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My Friday post at ForeverParenting is all about storing clothes and keeping them smelling great.  There’s a sewing and a no-sew solution to the plastic smell clothes can get when you keep them in totes for a long time.

My sister gave me a great idea when we started having kids, and that was to sort clothes by age and store in totes for future use. Since her oldest boy is 15 months ahead of TechnoBoy and The Mercenary, I was one of the lucky recipients of hand-me-downs for the kids.

Problem was, the clothes smelled just awful. They had picked up quite a plasticy smell that was repulsive and required 2 washings to get it down to tolerable. At least that’s how I saw it… I like baby clothes to smell like, well, babies. 

When I started storing my own baby clothes, I noticed that Rubbermaid had a product with a special lid that held a scented pad. I tried it out and the clothes smelled much better. I didn’t want to spend the money to get all those specialized lids, especially since the box size was smaller than the usual tote I get. (I’m partial to the 62 quart size with the hinged locking lid).

There was a cute country store that I drove by for classes at the time that happened to sell bulk herbs. After she understood what I wanted, the lady there helped me buy a combination of lavender and rose hips. I went home and cut out 4 by 8 inch rectangles out of muslin and folded in half lengthwise. A quick seam up each side and turning one inside out took only a minute. Then I scooped some of the herbs in and tied shut with a piece of yarn. And voila! Instant sachet packets for my boxes. I tossed in two to four packets per tote and closed them up.

Now all my baby clothes smell like lavender and rose hips. Not super boyish, but much better than that chemical plastic smell. And if the boys don’t think it’s cool, the scent comes out in a single wash.

If you don’t happen to have a sewing machine, you could easily use a small child’s sock for the same effect. We all have lonely-onlys sitting around, don’t we?

Potpourri could also be used if you don’t have access to bulk herbs. I would be more careful using that since potpourri can be scented with essential oils and it would be sad if your clothes got stained. I haven’t had any difficulty with the dried lavender/rose hip combo and I’ve been using it for years.

After your last child has used the clothing, you can still use those totes and scented bags one more time to organize the clothes for a second hand store or garage sale. Since they’re all smell-goody* (is that a word?) you don’t have to run them all through the wash again and they’re more attractive to buyers.

What other storage tips do you have for hand-me-downs? And what would be your favorite scent for the sachet?

Earnest Parenting: help for storing clothing and hand-me-downs.