by Katie Virk
Six months into motherhood my house resembled a landfill site. Precious darling’s beautiful nursery was a swamp of bin liners full of outgrown baby clothes. Clothes that had melted my heart with their tiny-ness only months before now spilled from every surface and corner of the room.
Marie Kondo (author, minimalist and internet sensation) promised me that everything would be ok if I just got rid of anything that did not “spark joy”.
So I did. In 10 minute bursts, to the soundtrack of colicky baby screams, I slowly picked through the chaos. I discarded 99% of the clothes and salvaged the tattered remains of my sanity.
I will never let my home get into this state again I vowed. But how?
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to clutter.
When considering a purchase ask yourself:
1. Do I really need it?
This is the first question to ask because it’s the trap we all fall into so easily – buying something we don’t really need. Think about:
- Have you got any similar items already?
- Can you manage without it?
- Is it actually going to be useful / bring you joy?
- Will that joy last for more than the two minute attention span of your baby
2. Is this marketing hype?
Parenting is tough, we’re all desperate for a wonder product to solve our problems and the internet is very happy to provide. Don’t get sucked in to the hype:
- Before you click that ‘buy’ button put the phone down and give yourself a cooling off period. As the dopamine rush of online shopping fades, or your little one has a better night’s sleep without that magic device, you might find yourself reconsidering.
- Read independent reviews (not sponsored posts). Beware that a lot of the ‘top best items’ articles are actually paid for by companies.
- Talk to your mum / sister / friend – did their little ones survive without this apparently vital item?
3. Where will I store it?
Remember you are paying rent or mortgage on every square foot of your home. You are paying extra for that attic / garage / spare room, so think carefully about what you fill it with, or sooner or later you’re going to be wanting a bigger place. Is this item so wonderful that you are happy to rent a storage facility for it? If not, then ask yourself:
- Are you happy to see this item piled up on your table / windowsill / clutter hotspot?
- Are you ready to put it back in its rightful place 8 times a day after your baby empties the draws again?
4. Do I want to care for it?
You wanted to be a parent, not work in a repair shop, so think about:
- Does the delicate new ornament bring you so much joy that you are willing to spend your days defending it from your curious baby?
- Is that cheap plastic toy going to break as soon as your baby slams it on the floor, and can you be bothered to find all the pieces?
- Are these clothes going to be easy to wash, easy to get on a wriggling baby, easy to dry on a rainy day when your baby pulls everything off the clothes airer… again.
5. Have I got an exit strategy?
Gone are the days when we can magically disappear items by simply chucking them in the bin. Do you want to take responsibility for the proper disposal of this item? Arranging recycling, selling or finding a friend to pass on to all take time and thought. Have you got the energy to do this?
6. Is there a better alternative?
Renting your babies clothes and toys is an easy alternative for busy parents. No need to sort, store, pass on, sell. No need to drown in baby clutter. Just pop them in the reusable bag with the free postage label and return. Then have a well-deserved cup of tea, put your feet up and enjoy your clutter free space.