Tips for Decluttering Baby and Children's Clothing {Decluttering Sentimental Items - Day 7} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Tips for Decluttering Baby and Children's Clothing {Decluttering Sentimental Items - Day 7}

Friday, October 7, 2016

Tips for Decluttering Baby and Children's Clothing {Decluttering Sentimental Items - Day 7}

Today in the Decluttering Sentimental Items series I'm sharing tips to help you declutter baby or children's clothing.  These could be clothes from when you were a baby or child, or clothing worn by your own kids.

Why baby or kids' clothes are special to us 

Kids' clothing holds so many memories.  Especially baby clothes.  We fondly look back on the days when our kids were small enough to fit into the tiny clothes we've held onto.  We remember our little ones wearing a certain outfit ALL the time.  Or a particular item of clothing worn for a special occasion.  Or maybe the clothing was a gift from someone special.

It's hard to let go of these sentimental items because it feels like we're letting go of their childhood.  We want to keep some items to remind us of those days.

Some people also want to keep some favourite outfits to give to the next generation to wear.  It can be fun to dress up a little one in the same outfit their parent wore when they were young.

Tips for letting go of baby or children's clothing 

Here are a few tips that may make it easier to let go of some of your baby or children's clothes.
  • Think about others who are in need of baby/children's clothing to make it easier to let it go.
  • Only keep what you realistically have space for.
  • Set a limit to how much you will keep (1 container, 1 outfit per year, or whatever limit you choose) and only keep the most special items, such as items that were hand-made by grandparents or great-grandparents.
  • While it can be fun to dress kids in clothing their parents wore, other than a few photo ops it's pretty rare that future generations will wear these saved items because clothing doesn't age well when it's stored, styles / tastes change over time, older clothes aren't as comfortable or practical as newer ones, etc. (other than perhaps special items like Christening/Baptismal gowns).
  • You probably have a few many pictures of your child wearing their favourite outfits so let the pictures be your memory, and let the item itself go so it can be worn by other children while it's in good condition and still in style.
  • If your kids are older and you've kept some of their baby / children's clothing, talk with them about whether they want it or not.  Many value their space more than sentimental items like baby clothes {this is more and more common with millennials, compared to Gen X or Boomers}. 
  • Think about whether you want your kids to feel like they have to keep or use these clothes because you kept them all these years. 
  • Think about what else you can use the space for if you declutter the baby / kids' clothing you've been keeping.
  • You can sell fairly recent and good condition children's clothes and use the money for something else for your kids {maybe an experience that they'll remember instead of physical items that become clutter}.

Stories from members of the 365 Items in 365 Days FB Group

  • One person said she limited herself to one small tote of clothes from each of her children. She loved dressing her babies in her old clothes (mainly for pictures) so she wanted to give her kids the same opportunity. 
  • Another member said she kept two outfits and a few pairs of socks initially from when her kids were babies. But once her children turned 16+, she was able to let go because she realized she had pictures and she valued the space more. The kids didn't care about their little outfits at all. 
  • Someone else mentioned that they have a couple of hand-made items that grandparents or great-grandparents made for her children.

Ways you can reuse/repurpose/display baby or children's clothes 

Here are a few ways you can create something out of sentimental clothing:

  • One of my favourite ways to keep the memories of special baby or children's clothing is to make a quilt out of them.  There are lots of examples on Pinterest if this is something you're interested in.  If you're not a sewer, you can have a quilt made for you from clothing items you send in.  Here's one site that makes customized quilts for you.  
Here are some "Can't-Quite-Let-Go Quilts" my cousin made for her kids (click the pics to get more details):

Sewing the pieces together

The finished product is well loved!

Another quilt in progress

Snuggling under his quilt!

A girl version as well (she even made an identical version for a doll!)

  • Another great idea I've heard about is making teddy bears out of clothing items.  Again there are tutorials online you can use, but if you can also have one made for you.  Here's one site that makes personalized teddy bears from clothing items.  Check it out... they are absolutely adorable!
  • You could cut out part of a special outfit and put it in a frame alongside a picture of the child wearing the outfit.  This also works with embroidery hoops {affiliate link}.  Picture a few of these with special clothing items in them, hanging in your home.

One member of the 365 Items in 365 Days FB group said that when she really likes an item of clothing she tries to find a way to upcycle it into an item they could still use.  Like an older brother's tshirt turned into a younger sister's cute tank top.  Cute idea!

Don't Start Your Decluttering Journey With Sentimental Items

Just a quick reminder that if you have "regular" (non-sentimental) clutter in your home, it's better to deal with that first and set aside your sentimental clutter until your home is less cluttered.  Decluttering your everyday items will likely make more of an impact on your daily life than sentimental decluttering will.  And sentimental items are generally more difficult to tackle so it's better to build up to them.

Whether you're decluttering sentimental items or general clutter, join our 365 Items in 365 Days Facebook group!  You'll find lots of encouragement, motivation, and tips as we all declutter our homes and lives together.  You can find more details about the 365 Items in 365 Days challenge here too.

For More Decluttering Sentimental Items Tips

Want more tips?  Check these the 31 Days of Easy Decluttering series!

Or the Decluttering From A to Z series from last October!

If you'd like more decluttering ideas, you can check out my Decluttering/Purging Tips & Ideas board on Pinterest.

Your turn! 

Do you have baby or children's clothing you've been holding on to?  Are they treasures or clutter?  What are some things you can tell yourself to make it easier? What ways have you found to display / use /store the kids' clothing you've decided to keep?

If you decluttered your baby or kids' clothes, where did you donate them?  Who did you give them to?  Or if you decided to keep a few treasures, how are you using them?  What tips can you share for those who are having trouble letting go of baby or children's clothing?

As you declutter your baby or kids' clothing, take pictures and share them on social media using the hashtag #declutteringsentimentalitems so you can inspire all of us to declutter our sentimental items!

If you've got a picture of how you displayed or re-purposed baby or children's clothes, please share it in the comments or on one of the series' social media posts.   I'd love to see how you are giving honour and respect to your sentimental items!

Happy organizing decluttering!

Here are all the posts in this challenge in case you missed any or want to share some with your friends or family!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!


  1. I saved a few special pieces, but that was all. When I dug into the clothing I had saved from my first daughter to use them the second time around, I discovered that many has stains that has discolored over time. I felt badly, as they looked fine when I packed them away. I learned that it is better to give them away in the moment and let someone else be getting use out of them.

    1. It's amazing how stains don't appear while the outfits are being worn, but after being in storage for awhile they cause such discolouration Seana! I completely agree that it's better to let them be used by someone else right away and then we also don't have to store them :)

  2. I passed on the majority of my son's baby clothes to a friend of mine. The nice thing was seeing her child wear my son's clothing allowed me to enjoy them a second time and relive memories. Helpful post, Hilda!

    1. That's a wonderful bonus of giving clothes to someone you know Sarah! Most of my kids' clothing is passed down to their younger cousins and even my kids get a kick out of seeing their old clothes being worn again.

  3. Hi! Just finding this post now...Need children were gifted homemade baby/toddler quilts with their names on them...what the heck do we do with these? They have outgrown them and they wouldn't save them for their own children because of the please!!

    1. Do you know anyone with the same names that you can give them to? Are the names common enough that you could donate or freecycle them and someone with those names may enjoy them? Maybe you can save the part that's personalized and display it in a frame? Is the other side of the quilt nice enough that someone could use it upside down? It's a tough one when things are home made and personalized. Let me know what you decide!


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