It’s no secret just how much space baby gear can take up in your home. Starting from the newborn stage of cribs, to swings, clothing, toys, gifts from friends and relatives, and everything in between, even the largest of spaces can fill up quickly. Add in all the new items continuously being brought in throughout different phases and as your child's interests change, and before you know it, your home can easily be taken over by everything baby.
Then as time passes, your child will finally start to outgrow all those previously needed items, as well as the toys they were once awed by. This transitional stage can leave many parents struggling with what to do with it all next. The decision-making process of what to keep and what to let go of can be incredibly emotional and overwhelming. Items that remind us of the past can be hard to part with as seeing or holding them can bring back all kinds of emotions and memories – dressing our little ones up in those teensy doll-sized clothes they once wore, or visions of rocking them to sleep in our arms in our nursery recliners. These are just a few reasons many parents tend to hold on to baby items that are no longer being used. Letting go can be a difficult process, but it is incredibly satisfying to gain your precious space back.
Here are some tips that can help take some stress out of the decision making process:
If there is another baby on the way, or if there are plans for future children
Sort through and store any items that you feel will be useful for your future addition, as long as space permits. If you are low on space, check with friends or family to see if they can temporarily store any items for you. If not, consider just keeping the more expensive items, as smaller items such as toys and clothing are more affordable to replace when the time comes.
Go through any items that cannot be reused, such as expired car seats, old mattresses, toys that may be broken, or any items that may have been recalled (cribs, etc.). There is a great local business that recycles old car seats, as well as mattresses (for a small fee) and processes them into new material. Please refer to the local business guide on the next page to discover them!
Sort and organize old clothing into boxes or bins, and label items by size, so they can be identified with ease when needed. This is also a great time to minimize any extra clothing you don't plan to reuse, and to pass it along to friends, family, or other parents in need.
If there are no future plans for more children
Sell, or pass along any large items that are no longer being utilized, such as high chairs, exersaucers, bottle warmers, cribs, etc. to friends who are expecting, or do a quick online search for any local parent groups or non-profits that could use them. Larger items, such as rocking chairs, can be reused in other areas in your home if space permits, and if not, now is the perfect time to pass them to someone who could make better use of them!
Go through old clothing, choose some favorite outfits and pass along or sell the rest. Baby clothing can take up so much valuable space if you try to store it all. Of course the memories are there, but the items are not serving any purpose being stored away in boxes or bins. Giving clothes a new life cycle is not only environmentally friendly, but it is also a great way to help out other parents in need.
Some other ideas are to have a quilt or shadow box created with some of your favorite pieces. You can take pictures of items you would like to refer back to, but don't want to physically keep. You can even display some items, such as toys or memorable clothing, in your children’s closets.
One of the easiest and most efficient things you can do if you want to gain your space back as soon as possible is to simply declutter as you go. Let go of items you don't plan to reuse in the future, such as clothing, toys, books, etc. as soon as your child outgrows them, so you don't need to worry about storing them at all.
Local businesses resource guide
Lisa is a professional home organizer in Calgary. Follow her on instagram @ lightattheendoftheclutter for organizing tips and inspiration, or check out her website at lightattheendoftheclutter.com.
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