The Challenge of Letting Go

Magazines, tv programs, and lifestyle blogs are promoting the idea of decluttering and for the most part, we're totally on board but it is still SO hard to get rid of the teeny tiny baby clothes from our ever-growing children. Comparing how much they've grown and smelling that lingering baby smell is Mummy crack and it can be hard to give up!

So why would you? Anyone who has gone full Mari Kondo in their house knows that items that still give you joy are meant to stay put, and reminiscing about the early days of baby life is absolutely a joy. Eventually, pragmatism wins. If you know that those clothes are never going to be worn again (by your kids, anyway) it's hard to justify giving up the storage space. Unless you're living in a big house with ample wardrobes (or a decent garage), all of the sentimental stuff gets in the way. As you move out of the baby phase and into kidhood, you're going to need that space for a million pieces of Lego and one thousand hand-painted artworks. 

If you're planning to grow your family and would rather not re-buy all of those baby basics it makes sense to hang on to the bits and pieces you'll need- but to be honest, a lot of the gear I held onto between bubbas I really wasn't impressed with when number two arrived. My tastes had changed, baby two was much bigger at birth, had a different complexion and was the opposite sex so essentially I had lugged a lot of stuff around only to give it away. 

Another common reason for hanging on to baby stuff is for your sister/friend/cousin for when they have a baby. It's lovely to pass things on so you get to see them worn by another child that's close to you, so if there is a baby on the way then hang on to everything you think that friend or family will actually use. This is the hard part, you have to be really careful about what you pass on, otherwise, you're just moving your clutter to your friend's house (and she'll have an even harder time parting with it because it came from you!). 

I'm very fond of the Japanese concept of 'Montannai', where wastefulness is unacceptable because each and every object has its own spirit. I love the idea that objects have their own thing going on, and it's proven to me time and time again in the shop- we've had consignments in the past where no matter how lovely they are, or what price we put on them, they just won't sell. When they're returned to their consignor you can see the relief on their face to have that special thing back. 

On the flipside, when consignors are ready to move on, items sell easily and start another journey with a new child. Sometimes those items get outgrown and come back to the store for another round of memories and I know I'm a bit weird but I really think you can feel that vibe when you hold something in your hands. I guess that's why they call it preloved! 

I don't have the answers, I'm happy that in our house there's one small box of keepsakes for each child. Each contains an outfit to remind us how small they were, a few treasured gifts, the cards people brought us in the hospital and their first birthday cards. I hope I can keep it this way because our storage situation demands it and we can't afford a bigger house!

And now over to you, what have you kept? What do you ditch and how do you motivate yourself to part with it?

June 05, 2017 — Kiri Gorter

Leave a comment