Is anyone else drowning in stuff? I’d love to be one of those people who could detach sentimentality from objects and just bin things when they’ve outlived their use. Instead, they were cluttering my home and stressing me out so I decided to take action.
Clearing out the messy kitchen drawer (we all have one) or sorting a bookshelf is pretty easy but when it come to baby stuff, binning even the most obscure keepsake seems heartless. The problem with baby mementos is that they all hold treasured memories of a fleeting time.
Pick the Right Moment
The key to decluttering baby things is to pick that sweet time between when the memory is so incredibly raw that you’d never throw anything and the point when you become too overwhelmed to tackle the amount of stuff that has accumulated. This time comes quicker than you’d think.
Start With Clothes
Realistically, you can’t keep everything. The clothes alone would take up their own room. With no future children planned, the adorable baby grows, first vests and tiny dresses needed to be dealt with before it got out of hand. I set aside the girls very first outfits. Even just seeing them again, got me a little teary and so the principal of only keeping thing ‘which spark joy’ certainly applied here.
Next I tackled the two giant bags of clothes. There were so many lovely pieces, that I knew this was going to be hard. In the end I decided I needed to do something with them. Putting them in a box in the loft seemed pointless.
After a little research, I discovered so many options for turning clothes into something that could have a use. There were pillows, teddies and even wall hangings. As I’m ok with a sewing machine, I chose to make a memory blanket myself. Slicing though the first itty bitty baby grow was tough but as I pieced the items back together, I reminded myself that this way I’d be able to have one useful treasured item rather than a mountain of bags hidden away.
Sort Through Storage
Moving on, I knew I had to face the overflowing baby boxes that I’d been chunking things into willy nilly since the day they were born. I’d intentionally bought quite large storage boxes to satisfy my hoarding urges but then just dumped in anything and everything. I’m sure in 20 years I’m not going to want to be storing every ticket stub, model or painting and so as hard as it was, some just need to go.
The boxes were in such a mess it did take a fair few hours to sift through everything. To keep everything organized, I purchased clear zipper wallets and labelled them in date order. One has hospital cards and baby bracelets. Their first outfit is ironed and sealed inside another pouch. There is another for artwork but here I only select one or two pieces per year to add.
The initial surge of keepsakes does slow down but you still need to be mindful of the clutter creeping back. Every few months, when I’ve gathered a few items I think are worth saving, I can just slot them in to the baby boxes. When the girls start school later this year, I plan to put these into the loft and begin school boxes. I’m hoping to be ruthless enough to create a single box that will last until they start secondary school.
On To Photos
My final task was to address the photos. We are lucky to live in a time when we have access to pretty much unlimited digital storage. However this gift also feels like a burden. What is the point of having 10,000 images on your laptop if no one is ever going to see them. Are you even looking at them?
As my twins turned one, I set about making a photo book for their first year. Again this was a labour of love but now is a book I’ll treasure forever. Since then, I now made family yearbooks. I learnt the hard way that but waiting an entire year to scroll through every photo you’ve taken, will make you want to throw your camera out the window. Instead, quarterly or monthly, if you’re a prolific snapper, just create a folder and delete as many as you can.
As much as the first day at preschool was special, you won’t want 15 images from the same angle in front of the same door. Pick one and get rid of the rest. When you come to create a photobook at the end of the year, you can just upload your already edited selection and hey presto you’ve got an intentionally curated collection of your family highlights.
I’m always on the look out to find new and creative ways to save special pieces. How do you save your baby mementos?