One minute she’s wearing 3-6 months and the next, she’s already outgrown 9-12 months. Keeping up with your babies’ seemingly never-ending growth spurts in an organized way, figuring out what to do with all of babies’ outgrown clothes, can feel overwhelming. Here, we’ve compiled some ideas on how you can effectively and easily deal with all those clothes while positively impacting those around you.

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Photo: Andres Rodriguez via Flickr

Hand Them Down

The first thing that comes to mind is giving your clothes to another sibling or family member. Recipients of hand-me-downs are usually super excited and grateful to be given such an amazing gift. It saves lots of money and it’s also fun to see favorite outfits on your other kids or nieces and nephews.

A couple tips for hand-me-downs:

1. Save only the clothes that are in great condition. Check out each piece and figure out if it’s worth saving. Is it stained beyond repair? Does it have holes in it? If so, then put them in a separate pile to recycle (which we’ll cover next).

2. Wash everything you decide to keep. You want to make sure any odor or stains don’t attract bugs or other creepy crawlies while they’re being stored.

3. Stay organized with your storage. Whether you choose plastic bins, or the oversize ziplock bags that you can suck the air out of, keep like items and same sizes together and then label them.

4. Keep your clothes smelling fresh. Before you pack the clothes away, stick a few dryer sheets in to keep all those sweet baby outfits smelling fresh and clean.

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Photo: Wastebusters via Flickr

Recycle

It can be tempting to just throw clothes away that no longer have a usable life. But experts estimate that the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year, most of which end up in landfills. So what can be done with all those clothes? Recycle them!

There are many for profit and non-profit clothes recycling companies in existence. One of the easiest options is to simply stop by your local H&M clothing store (usually found in malls) and drop off your used, any condition, any style or brand clothing to their “No Garment Goes to Waste Collection.”  Those items will find new life as cleaning cloths, insulation or textile fibers.

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Photo: Mark Pilgrim via Flickr

Donate Them

It can be downright exhausting to manage all the clothing that our littles outgrow so quickly, and if you don’t have the time, or desire to sort, wash and store all of them, donating is another great option with several different avenues you can explore.

Freecycle: Similar to recycling, freecycling involves finding people who would really love what you have to give away. The website freecycle.org matches people in your area with free stuff. A great option when you have baby clothes that you’d like to pass on to others for free and don’t mind a little bit of work to connect to others who would directly benefit from your items.

Schoola: You can now donate your gently used items while raising money for your favorite school! It’s called Schoola. All you have to do is log on to their website, request a pre-paid bag, fill it up with your clothes, drop it in the mail and start raising cash for the school of your choice.

Local Thrift Store: If you’re into donating clothes, your local thrift stores are also a great option. Most of them have easy drop off locations where you can leave your items and even get a tax write-off in return, if you so desire.

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Photo: Jonathan Rolande via Flickr

Sell Them

We all have our favorite outfits that are just plain hard to give away or donate. It’s nice to make money on all those clothes that we swooned over when we first had our baby. If this is your predicament, and you don’t mind a little extra work to make back your hard-earned money, then selling them is right down your alley and you have a few options.

Resale: Stores like Once Upon a Child are resale stores which means you bring in all your stuff (washed) and they pick out the items they’d like to buy from you. The nice part about resale is that they give you cash on the spot. The downside is that they can be quite picky about what they’ll accept. To find a resale shop near you, simply Google “children’s resale store.”

Consignment: This idea is similar to resale, except the store doesn’t pay you until they sell the item. There are children’s consignment stores all over the place in brick and mortar locations as well as online consignment stores like threadup.com. It pays to have your items in pristine condition as well as keep track of when they expire at the store so you can go and pick them up. It takes a bit of extra work, but it could pay off!

Tag sale. The good ole tag sale is the final way you can sell your baby’s outgrown clothes. Washing the items and organizing them is necessary and pricing them to sell (or being negotiable) will help you get rid of them all, while making some cash. It’s also a great time to throw in other baby items you no longer use. A helpful tip is to post your garage sale on craigslist.com with a picture of some of the items you will be selling. This is sure to whet the appetite of shoppers who are specifically looking for baby items.

Now that you have lots of ideas to get you started, what will you decide to do with your baby’s outgrown clothes? Please share your ideas below.

-Sarah Blight