We have clothes everywhere! I can clear one room in our 3br house-but it seems like the things just “shift”. Most of our items are clothes we are saving for our son-ranging from 2T-5T, my husband’s clothes (mostly never wears), stuffed toys out the wazoo, toys out the wazoo, and now some big ticket baby items our son has outgrown that we can’t find a good home for yet. Then there are the sentimental items-about 6-8 large boxes of those. Suggestions?
The above question was sent from a reader and I think it’s a problem we’ve either all had or are still struggling with. Here are my suggestions:
*The clothes – The first step is to look over each item of clothing and see what ones you would actually use again. If you see an item covered in stains and you don’t think you will put your next little one in it, toss it. Both the baby clothes and your husbands clothes that he doesn’t wear could go into Space Bags. These bags hold an unbelievable amount of clothing! I like the flat ones for clothing (as opposed to the cube ones which are great for blankets and stuffed animals). The flat ones can be stored under beds, under the couch, any where you have narrow spaces. Just make sure to label them so you know what sizes are in each bag.
*Stuffed toys – Go through the toys and see if there are any you can donate. The ones you decide to keep can go in the cube Space Bags. We keep most of my daughter’s stuffed animals in these amazing bags. Because they are clear, you can see what’s inside and if your child wants a particular stuffed animal you can open it up, take out the toy and then suck out the air again.
*Toys – this may have to be something you put up with for the next few years. As with everything else, go through and see what you actually need and what your kids really play with. If you come across any toy that is broken, either fix it or toss it.
*Big ticket baby items – if you don’t need it anymore, get those space suckers out of there! Sell them on Craig’s list or, if you don’t want to mess with that, donate them. Many pregnancy help line places will gladly take the donation.
*Sentimental items – Oh man, that one gets all of us. Here is what I do – I keep a box for EACH person in my family. I don’t throw everyone’s keepsake items in together. If you do this, you’ll never know who you’re keeping things for…or why you’re even keeping it.
Before anything goes in a box I ask myself this question – why am I keeping it? Do I hope my daughter will pass on this item of clothing to her own daughter one day? If that answer is yes, I make sure it’s stain free and in perfect shape. If it’s not, I try to get the stains out and make it look like new. If I can’t do it, I take a picture of it (for myself) and toss it. When my kids grow up and have their own children they will not want to put their children in old, stained clothing – just like the rest of us wouldn’t do to our own children.
If it’s a toy I’m tempted to put in the box, I ask myself the same question. Am I keeping it because it was one of their favorite toys and I think their own children would play with it one day? If it’s not a favorite toy, if it’s broken or doesn’t work anymore, then either toss it or donate it.
I try to keep this in mind with my keepsakes – will it live on and actually be useful to my children one day? If the answer is no, I don’t keep it. When my child is an adult it will not be helpful to give him/her 10 Rubbermaid containers full of “stuff” that is broken, stained, or torn. No one wants that! My mom kept very few things for me, and I treasure everything that I have in that little box. If she would’ve given me 10 of them, I would’ve been overwhelmed.
When it comes to keeping papers or art work, I keep a flat Rubbermaid container under my bed. I don’t have one for each kid, I just have a “Family” box. Every other time I add to it, I look to see if there is something similar they’ve done that I can get rid of.
The key here is to pay attention to what you are keeping, and think about why you are keeping it in the first place. We keep so much more than we really need. We end up using space for things in the past and have less room for the present.
I hope this helps! Happy organizing!