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Pass It On

So your living room now looks like a war-zone: Fisher Price and Mattel battling it out for supremacy in baby’s toy box.  New toys lie triumphantly piled on top of old, forgotten, abandoned toys.  There’s barely room to walk in the living room, let alone, well, live.  At this point, you have a couple of options:

  1. You can move.
  2. You can lay down an attractive area rug over all the old gear and pretend it doesn’t exist.
  3. You can head to the Container Store, buy some storage tubs to pack up the old gear into the basement, and attractively arrange the new toys in an organized and pleasing manner.
  4. You can pass some things on.

If you picked one or two, I can’t help you except to say good luck.  If you picked three, I can’t really say anything because ya know I love the Container Store and organizing is a sick hobby of mine.  Did I mention that all of January the Container Store’s offering 30% off all Elfa closet organizing pieces?  Makes me almost like January.
But do you really need to store that old gear?  If you’re planning for another child and want to hang onto things you know you’ll use again, I can respect that.  Otherwise, consider giving your old, outgrown things a second life helping someone less fortunate.  Here’s a couple suggestions how.
If you live in New York, there’s a great organization called Baby Buggy.  The collect used baby gear to pass on to other women who really need it.  Their website is wonderful, detailing what they will and will not accept (on the not accept list – any cribs, bassinets, or stuffed animals.)  They encourage you to make sure you’re not donating recalled items (see yesterday’s blog) and not to donate anything older than three years.  It’s a really worthwhile charity, so I encourage you to check it out.
Regardless of where you live, though, there are many options open to you.  Find a nearby church or synagogue and ask if they’ve got a program in place.  If they don’t, ask if they’ve got a mom’s group; the mom’s group may be able to point you in the right direction.  My church has a clothing cupboard in our nursery that you can either put into or take out of as needed, for example.  And parents often bring in outgrown toys for our church nursery’s collection.  You can also look for a local women’s shelter; women starting over often have children with them and little else, and may be in desperate need for whatever you can pass on.  If there’s not an organization like Baby Buggy in your community, think about starting one yourself; encourage your mom’s group to clean out their closets and take a huge donation to a previously-contacted charity that could really use help.
And also don’t forget the joy of recycling within your community!  My girlfriends have all lent me maternity clothes, and I’ve got such a large selection of donated baby clothes that I’m loaning some to one girlfriend who’s daughter is older than mine, and some others that Maddie’s outgrown to another girlfriend that’s due in March.  That way I get to keep all Maddie’s clothes (I’m a sentimental saver) without feeling guilty, since they have three or four lives.  We also try to circulate gear amongst ourselves; one person owns the portable swing, another the bouncy seat, and so on, while making sure things like car seats don’t get over-used and worn down.
So cheer up!  Looks like you won’t have to move after all. 


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