As Stella grows closer to one year, the thought of “what happens to all her baby stuff?” is a reoccurring thought. Do we donate, give away to friends/family in need or sell? Do I keep some of my favorites forever or do I part ways with everything to reduce clutter? It’s all so overwhelming because we have SO much stuff. But I think I have a game plan…at least for now.
I was very fortunate to receive a plethora of clothes, toys, blankets, burp rags and shoes from family and friends. I mean, seriously. We have drawers, hampers and boxes of clothes plus outfits hanging up in her closet (some with the tag still on!). I probably have 20 blankets stacked up in her changing table and bags of shoes that don’t even fit her yet. That on top of all the gifts (crib, stroller, dresser, changing table, pack n play, video monitor, etc.) we received from our baby showers and other things I picked up garage sale-ing and consigning. We seriously lucked on and haven’t really needed to buy too many things. Unless of course you count the rare holiday outfit, toys/clothes on sale and of course, diapers/wipes.
I will gladly pay it forward to the next girl mom in need of clothes and such. I have no problem with that. But here’s the thing, some of our collection of baby stuff is sentimental and did cost us a lot of money. If I had to guess, our entire stash of baby equipment, toys, clothes and blankets probably equals more than $3,000. This includes gifts as well as things we purchased ourselves. Obviously used items lose their resale value, so I don’t intend to make that money back or sell the things I was given for free, but part of me is a little hesitant with parting with all of it – and here’s why:
Her first Thanksgiving outfit, her Easter oneise, Fourth of July tutu, 1st birthday dress, her favorite books, Christmas dress, her favorite stuffed animals and blankets are all things that bring me joy. She may not care about them as she grows older, but they hold a special place in my heart. Heck, my mom even saved my Easter, Christmas and other holiday dresses along with two boxes full of old toys, blankets, baby books, stuffed animals and art work. It’s part of the sappiness of motherhood. There are just some things worth keeping and I’m perfectly OK with designating a box (or three) full of these precious memories. I want these to forever be Stella’s favorites and firsts, not anyone else’s. That may sound strange and selfish, but I want her to keep some things for her because some of these things were purchased, made and gifted just for her. Some of her things I want packed into a hope chest or box so she/we can reminisce someday – perhaps when/if she has a little girl of her own, just like my mother and me did. I want her to look back at these things as more than just “things”, I want her to be able to hold those memories forever.
The things we purchased ourselves we saved up long and hard for – probably over the course of a year. We used my husband’s hard-earned plasma donating money and my work bonus money. I sold various things around the house, putting them on Craiglist and garage sale sites (if you don’t know, is a pain in the BUTT!). We sacrificed going out for dinner, traveling, attending concerts and buying things for ourselves so we could afford baby stuff. We didn’t want to go into debt for our baby, so we carefully saved and purchased on a budget. It was a lot of work. From her $160 bedding set to her various pieces of décor, $120 Snuza sleep system and the array of clothing, toys, swing, Boppy, Bumbo, etc. I bought new and/or used, we dropped (and will continue to drop) a lot of money. We avoided digging into our savings account and stuck to our firm budget. I’m actually really impressed that we were able to do it.
I know all parents often spend a lot on their kids. I mean, kids are super expensive! But, I’d like to get some of that money back we worked so hard to save and spend. I’d like to use the money for us this time. Vacations, new house décor, a new lawn mower, new car, new windows, new camera, new clothes, date night, etc. Things we put on the back burner to give Stella want she needs. And honestly, the things gifted to us are ours to keep and do with want we want. I don’t want to be made to feel guilty because we sell our crib or stroller or glider someday. Sure, I’ll give some of it away, but what new mom truly wants a used crib mattress, dirty old play pen or Stella’s room décor? They’ll want their own NEW stuff and want to pick out their own color scheme, décor and products for their baby – that’s what showers are for! If a close family member or friend reaches out to me for any of my baby stuff, you bet I’ll gladly oblige, but if no one asks or wants it, I’m going to sell it. Don’t assume because I sit on a wealth of baby things that I plan to just give it all to the next person in line without some kind of compensation. Stuff isn’t cheap and it certainly isn’t free. Sorry, not sorry.
Cole and I would like at least two children. We knew this when we first started talking about kids early on while dating. Ideally, we wanted a boy and a girl. Obviously that’s not the way it works, so we’re waiting to see what baby #2 will be. If it’s a girl, we’ll be set for everything! She may be off-season compared to Stella, but we have everything we’ll ever need for her. If it’s boy, we’re able to reuse a lot of things equipment as we made sure we registered and purchased gender neutral and we’d even have some neutral clothes, décor and of course toys. We would have a big pile of girly things that we wouldn’t be able to use for a boy, so we’d be open to selling/giving those away when we were done having kids, but please don’t ask or assume we’re going to shove every baby thing out the door for free once we find out baby #2 is a boy. We’d like our kids to be 2-3 years apart, meaning that once Stella is done with everything, we’ll be passing it down to baby #2. This means we can expect to get another 3-4 years out of the baby stuff we have – and we certainly will get our money’s worth!
We always said 2 kids was the limit, but how will we know for sure? God could have a plan up his sleeve for a surprise #3, and if we give everything away, we’ll be unprepared to purchase everything again. So, before we make the decision for Cole to be snipped, we want to be sure we’re completely done having kids. This mean we’re hanging onto everything just in case.
This may make me sound selfish, stingy or a hoarder, but frankly I don’t care. We worked hard to get pregnant, save up for a baby and provide her with everything she needs. We scraped, saved and sacrificed. We bought tons of things used because we couldn’t afford to buy new. I clipped coupons, searched for deals and bartered for a lot of her stuff. Like I said, I will gladly pass along the things that were generously given to me by other moms as I want to pay it forward, but, some of the things we’re either keeping or we’re selling. Simple as that. Please don’t make me feel bad for wanting to sell things for some extra cash. Isn’t that why garage sales and consignment stores exist? So moms can receive a little relief or reward from years of selflessly spending money on baby things? And in return, a mom in need gets a good-quality, gently used product for cheaper than retail. It’s a win-win in my book.