What do I do with all this stuff after I don't need it!?

So your house is overflowing with stuff!  And baby gear is big and bulky.  Even the little things get out of control.  In a small house, it feels like I'm being suffocated on some days with it all.  Since I'm not auditioning for an episode of Hoarders, I have to be diligent about all of the gear and stuff we have.
Last Christmas with King Diaper

Holidays, birthdays and seasonal changes are great times to just clean out and stay on top of it.

  • At the holidays, select unused or outgrown toys to pair down.  Your child will be getting more things that will replace them.
  • Birthdays are the same.  Even a few gifts add to a growing pile.
  • Seasonal changes are a great time to clean out closets and determine what is outgrown and can be let go.
King Diaper is an only child, so it is hard not to go overboard with him at holidays and birthdays.  We are really working hard to be sensible.  Having been a teacher in public schools with high poverty rates, I am aware of how many needy children there are out there.  

For his first birthday, we asked for people not to bring presents.  We are doing the same for birthday 2.  As we prepared for this birthday, I went through all of the bins and baskets and cleaned out toys and tethers and things he no longer uses or has just outgrown.  Many of these items are washable and can be easily donated to charity.  I'm drying the last of them now.  Whew!

Some friends encourage their older children to clean out toys to donate to charity before the Christmas holidays.  I think that this is a good thing to do.  On a recent tv show, the parents told the children to get a new toy, they would have to get rid of a toy.   The kids seemed to have a hard time with it, but it didn't seem like the worst thing ever.  The parents didn't want the children to be materialistic.  And it is ultimately up to the parent to decide how to handle it.  

Clothing can be handled in lots of ways.  I donate lots of items.  I also share clothes with friends.  And finally, I list items on Ebay and social media swaps.  From time to time, I do have items that I keep but mostly, out they go.  

If you are donating items, look for something that you feel strongly about.  For example, lots of churches do mission work both locally or in other countries.  You may have items that could be used in many locations of need.  The Ronald McDonald House is a charity organization that helps families with sick children.  Clothes or toys could be used by families staying in the house.  Women's shelters are also another great place for these items.  

Here are my tips for dealing with the mounds of stuff:
  1. Clean out what isn't being used before holidays and birthdays.  
  2. Locate a charity organization that you feel strongly about for donations.   
  3. Place expensive electronics for sale on Ebay if children are getting more gear.  It will offset your expenses.   
  4. Clean out closets seasonally.
  5. Donate clothing items you feel are in good condition and could be used by another child.
  6. List items on social media swaps or Ebay if you would like to sell them.  Consider selling just before or during the season in which children would wear them to sell them more quickly.
  7. Take clothing or toys to a consignment shop if you feel that you could recoup some of your expenses.  
The main thing is staying on top of it.  Its not fun or the way I like to spend my weekends, but its better than the alternative.