Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Four Weeks: Baby Clutter

Baby clutter was a real challenge for me, because I've been trying to have a second baby for more than three years.
On one hand, I wasn't ready to give it away because I hoped to use it again.
On the other hand, it was a constant reminder of our unsuccessful attempts to conceive again. Or, as it struck me each time, the child who wasn't. Exhale.
I eventually came up with a baby-clutter solution that worked for me. Baby clutter has been my biggest clutter-busting challenge, and I broke some "rules" to overcome it.

I was faced with a landscape of baby things that my son had outgrown. Bins, bins, bins, strollers, swing, 'saucer...
The tower of baby-gear.
More before.
Still more before:
Baby-clutter, etc.

The quantity was shocking considering that we'd been shipping clothes and other things to my nephews since they were conceived in 2010, and had consigned some toys too.
It was overwhelming, but I had to start somewhere. I needed a plan. I came up with 3 categories of baby-clutter and suddenly the job was do-able:
  1. Keepsakes: Things I'd keep even if we never have another child.
  2. Toss-ables: Things I wouldn't miss even if we do have another one.
  3. Store-ables: Things worth storing just in case we do (for now).
Keepsakes are self-explanatory. We now have one sweet bin of tiny sleepers, itsy-bitsy Sorels, and other treasures. I invited my husband to select items for this bin too. It isn't about having another baby; it's about our perfect son. I'm grateful that my mom kept a similar selection from my babyhood, and I'm happy to keep these for us and for J.
Toss-ables are clearly clutter. Baby clothes that looked itchy; toys that were ignored; duplicates; etc. I took a few of these to a consignment store and I gave the rest to charity, along with some maternity clothes I never wore. We also sold J's beautiful but unnecessary cradle on-line for $100 ($25 more than we paid for it!). It didn't sell in our garage sale.
Store-ables is the rule-breaking category that got me over the emotional baby-clutter barrier. I didn't want to give it away -- I didn't want to look at it -- so I stored it. Storage may be taboo in clutter-busting circles, but it worked for me here. Similar to my little bag of wear-dated clothes, but much, much bigger. The key is, I only stored things I'd actually use if I have another child, and would ditch if I don't. In other words, this stash is keepsake-free. I didn't want to have to go through it again before purging it. Also, it's temporary and off-site. I'm indebted to my mother-in-law who graciously agreed to store this stuff in her garage-attic. (She's hoping for another grandchild.)
Left: Toss-ables. Now in better homes.
Right: Store-ables (plus strollers, swing, and Exersaucer).
As a result we now have just one blue bin of baby gear (keepsakes) in our home! Yaaaayy!!!
A few months have passed and today, perhaps in part because I'm no longer tripping over baby gear, I'm at peace with our family of three. We're no longer trying to conceive another child.
Last week I gave away J's playpen and playpen sheets.
My parents-in-law are away for three weeks and I'm thinking about purging all the "store-ables" from their garage before they get back... Their next vacation will be in July. Hmmm...

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