I think we can all agree on what not to say to pregnant women. One time in the office break room as I was filling up my water glass for the tenth time, a guy said to me, “So, I know I’m not supposed to ask this, but are you pregnant?”
“Yes, I’m about five months pregnant,” I replied.
Then he said, “Oh okay, because you used to not look…that way.”
Honestly I thought it was funny; I’m not easily offended. I’m really glad for his sake that I was actually pregnant at the time.
Along those lines, I would like to suggest that one thing a pregnant woman should not say to a friend whose babies are growing up is, “So, you’re going to give me all of your baby stuff, right?” Because slow down, that question that sounds so direct really puts me on the spot.
It would feel better if that question were phrased in an indirect way, such as “I would love to receive some hand-me-downs, if you know anyone who wants to sell or give away their stuff.”
Heaven knows, I’m not trying to be greedy about my stuff, but that hits an emotional part of me that doesn’t know the future or if I’m ready to part with stuff yet. I’m sure you understand. (And yes, I probably do want to give you some of my stuff, but give me a few minutes to think about it so that it feels like my own idea.)
This week I’m sharing for discussion some of the baby questions that I receive most often in my inbox. Today’s question is:
I want you to know that I am not a minimalist, and I often keep something I might want in the future. I don’t feel the need to get rid of everything I’m not currently using.
I don’t keep everything, though, and this is what I consider:
1. How much room I have for storage. Right now I have a house with an attic, so I can save the crib (unassembled), car seat, and high chair. For several years, I lived in an apartment, and my options were limited. If I still lived in an apartment, I probably would only save the smaller things like baby carriers, a few clothes, and small toys.
Since I have the space, it’s worth saving those things for now, and I like having them available for guests.
2. How much hassle it is to replace. With my first pregnancy I spent of a lot of time reading product reviews and deciding what I wanted to have. I don’t really want to go through that again; it seems easier to keep what I already have, but my kids are still young, and (so far) they’re not spaced far apart.
I kept my maternity clothes (about two grocery bags full) because they are specific to me: my size, my colors, my style, so that I wouldn’t have to start over if I need them again.
I’ve also shared how I store and organize baby clothes, limited to just one bin per clothing size, since I’m not quite ready to give most of those away yet.
But for some things—a swing is just a swing, and you can easily find another.
3. How much something costs. I might want to save something because, wow, that [insert baby item] was expensive, and I only want to buy it once. That’s why I’d rather buy gear like baby swings used on Craigslist.
I didn’t plan to buy a baby swing, but my second baby was…shall we say, sensitive…and I needed something to help him sleep. It worked well for six weeks, until it didn’t, and you can see that swing took up my whole living room. I had bought it on Craigslist for $40, and then when it didn’t help us anymore I sold it for $60 instead of letting it take up space. So basically, I use Craigslist like my personal storage system, buying and trading as we need to.
4. How long something will be used. A jump-a-roo was fun for each of my kids for about two weeks, but then the novelty wore off when my baby figured out I was using it for a containment device. I sold the jump-a-roo to a consignment shop instead of storing it. When you sell stuff to a consignment shop, you can get about 40% of the price they sell it for, which isn’t much, but the stuff is no longer in your house.
So that’s what I think about when I’m deciding what to keep, and as time goes by I’ll keep less. I give things away gradually to different people as it feels right.
Now if you have some baby stuff laying around not being used, I don’t want to pressure you do anything about it, but just make a decision if you plan to keep it or not, so that it’s your choice. Then the stuff that you have is there by design.