Kids grow so fast. You hear it time and time again, but it is so true. In just over a year I have accumulated so much clothing, toys, paperwork, etc. that I can hardly believe it. While I feel sentimental towards certain things and I have always been a bit of a pack-rat, practicality dictates that I'm going to have to purge at least some things to make room for more. For my own sake as well as yours, here are some tips for preserving memories without over accumulating.
From the hospital release forms to art projects at day care, I have quite a bit of loose paper hanging around my son’s room. Some is important, some is special, and some is utterly useless.
· Any public service announcements from the hospital, expired or inapplicable coupons, and other non-essential paperwork, just pitch it. You won’t need it.
· Important pieces (like birth records, social insurance files, etc) can be scanned for safe keeping, and stored somewhere safe (read: not the nursery).
· If your child produces a lot of crafts, you can scan their handy work as well, making it easier to preserve in case some is lost, damaged, or frankly tossed because you’re going to get 18 years of “art.”
From black and white sensory objects, to large entertainment centres – the first year of toys is enough to fill a 3 bedroom home (trust me).
· Throw away things that are worn out, torn, or discoloured. Especially items that have been attached to a stroller or car seat.
· If you are not done having children, put away some of the younger baby things to reduce clutter. You might consider a small tote that you can label for safe storage in the garage or basement.
· Larger pieces should have a limit or your children will still interact with things they've outgrown. Out of sight, out of mind. If you have the storage space, you can consider disassembling so they take up less room.
This is the hardest part for me. Baby outfits are incredibly cute, and getting rid of a set that looked especially sweet, or holds a good memory is difficult.
· Be proactive and take photos of your child in your favourite outfits so you’re more likely to be able to part with the physical item. Preserve only the very most important items (like the home from the hospital outfit or religious pieces).
· If you’re saving clothes for your next child, remember that you will still receive gifts and want to buy for that baby, too. Limit yourself to a few pieces of each size (a few onesies, a few pajamas, etc). Storing them in a vacuum saver-bag will reduce the space and protect the fabric.
· Hand down and donate anything you’re not attached to as soon as it’s outgrown, as well as seasonal pieces such as snow suits. Even if you have more, there is no guarantee they will be the same size in the same season.
A few final words…
Sentimentality is different to everyone and there will be objects that you’re going to have to make a call on, probably in a case by case manner. Things like hand knit objects, items handed down from your own childhood (or your partner's), and gifted tokens (like coin sets or ornaments). There are also those fleeting memories to account for that are easier to lose than keep. Favourite songs, first foods, and midnight cuddles don’t fit in drawers or on shelves. Never feel shy about taking lots of photos or lots of notes in a baby book or journal. These moments are the ones you’ll appreciate more than stuff down the road.