Baby (Stuff) Changes Everything

People say that a baby changes everything. For us, the baby stuff really changed everything.

I have already shared how overwhelmed we were. We gradually adjusted to our roles as parents, to the differences in our daily lives. We did not adjust to the stuff.

Living room, garage sale, home day care–who can tell?

In early February, The Engineer watched Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. I happened to catch the ending and it seemed interesting—so I watched it, too. A little googling led me to the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge—where you try to declutter forty bags worth of stuff during the forty days of Lent. I hadn’t been diagnosed with PPD at that point, and minimalism allowed me to scapegoat the way I was feeling—clearly we just had too much stuff, that’s why I was unhappy. If I got rid of it, I’d feel better.

We did have too much stuff. Getting rid of some of it did make me feel better. I also had PPD, and that wasn’t going away no matter how many bags I donated to St. Vincent De Paul.

Still, decluttering was the first step on our journey towards a more intentional life. Minimalist, essentialist, whatever label you prefer. We wanted our lives to better reflect our priorities, period.

And oh, the baby stuff!

This photo cracks me up because it looks like he took a selfie! He was pretty unimpressed by the cereal, but that bib made by Three Baggy P’s is darling!

So much of it was entirely unnecessary, or not needed until much, much later. The Engineer assembled our high chair the May day we got it—Little Darcy sat in it for the first time in December. In the interim I dusted it and The Engineer vacuumed around it.

Caring for the baby stuff was getting in the way of caring for the baby.

Our first tiny step was putting currently-unused baby stuff in the basement. Suddenly our living room looked like a living room, and not an episode of John and Kate Plus 8.

I followed the 40 Bags challenge for awhile but lost count. I didn’t really care about the amount of stuff I kept or got rid of—my goal was to surround our family with items that added value to our lives. Plus I tend to be a stickler about rules and what the heck counts as a “bag” anyways??  Grocery bag, duffel bag??  What about when we get rid of furniture??

Little Darcy’s favorite spot–not the bumbo, not the swing, not even the kick and play (although he did love that thing!). A good reminder to slow down and soak up the snuggles–babies don’t keep!

I’m not sure we’re “true” minimalists yet, at least in terms of the stuff. We definitely haven’t gotten rid of 90% of our belongings. We own way more than 100 items (like thousands more. We do still have a toddler and two sets of incredibly-generous, first-time grandparents.)

Real minimalists or not, we are happier, more content. Learning to be more intentional with our resources and time. The influx of baby stuff was the catalyst we needed to recognize how much crap we were accruing.

Our sweet baby did change everything. And we’re so, so grateful for Little Darcy and the family life we’re creating, with less “stuff” and more room for one another.

4 thought on “Baby (Stuff) Changes Everything”

  1. Amy M. October 16, 2017 at 2:14 amEditReply

    So much stuff!! This is such a hard concept for me to take on! Would be curious to hear more from you about the challenge. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Miss you, friend!

    • emwhipp22 Post authorOctober 16, 2017 at 11:51 amEditReply

      It was hard for us (well, me) at first, but then the momentum built and we just keep going! Thanks for reading!

  2. Lynn October 16, 2017 at 2:29 amEditReply

    It is overwhelming- not just all the stuff but the worrying that goes along with the stuff (how much was spent on it vs what we get out of having it, how to organize it, how to teach the kids to value it…) Great post, Emily. Obviously, we’re very lucky to have this as a concern!

    • emwhipp22 Post authorOctober 16, 2017 at 11:53 amEditReply

      I absolutely agree, Lynn! I’ve tried to stay focused on feeling grateful, as well as donating what we don’t need to those who do. Thanks for commenting!!

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