What do I do with all this baby stuff?!
by Teresa Higginbotham
o now the baby is running around spitting out watermelon seeds with the rest of the neighborhood pack, and you can't get into his closet because of all of that cutesie teddy bear baby junk you collected for him. What to do with all of it?
Here are three suggestions:
- Give it away to someone else
- Make money on it
- Recyle it into something useful
Make a list of people who might benefit from your baby items. It can be people you know, and it can be people you don't know.
Start out with relatives, friends, or neighbors. Does your child have some younger cousins or cousins on the way who might need some clothing?
One time I received, from an aunt, five outfits for my little girl. She sent me a newborn outfit, a size 1, 2, 3, and 4. She gently told me she had collected the stuff at yard sales and then bought things like tights and hairbows to go along with it. I think she was worried I would be offended she hadn't bought it all at Walmart. I felt it was one of the most thoughtful gifts I had received. Not only did I remember her when my child wore the newbie outfit, but four years later when she was wearing the size 4 Christmas dress with matching tights.
You can also give your clothes and baby gadgets away to homeless shelters, abuse prevention shelters, The Salvation Army, and there are thrift stores are out there for just about every charity. Find a group of people you want to help (I know it's hard to pick just one). It's a great way to give to others. When all else fails, there's always Freecycle.
You can have the classic garage sale. Now I have to get on my soapbox on this one.
I was at a garage sale a few years back and picked up a pair of size two overalls with matching shirt. They were pretty worn, but I looked at the price anyway. She wanted $15 for them. I gulped in air and asked her why they were so much. She immediately put her nose in the up-air position and looked down at me and the dilapadated pair of overalls. "Well, for goodness sakes, I paid $30 for that outfit at Macy's. They're practically new."
Kids clothes are like Kleenex in the cold season! I would never pay so much for an outfit that will soon bear the signs of chocolate syrup, koolaid, and tempera paint. It's OK to make a profit at a yard sale, but she was out to make a killing.
Price your stuff reasonably. If people are at a yard sale, they're looking for bargains, and you are looking for extra room in the back of the closet. If you advertise your yard sale in the paper, be sure to put in the ad that you will have baby items. That will bring people to you in droves. I don't know what it is about babies, but they seem to catch a few of us off guard financially. Baby yard sales can be a true blessing for both you and your buyers.
You can also take your child's things to resale shops. Once you find a shop you like, you can continue to take your children's clothes there throughout the years. Shops I've dealt with usually want things clean, with all the buttons and hems in place. They might also want clothes that will be used in the next season. For example in the fall they might be looking for winter clothes. Some of these stores want you to bring them in on hangers, some don't. You might want to go through the phone book and call some of these places to see what they require.
Here are few items you can reuse in a different capacity.
- Cloth Diapers--Dust cloths, dish towels, and they are EXCELLENT for cleaning mirrors and windows.
- Baby dresses (especially those with spills on them that you can't do anything else with) can be cut down and used as doll dresses. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it can be done. [I don't even bother to cut them down, the girls use them anyway.--Ed.]
- Cut apart stained baby clothes for a patchwork quilt. The squares will become family mementos. You can also make a doll bed quilt.
- Cut quilted baby blankets into six by six inch squares and edge with seam binding to make a pot holder. You make want to sandwich two pieces with filler between for extra heat protection.
- Get a puppy and "cage" it in the playpen.
- Take your receiving blankets and cut them into 10 x 10 inch squares and piece them together for a simple quilt.
- Have another baby.
Maybe you better think about that last one a little.
Teresa Higginbotham writes articles about frugal living and family life. Visit her website at http://www.tightwadtess.com.