Every item of baby clothing, shoes and accessories that I own that is not currently in use is in a bin like this. I buy only clear bins of the same size so they are easy to label and I'm able to quickly and easily see most of what is inside.
I started by sorting all of my clothes by gender and size, then filling a bin with one gender/size, and then adding the next size up if it fit as well. I have two bins dedicated to things like bottles, pacifiers, burp clothes, bibs, baby spoons, swaddlers, receiving blankets, car seat inserts etc. I have also heard of people keeping a separate bins for things like white onesies and gender neutral clothes that could be used for either gender. I chose to split my items like that into boy and girl bins, since that fit my needs better.
Guys, I seriously have 13 bins that look like this. Six of them are in the garage in storage, since I don't need to access them often. Upstairs in the kids closet I keep 6 more: 1 bin that each of the kids will soon be growing into, and 1 bin for the clothes that each child is currently (or soon will be) growing out of. As soon as they grow out of something, I wash and fold it and put it in the appropriate bin. When they need new clothes, I go to the next size up bin and look at what I have in there before deciding if we need to buy more of that size/season. The last bin is downstairs in another closet and contains all the shoes my kids have grown out of. I think eventually I'll sort them by gender, but I don't have enough right now to need to do that.
It's a super simple system and doesn't take a ton of time and effort, as long as you keep up on it. If you are just starting, the initial cost for the bins might be a bit more than you expect (I usually pay $5-6 per bin) but I promise it will be worth it! Once you get started you should only need to buy a few bins/year, depending on how many kids and clothes you have.
Other things that I have learned about storing clothes/shoes:
- Throw away anything that has holes or stains
- Tie shoes together with elastics or twist ties to keep track of pairs when storing
- Every time your child grows out of a size, look through the clothes in that size and give anything they didn't wear to D.I., Goodwill, or someone in need.
- When others are giving you clothes, be selective about what you keep. If you doubt that you will ever put your child in it, DON'T KEEP IT!
- Like the above note, don't keep clothes that you dislike out of obligation. If it was a gift, maybe put it on your child once or twice when you know the giver will see it, then give it away.
Speaking of giving things away, I generally keep an empty diaper box in the closet where I can put clothes that I want to give away. If I find something in a closet that I dislike or that they wore once and it wasn't the right fit etc. then I throw it in the box. When the box fills up, I donate it.
The bins make it so easy to find anything I ever need. And as a bonus, when I'm done having children and I'm ready to sell or donate all my clothes, it will be SO easy to do!