Dec 07 2009

When to keep and when to purge baby items

This post was inspired by a Facebook comment from my pal Jes of Beauty from Chaos. Jes mentioned that she was going through some baby stuff, trying to decide what to get rid of, even though she’d like more kiddos someday. Here’s some of my own ideas.

If you have a big, empty basement or tons of closet space, it’s probably worth it to hang on to most of your baby gear until you’re certain you have no future need for it.

But if you live in an apartment with minimal storage space as I do, you really do have to prioritize which items you store and which items to remove from your home.

If you have too much stuff, it’s probably worth getting rid of some items. Living in a cluttered environment can be stressful.

Even if you hope to be blessed with children in the future, it still may be worth going through your baby gear and getting rid of things that you can easily borrow or buy when you need them again.

  • See if you can loan out some baby items that you’d like back someday. Things like bouncy seats, swings, large toys, high chairs, playpens … these things require a lot of storage space. If you know another mom who could use them (and treat the items well) let her “store” them for you by letting her use them for her child until she no longer needs them or you need them back. Use discretion though — don’t loan out something that you’d be heartbroken if it was damaged or needed to be replaced.
  • Check with family to see if you can store some items in their basement, garage, a spare closet, etc. if they have room. Just don’t pay to rent out a storage locker for baby items. That is almost certainly not a cost-effective way to do it.
  • Baby swings, bouncy chairs, exersaucers, Bumbo seats, and certain types of strollers can always be found at the baby consignment shops in my area. Consign yours now (or sell on eBay or craigslist) and hang on to the money to buy a similar item in the future. Yeah, you might lose a few dollars by doing it this way, but what’s a few bucks vs. having an organized, non-overflowing closet?
  • Baby clothes by far take up the most of my baby-storage space at this point. I plan to go through all I have and sort them into a few piles: Keep or consign. If I have an excessive number of items in a certain size, it would probably be worth paring those down. Depending on how much I have in my “consign” pile, I’ll sell those at the next Snugglebugs consignment sale here in town or put it in a lot on eBay. I can usually find loads of good baby clothes at thrift or consignment stores or at yard sales for really cheap prices, so I don’t really need to hold onto everything.

What do you think? Is it better to just hold onto it all, or to purge it and get more when you need it? How do you decide what stays and what goes?

8 Responses to “When to keep and when to purge baby items”

  1. I think it depends on your time span for continuing the family. A lot of my friends want to space their kids 2-3 years apart – and they argue that it would be silly to sell new baby shower gifts to buy used items later. But if you plan on having a second child “some day,” it might be better to clean out. “Some day” may never come!

    I do love your idea of lending things out. There are so many things (swings, certain toys, clothing) that have a weight or size limit – why not free up space for a year or so until you’ll need it again? :-) This would work particularly well for groups of friends who plan to space out their children.

  2. Yeah, I think it just depends on how soon they’d want another child, and how much space they have to store. I have a small walk-in closet, a regular sized bedroom closet, and a tiny linen closet. Oh, and a storage locker that’s maybe 3x3x6. Not even a coat closet! Our storage space is so incredibly limited, so that’s why I’m considering getting rid of things (and not just baby items). Gotta tame that clutter beast!

  3. Even having a big basement and lots of storage space doesn’t mean you need to keep everything. Just like renting storage space isn’t cost effective, buying storage systems for your home can be a waste of money, too. I’m keeping/lending out most clothes and “equipment”, but toys are gonna be a whole other story. We are very thankful to be blessed with a generous family, but that also translates into toy clutter. We’re keeping the quality toys that we all love, but I have to get over keeping everything just because so-and-so gave it to us. I’m using the following guidelines to decide if toys get stored or passed on:
    1)Is it still in great shape? The new baby will get plenty of new toys. Why would I hang onto less than quality toys for her?
    2)Did it annoy me the first time around? Why would I torture myself with too-loud toys a second time?
    3)Do we have duplicates? I’m pretty sure my son owned 20 stuffed animals before he was born. The new baby will never meet some of these friends. :(

    Now what to do with the 35 baby blankets?

  4. “Did it annoy me the first time around” LOL! I think if you wanted more diaper wipes, you could cut some of the blankets up for that. But one or two blankets would make a ton of wipes. Dunno what to suggest for the other 15-20 you may not need.

  5. Well I think if you KNOW you will be having another child then you can hold on to a lot of things…but if you decide that you have quit then you should go ahead and purge. If it does happen that you end up needing the stuff again then you bite the bullet and get more.
    .-= Lulu´s last blog ..Getting My Wisdom Teeth Pulled (and need some Guest Posts) =-.

  6. I knew that we wanted to have at least one more child after we had our son, so I kept nearly everything.

    And I’m SOOOO glad I did… because two years later I was pregnant with TWIN boys.

    Our family is complete now – definitely no more babies for us – so I sold some of my maternity clothes and gave away the rest. I’ve given my sister-in-law a TON of baby gear, and sold a few other items on consignment.

    I’m glad I hoarded the stuff for when I needed it, but it feels good to purge it once you’re done!

    I think you’ve got some great suggestions in this post!
    .-= Christina @ Northern Cheapskate´s last blog ..Free Online Classes from HP =-.

  7. Our first two children are three years apart. I kept all of the baby gear from our first, but we had not bought much to start with. As for the clothes, I threw away the items that were very stained, I sold some of the nicer onesies that we had a ton of on Ebay, and kept the rest.

    Our second and third children will be 12 months apart, so I won’t even have time to put away the baby stuff this time. However, I’m still trying to purge as I go to get rid of clothes that are stained beyond the point of using. However, we will now have 2 cribs, 2 pack-n-plays, 2 highchairs, etc so we’ll be give half of our stuff away once #3 is out of it.
    .-= Mary Frances´s last blog ..Gluten Free Thanksgiving Recipes =-.

  8. When our son just about outgrew a lot of his infant toys we were fortunate that some friends were having a boy and we loaned them about all we could. When they were done they gave it back in time for our next one. Well, our next was a girl so the clothes were donated but things like the excersaucer are getting great use again. They are going through a third child now! I have to mention we had a garage for a while too in which our car was displaced with kids stuff but it’s come in handy. Kid’s items can get real expensive so if you can hold onto stuff it’s great. But you have to look at whether you think will have another and when, and whether you have the room to store.
    .-= FFB´s last blog ..$25 Gift Card From Marshalls TJMaxx A Contest And Donations Oh My! =-.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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