You just had a baby. This tiny adorable being that turned your world upside down in oh so many ways. Including your body. You’re in love with your new baby, but not so much in love with your new body. You’re fed up with your wardrobe and overwhelmed by the mess of owning so many different clothes in so many different sizes! It’s clearly time to begin organizing your postpartum closet.
I totally get it. Shortly after having my daughter, I found myself struggling to get dressed everyday. Beyond adjusting to the postpartum state of my body, I simply didn’t have anything to wear! Not in a “I’m tired of all my clothes” kind of way. It was more of a “I only have a small number of clothes that actually fit me.” As in like, 3 things total. Unfortunately, those 3 things didn’t fall under the category of “socially acceptable to wear out for coffee with a friend or for church on Sunday.” Why? Because they were pajamas. Sigh.
Are you in a similar position?
Fear not! I’d like to help you get your maternity, nursing, postpartum and pre-pregnancy clothes in order with just 5 simple tips for organizing a postpartum closet!
After all, when you’re in the childbearing season of life, changes are expected. So you should expect to have a closet that works for you, not against you!
Organizing a Postpartum Closet: 2 Challenges + 2 Goals
When I first set out to organize my postpartum closet, I faced 2 challenges. Maybe you’re facing these same challenges. Which is why I wanted to share my experience. Ironically, the 2 main challenges are also the 2 main pieces of typical closet organization advice!
1| I need to keep things I haven’t worn in over a year.
2| I need to keep things that don’t currently fit.
Having just had a baby, I had the opposite problem – nothing fit! So, in addition to the need of organizing my variety of clothing sizes I also needed to buy a few more items of clothing to have something that actually fit.
1| Stay under a budget – I organized my entire closet for less than $60!
2| Choose renter-friendly organization solutions.
Let’s Start at the Very Beginning
A very good place to start! 😉
1| Take Everything Out of Your Closet.
Begin organizing a postpartum closet by taking EVERYTHING out of your closet. I mean everything! As you take things out, sort them in piles by the following categories:
- Early Pregnancy
You can further organize these categories by season if you’d like. You may want to even create piles or categories for shoes, scarves, belts, undergarments, exercise clothes, etc. Create the categories that will work best for you in the organization process.
It may seem painful and tedious to take everything out of the closet, but that way you can see exactly how many clothes you have in each category.
2| Ruthlessly Purge While You Categorize.
As you categorize, sort through each category to weed out what you want to keep, donate, or throw away. This way you’ll have a better idea of how many clothes you have in each category and if you have holes in your wardrobe. You can either take note of these wardrobe gaps as you go or take stock collectively after you’re done. These notes might include “need trench coat” or “need new workout pants.”
TIP: It’s better not to over think each item as you go along. If the item of clothing is not a 9 or 10 then don’t keep it. Don’t be afraid to ruthlessly PURGE and ONLY keep what you LOVE.
For example, after I had my first child it was eye-opening to see that I had FOUR TIMES the amount of pre-pregnancy clothes than I did any other size. It was also eye-opening to realize that I didn’t look forward to fitting into many of those clothes simply because they didn’t fit into my new lifestyle as a mom.
Donating clothes to Goodwill, ThredUp, and a local women’s shelter freed me of being weighed down by clothes I didn’t want to keep but that were still in good condition. I felt that I was paying it forward to someone who would actually need and use these clothes.
Purging my closet sparked ideas for how I could organize the clothes I wanted to keep. It also allowed me extra room to buy a few postpartum items, as well as fill the holes in my wardrobe. Which leads us to the next step…
3| Re-think + Re-Imagine Your Space.
Is everything out of your closet and categorized?
Great! Now you have the benefit of viewing the available space that you have. Begin to brainstorm how you could better utilize the space in your closet and if your clothes could be stored in a different configuration than they were previously. Re-think the space and re-imagine what you would like it look like and how you would like it to function.
Now is a good time to give your closet a refresh. Would you like to display your clothes differently to make it easier to get dressed and put outfits together?
For example, I now store my shoes in Sterilite 3-drawer organizer instead of an actual shoe organizer. This allows me to utilize the floor of my closet while keeping my shoes organized by category.
How could your closet organization streamline your daily and nightly routines of getting dressed? How could it improve seasonal transitions?
4| Shop for Storage and Organization.
Whether you shop your own home by reusing items around the house or you take a trip to the Container Store, this is when things begin to actually get organized.
Don’t forget to take measurements of your space so you know the dimensions. I personally like to bring a small tape measure in my purse in case I need to make sure something will indeed fit my space.
To give you some closet organization inspiration, here’s a peek into my final product after organizing my postpartum closet:
How I Organized My Entire Closet for Less than $60
Budget-friendly organization is important to me. I didn’t want this to break the bank, especially after having a baby. So I purchased all the storage items pictured above from Wal-Mart. Simply click on the photos to view the products on Wal-Mart’s website:
I decided to use laundry baskets to organize items on the top shelf. The laundry baskets are flexible in case it’s slightly overstuffed with clothes. Plus, I’m short so I love how the holes in the laundry baskets make them easy to take down from the top shelf. I considered using fabric bins like these from Wal-Mart, but they were either too small or too big on the top shelf. The total cost came in at just under $60. Yay!
TOTAL COST BREAKDOWN
4 white laundry baskets ($4.18 each) = $16.72
3-drawer Sterilite storage cart = $17.88
5-drawer Sterilite storage tower = $24.92
GRAND TOTAL = $59.52
Non-pregnancy clothes are kept in the seasonal baskets on the top shelf labeled “Fall+Winter” or “Spring+Summer.” Please know that I live in Orange County, CA where the weather is mild, plus I utilize capsule wardrobes for each season to minimize the volume of clothes in my closet. Obviously if you live in a place that truly experiences all 4 seasons, then your organization system will be different.
Postpartum/nursing clothes are kept in a basket on the top shelf labeled “Postpartum.”
Early pregnancy and maternity clothes are kept in an under-the-bed storage container from IKEA. I shopped my own home for this item, so it’s not included in the total cost breakdown as I already owned it.
Choosing Renter-Friendly Organization Solutions
Have you seen those closet organization makeovers that involve installing a custom closet organization system by drilling holes into the wall? Me too. They’re incredible.
But not renter-friendly. I wanted to be sure my closet organization system could be recreated in another rental or easily adapted in another rental. The separate baskets and drawer units accomplish this purpose. Hopefully my experience helps you in organizing your postpartum closet!
5| A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place
Now that you’ve got the storage solutions for organizing your things, put things in their place. Make sure that there’s a place for everything so that everything can be in its place. Otherwise, the junk drawer effect will happen where random stuff accumulates because there isn’t a specified place for those things.
Having a place for everything will ensure that your mornings and evenings run smoothly by making things easy to find and easy to put back in their place. This helps keeps your closet organized. Having difficulty maintaining your closet organization? You may want to reassess how things are organized and if the system makes sense for how you operate.
TIP: Leave 20% whitespace (open space) in an organized area to ensure your items will remain organized.
Enjoy Your Organized Postpartum Closet!
In my experience, what began as a quest to find more clothes that actually fit became a quest to organize my entire closet according to sizes and stages (since we’re planning on having more kids). I basically ended up doing a complete overhaul of my wardrobe and organization system. I’ve maintained it ever since with only minimal clean-up maintenance.