Tame the Tangle
Reducing the kid related clutter!
Your bundle of joy (and all of their stuff!)
You may delight in how tiny your new baby is, but the gear they come with be can be anything but! By the time you have the essentials, like a bassinet or cot, pram and car seat you may already find your previously comfortable house bursting at the seams. Then comes the baby bath, the change table, the high chair, the baby bouncer and the toys (oh my goodness the toys) and it’s no wonder parents have a hard time keeping chaos at bay. A lot of this stuff is really useful, so it makes sense you’d want to have it- but if you’re looking to reduce the clutter here are some tips:
Do you really need all of it? Can you make do with a portable change-mat on the bed for a while or can you put baby straight into a cot rather than buying a moses basket? If you know your family or friends are going to buy gifts, don’t be afraid to ask for things you really need and will use, so you don’t end up with stuff that will sit around and make you feel guilty every time you look at it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get the things that will make your life easier, I’m just saying that a lot of extras get pushed on to parents (particularly first timers) so think about what will truly make a difference, and what you can live without.
- Recycle, Borrow or Rent!
So many baby items are short lived. Baby bassinets, capsules and bouncers are usually only in use for a few months so there are plenty of these items available to rent from places like Tree Hut Village, borrow from friends or buy second-hand. This also goes for toys, which are easily sourced on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree and clothes which you can find at consignment stores like Use-Ta!, op shops or eBay. It’s also worth looking into Facebook Good Karma groups in your area, plenty of people are happy to give their baby stuff away for free just to make space in their homes! Before you buy new, check out your options (it’s also great for the environment!)
- Outgrown Already? Get it Out!
You might think that the essential items for babies don’t change much, but that can be untrue. When my son was born everyone raved about the Baby Bjorn, four years later my daughter arrived and it was all about the Ergo 360. In the last few years drop-down cots can no longer be sold, and every high chair needs a 5 point harness rather than three. Car seats and cots are stickered with their manufacture date and many charities will not accept these items if they’re past their best-before. Laws change, and so do parent preferences, so if you know that you’re done with your baby gear the faster you can sell it, rent it out or pass it on the better. The same goes for clothes, if you’d like to sell things on they’re much more attractive if they’re still in fashion.
As your kid gets bigger…
So does their stuff! Your high chair is replaced with ride on toys and mountains of Lego, it’s easy for it to take over the whole house. The good news is that as your kids grow up, they get better at taking ownership of their own things and can start to become helpful! Here are some ways to encourage ownership:
- Let them help you sort through their outgrown clothes and toys. In our house we do this every school holidays, but some families do it monthly- whatever works! Make three piles: keep, sell and donate and let them decide what goes where. Take them with you to donate to charities so they can see the process, and let them have their own garage sale if they want to!
- Encourage them to look after their own things. I’m a mean mum and I always say that whatever is left on the floor will get sucked up by the vacuum, my kids rush around to save their toys before I get to them. I’m sure there’s a better strategy but it works for me!
- For birthdays and Christmas, ask family to chuck in for big-ticket items, zoo passes, movie tickets or mini golf, rather than endless pieces of plastic!
A completely minimalist lifestyle might be off the cards for a few years, but I hope you can take some of these ideas and reduce the clutter in your own home.
Kirin, Owner of Use-Ta in Northcote, VIC
Check out her site here
Kiri runs Use-Ta!, Melbourne's best pre-loved children's wear store. She's passionate about sustainability, fashion and mum life.