Mark outgrown clothes with a safety pin

Betsy's got a smart plan for weeding out outgrown clothes:

We get a ton of hand me downs, some without tags. I looked in my youngest kid's drawer the other day and he had WAY more shirts than I do. So I went on a weeding out campaign.

Step 1: stop putting his shirts back in his drawer. Fold and hide them in the guest room.

Step 2: when he puts something on that I notice doesn’t fit or is really just too embarrassing to wear, I try to get him to change and pack up the offending article right then.

Step 3: when he refuses to change and it isn’t a battle I’m choosing to fight that day – I mean it's just a little sliver of his belly showing, how bad is that for the day? He’s only 3, it isn’t picture day! Well, then I attach a little safety pin in the back. That way, when this shirt makes it through the laundry in about 4 weeks :-) I remember to pack it up then.

The problem this solves is that before the safety pin trick, by the time the too-tight item got washed I’d forget whether it fit or not.


  1. says

    I LOVE this!! This happens at my house all the time! I usually tell my daughter she can wear something “one last time” to say goodbye, but then by the time it gets washed I have forgotten that it didn’t fit.

  2. Carol says

    I hope you are putting the safety pin in after he takes the item of clothing off! Maybe a permanent marker on the tag would be an option.

  3. says

    We have an “extra” hamper in our daughters room so that at the end of the day when we notice an item that needs to be taken out of rotation because of size, we toss it in there. We toss them in dirty so that they don’t get back into the mix accidentally. We take the hamper of outgrown and wash the clothes about once a month and package them to send to our friends with kids!

  4. says

    I do exactly that for Younger’s clothes! But for Older’s clothes which will go to Younger’s dresser the next time I wash, I put an orange Sharpie dot on the label. All clothes with that dot are Younger’s and make sorting familiar clothes for a new owner easier.

  5. Elizabeth says

    I have a big clear storage bin for each size of baby/toddler clothes. The current size bin lives under its owner’s crib/bed so that anything that’s too small goes right in the bin and when it’s full, we pull out the next size.

  6. says

    This is great. I love this idea. My daughter just came down today with a shirt way too small but she loves it so much I couldn’t take it off her. I’m going to gather up my safety pins now. Thanks!

  7. Zed says

    This is freaking brilliant. I read this this A.M. and already used it. And we have a lot of hand-me-downs to worry about, what with 4 kids!

    Thanks for making my life a little easier.

  8. says

    This is a great idea. I also keep boxes in the basement, each marked with: too big, too small, give away. If I do it in the moment, it makes my kids closets a lot more manageable.