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5 easy ways you can repurpose old baby clothes

Wondering what to do with old baby clothes that are currently taking up all that space in your closet?

Babies grow out of their clothes so quickly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a break when it comes to the price tag. Before you toss those gently worn baby clothes or take them to your local thrift store, get your money’s worth by repurposing or upcycling them. It’s easier to do than you think, and there’s little to no crafting required. All you need is basic household supplies (scissors, glue, etc.), and you can repurpose small baby clothes into new and useful items. Here’s how.

Give them to another member of your household (and we’re not talking your other children)

One of the most obvious ways to reuse your old baby clothes is to simply hand them down to your next child in line or hold on to them for your next baby, if you’re planning one. However, if that’s out of the question, there are more ways you can repurpose those clothes for others. Some families find that old baby clothes are the perfect size for dressing up stuffed animals or American Girl-size dolls, giving your children a fun new way to play for no cost. Other parents find that baby clothes also fit the family pup quite well.

baby with dog by window

Speaking of the dog…

If you have a dog in the household, you probably are well aware just how quickly some may go through chew toys (maybe even faster than your baby goes through their clothes). If you have some leftover baby clothes that you don’t necessarily want to keep for anything special, or that are a little worse for wear, repurpose them as dog chew toys. This no-sew project only requires some scissors and tape. Opt for using baby clothes made of a tougher fabric, like denim, for a longer-lasting toy. This is even an upcycling project that you might find some of your older children can help with.

Turn them into decor, with no crafting required

If you have a particular piece of infant clothing that you just love — maybe it was your child’s first Christmas outfit or their first onesie — turn it into nursery decor by framing it in a shadow box. You can also frame other items along with the clothing, such as a pair of shoes, a birth announcement, or any other relevant memorabilia. You can do the framing yourself or take it to a professional; either way, you’ll end up with a beautiful piece of art that always reminds you of special times, whether you hang your new piece in the nursery or a more public room in your home.

Put them to a more practical use

Soft baby clothes are often made of just the right fabrics for cleaning. Cut some of your less-sentimental baby clothes into squares for dusting and scrubbing. While this isn’t a use you might want for some of the baby clothes that make you more nostalgic, it’s a good way to ensure that you’re getting every bit of functionality out of your old clothing as possible (while saving money on cleaning supplies at the same time). You might even find that old clothes make the handiest cleaning tools, and start using your own old and unwanted wardrobe items for the same thing.

baby in polka dot headband
Shvaygert Ekaterina/Shutterstock

Turn them into more clothes for the same child

You don’t need to be a sewing wiz in order to turn your child’s outgrown clothes into new clothing items for them. For example, you can turn an outgrown onesie into a T-shirt (if length is what made your child outgrow the onesie in the first place) with just scissors and fabric tape, thanks to this quick tutorial. You can likewise make baby headbands using only your old clothes, scissors, and fabric tape. Both are simple and easy projects that require no crafting experience whatsoever and no sewing, so don’t even bother digging out that unused needle and thread.

Stop before you toss those outgrown or old baby clothes

When there are so many different things you can do with your old baby clothes, it just doesn’t make sense to toss them. Even if you’re not up for a DIY or upcycling project, it’s still a better idea to check with other parents in your area or local thrift shops to see if they could use them, rather than throwing them out.

You may also find pregnancy crisis centers, domestic abuse centers, and other nonprofits in your area that take donated baby clothes and give them to parents in need. Even once your child has long outgrown their wardrobe, ensure those clothes have a good second life.

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