closet that I toss too-small things, then sort it and put it in the attic and hope for the best.
    We had a disaster with attic storage and mothballs (, maybe we'll try lavender next time?

  • Brandi

    Sorting clothes is one of the worst chores for me. My oldest son always wore things so hard it was only a matter of tearing them into rags once he outgrew them, but with my 3 daughters I try to stretch it through the last daughter (stained, tattered, well loved) and it is still a challenge to let go at the end. The baby has been easier, but I am hoping for a final change to our seasons so I can streamline for our summer.

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