This document was written for our Gift Coordinator (GC) volunteers, to answer their frequently asked questions about the ‘Make Mini-Sets’ stage in our process.
If you know of a casual volunteer who wants to assist in making Mini-Sets, we can email them the document ‘Baby Clothes Sorting Instructions for First Time Volunteers’ which is found in the‘YCSAB Volunteers’ Files section of our Facebook group.
What is a Mini-Set?
A Mini-Set is a sealed, labeled, complete set of appropriate clothing for one sex in one size and made with the intention to simplify the gift making role for Gift Coordinators (GC) and Make One Gift (MOG) volunteers. For example, ‘0-3m Girl Mini-Set’ or ‘6-12m Boy Mini-Set’.
Who Makes Mini-Sets?
This role is primarily done by GCs, because it is part of their role and they often have access to significant variety and quantity of clothing which makes it easiest to do, but any non-GC volunteer with the time or interest may participate after reading the document ‘Baby Clothes Sorting Instructions for First Time Volunteers’.
Why do we need Mini-Sets?
If you accept a match to make a gift for one of our Gift Applicants, you will be informed what sex the baby is and what size of clothing they need. Not all gifts need the full sizing range of 0 to 18 month clothing; some only need from 6m-18m for example. Organizing our clothing stock into Mini-Sets of clothing in both boy and girl sizes provides you an easier way to complete the clothing part of the gift. Instead of having to start sorting for each gift you make, having Mini-Sets ready to grab and throw in your washing machine a couple of days before the gift is delivered is so handy. For a 3-month-old baby girl who is wearing 6m+, our Gift Coordinators may grab a 6-12m Mini-Set, and a 12-18 Mini-Set from their stock or another volunteer’s stock to complete the clothing portion of the gift and be that much closer to gift delivery.
What Clothing Sizes Require Sorting into Mini-Sets?
The sizes required are 0-3m, 3-6m, 6-12m, 12-18m. No Mini-Sets are needed for 18m+ clothes.
What should I do with Clothing Sized 18 Months and Up?
Even though we don’t request sizes larger than 18 months, it is quite common for us to receive donations from preemie sizes all the way into the teen sizes. If you receive items in sizes 18 months and up, you can do one of three things:
- If you have a current appropriate match, you can offer them to the Gift Applicant. For example, perhaps they have a 3-year-old who would needs size 4T items that a donor dropped off to you; or,
- If you don’t want to store these items at your home waiting for an appropriate Gift Applicant, you can list them in our FB group ‘YCSAB Volunteers’ month-specific posts ‘What’s Available’.
- Donate them to a charitable organization of your choice. If a Gift Applicant asks for clothing in sizes larger than 18 months, and you don’t have any in stock, it is ok to tell them you don’t have any available. Clothing from 18m+ is not a standard part of our gifts, so there is no need to seek out larger sizes to complete your gift. If you do include clothing 18m+ you can count it as one of the three other baby items (if the clothes are for the new baby) or as part of/all of the big sibling gift (if the clothes are for the sibling).
How do I Make a Mini-Set?
If you don’t already have your clothing donations sorted into piles by sex and size, it may be helpful to read the Gift Coordinator Guide document ‘Collect and Prepare Donations’, especially the question “I Received a Clothing Donation. What is the Easiest way to Sort it?” Once it is read and you have sorted your donations into piles by sex and size, you can easily move on to make Mini-Sets.
To make Mini-Sets, start by choosing one sex and one size of clothing. For example, the bag/box labelled ‘0-3m girl’. Please keep the bag with the ‘0-3m girl’ label on it as you will need that again soon. Place all items on the floor in front of you. Sort the 0-3m girl clothes into more piles: pajamas, casual bottoms (thin cotton pants, sweats etc.), casual tops (t-shirts, onesies, comfy tops), special or matching outfits (think special occasion or just a cute coordinated outfit that would make you feel proud to have your baby dressed in), and then a pile for all the rest (items will vary but usually includes socks, hats, swimwear etc.).
Please try to include the amount of clothes that a family would need who does laundry once every 7 days. Many Gift Applicants don’t have washers/dryers in their homes and can only make it to the laundromat once a week. Each bullet point is the equivalent of what is included in one Mini-Set. *Note, they all have same quantities.
- For 0 to 3 months: 5 pajamas, 5 casual bottoms, 5 casual tops, and 2-5 special or matching outfits
- For 3 to 6 months: 5 pajamas, 5 casual bottoms, 5 casual tops, and 2-5 special or matching outfits
- For 6 to 12 months: 5 pajamas, 5 casual bottoms, 5 casual tops, and 2-5 special or matching outfits
- For 12 to 18 months: 5 pajamas, 5 casual bottoms, 5 casual tops, and 2-5 special or matching outfits
**For 18m+: We do not make Mini-Sets.
These numbers are general guidelines only. If you are short on sleepers for example, try to make up for it with comfy pants or tops, or compensate in another area of the gift. We do our best to have a predictable gift, but we also want to use our time wisely and not drive half way across the city to pick up 2 pairs of pants.
Once you have made one Mini-Set for that size, look at your piles and see if you have enough items for another complete Mini-Set. If you do, continue making Mini-Sets until you are no longer meeting the approximate ‘7 pajamas, 5 casual bottoms, 5 casual tops, and at minimum 2-5 special or matching outfits’ guidelines.
What should I do when I don’t have Enough Clothing to make another Mini-Set?
Let’s use the example that you were just making 0-3m girl Mini-Sets. Once you no longer can make another complete set, gather your extra 0-3m girl clothes and place them in a labelled bag ‘0-3m girl’ and seal it well. They can be saved or added to another volunteer’s stock to see if another Mini-Set can be made.
So with the 0-3m girl items done and the Mini-Sets labelled and the extra 0-3m girl clothes in a separate bag still labelled ‘0-3m girl’, move on to the 3-6m girl items and again sort by pajamas, casual bottoms, casual tops, special or matching outfits again and make as many Mini-Sets as you can. Then put those back in their labelled bag and move on to the 6-12m, and the 12-18m etc. Remember, 18m+ doesn’t need Mini-Sets. You will then want to complete the whole process again with the boy’s items.
Where do items like Socks, Jackets, Swimsuits… fit in to the Gift?
We often receive additional clothing items beyond the basics of pajamas, bottoms, tops and special outfits. We love to include extra items if they are available but if you have met the basic clothing set requirements then you don’t have to include them. Gift applicants are often very appreciative of items like socks, shoes, outerwear, swimwear, hats, etc., so if you have some in stock use your best judgment about quantity and either include some in a gift if you have one on the go, or fairly divide these into the Mini-Sets for future gifts.
Should I Make Seasonally Appropriate Mini-Sets?
Yes! Would you want a baby born in the summer to be given only fleece pajamas or would you prefer cotton sleepers or maybe some combination? When packing each Mini-Set, please consider that when possible, since you don’t know when the baby you are making the Mini-Set for was born, or what size the baby will be wearing during a particular season, try to include a variety of warm and cool weather clothes. For the most part, if there is a variety of items included, the baby should be well provided for.
Some things to consider: If you only happen to have a lot of short sleeved clothes, be sure to include some sweaters or hoodies so the family can dress the baby in layers. Consider that Manitoba’s springs and falls and even summers for that matter can be unpredictable weather, so even babies born in the summer may still benefit from one warmer outfit, or that winter babies may like the option of some short-sleeved items. The point is, consider the season when packing gifts, and include variety when possible.
How Should I Label Mini-Sets?
Please label the Mini-Sets with the size, sex and word Mini-Set, so for our example, ‘0-3m Girl Mini-Set’. Some volunteers place Mini-Sets in a reused grocery/garbage bag and tie a knot and label the handle with a piece of folded over masking tape, or use a zip-tie to close it and fold tape over the zip-tie end, others tie the items together with string with a note, others use recycled boxes and write on them etc.
Do I Need to Wash and Fold Clothing Before Putting them in a Bag/Box?
No. We like to save the washing and drying job until just prior to the gifts being packaged because the process also helps remove wrinkles from the clothes. If you wash them now, and then throw them back in a box, whoever is using the Mini-Set for their gift will just need to rewash them again to remove the wrinkles. Don’t feel bad just stuffing a bag or box with clothing. The Gift Applicant won’t receive them like that.
Should I Add the Mini-Sets I Don’t Need to the ‘What’s Available’ post in YCSAB Volunteers Facebook group?
Yes please. It is best to add them to our month-specific group post right away, as a Gift Coordinator may be able to use your Mini-Set/s right away.
**Thank you very much for reading our document. If you see a way to improve the document or need help understanding part of it, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Diana at firstname.lastname@example.org.