I went through my daughter's room this week. We received so many lovely gifts when she was born. I was not expecting this. People were extremely generous. That being said, there were a few gifts that didn't fit our parenting style, didn't fit Miss. E, and items that were sweet but not very useful.
I started with the clothes that she has already worn and is currently wearing. I pitched a sleeper that was flame-resistant. It was cute, but the chemicals used to make an item flame resistant are linked to cancer. I donated items that would be best on a short, chubby baby. Miss. E is very long and quite lean. Some of the onesies simply did not fit her. There is such a wide range of body types with babies (as there are with adults), so not everything works on every baby.
Miss. E received a ton of toys. She was given a small army of pink stuffed animals and dolls. While these gifts are sweet, they are not "useful" or in line with our move to minimalism. I kept three stuffies (one from each set of grandparents and one from a great-grandmother). I kept two dolls (one from a great-grandma and one from my best friend). Every other stuffed animal was donated in hopes of making another child's day. She received a few rattles that were exactly the same. I kept one and donated the rest. I also donated some toys that I didn't feel fit our parenting style. I tend to lean toward toys made from natural materials (wood, cotton, etc.). Anything made from plastic has to be from a reputable company and BPA free.
Miss. E was given a lot of sentimental gifts, such as frames and plaques. While these are nice, they aren't in line with our minimalism and are really not useful. Most of these items were donated with the exception of a few, which were kept because of sentimental value.
Gifts are a difficult thing to minimize. Most of us feel large amounts of guilt when it comes to things that other people have given to us. We know that the giver has spent money on the gift and has taken the time to select something just for us. We must remember that a gift is not given with the intention to burden. I don't think that someone gives us a gift, hoping that it will sit in a drawer or closet, unused and forgotten. Knowing this, I feel that it is okay to pass on items that can be used by someone else.
There were gifts that we received that we love and use. Miss. E loves her "Sophie" giraffe, activity mat, cloth rattles and her noise-making book. I love the Aden & Anais blankets that we received, the children's books and the many sleepers that I have put to good use. We also received money, which was a lovely gift. We started Miss. E's college fund with it. It is never to soon to start saving for college! My best suggestion for a baby gift is money or gift cards. The parent can then select whatever works for them. If you want to give an actual gift, you could consult with the parents and see what they might need. Some parents even set up a registry.
How do you deal with your children's growing stash of items? Do you have any suggestions as how to keep their things to a minimum? Comment below with your ideas!