How to Organize Baby Clothes- On A Budget!

Good news, it’s not as hard as you think to organize all your baby clothes without spending hours folding and going into credit card debt.

baby socks on clothespins

Consider your own closet for a moment. Are you the Type-A, super organized individual whose clothing is hung seasonally and color-coordinated? Do your socks always end up in the sock drawer, shirts nicely pressed and hung, and shoes nicely lined up on the shoe rack?

Or are you more the type to pile your clean clothes on “The Chair” in the corner of the room and merely shrug at the wrinkles? Can’t ever find the shirt you’re looking for that you swore you washed on Friday? 

Maybe whichever type you are, your partner is the opposite? That can be lots of fun (said no one ever).

The point is, those Type A’s are onto something- getting dressed and ready for your day is a breeze when everything you own is neatly organized, hung, and folded, waiting for you to grab it and go. “The Chair” isn’t doing you any favors when you’re running late and you can’t find that one purple shirt that you swore you washed last week turns out to be at the bottom of your dirty hamper. 

When you have a newborn, those rushed mornings trying to find the exact articles of clothing you need, preferably clean and wrinkle-free, won’t be any easier if you don’t get serious about organization. That’s why this article exists- to help you figure out exactly how to organize your baby’s clothes to save you time and energy, without breaking the bank. Ready? Let’s get started!

(Not ready? Did that sudden call-to-action send you into a panic because you realized you don’t even have any baby clothes yet, let alone nursery furniture to put them in?! Don’t worry- we’ve got you covered. Check out our comprehensive guide to all of the essentials a newborn baby needs, and take a look at the preparing for a newborn checklist while you’re at it!)

Everything In Its Place 📦

baby shoes lambs on top of sweaters

When it comes to organizing your baby’s clothing, there’s a lot more than just folding onesies or hanging tiny jackets. If you really want to create a nursery that works for you and is easily scalable as your little one grows, you’ll want to do some prep work to set everything up, before baby arrives and you turn into a sleep-deprived zombie. Kidding! (Not really).

What Clothes Will You Need Out?

If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant (congrats!), you might not have too many clothes to organize yet. But by the time your due date is approaching, you might feel like you’ve been inundated with a wave of little onesies and adorable outfits. 

The problem is, there are a lot of those clothes that you won’t need immediately. For example, that 6-9 month winter jacket you received at the baby shower- absolutely adorable, but you’re due in June and your little one won’t need it for months. No need to keep that out- you can store it (more on this later). 

But how many clothes should you keep out at a time? What kind of clothes? And where should you put them?

Regardless of your baby’s age or the season, there are a few essentials you’ll always need to have out and accessible. You can store extras if you have too many, but you will need at least 1-2 weeks worth of the following items out and accessible:

  • Diapers (disposable, cloth, or a combination of both)
  • Onesies (one-piece garment with snaps at the bottom for easy diaper changing; can be paired with leggings for cooler temps)
  • Sleepers (pajamas for newborns! These can either be footies or gowns)

Once you’ve gathered the essentials, you can narrow down your needs and prioritize accordingly. This is somewhat unique to your situation and will be based on the amount of clothing and the amount of space you have available. Generally, you can rotate your baby’s wardrobe based on the normal sizing convention of 3-month increments. 

This means that when you bring your newborn home, you’ll want to have the 0-3 month clothing in the dresser and closet easily accessible. After a few months, you can gradually remove the items that are too small and start to replace them with seasonally appropriate, properly sized clothing.

How to Organize the Dresser

A dresser is an essential item for most baby nurseries. With so many tiny clothes, it doesn’t make sense to try and hang everything in the closet. Plus, baby clothes fold up very small so you can start out by using just a few of the dresser drawers, and have room to expand as your little one grows. 

It’s also very handy to use small baskets, bins, or other organizers within each dresser drawer to separate tiny items like socks and hats.  We love these Foldable Cloth Storage Boxes. They come in sets of 4 or 6, whichever one you’d like. If you’d prefer to save some space and hang your storage space, try this Closet Rod Hanging Storage Organizer.

Consider storing the following clothing and other items in dresser drawers:

  • Diapers
  • Onesies
  • Sleepers
  • Shirts
  • Pants
  • Diaper covers
  • Burp cloths
  • Bibs
  • Thin blankets
  • Crib sheets
  • Mattress covers

You can organize these in whatever way you like to make things easier on yourself. Consider grouping like items, such as diapers and diaper covers in one drawer, burp cloths, bibs, and onesies in another, etc. 

If the clothing takes up too much space in the dresser drawer, try different folding techniques to condense the items. You can also roll the clothes and store them on their side to take up less space.

What Goes Into the Closet?

onesie with mom and dad holding it

Once you have all of your daily use items stored away in the dresser, that just leaves…well, everything else! 

The closet is the perfect place to store a few different categories of items. Remember that adorable 6-9 month jacket that won’t fit your baby for several months? Into the closet it goes! 

The best way to do this (in our opinion!) is to sort the non-essential and/or too large clothing into piles according to size. Then, using either vacuum-seal bags or plastic totes, store the clothing, labeling it with the appropriate size range. This will make transitioning into larger clothing or changing clothing out for the seasons much simpler! 

Another category of clothing you can put in the closet is bulky items such as coats, jackets, fleece sleepers, dresses, or any other irregular garments that would be difficult to fit into a dresser drawer. Shoes would also be perfect to store in the closet. 

Finally, you might want to store extra bedding in the closet as well. Though storing one or two sets of crib sheets in the dresser can be helpful for middle-of-the-night changes, there probably won’t be room for several sheets, blankets, and mattress covers in the dresser. Store them in bins in the closet, or hang using pant hangers.

Stocking Your Diaper Bag 🎒

Stocking Your Diaper Bag

Your diaper bag will go everywhere you and your baby go- so you’ll need to stock it well, with everything you could need for a day outside of the house. Here’s a helpful list of diaper bag items to get you started:

  • 1-2 changes of clothes 
  • 1-2 diapers per hour you’ll be out of the house
  • Seasonally appropriate accessories (hat, mittens, sunhat, etc.)
  • Burp cloths
  • Disposable wipes
  • Plastic bags for soiled clothes
  • Changing pad
  • Diaper cream 
  • Blanket
  • Pacifier 
  • Formula/bottles if bottle feeding

We recommend finding a diaper bag with several different pockets or compartments and using plastic zipper bags or other organizational items to keep everything separated and easy to locate.

Preparing for the Day 🌅

baby in stroller covering right eye

As a new parent, you probably feel like you barely have enough energy to drag yourself into bed at the end of the day. But even just two minutes spent each night preparing for the next day will be incredibly helpful. Try to get into the routine of completing the following tasks at the end of each day to make things smoother the next morning. 

  • Lay out the outfits for the next day on the dresser. If you don’t want to lay out multiple outfits, even just laying out the first outfit you plan to dress baby in when they wake up is super helpful. This tip is also handy in case of emergency changes, so you can easily reach over and grab the clothes without having to dirty dresser drawer pulls or hangers while you’re in the middle of a diaper change. 
  • Do a quick sweep of the nursery. Place all dry soiled clothing in a hamper, and if you have enough for a load, start the load of laundry. If you have any cloth diapers or stained clothing that needs to be treated, lay that out and treat it so the cleaner has time to soak in. 
  • Restock the diaper bag for the next day. If you took the diaper bag anywhere, make sure you replenish it with diapers, wipes, cream, an extra change of clothes, and whatever else you may have used up. 

Now you’re ready for whatever tomorrow might have in store!

Time and Money Saving Tips 💰

Some of the most common “helpful” tips for organizing baby clothes just fall short. “Hang a shelf for added storage space!”…really? Because we hadn’t thought of that already.

These tips are a little outside of the box- but that’s the point! We’re trying to save you time and money, not give you a laundry list (pun intended) of DIY projects to waste a weekend on. Try these on for size (another terrible pun, completely on purpose).

  • Try this tip for outfit planning: if you’re traveling or just adding an extra outfit to your diaper bag, toss all of the essentials (onesie, diaper, shirt, pants, socks, etc.) plus seasonal accessories (hat, mittens) into a gallon-size plastic zipper bag! This way, the outfit will be put together, easy to find, and you won’t have to dig around the diaper bag looking for a lone sock or mitten. The clothes will also be protected from spills. Win-win!
  • When washing your baby’s clothing, wait until you have a full load before starting it. You’ll lower your utility bill and use less detergent, too. If the weather is nice, consider hanging the laundry outside to air-dry, saving even more money by avoiding the dryer. 
  • Be willing to accept secondhand clothes from friends and family, and don’t be afraid to thrift-shop. Just make sure you thoroughly clean the clothing with a hypoallergenic or baby-safe detergent before using. Your baby won’t know the difference, you’ll save some money, and you’ll extend the life of the clothing, which is great for the planet! And you’d be surprised- you might even find some unworn items that still have the original tags on them!

Consider using cloth diapers to save money and prevent hundreds of diapers from ending up in landfills. Check out our listing of adorably nerdy cloth diapers to get started!