As I unfolded outfit after outfit, I sobbed in thanks. But I had no idea that my battle with cluttered closets was only getting started.
I remember the main inheritances that I obtained for my baby before I became a mother. Five large black garbage bags from a surrogate friend who had received them in succession from some friends – a veritable legacy chain connecting mothers of women for a decade or more.
It was a huge help, and I cried tears of joy as I unfolded outfit after outfit. Ranging in size from baby to 12 months. I used to be a whirlwind of raging pregnant hormones. Living far away from home and comparatively alone as a mother. The financial savings were immense. So the thought that someone else had gone down this road before me was like a comforting hug from familiar cotton.
There were almost new pajamas and rompers, adorable three-piece outfits. And tons of older dresses with lace and bows and, new vocabulary to me, smocking. Decorative embroidery of bears and sailboats and a lot, a lot of flowers, I loved everything. But there have also been a couple of dirty and worn garments in faded pastels that had seen better days. Stilt sweaters, stained shirts, and hats that might never stay on a baby’s head. The inherited chain had been running for years, added along the way by new moms. With no one brave enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Had a baby really used them ?! Which way back are we talking about?
Everything seemed clean, but I washed it all over again with whatever unscented baby-safe detergent I had bought in my quest to be the easiest new mom ever. I sorted and re-sorted the outfits. Along with the pajamas and pajamas I had bought from a consignment store and thus the perfect new outfits that I had received as a gift. I folded it up and hung everything up so it was ready and expecting a baby.
It was tremendously comforting to see that the closet was full of clothes. Not to mention the tiny stacks of little outfits that wouldn’t fit in another six months. Having given everything away to me for a surrogate friend. Whose daughter had once used several of the things. I felt a little less lonely and scared for the road ahead. And thus the financial savings blew my mind – I’d just begun to understand how fucking expensive babies are.
But little did I know that my battle with cluttered closets, groaning with all the pink reminder and brim-filled toy boxes had just begun. Collector at the simplest and most scavenger moment once I was feeling sentimental. Now I realize that inheritances are the blessing and curse of motherhood.
I still get a bit delighted when I open a replacement garment bag given to me by friends or family, even though it’s been almost ten years since I received those first treasure bags from another mom. Would we be able to pick a favorite? Is there anything specific I can’t say no to inside the store? Or was it something hideously improper that made me doubt humanity’s long-term viability? For preschoolers, black leather and white lace in the same outfit? Seriously? Three-year-olds in heels? Do some families have a strong preference for sequins?
Last winter my daughter delighted to order a tan knit poncho. Along with two pairs of trendy brown suede boots from a family friend. The boots, a departure from the sensible trainers I provided, gave her so much joy and confidence that I wondered how she had deprived it of so much haute couture all her life. She used to relieved to find a pair of purple swamps in the same bag. Good for a whole winter of heat for a year where it seemed like her feet were outgrowing her boots before they could unpacked.
From my daughter’s godmother, my girls, and that I have received the simplest toys. From wooden animals and cloth dolls to costume clothes and musical instruments for every age and stage. I remember the horror of another friend when she handed her a huge bag of Fisher-Price Little People toys and thus came the looooey oink of a farm game. A noise that threatened to reveal to her unconscious four-year-old that some appreciated. possessions were being given away. From my brother, we have gratefully received second-hand scooters, hockey sticks, and ski goggles, and all the smaller store games a woman could dream of.
But they’ve also given us things we can’t or don’t want to wear, from tight jeggings my girls loathe to string bikinis that aren’t ready for anything, as well as drab outfits that don’t appeal and Barbie gear. they just never liked it.
There is a way to taking advantage of inheritances without inheriting the clutter of someone else’s post, according to Jessica Tudos, an expert organizer and founding father of Kika Creative in Toronto. “Marie Kondo deserves credit for popularizing the idea of maintaining only ‘what brings joy,'” Tudos argues. “It’s effective. Be confident in your choices and trust her feelings; her child will have had enough.”
Tudos, a Toronto mother with a nine-year-old child, has only one container for “promising” clothes and toys and another for minor items. She advises prudence when dealing with inheritances because they are practically outside the door. “Be grateful first, then practical,” she advises. “While we appreciate other people’s generosity, owning too many items will make you feel more overwhelmed, disorganized, and anxious.”
What is her recommendation for dealing with a box of used-item replacements? When you’ve opened everything up, take a look at each item separately. Anything that a “strong yes” and fits in one “promising” container should be saved. Anything that causes a negative reaction should be communicated as soon as possible, rather than waiting to see if it works.
After years of receiving prized inheritances, also as a small pile of things we never use (oh, the half-finished latch hook kits that haunt my dreams!), I’m trying to regulate the way I give. It can be difficult for family and friends to say no to a bag of my discarded charms (or just question my simple taste of vanilla in children’s clothing), so I look for signs that they are not welcome and divide my donations among a couple of families. to measure interest. They might also have overflowing closets and toy boxes.
It’s not personal if you don’t appreciate the same baby books or puzzles we did (Dora the Explorer grew on me, and Caillou has been demonized beyond reason!). Perhaps they despise the frilly dresses that my three-year-old daughter favored. I’m seeking secondhand children’s book charities and nurseries that are always in need of extra Play-Doh, markers, and stickers.
Finding the gems within the second-, third-, and fourth-hand cache trail, which has been passed down from one family to the next, takes a little luck and patience. I meticulously arrange my own pile of toddler clothes and toys before handing it over to the next family of small girls, having learned the hard way. Someone needs a gift, yet no one has anymore.
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