We've got two boys, ages 4 and 2, and we are undecided about whether we want another child at some point. We have been storing ALL of these toys and clothes and items “just in case” and I finally gave up. I decided it was time to declutter. It was absurd to be keeping all of these items, even though we theoretically had the storage space.
First- if you're paying for a storage unit to store the items… get rid of it all. Seriously. We saved a ton of items when we were trying to sell our condo- until our realtor said, “Don't forget, you may find that you could have bought those items twice over if you'd just decluttered them instead of storing them.” And it's true. If it's sentimental, keep it… but donate the things you can buy again. When we ran the numbers, it was upsetting to see how much we'd spent on a storage unit. And if you sell it used, you can probably just save the money you made to purchase the items used when you need them.
For everyone else who is storing the items in your home, here's the list of items that I chose to let go. Since I didn't use a stroller often, it’s an easy decision for me to sell them, but maybe you used your stroller daily. You’ll need to tailor my suggestions more to your own needs.
How to declutter your baby gear
Even if you may want another baby
- We had bins and bins of baby clothes. We have two boys, so it's all boy clothes. I kept the items that my youngest can grow into. Otherwise, I gave myself one bin to save ALL of my very favorite clothes in case we have another baby.
- I got rid of gender-specific items- ie., shirts with phrases that said “all boy” etc.
- I organized all of the clean clothes I decided not to keep by size. Then I listed them all on Freecycle to give to other moms who needed clothes for their kids. Giving away the clothes felt great because I knew I was helping other moms and they were thankful as well. We didn't own super high-end clothes, but if I did, I might have tried selling some of them on consignment.
- I got rid of most of our bibs. I never used them. If I was too lazy to put them on with my first son, chances are I won't with a 3rd child. I did keep a few of the largest bibs because they'd work for a baby all the way up to toddler.
- I kept all of those expensive swaddling wraps because those were amazing and I don't want to buy them again. I am 100% certain I would use those.
- I got rid of all of the socks and shoes that my kids had outgrown.
- Baby wraps and carriers: I had a few. I only used my Ergo carrier. I kept that and got rid of the rest.
- Babies don't need a ton of toys. And If you have two kids, you know that the baby is mostly going to want to play with their older sibling's toys. I doubt my third child would be much different. I kept a few “little kid” toys that my big kids still use- like wooden ABC blocks, our kitchen set, Duplo blocks (they both like any form of Lego), etc.- that I knew a baby would be able to play with. Keep a few favourites, donate or sell the rest.
- All of the lovies. Neither of my kids used lovies so I had a ton of barely used ones.
- Excess baby blankets… I had SO many. I tried to get rid of some of them but, of course, I loved them all, so it was hard. I'm holding onto a few in hopes I'll be able to upcycle them into something else.
- Bedding sets: Really, did anyone's kids use the whole set? I feel like most baby bedding sets are a waste of money.
- Bottles: We breastfed, so I have NO idea why we had so many bottles! I apparently thought I was going to be pumping more than we did. Either way, these aren't sentimental items, and you don't need as many as you get. Think about how many you use in a day. Could you just wash the one bottle and reuse it many times? Yes.
- Items like bouncy chairs, walkers, baby swings, etc. take up a lot of space, and you only use them for a short period . You can sell them; then if you have another baby, you can borrow one or buy another used. You won't end up losing much money in this situation.
- Car seats: These expire so you may want to get rid of them unless you think you'll have another baby before the expiration date. Also, I'm not a fan of carrying an infant seat around. It KILLS my back. If we had a third child, I'd want to wear the baby in our Ergo so I could hold my other sons' hands. Next child, we will just get another convertible seat. We got rid of our whole infant carrier set.
- Strollers: This is going to take some thought. Do you use strollers? I still need to declutter mine. It's ridiculous. I've got two jogging strollers- a single and double. I've got one umbrella for one child. They're in my garage, so I forget about decluttering them. Given how many times I've used these strollers, it's absurd that I have them all out there. Since I prefer using an Ergo carrier or letting the kids walk, I'll probably just keep a small umbrella stroller. Besides, you can rent strollers many places.
- Many, many baby books: First, I LOVE books. But I found a lot of the books designed for young babies weren't ones that I was super attached to. We do reading time as a family so I mostly just saved a few gems in the baby book category and got rid of the rest. I kept books like my DIY Board Book and, of course, everything that was still appropriate for the 2 and 4-year-old
- DVDs: I still need to go through them all, but I don't see myself showing a baby 12 different Baby Mozart DVDs when my two oldest want to watch Paw Patrol. They can all watch Paw Patrol. Babies don't care. Mine used to be just as excited looking at a football game as they were about any baby DVD. Why did I waste money on these again?
- We had extra cribs, again, ridiculous. We had a rocking crib that I liked, but we didn't need it. It took up a ton of room. Used furniture is pretty cheap to purchase so next time I can pick it up used if I need to. But realistically, my kids all slept in our room in a co-sleeper for a while, so I imagine that we'd just used that. The Arms Reach Cosleeper was small enough for us to keep folded up in the guest room closet shelf. Cribs are just too big to hold onto.
- Changing tables: there's lots of cool upcycle ideas for changing tables, but I sold ours. I didn't have a pressing need to upcycle it. We can buy another one used if we need to, but you can also just put a changing pad on most bureaus, so it's no big deal. And many people say they usually changed their kids on the floor or a bed so storing a changing table is a waste of precious space.
- Rocking Chair: We got rid of our rocker a while back. It was unnecessary. I strongly preferred a big glider that many people use for a living room. When we moved our boys into a room together, I moved that glider downstairs in our basement for additional seating.
I made quite a bit of money selling some of these items. Yay!
The baby items that made my keep list
- My favorite carrier (Ergo)
- Sentimental items like hand knit or crocheted blankets. I need to figure out what to do with them, but I didn't want to get rid of them.
- A few favorite clothing items: I limited myself to a bin.
- A few select baby toys that I loved and wouldn't take up much space. I tried to pick ones that would be the most entertaining for a baby.
- Any toys my older kids still use such as the ABC blocks. They're made for toddlers, but they're useful later on too.
- My favorite books.
- Arm's Reach Cosleeper: I debated selling this because they have good resale value, but I opted to keep it because we used ours a lot and they're small to store when they're folded up into their carrying bag. I'm guessing the same thing applies to pack and plays.
- Our glider: I purchased this to replace the rocking chair. It rocks, and it would also work in a living room so I can put it in another room if desired. I usually sit with my boys in this chair for reading time, so it's still used!
It's so awesome to see how much room you save once you start getting rid of these items. Did I forget anything good?
This post originally appeared on Do-it-yourself Danielle.