Saturday, 24 September 2011

What to do with all that baby gear

It never ceases to amaze me how much stuff makes our way into the house just because we have kids. The other day we watched the video of Cubling's first birthday, 3 1/2 years ago, just after moving into our family home. I hardly recognised the place. What was then empty, spacious and admittedly a tad bare, is now filled with toys, baby gear and clothes hidden in every conceivable crevice.

And boy am I trying to get rid of stuff. There are items that I think have a value which I've been trying to sell through Netmums and Gumtree. No luck. I've given bags of clothes to friends and to charity shops and still there is more. So when the Baby Booty Sale came along, I quite fancied to get rid of absolutely everything in one go, while also selling a few Barefoot Books.

So when at 1pm today, we packed the unsold stuff into the car, it became all too clear that I had not succeeded in the big declutter. In spite of nominal prices on items (I wasn't there to make money, just to make sure the stuff is getting used again), people didn't buy. Baby clothes and baby toys are quite clearly items that lose their value as soon as they leave the shop, a bit like books. It's beyond me how some items didn't sell at all, when I see them as highly desired, valuable and great bargains.

And as to my wonderful Barefoot Books - I didn't sell even one. Ok, I get that this was a second hand sale and the books were new and they aren't your average cheap Amazon deal. Still, some of them are cheap and I didn't even sell them. Looks like being a bookseller won't quite work as a plan B once I'm no longer part of the wage slavery movement.

After hours of sorting, packing, setting up, selling and vice versa, which amounts to about 7 hours of hard work (I'm shattered writing this) I made £5.75. I'm ignoring that I bought a clothes rail for £8.99 which means I actually made a loss. Nevermind, it was fun and an experience and I'm happy to know that at least some items made it to people who wanted/needed them.

So here I am, sat on a mountain of clothes and baby gear wondering how to reuse it because, at the end of the day, it's still good stuff with plenty of life in it. The reality is that we buy so much more than we need that on the whole, we are inundated with baby clothes that aren't needed, therefore making their reuse value nil.

In the 4 1/2 years of parenting, I have so far bought very little children's clothes. I've managed on the whole to get by with what we were given as presents, with hand me downs plus the occasional purchase of underwear (and freebies through this blog). I can count on one hand the clothes purchases I've made. Yet I understand the constant temptation to buy this cute outfit here, and that beautiful dress over there. It's hard not to grab that sales bargain that isn't really needed. But if I look at the masses of baby clothes that didn't get sold today, I'm rather determined to continue my quest to stick to second hand, and to make sure that the clothes no longer needed go to people who have a use for them.


Kat @slugs said...

I totally agree. It is amazing the amount of stuff one accumulates when having kids. We just moved in in March and are already bursting!

As for clothes though, boys clothes are so hard to get secondhand after age 3 or so. It must be a combo of there just being less clothes for bots in circulation and the fact they can be more readily handed down to siblings of either gender. I do scour the charity shops for them though!!

cartside said...

Age 3 is the watershed isn't it, maybe because clothes often don't last beyond one child? Whenever I'm in a charity shop there are very few baby/kids items in general, which surprises me. At the baby sales too, clothes for older children are hard to come by - last time I just about found a coat size 5 (Cubling is tall).

Rhi@FlourChild said...

We were chuckling over that very same thing while watching videos of our first baby, 4 years ago. We had plants inside, empty floorspace, bookshelves filled with novels!
I've always sold (and bought) baby clothes on eBay. If you time it right (ie. auction to end in the evening when people are at home), some prices are really high. And bundle things together with one 'big ticket' item and a few extras.
x Rhi

zooarchaeologist said...

In total agreement with this, I have tons and tons of stuff and I am having trouble even giving it away. Why do people feel the need to have new stuff all the time!!
I have to admit, im a bit secretly resentful of the way my house has been overtaken. Ahem

Muddling Along said...

I love getting hand me down clothes - we've had some lovely things from friends who were only having one (so had bought very very nice bits) and the nicer stuff seems to last longer. We have bits that are now on Littler that have done several children already

Am useless at giving away - get all sentimental and end up putting things in the loft.

I'm trying a wider declutter and taking a bag of things to the charity shop each week - haven't yet seen much of an impact but I'm sure we will

Jen Law said...

My sister has 2 boys just over a year apart in age. My own son is only 6 months younger than her eldest. She gave me a whole bunch of stuff, clarcks shoes and good quality clothes. When she gave them to me I told her I would post them to her for her younger son once we were done with them. She told me not to bother, she'll just get new ones for him.

Maria Jose and Little M said...

Tell me about it! We are clearing things out for our move to the US and it seems that the stuff doesn't stop pouring out. I just want to throw it all out the window and start over.

Plummy Mummy said...

Hey what about sticking them on freecycle? I know that you don't make money, AND you have to watch out for people who aren't really genuine (i.e. want items to sell rather than use). However, when you do manage to give away something to someone who really is in need, it's a great feeling.



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