By Carly Glendinning
I’ll put my hands up. I’ve been hoarding my daughter’s teeny tiny baby clothes. Every newborn babygrow I lovingly chose, every milk-stained vest, her little scratch mittens, and the first hat the midwife proudly put on her head. These things are so special, it makes me emotional just to think about them, but they weren’t the only items of clothing stuffed tight into her chest-of-drawers. Children’s clothes have an average of 2-3 months wear, so as my daughter has grown, so has her wardrobe. And I’d kept every last thing, finding it extremely hard to let go.
My little one is 21 months now, and as we live in bijou (read: postage stamp) London flat, we’re rapidly running out of storage space. However much I would have loved to keep it all, I knew least some of it had to go. Luckily, New Year momentum is what gave me the courage to finally tackle a clear out.
From reselling, to storing here’s my top tips if you’re a baby clothes hoarder like me.
Make a memory box
As soon as I opened the drawer that contained my daughter’s very first outfits, I was bawling. To stop myself from closing the drawer in defeat, I had armed myself with one of Meminio’s beautiful leather-bound Memory Cases. I told myself I could keep as many things as I liked, as long as they fitted in the case. Anything that was stained, I washed and folded up neatly.
I tied ribbons around individual pieces and used Memino’s Memory Tags to label them – writing mini love letters detailing each special occasion such as ‘going home from hospital’, ‘first holiday’, ‘first Christmas dress’ etc. Once the box was full, I was ready to move onto the next phase of the clear out.
Set aside pieces to pass on
Let’s be honest, my daughter is not going to thank me in 30 years time if I present her with every outfit from her childhood. The thought of her chucking it all out and saying ‘Mum what possessed you to keep this?!’ whilst holding up a yellowing babygrow is what propelled me to start making piles of things that had to go.
Passing things down to a younger family member or friend’s little one is not only doing a good deed for the environment, but also a little easier on the heartstrings as you don’t have to let go completely. Luckily, my daughter has younger cousins so I earmarked the pieces I thought they’d like best.
Resell pieces that are in good condition
Preloved children’s fashion is having a huge moment right now and there are some great sites where you can resell your little ones’ things (and buy a wide range of baby clothing secondhand). Premium pieces tend to sell the best, so I set aside anything that was still in really good condition to list. I love shopping with independent brands such as Konges Slojd, Organic Zoo, Liewood, and Claude & Co, and these brands are all in demand.
Samantha Valentine the co-founder of preloved children’s fashion platform, Dotte, says: “Invest in quality and desirability. Many cheap brands won’t resell at all. For example, supermarket brands are often just not desirable enough, which means you can’t recoup the cost through resale. In the long run you actually loose more money by buying cheap and fast. Whereas independent brands like Mini Rodini resell for way more than 50% of the RRP secondhand.”
You can check out the best resale platforms for children’s fashion here.
Donate and recycle anything that’s left
Charity shops are overflowing, so reselling and passing on are definitely the most sustainable options. However, for those pieces that won’t sell, you can’t find a home for, or are just too stained, there are a few options.
Baby banks are often looking for baby clothes, contact your local ones to find out if you can help. Little Village is one of my favourites to support. I’ll also be making use of Dotte’s Donate & Recycle initiative.
What I won’t be doing is chucking anything in the bin! I can’t promise that I won’t have to buy another memory box though, as I’m not quite ready to let go of that mountain of my daughter’s very first vests yet.