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Keeping Clothes for Next Baby: Top Do’s and Don’t’s from a Mom of 4

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Inside: Wondering if keeping clothes for the next baby is really worth it? Get advice on what to keep and what not to keep, where and how to store outgrown baby clothes, and how long to hold onto those clothes while waiting for the next baby.

Whenever you start adding branches to the family tree, it’s sensible to consider storing baby clothes for your next child (or children).

That’s because when you have squish number one, you quickly figure out that baby clothes can be a big expense.

With as much growing as babies go through in the first year, they definitely don’t get the mileage out of their clothes that bigger kids do.

I remember having adorable outfits that were gifted to my daughter…and some that I discovered in the closet with the tags still attached, unworn before she outgrew them.

But of course once we decide to keep the baby clothes, the next questions that come up are:

  • What and how many clothes should I keep?
  • What’s the best way to store them- and where?
  • How long should I really keep them?

The logistics can be tricky. Some parents give up and just decide to donate it all to avoid the headache.

But if you’re planning on having more kids and you want to keep older siblings’ clothes, you’ve landed on the right post.

Below is a guide for answering all these questions about keeping clothes for the next baby, and how to organize your efforts.

You Might Also Like: 9+ Ways to Give Away Baby Stuff (Donate Like a Pro!)

outgrown baby clothes washed and folded neatly, waiting to be stored

How to Decide Which Clothes to Keep for the Next Baby


One of the hardest things for sure is deciding which baby clothes to keep and which ones to let go. When you don’t even know which gender the next baby will be, this can be really hard!

Here are the baby clothes I decided to keep after the first baby:

  • Items that could work for both boys and girls: bibs, neutral socks, outfits and layering pieces.
  • Sentimental or handmade items (things from grandma or outfits worn in special pictures)
  • Wardrobe staples like sleepers, long-sleeved onesies and pants sets (basic solid colors especially).
  • A small number of boutique pieces that would be expensive to replace.
  • Soft, thin jackets that worked well in carseats

And here are the baby clothes I generally decided NOT to keep:

  • A lot of newborn sizes (outgrown in 1 week!)
  • Less practical pieces (shirts that didn’t snap and constantly creeped up; overalls, skirts, anything scratchy or that wrinkled easily)
  • Shoes for ages prior to walking (these are the only kind I liked actually)
  • Bulky coats (we just never used them)
  • Anything with stains, unless I was willing to stain treat them before storing 

After I had my favorite or most practical pieces left, I also sorted these by size. And then I removed a few more pieces if I simply had too many of that particular size. 

Most moms will advise having 7-12 complete outfits for each size, and I think this is a good range. Don’t forget, you’ll likely still be gifted some clothing later on; people can’t resist buying tiny outfits!

When it came to the newborn and 0-3 month sizes, I kept sleepers more than anything else.

Newborns go through a lot of diapers and sleepers were the easiest to change. In the winter, I could simply add a onesie underneath.

Plus, who needs to try to match separate pieces on SO little sleep? Function over fashion was my motto.

Related: Baby Capsule Wardrobe: How to Create One & Why You Need To

baby clothes stacked and stored neatly on shelf in closet

How to Store the Baby Clothes You Do Keep (and Where)

Once you’ve narrowed down the clothes you actually want to keep, the next part is a little less fun, but a necessary discussion.

How you store clothing will depend on where you’re going to store them.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a spare bedroom, you can simply hang up or tuck away everything neatly into an extra chest of drawers.

At one point we had an old dresser that fit inside a spare closet, and this worked well (no closet? check out these ideas for storing baby clothes without a closet).

With my oldest though, we lived in a tidy little duplex (translation: small and cramped). There was little space for storing our everyday clothes, much less a potential future human’s wardrobe.

So I thought I would take advantage of a little corner in our garage. I labeled plastic storage totes by size with a Sharpie and stacked them in a precarious tower, out of the way.

Where I went wrong was that I had some of the clothes separated in plastic trash bags inside those totes.

The garage was not heated or cooled, and this created a damp environment. The plastic bags probably trapped excess moisture, and many of the clothes yellowed or had mildew spots when we pulled them out just a year later. 

If I had a do-over, I would have used some vacuum-seal bags and stacked them in the top of a climate-controlled closet to save a ton of space. They are best storage containers for baby clothes, in my opinion.

Masking tape or simple stick-on labels work great with these. If you want to be super-organized, you could use labels and print the sizes/description in a large font.

I also could have used some under-bed storage with sturdy lids to keep out dust and bugs.

If you want the beauty of stackable containers, for say, putting them in your garage, you could put the bags in sturdy bins like THESE.

A Caveat: The Reality of Long-Term Storage

If you actually get to this point and realize you do not have a practical place to store more than a few outfits of each size- don’t panic.

It’s not worth your sanity trying to cram outgrown baby clothing into every tiny nook of your home.

It’s also not worth spending lots of money on creative storage solutions, when you might end up changing your mind on using them later.

I will note, the LAST thing you want to do is pay for a storage facility just to store baby things! Resist the urge.

You can always sell the clothes you don’t have room for now, and put aside those savings for gently used clothing the next time around. It’s not the end of the world.

Related: 15 Clever Baby Clothes Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

woman holding negative pregnancy test, wanted another baby

How Long to Keep Clothes for the Next Baby

This is one of those nearly impossible questions to tackle: how long do I keep baby clothes in hopes of using them with future children?

It is true that styles change often – and there’s also the gender conundrum.

If you store baby girl clothes, but have two more boys in succession, instead, should you have onto the girl clothes that long? We’re talking YEARS.

If colors and styles don’t matter to you, you’re pretty safe storing clothes as long as you have the space and desire to keep them.

However, there is really an emotional aspect to storing baby clothing that we might not realize after that first baby. When we place those little layette sets in a box, we’re trusting that we’ll have another chance to open that box, and snuggle another new baby wrapped in the familiar contents.

We don’t just tuck away boxes for the future; we’re storing up our hopes and dreams for our family.

I had a friend who recently, after years of secondary infertility, gave away the last of her son’s baby clothes. She found great peace in giving them to a foster care organization.

But regardless, it was a sacrifice. A really tough decision to make.

This isn’t to discourage you from keeping your baby clothes- or from chasing those dreams of expanding your family! But I think it’s wise to understand the emotional ties we might have with those little outfits.

Each piece is tied to a memory, and they can bring out allll the emotions, regardless of the reasons for keeping them. 

adorable baby lying on top of colorful outgrown baby clothes

What to Remember When Keeping Clothes for the Next Baby

Sometimes little decisions like how many baby clothes to keep can feel overwhelming.

I mean, at this point we’re chasing a toddler, maybe outgrowing your space (like I was), and trying to figure out the unforeseeable future. 

Here’s the truth of the matter from a mom of four: It won’t really matter in the long run whether baby #2 wears all of baby #1’s clothes so you can get the side-by-side picture in the baby album – or not.

As we had more kids, I learned to declutter pretty intensely – even when we had more storage space.

It was probably a personal preference of mine, but keeping too many clothes can make a mama a little nutty. Even the best-planned storage system can be hard to maintain, especially if you have more than a couple of kids.

Whatever you decide, just enjoy the stage your little one is in, and don’t worry too much about the externals (literally).

One day, they WILL wear those clothes for more than a few months, I promise. And the decision fatigue won’t be so intense.

You might even realize that baby #2 needs little more than a diaper to be cute and happy, most days. Problem solved!

Read Next: What Baby Stuff Should I Keep? Clear Guidelines for Difficult Decisions


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