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Organizing Hand-Me-Downs (with FREE Printables!)

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

I am a huge fan of hand-me-downs. The Cs are so rough on clothes that I snatch up anything I can get for free/almost free. I don’t know that poor baby C has ever owned a piece of clothing that hasn’t been handed down to him by someone else!

What I didn’t love was the huge unorganized sprawl of clothes I had amassed after receiving hand-me-downs from various sources and storing away big C’s clothes for baby C to wear someday. It looked a little something like this:

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

You can see why my type-A was starting to short-circuit, right?! Not only were the clothes taking up a lot of space, but I had no idea what we had and what we didn’t.

I bought Caleb a new bathing suit this summer only to find that we already had three more in his size– I just didn’t know it because his clothes were a mess! One day when I couldn’t take it any longer, I decided to tackle the hand-me-downs head-on.

Pegboards with Art Displayed

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I separated everything by size, threw out or donated everything I knew the Cs wouldn’t wear, and gathered up all of the spare clear bins I had in my house.

Then I did what I always do when I attempt a boring project– I created pretty printables to make it more fun! For the clothing items that would be in drawers and bins, I created inventory sheets. That way when I go to move the Cs to their next size up, I’ll know exactly what they have and what they still need. I made the printables in blue and green…

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

{Click here for FREE printable!}

and also in purple and blue…

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

{Click here for FREE printable!}

To use them, I would gather every item of one size and note the size on the top of the card. I also noted the date so I would know when the card was last updated. Then I listed what we had in each category (3 t-shirts, 4 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of pajamas, etc.)– easy peasy!

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

In some of the drawers, I filed the clothes vertically so I could fit a lot of clothes neatly in a small space:

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

In other containers it was easier to use a more traditional folding method:

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

When everything was neatly organized into bins, I popped in the inventory card, and they were set to go!

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Whew! That was a lot of clothes. We’re not leaving them in a big stack like that, but the Cs’ closet is currently under construction {more on that later} so now they will be super easy to pop back into the closet when it’s ready!

After I had all of the folded clothes under control there were still a few hanging items that needed to be organized. I didn’t need an inventory sheet since I could clearly see what was there, but I wanted a clear separation in the sizes, so I whipped up these little tags.

Clothes Separators

And you can have some of those too! I included sizes newborn – kids’ 18 and even threw in some blank ones in case you wanted to use them for something else. Again, I made them in blue and green…

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

{Click here for FREE printable!}

…or purple and blue!

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

{Click here for FREE printable!}

I printed mine out on card stock and laminated them. Then I cut them out and snipped out the hole that I need to hang them.

Organizing Hand-Me-Downs by Just a Girl and Her Blog

And now they’re all neat and organized! So pretty! This was one of those projects that I put off for a long time because I knew it would be kind of a pain, but now that it’s done I’m thrilled to have a place and label for everything.

I won’t waste money on clothes I didn’t know we already had, and switching out sizes will be super simple now that everything is in its own bin or neatly hung in the closet. Love that!

[Psssttt… Don’t miss our top 100 tips for organizing every single room in your house!]

What’s your best tip for organizing hand-me-downs?

32 Comments

  1. What a great idea with the closet hanger size separator. I love that. I have two boys too and I just unloaded one of the bins for my soon to be 3 year old and it had all 3T and 4T clothing in it so I just hung it all in his closet but it would be nice to separate the years rather than put the 4T items back in the bin. I think I use these printables! Thanks.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Jaime! Their stuff was such a mess I had to do something, lol! Enjoy the printables! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Samantha @ Five Heart Home says:

    You are an organizing queen, Abby! I am right there with you on hand-me-downs…I am so thankful for them, but boy are they a pain to keep up with! Love how you tackled this job…well done!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, my friend! It is definitely a challenge. I am notorious for just saying, “Cool, more hand-me-downs!” and just shoving the box in the corner of the closet and forgetting about it, but no more! I’m sticking to my system! 😉 Hope you and your crew have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  3. I love those tags! This would be so handy! I just wish all sizes fit the same, ugh! I have 1 container with too big clothes (I am goodwill crazy), and I just stack them in according to the ones i need next on the top…it’s not a great method, lol. Thanks for these printables and lucky you to get all these hand-me-downs! xo

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, friend! I totally hear ya on the sizes fitting differently! When I put stuff away for baby C, I usually try to store it by the way it fits rather than the size on the tag. It’s been helpful for him, but with Connor it was so hit and miss! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, Allyson!

      ~Abby =)

  4. JaneEllen says:

    You are so organized. Great and fantastic way to organize their clothes. You could be one of those people that go to other’s homes to organize their closets. Great job there gal, love it.
    Wish I’d had these inventory cards couple weeks ago when we went thru the closet and drawers to take summer clothes out, put winter ones in. Usually hubs gives me lots of guff but this year he was quite helpful getting his clothes out, folding them, etc. Putting winter clothes away.
    Not a job I cherish twice a year. Then there’s the in between times like now when one day we’re freezing then it’s hot shorts weather like today so we have to leave a few things out for past season.
    A few years ago when I lost my job I went into my sewing room to find some fabric. Well that started a massive organization of both sewing and craft room. Took me most of the summer as I have lots of stuff. When we moved in I just put things away as quickly as I could since I worked then. What a job but now I can still find things I organized in 2009. It’s not altogether great but better than it was then, of course I’ve acquired more since that summer.
    I also print out many projects, ideas, so have notebooks organized now with pages in page protectors in notebooks most of which I got at thrift stores for less than $1.
    Great post Abby. I am still thinking about what you have to go thru next year. Think there will be many people praying for you. You are a keeper gal. Sorry if I intruded myself telling you about my grandson. Was hoping to inspire. I found the newspaper page with his dr. and him just a few days after his abdominal surgery. It gives me shivers just thinking about what he went thru. God bless you, him and all others that have to go thru such hard challenges. Happy days

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I loved hearing your grandson’s story! Thank you for sharing it– absolutely no intrusion at all!
      Your craft room sounds wonderful! My craft area is more like a “nook” and it is constantly overflowing with way too much stuff! Maybe you can come organize my craft supplies, and I’ll organize your clothes. Deal? 😉 Hope you have a great weekend, Jane Ellen!

      ~Abby =)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! I’ll be right over! 😉 Thank you so much, Heidi! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  5. I love this organizing idea. I have all of Brooklyn’s hand me downs and it’s hard to keep them organized!!!! This will work perfect on Maddyn’s side of the closet!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Jenna! They were overrunning the closets, so I had to do something! 😀 Hope all of you guys are doing well! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  6. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    Great idea Abby – Hand me downs are such a nightmare to keep track of! I just have big bins with size labels on the outside and then when the seasons change I have to fish through the whole bin to get out what I need….agh. Such a job!! Great printables too – thanks:)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you! I so hear you on the frustration– I was using diaper boxes and garbage bags, and I just couldn’t take it anymore, lol! Hope you’re having a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  7. ingrid@now at home mom says:

    oh! thanks so much for sharing these Abby! they are perfect, don’t know why but I am not organized when it comes to this! I need to print these now! (not kidding) 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh ours were such a huge mess. I just had to do something about them, lol! Thanks so much for stopping by, Ingrid!

      ~Abby =)

  8. April Hoff says:

    This is amaaaazing!!!! What a great idea! So much better than my ginormous tubs full of clothes in the basement! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, friend! I just couldn’t stand our jumbled mess any more, lol. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Hey Abby. This is a great idea! Love the printables. Thanks as always. You won’t see comments from me for a while as I’m going to Vegas for a week!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Vegas?! Nice. Have so much fun, my friend! “See” you when you get back!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Ricki @ The Questionable Homesteader says:

    I love the clothing inventory sheets!!! Will have to save this for when I have kids, I remember when my sister had kids everyone was giving her hand me downs, this system looks like a great idea. Will be sharing

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It gets crazy with hand-me-downs! Start planning your system now, lol! Hope you’re having a wonderful day, Ricki! Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Abby =)

  11. rainonatinroof01 says:

    Girl, you are an organizing queen! Love it!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Jenna! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Genius! I love hand me downs, my basement is full of them. I have a pretty good system keeping them sorted by size and having the next size bin in my daughter’s closet ready to go. I love the idea of inventory on the bins, that would save me from going through them multiple times and making a list when i have to go shopping. Also love the closet tags, I am going to use these for my new little one on the way. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Sarah! It sounds like you’ve got a great system going! It’s amazing how fast clothes multiply, right?! Congrats on your new little one– how exciting! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Katie Goldsworthy says:

    Thanks for the labels and thanks for posting this to Monday Funday! I need all the hand-me-down help I can get! I have 5 and we are blessed to recieve a lot of hand-me-downs, but it is a crazy system to find what to do with them all! Just shared your post on G+

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Katie! You are my hero for handling hand-me-downs for 5 kiddos– I can barely handle my 2, lol! Thanks for hosting such a fun party! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Nicely done! I store mine in bins in the attic. Can’t say it’s as organized or neat as yours, but at least I know they’re there when we are ready for them. Thank you for the ideas and printables!! You did an amazing job!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Michele! If you know where everything is, you are 10 steps ahead of where I was, lol! It’s feels great to finally have everything organized! Hope you’re having a wonderful week! Happy Halloween!

      ~Abby =)

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