Hanging baby clothes vs folding? Here’s how to decide!

Have you reached the nesting stage yet? One of the funnest parts of my first pregnancy was preparing all those gorgeous little baby clothes and arranging my little boys closet into Pinterest-worthy perfection. 

…and then I’d pull them all out and do it over again, slightly differently. #truth

Why was it so hard to just leave things as they were the first time? Well, you see when you start organising baby clothes you’re going to need to make a decision:

should you hang or fold them? 

While the fate of the universe doesn’t ride on this question, it DOES have some impact on how you’re going to spend the first few months of your baby’s life so it’s a question that should be given some thought. 

I second guessed myself several times before settling on a folding/hanging combo that worked for me.

Let’s help you make a decision that will work for YOU and your family.

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Hanging Baby Clothes Vs Folding: When to Decide

When should you make the ‘big decision’ on folding vs hanging? 

There’s really no hard and fast rule – if you’re a hardcore ‘hanger’ already, you’ve probably already made your decision! However, if you’re undecided the best time to make this decision is definitely:

  • AFTER your baby shower as you usually end up with a bunch of clothes in various sizes
  • AFTER you’ve filled in the gaps and got the vast majority of your baby things (clothes and accessories) for at least the first few months.
  • You want to know fairly precisely how much you need to store and how much space different clothing types will need.

Hanging Baby Clothes Vs Folding: What Are You Working With (In the Room)?

Are you lucky enough to have the perfect nursery set up already built in to your home? If so, congrats! That’s awesome.

Even so, you’ll still want to assess the room because ultimately the biggest deciding factor in whether to hang your baby clothes or fold them will be the storage situation you’ve got going on in the nursery.

For example:

  • do you have a huge built-in closet with no space for a dresser and no drawers?
  • do you have lots of dresser space but no closet?
  • do you have a tiny room with no storage at all?
  • is baby sharing a room (or a storage space) with a sibling? Or with you?

True confession: we’re preparing for the arrival of baby number 2 right now… in our 2 bedroom unit. There’s definitely not a dedicated space for this baby like there was when we were expecting our first. *shrugs* So, I’ve definitely got some great space saving tips for you if you’re in the same boat!

Things to Consider Before Deciding to Hang or Fold

Before we get into the pros and cons of hanging baby clothes vs folding, do you like hanging or folding your own clothes? If you hate hanging clothes… hanging baby’s clothes will be a chore and you probably won’t stick with it.

Likewise, if you hate folding clothes with a passion, be prepared to hang them!

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The Pros of Hanging Baby Clothes

There are lots of reasons moms choose to hang baby clothes:

  • it’s easier to see all items at once.
  • it’s easier to find and grab what you need with a baby in your arms.
  • you don’t have to stress about hubby messing up your neat stacks of folded clothes.
  • it’s easier to tell others (hubby / grandma) where to find the clothes (they’re hanging up vs. they’re in the third drawer from the top on the right.)

The Cons of Hanging Baby Clothes

There are also lots of reasons moms choose NOT to hang their baby clothes:

  • “Hangers are a pain for daily stuff but a nice option for the stuff you don’t use a lot and stuff they haven’t grown into yet.”
  • it’s not always the best use of space, especially if you haven’t hacked your nursery closet to include more than one closet rail
  • hanging clothes can take up a lot of space
  • hanging baby clothes can take up a lot of time when you’re doing the laundry

Do you need to hang everything?

Life isn’t black and white, and neither is the decision to hang your baby clothes or fold them. 

You can choose to hang everything: hang up onesies, get little clips for shoes and hanging baskets for socks… but you don’t have to.

  • You could decide you just want to hang things like dressers, coats, and ‘nice’ outfits.
  • Some moms hang everything but socks, onesies and pyjamas.
  • Another great idea is to hang the stuff you bought or were given new and keep folding for the hand me downs.
  • Save space by hanging the clothes in the current size that fit and fold the next size up in a drawer.
  • Or do the opposite and hang the clothes that are the next size up and fold the current size in your drawers.

There’s loads of middle ground here for you to explore if hanging is right for you!

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The Pros of Folding Baby Clothes

Moms often choose folding baby clothes because:

  • it’s faster to get the laundry done without having to hang every item.
  • it’s easier to keep items completely separated into their ‘types’.
  • drawer dividers shine here as an easy way to keep items together, especially if your drawers are large.

You can even try folding them Konmari style and placing them in the drawers in horizontal rather than vertical stacks (but I found that we used most items so frequently they were just getting messy… so relapsed back into vertical stacks! Sorry Marie!)

The Cons of Folding Baby Cothes

There are some great reasons to fold baby clothes, but it’s not a perfect system… I found that: 

  • because baby clothes are tiny (especially newborn sizes!) they get jumbled together easily. Use drawer dividers to help keep things contained.
  • folded clothes in stacks can lead to the bottom clothes not being used as frequently (because they require more effort to get to without disrupting the stack – not easy when you’re holding a crying baby!)
  • you don’t get to see all clothing items together in the same way as when the clothes are hanging.
  • folding can leave creases, particularly on non-stretch clothing. 

Hang or Fold? My Recommendations 

There are some situations where either hanging or folding will be the easier choice. Here’s what I recommend:

If You Have No Built-In Storage

You’re obviously going to need to get something. But, what?

Depending on space and whether you can add shelves etc. to the room here are some great solutions:

  • a mobile clothes and shoe organizer like this one (mostly hanging, some folding) – oh my, is this the cutest thing ever!? This is a fantastic solution if you’re renting, or want to keep things minimal – bonus, it’s so cute and gives off the perfect calm, peaceful, classy nursery vibe! Check it out here on Amazon!
  • kids portable closet (hanging + folding) – this is perfect for babies and toddlers. I like this one, it’s bright and cute and formaldehyde-free with space for hanging and folding. If that’s not really your style, try this neutral one.
  • a dresser (folding) – this is a simple, portable solution that works really well, but means you’ll definitely need to fold your baby’s clothes. You can pick up a simple dresser like this one pretty inexpensively on Amazon. Or spend a little more if you want to add a change mat to the the top and use the dresser top as a diaper change station (great idea if you’re short on space!)
  • shelves with hanging rod beneath (hanging) – shelves are super useful to have in the nursery, you can fill them with toys, books, picture frames… and if you’re short on space, you can double up by getting these ingenious shelves that have hanging rods beneath them so you can use them to hang your little one’s clothes! This is a great way to show off your baby’s adorable outfits. For things you don’t want to hang like socks, invest in a few cheap storage cubes or baskets to sit on top of the shelves and hold those items.


 

Siblings Sharing a Room

You need to maximise storage space and use it smartly. You’ll use a combo of hanging and folding depending on what storage options are available, perhaps one siblings clothes are folded while the other are hanging?

Either way, there are some easy ways you can hack your closet to increase the storage space: 

  • try installing a second rail into the closet – babies and kids clothes are pretty short, so most closets could easily take an extra closet rail (or even two!) and double your hanging space. You can even get this clever style which telescopes and stays up via tension – install is simple, no drilling required!
  • use hanging closet organizers to increase the amount of space available – there are loads of styles to choose from, but I like this one that includes both shelves and canvas drawers so you have choices on how you want to store clothes in it. 
  • use buckets or tubs to hold items in the foot of the closet
  • if the closet is large, dividing into two (like a his/hers style closet) will work well. There are loads of ways to do this! Add a small dresser or narrow chest of drawers to one side and include telescoping tension rails. Or, use a tall Ikea Kallax (1×4 cube – very similar to this one on Amazon) in the center and add telescoping tension rails on either side. 
  • alternatively, if you’re already using a dresser for one sibling and there’s room for a second you could have them share a dresser or get an additional one for the new sibling. 

Sharing the Master Bedroom

You don’t have much storage space or space for anything at all with a bassinet in the room. You’ll probably choose to fold (at least, I am).

This is the situation I’m in right now and here’s what I plan to do about it:

  • I’ve already bought a small four pack Ikea Kallax (similar to this style on Amazon) with two sets of drawers (note, these are extremely TINY and don’t fit much) and two baskets.
  • I plan to use the drawers to keep baby’s current size clothes and the baskets for larger things like baby blankets.
  • Next size up clothes will remain in storage bins like this, stacked neatly in the garage until needed.
  • I plan to stick a change mat on top of the Kallax with diapers, etc. on top, though I’m a little worried that the depth isn’t going to be enough to fit a change mat… we’ll see!

I also think I’m going to run out of space so I might install temporary shelves and/or command hooks to hold baskets of clothes and/or hang clothes!

Built-In Robe With No Drawers

You might just hang everything (if so, get a second rod). Or, you could:

Regardless of Whether You Hang or Fold…

Make sure you keep several changes of clothing and accessories next to your change table for easier diaper changes. There’s nothing worse than getting midway through dealing with a diaper blowout than discovering that your change of clothes / wipes / fresh diapers are in another room or on another floor…

Keep a laundry hamper next to your change table to make things easier for you to dispose of dirty or soiled clothes straight away.

Make sure you organize your baby’s clothes by size and type. No brainer, right? Oh and maybe keep the ‘too big for now’ clothes in a different spot than the current size. Grabbing an outfit and putting it on baby only to realize it doesn’t fit is very frustrating!

Make the Most of Your Storage Space 

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