As I hung up the last piece of clothing from the basket, I looked back at the washing line and smiled at all the teeny, tiny pieces of clothing hanging off it. I was in the final weeks of pregnancy and washing his clothes was the last thing on my ‘before the baby arrives’ to-do list.
As the big day drew closer I often wondered what he would look like in these cute little outfits. Would he have a mop of hair hiding inside the hooded onesies? Would he have chubby little rolls that fill out the four zero leggings? Or would he have long legs like his daddy?
Fast-forward four months and now I’m sitting on the floor surrounded by all the clothes I once hung out on the line. My son is peacefully sleeping nearby in his bassinet. I’ve been putting off the packing-up task for weeks; not because I couldn’t be bothered, but because I hate the thought of packing away all his precious little outfits that now have too many zeroes on them. This even includes those first few outfits he wore at the hospital, which were miles too big for him at the time.
Watching my baby grow these last few months has been full of bittersweet moments. I want him to thrive; I want him to get bigger. But I also want one last hug with my tiny little newborn. And packing away his clothes that no longer fit remind me that my baby will never be that little again. In fact, my baby won’t even be a baby for much longer.
It also feels a little bit like a waste. I have clothes I still wear that I bought years ago; he has clothes, still in mint condition, that no longer fit. But if you’re thinking of just packing these clothes away, you might like to know there are a few different things you can do with them.
A couple of months ago, Kids Circle launched a new website where you can trade “cute, beautiful, and good quality” baby and toddler clothes with other parents. “We help you save time and money by offering a variety of quality preloved clothing for babies and children up to the age of five,” states the website.
According to Grace from Kids Circle, trading your clothes through the service is simple. You register on the website and they’ll then send you Kids Circle bags, so you know what will fit in a 3kg parcel. You then choose the clothes you wish to swap and upload photos and details to the website. “Once you’ve uploaded a bag for swapping, you are ready to select one for yourself,” says Grace. She says that a bag of clothing from Kids Circle incurs a flat cost of $24.95 to cover all postage and handling.
If you just can’t part with those precious little clothes, get creative and turn them into a memory quilt or pillow, a patchwork piece made with material from your baby’s favourite outfits.
Annie Syred made her first memory quilt in 2012 for her first granddaughter’s second birthday. As well as creating a keepsake, she says it gives you the chance to snuggle up to your memories.
Annie says to make a single-size quilt, you need around three plastic bags full of clothing. You then cut out all the motifs or pieces of fabric you want to feature on the quilt; the only rule is that stretch material must be backed with non-stretch fabric so it doesn’t distort the shape of the quilt. Other than that, Anne says to just have fun and watch the quilt grow. She has also started a small, part-time business, Annmade Memory Quilts, making memory quilts for parents, including a mother whose son sadly passed away.
Another great option is to donate your baby’s clothes to charity, who can then distribute the clothing to parents who need them. One such organisation in Sydney is The Dandelion Support Network, who accept, sort, clean and safety check pre-loved nursery equipment and children’s clothes. These are then distributed through local hospitals and support agencies to some of the most vulnerable families in the community.
The Dandelion Support Network will also gladly accept other baby items you no longer need. “We always run short of essential items like cots, bassinets, prams and newborn suitable car seats,” says Sarah from The Dandelion Support Network. “[These items] can have a huge impact on the safety and comfort of a new baby.”
If you want to make a buck back from your baby’s clothes, sell them on sites like eBay and Gumtree – or maybe even get together with a few friends and hire a stall at the local markets.
This one doesn’t need an explanation. If this is your first baby (or second, third, fourth …) and you plan on having more, put the clothes away in case your next baby is the same sex and you can reuse them. Or just put them away to pass on to pregnant family and friends when the time is right – let those much-loved outfits get a chance to live on in your social circle.
Nicole Thomson-Pride is a first time mum and freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter here.