This blog post has been contributed by Tina George.
Isn’t it amazing how quickly babies grow out of their things – whether it is toys, clothes or even diapers? You are flooded with things one moment – things bought, borrowed or gifted – and the next moment they no longer work for your baby!
My daughter is almost nine months now and I have already had a couple of de-clutter sessions where I go through her things and say ‘ok, this is too small for her”, or “she has outgrown this toy”. Clothes she has hardly worn, toys she has barely played with. Baby stuff is, by no means, cheap. So one can’t help but wonder at the wisdom of buying new things, only to be de-cluttered, rarely used.
Living in a condo, we don’t have the luxury of space either. For us, de-cluttering doesn’t mean storing it away for another opportunity or the luxury of figuring out later what to do with them. “It has to leave the house – now!”, as my husband says!! I was extremely lucky to have an abundance of baby and new-mommy things passed on to me by friends and family. So when I de-clutter, I can send them right back to the owner, or if they don’t want them, pass them on.
I am a big proponent of hand-me-downs and I think it works like magic both ways. You have the satisfaction of hardly-used things getting used and put to more use by somebody else, and the recipient saves a good amount of money. Thankfully I have two friends who are expecting babies, so at the end of my de-cluttering sessions, I happily pack off things I don’t need, looking forward to seeing them used by another new baby.
Also Read : Toyland (Toy Libraries)
If you are looking for cheap deals, or want to reclaim some of the money spent on buying new things, sites like Kijiji or Craig’s List are extremely useful. With some disinfecting and cleaning, most of the things can be safely used for babies. But be sure to see the items before you actually buy them – sometimes they could be damaged or beyond a good clean. Toy libraries are another great option. Just like book libraries, they lend toys from an existing pool to parents. It is given in good faith that parents will take good care of them, will clean them before returning and replace them if lost or damaged. I think this is a very neat idea. You will soon discover that babies get bored with their own toys in no time (if your baby is like mine, she would be more interested in remote controls, cables and DVDs!). So borrowing toys gives the kids variety and helps keep their curiosity levels high. Not only do you save money, but your house doesn’t have to be cluttered with toys.
Get smart and look out for a toy library in your location. I take my daughter Myrah three or four times a week to the Ontario Early Years Learning Centre. It is a great place to play with toys, meet other kids, learn social interaction, sing some songs and listen to stories. They have a pool of toys parents are welcome to use for their children, while at the centre. They also have specific programs for children of different age groups. And it is all free!! Myrah enjoys her time there and has made some friends too. I am pretty pleased with how we have been able to restrict baby stuff to the limited space we have, by using some of the options above. And in the process save a good amount of money too. There are plenty of choices available if you take the time to look.