Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Closet Cleanout, Episode: Baby Gear

It's no secret that I am not an organizational wizard.

I blame it on my artistic tendencies.  I blame it on my busy schedule.  I blame it on Annie.  I blame it on... myself.  Yeah, it's pretty much just me.  I'm ok with a pile of clutter.  Or three.

BUT.  It has to be within certain zones, and I have my limits.  Our living room is always neat (or within a two-minute toy pickup session away from neatness), and I like my baby's room to look nice and be functional.  I'm not ok with Beep's closets being chock-full of outgrown clothes and infant gear.  Which they were...  So recently I went on a binge of organizing and storing all things infant.

I'll spare you the details, but I do want you to keep in mind that I tackled this on a Saturday morning while Cabbage was feeding/cleaning stalls/generally avoiding being sucked into this project.  Luckily, I had a very good helper.  She's about two and a half feet tall and looks something like this:

Actually, she looks exactly like that.

So together Beep and I pulled out, repacked, reorganized, refolded/unfolded/refolded (thanks, Beep!) clothes, nursing supplies, infant gear, baby bottles, and a million other things. 

Over the past year or so, I'd tried a few different categories for and methods of storing baby stuff, and it all seemed too general or too cumbersome.  Here's what I finally came up with, and I love it. 

(I realize it might seem forehead-slapping dumb to most people, but hey.  I'm organizationally challenged.)

1. I set aside all super-important, family-heirloom-type keepsake items in a totally separate bin (not pictured).

2. I stopped trying to cram items into too-small boxes.  Instead, I made peace with some unused space in bigger containers.

3. I hunted down some storage bins we had half-filled with crap we didn't need lying around, wiped them out, and labelled them properly.  This was a better option than my previous method which included using empty diaper boxes with barely legible pen markings.  I feel like I've actually achieved adulthood.

4. Clothing, shoes, and outerwear was separated by size:
    0-3 months
    3-6 months
    6-12 months
(I stopped there, since she's petite she still can wear some bigger 12-18 month clothing)

[I'd like you to notice the labels prove my baby really does go by the name Beep at home.  It's not some random blog code name.]

5. When in doubt, I separated things according to the smallest category.  For example, if a shirt was sized 6 months, I put it in the 3-6 month bin, not the 6-12 month one.  Overthinking this in the past left me completely flummoxed.  I like this solution because whenever I pull out that bin again I may have a few items on the too-large side, but haven't missed the chance to have a little person wear them again.

6. As I went, I double-checked that everything was separated by size, and left all bins open until every. last. thing. was packed up.  Very helpful when finding stray socks and onesies.

7. A separate bag was dedicated with Goodwill items, for the stuff I knew we wouldn't use again in the future.  I'd rather have another baby get good use of something that's just not our taste, after all!

8. I dedicated a bin to all our feeding supplies, including nursing supplies, breast pumps, bottles, burp cloths, bottle drying rack, etc.

9. I used kitchen liner garbage bags to separately package bulky gear-type items like boppy, nursing pillow, bouncy seat, bassinet to the pack-n-play, baby play gym.  Then I stuffed them all into one huge 55 gallon yard bag, so everything is grouped together.  Yay!

At the end of the morning, this is what my pile looked like:

Ready for storage in the attic, along with the baby bath seat and baby swing. 

Now we have tons of empty closet space in Beep's room... just right for panic-stuffing a mess when the doorbell rings.

I may be more organized now, but I'm still me.

How do you organize your stored clothes?  What tricks work best for storing your personal or seasonal items?


  1. love it..thanks for helping me to understand which pile the 6month clothes go in.... the 3-6 month or the 6-12 month.... i was definitely confused by that one.....maybe its the mommy brain still hanging around from pregnancy, eh? ;)

    Great job! I think i might try your suggestions! :)

  2. I have not been on the computer in a while and just read through all of your posts about Georgie. She was such a special friend. It's wonderful that you share your animal memories with the universe - they are listening too, and remember ;)

  3. good ideas! I do pretty much the same. But I also make a box for the unisex clothing... so if we have a boy, I don't have to dig through the girly stuff.

    Anyway, you know that the moment you put these in the attic you will get pregnant, right?! ;-)


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