|Anneliese, a few hours old. NOT the new baby |
(who hasn't been born yet)! This is just illustrative.
Our home is small and has no built in closets or storage spaces whatsoever (other than kitchen cupboards). Because of that, our room has sort of become the "storage room" of our small home, with bags of clothing that we aren't currently using being stored high up, above the shelves that house our clothes, under the bed, in the corners under cupboards, etc... It's crazy, I know, and if we actually had the means of storing clothes somewhere else instead of our bedroom, I'd vastly prefer that, but unfortunately it is what it is, and our room is the de-facto storage facility...
Mike and I spent our entire Sunday finding every bag, going through them, sorting them out, and finding what was in each bag. Silly me, when I put them away, I didn't label them clearly as to what was in them, nor did I put them away in any sort of order, so it was definitely difficult to figure out where the newborn clothes were. But eventually, we did find them. And found lots of clothes that I am going to pass on to my sister for her kids.
I've mentioned in the past how decluttering ends up saving money. You'd think that storing things long term, like clothes from one kid to the next, so that you don't need to buy them in the future, is frugal. But in our case, not so much. We are limited in how much space we have, especially due to the lack of storage facilities here. We pay very little for our rent, and if we needed a bigger place to store all our "junk" and stuff that we'd need to hold on to for a few years, we'd be paying more in increased rent each month than it would cost us to simply acquire new things.
For this reason, when it comes to kids' clothes, I put a 2 year limit on storage. Lee and Ike, though they are two years apart in age, aren't exactly 2 years apart size wise- usually Lee outgrows things, and then they go straight to Ike- I don't need to put them away between their wearing them. Though if Ike were not so tall, I would put away Lee's clothes for the "two years" until Ike started wearing them.
But after Ike outgrows something, I just give them to my sister for her 3 year old son.
Because my next child, 2 years younger than Ike, is a girl. And Anneliese won't be wearing Ike's hand me downs (aside for the occasional unisex thing, which I do keep for her), and then there's another 2+ year gap before there will be another child, who may or may not end up needing the size 4T clothing that Ike is outgrowing. And that is assuming that this next child is a boy. If its a girl, then there'd be at least another 5 or 6 years before someone else would be wearing Ike's old clothes. Or more than that, even...
I see no point in holding on to clothes for years and years, with the possibility that maybe, maybe 4-6 years or more down the line, I might have a kid to wear the clothes.
Anneliese's clothes, though, I do keep after she outgrows them- because 2 years is my limit, and she is just wearing size 2T clothes now.
I keep a years supply of both boys' and girls' baby clothes- from 0-3 to 9-12 month size clothing, because that has the highest likelihood of getting used the soonest, so it's not just taking up space and never getting used, the same way my boys' hand me downs are.
So the decluttering was definitely frugal.
I filled 4 garbage bags of stuff to give to my sister.
And also filled 3 garbage bags of just garbage that was in my room. Some wasn't originally garbage, but it was projects that have been sitting around for over a year or more, that I never was touching and wasn't likely to finish any time in the near future. Again, taking up valuable room. So I tossed it. (This was mostly repurposed sewing projects made with recycled stuff, so it didn't cost me much money to get them.)
And because I found stuff I forgot I had, like clothes the next size up for Lee and Anneliese that I got as hand me downs or rescued from near the dumpster (people who don't want to go to the second hand store to make donations often leave big bags of clothing near the dumpster for people to take), and now I labeled them and put them in a place where I'll be able to find them easily enough, when my kids outgrow the size clothes they are currently wearing, I won't need to visit the second hand store to get clothes for them.
I also found my newborn sized cloth diapers and now will be able to use them when the baby is born.
My biggest lesson in all this really is that it is very important for me to sort and label stuff, and keep them in places I can find easily. I see there are stuff that I have that I never ended up using for my kids and they've already outgrown them, simply because the clothes weren't organized well enough. So from now on, I will try to keep it better organized. It doesn't save money to have something... if you forget you have it or where it is stored.
How do you store your kids' outgrown clothes? What is your thoughts on what to keep and what to give away? Do you consider decluttering to be a frugal move, or not so much?