When your first bundle of joy arrives, so does a bundle of stuff, from baby carriers to strollers to cute little booties.
As your firstborn gets bigger, you have a decision to make: do you sock these goods away for baby number two? What if you aren’t sure about having another?
Organizing experts and parents of multiple kids say you should consider storing some items, but you don’t need to keep everything. Here are four questions to ask to help you decide whether to hold onto a baby item, or not:
Did the Item Work For Your First Baby?
Ditch stuff that didn’t function properly or that annoyed you.
“If you weren’t completely happy with the item the first time around — even if it’s that trendy stroller system — don’t keep it,” said Laura Bostrom, a professional organizer and owner of Everyday Order. “You will feel much better passing it on to someone who will love it more than you do.”
How Much Space Do You Have?
If you have the room to store baby items you love, or that would be costly to replace, keep them, said certified professional organizer Amy Trager.
Mom of two Melissa Kuehnle, from Medford, NY, had plenty of room to stash bulky infant items in her large garage. She kept her son’s playpen, walker, Jumperoo, Bumbo seat and strollers, then saved loads of money by using them for her daughter a few years later.
How Much Space Does Your Baby Gear Take Up?
If you have items that are collapsible or that you can disassemble so they take up very little space, it makes sense to keep them as long as you want. For example, Los Angeles Realtor Lori Aronsohn held onto her son’s “wonderful small fold-up stroller” for years, and she now uses it for her granddaughter.
Will the Item Still Be Useable?
Keep safety in mind. For example, some infant items may get recalled, and carseats expire. The expiration date will be stamped on the bottom, but a seat might stay safe only six years after manufacture.
Organizing Baby Gear For Storage
If you do store items, keep them organized and labeled so you can easily find what you need when baby number two arrives. For example:
- Store baby clothes by size, season and gender in vacuum-sealed bags, and place those in a clear, labeled storage bin that you stick in a closet or on a shelf, Bostrom recommends. “This method saves space and keeps out moisture and dust,” she said.
- Put large toys or gear in a labeled drawstring laundry or trash bag, Bostrom suggests.
- Get creative about storage. “I used a wooden high chair as a plant stand,” said Joyce Wilson-Sanford, a mom of five and grandma in Cape Elizabeth, ME.
What to Do With Unwanted Gear
If you decide not to store the baby gear, consider donating it to a good cause.
“Many charities serve children and families,” Bostrom points out.
If you want to make some extra cash, you should have no problem selling your stuff online via Craigslist or local Facebook Yard Sale groups, or through a consignment shop.
Another option is to lend the items to a friend who’s expecting, as Bostrom did when her son grew into a toddler. A close friend of hers, who was registering for baby gifts, got frustrated by the sheer amount of stuff she needed. The two women realized they could help each other.
“My items are being put to good use for her, while being stored for me,” she said. “If I have more children in the future, I know whom to call.”
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