Photography by Bryon Lippincott
Sometimes the littlest things can derail simplifying the home space. I want minimalist simple living and I know you want it too because you are here. I have had questions from friends about what they should keep if they decide to have another kid and I wanted to do up a post on it. Really, the big question is:
“What if I need this stuff down the road? Shouldn’t I keep it?”
So, this post is specifically for those trying to sort out baby cloths, but the principles can spread just about anywhere. (so feel free to change the wording to apply to your specific situation if you want)
So you have your first darling little child. Life turns upside down and the contents of your house doubles. Baby showers, grandparents, friends, and ever excited parents acquire everything possible that junior will ‘desperately’ need. Typically there is a move or planned move to a larger living space. Everything follows mommies belly and expands. Storing stuff that junior is going to use or need for the next year or two becomes a problem.
After junior starts growing out of things and exiting the first few baby stages stuff starts being stored for junior #2. The problem comes from the volume of stuff that junior #1 actually had. Parents are still feeling the burn of the expense of junior #1 and are excited to try and spread the expense out on juniors #2-#15 ;).
But, stuff is stuff and we want less of it right. As soon as you keep 15 boxes of baby things it makes sense to keep lots more things ‘just in case’ and the cycle carries right back to where you started….with too much stuff and wanting a simple minimalist life.
I wrote up some steps or questions to go through to tackle this tough issue. Feel free to get rid of anything that fails these questions.
- Did junior #1 use it? – …. still have new baby outfits that were never worn? Shower gift packages that were never opened?
- Did junior #1 need it? – so much stuff is used because it is there, but it wouldn’t be missed if it wasn’t.
- Is it gender specific?
- Is it season specific? – 3-6 month cloths for a kid born at a different time of year don’t work well
- Is it stained?
- Is it broken?
- Is it recalled?
I would keep some of what is left only if you have plans for another child in the near future.
Lets look at a worst case scenario of what might happen if you get rid of all of it. If you are embracing minimalist ideas, even though you have to buy again you will be buying much less because you know and understand what you need this time around. Also, now that you are a mom and hang out with other moms there is a good chance someone will be looking for someone to hand down their baby things too.
But lets look at this farther. If this storage is contributing to you having a bigger living space, bigger garage needs, or a storage unit take a look at those costs. Lets average the cost of storage space at 50-300 dollars per month. The low end being storage unit costs, the high end being bigger houses to hold all the junk (it could be much more, but lets keep it here). For 2 years between kids this costs on the low end is more than 1000, and on the high end more than 7000. I don’t know what you spent on all your baby stuff but mine was less than 1000. If it is 3-5 years between kids….you get the idea. Storing stuff is not always cheapest.
I would suggest taking that money and having the fun of purchasing (new or used) specific stuff for the next little junior.
Sure, there are some things to keep. I have kept an outfit or two from both my babies as memories and I think they will love to see and have that as they get older. Some things might go through the list above and still make the cut to keep. This is totally up to you, your family, and your plans. Just don’t let the ‘what if’s’ derail the whole simplification process.
Proving the point with an example:
When my son was born my friend and next door neighbor brought over a box of cloths from her son that she wanted to pass on. This was super sweet and I totally appreciated it. The thing was that her youngest son was in eighth grade. I went through the box and learned that it is a waste to hang onto things that long. Lots of the cloths had elastic in them and the elastic had turned to powder (or popped when I tried to tug on it). The styles were far gone. Any stain or water mark had become a huge spot. I was able to pull one cute button up shirt with sail boats on it out for him and it looked really cute. However, the moral of the story is that it was a waste of space, hassle to move several times, and just baggage for all those years.