What to Do With Those Too-Small Baby Clothes?

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Folks give them to you. You find yourself nabbing some when they are sale. Cousin Cora gives you a bag full of them every time she sees you. I’m talking baby clothes. Since your little one goes through a few wardrobe changes a day, it’s great to have enough options on hand.

But, akin to weeds and hair, that baby is growing every minute of every day and, before you know it, she will outgrow every cute outfit in those drawers. Perhaps she’s your youngest child or maybe she’s your “one and only.” Regardless, you now have 23 snap-bottom undershirts, 19 sleepers, 10 pull-on pants, 13 sundresses, and 11 pairs of socks that no one in your abode will wear again.


So, the question at hand: what do you do with those too-small clothes? From passing it onto friends to cool crafty ideas, we’ve rounded up fabulous ways to reuse or recycle those duds that your baby has outgrown.

1. Donate, donate, donate. Gather up the footie pajamas, the sundresses, the pants, everything that’s now too small for your babe, and get them into the hands of those in need. Know a neighbor mom expecting twins? Pass her a bag of clothes. Large organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill, take used children’s clothing, as do many child- and family-focused shelters in your community. Remember, as you go through those drawers, take a gander at any toys or baby gear that you no longer use and donate those as well. Paying it forward and donating is a great habit to get into and sets a terrific example for your kids.

2. Hold a kids’ closet swap. Invite friends and family who have kiddos and “shop” together in your home. Instruct invitees to bring 5-10 items (the ones that aren’t totally raggedy) and be prepared to swap. This works best if you have a wide variety of kids’ ages represented, so that parents can shop for that next size up. Also, if you have many moms with young toddlers who need to rid their closets of too-small items, invite a few moms-to-be who can pick up essentials for their little ones on the way. Since they won’t be able to bring clothes to swap, just have them provide the snacks!

3. Frame the moment. One way to cherish these fleeting baby days is to turn that oft-worn baby dress into art. You can frame the actual onesie or take pictures of a bunch of favorite outfits and arrange them in a chic photo collage. Of course, keep a few to pass down to other generations. The rest? Donate!

4. Make a memory quilt or pillow. Gather up those too-small clothes and cut out some squares to create something your child can still use (and maybe pass down to her kids). The queen of all things crafty, Martha Stewart, has this fabulous quilt tutorial, but there are also companies out there that will craft a lovely keepsake blanket or pillow for you.

5. Add to that toy box. Those soft and colorful clothes are perfect to transform from things you wear into things for play. Check out this cool idea from HomeGrownHappy, which turns those old duds into a soft book with different texture and colors. Use the smallest hats and shirts as costumes for Baby’s little stuffed friends, or make new stuffed friends. Pinterest is chock full of how-tos and tutorials on making owls, bears, and penguins (oh my!) out of old clothes.


What do you do with the clothes your little ones have outgrown?

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