Today's mission is to get rid of baby clutter from your home, of all varieties. Depending on how much baby and toddler stuff you've got this might take you just a few minutes or instead it may take quite a while. Either way break it down to work on it 15 minutes at a time, so the task doesn't get overwhelming.
We focus on kids clutter in quite a few different Organized Home challenges, and their corresponding Declutter 365 missions here on the site, including the Organizing Kids' Closet Challenge, Kids Bedroom Organizing Challenge, and the Organize Toys & Games Challenge.
There seems to be something fundamentally different, unique, and special though, about baby clutter, as compared with kids clutter.
I'm not sure exactly why this is, but I think it has to do with how intensely and consumingly, while you're in the baby stage of parenting, you need all the special baby stuff to keep your little angel alive, and how all that stuff fills up your house, before bam, your baby has outgrown all that stuff, and what days before was a necessity is now completely useless in caring for your child.
That's why I have a special Declutter 365 mission specifically for decluttering baby gear, supplies and equipment, since this stuff can quickly clutter up your home.
There's a couple of different stages in decluttering your baby gear, depending on what stage of life you and your kids are in.
What you should do, therefore, during this mission, will vary depending on that life stage.
The first stage of life, where this baby clutter accumulates, is when you've got one or more children in their baby or young toddler years living in your home, right now.
If you're currently living in this first stage I don't expect you to get rid of too much of your baby stuff right now, during this mission, at least to the extent you're currently using the baby gear, supplies and equipment, and have room for everything you've got in the space you have.
That's because, if it meets all those criteria, it doesn't fit the definition of clutter.
On the other hand, babies outgrow things quickly, so if you've got too much of certain things to store them all easily you probably aren't using ALL of them regularly and frequently, and instead are just using SOME of them regularly and frequently.
Therefore, during this mission focus your decluttering efforts on those in between items you thought would be useful, but that for whatever reason you or your baby do not like or use enough to justify keeping them.
The second stage of life, as it relates to baby clutter, is when your child or children are all too old for the baby toys, clothes, etc. and have graduated to older kid stuff, but you anticipate, want, or are considering a new baby entering your house again in the future.
Baby gear is expensive, so unless it has worn out or is outdated and unsafe, I'm not suggesting that you get rid of everything you've accumulated in the past, just to have to reacquire everything again in the future. That would be a waste of both time and money.
Therefore, if you feely reasonably confident that you want another baby in the future (we can't control the future, which is why I use the term "reasonably confident") during this mission I want you to get rid of stuff you know you'd never use with future babies, and then take steps to properly store and put away the rest of the baby stuff right now.
Kids take up a lot of room, and now that they've graduated out of the baby stuff, there's no doubt new stuff crowding into your home for them, in this new stage. That's why it's important, even if you're not completely getting rid of baby stuff right now, to at least get it out of the flow of the house, and into a storage area like an attic, garage, basement, or storage closet, so your everyday living space doesn't have unnecessary clutter filling it up.
One of the most common things to store for a future child is hand me down clothes, so if you're doing that make sure to check out this article about hand me down kids clothes storage ideas and organizing tips, to keep everything stored properly, and organized for the next use later.
Finally, the third life stage you may find yourself, when working on this mission, is that you don't have any baby or small toddler-aged children living in your home anymore, and you do not reasonably anticipate anymore such babies to live there in the future.
(And no, grandbabies do NOT count, in most circumstances, when anticipating babies coming to your home in the future, because any grandchildren will be born so many years into the future keeping the baby stuff you've got now for that many years isn't very practical, especially when you consider how much storage space could be used.)
Once you hit this life stage, this is where you need to do a much more ruthless decluttering of your home, getting rid of the majority of the baby stuff from both your home and your storage areas.
Decluttering stuff isn't always easy, but getting rid of baby supplies, equipment, gear, clothes, and toys can be especially daunting though, because there is a lot of sentimentality involved with these items.
The cute outfit you brought your baby home from the hospital in, the favorite toy that always made her stop crying and giggle, the crib each of your children slept in each evening, and on and on.
This stuff has memories!!!
So remember, first, that you don't have to get rid of everything. There should always be some room, in your home, for keeping a few sentimental items (hopefully smaller stuff, not the huge high chair, for example). But if you think of every single thing as sentimental and special, it dilutes that term, and nothing is really special or sentimental anymore.
So choose what you keep carefully and thoughtfully, and don't keep too much. You can get more tips and strategies for how to declutter sentimental items here to help you with this special challenge declutter-memorabilia-sentimental-instragram-imagewhen decluttering baby stuff.
Once you're ready to tackle decluttering baby gear from your home you'll find that all those baby things are not grouped together all in one space, but are instead dispersed throughout your whole home.
To help jog your memory, and let you look in all the most obvious places for the baby clutter in your home, I've created this list, grouped by room or area, or sometimes type of item, to help you remember to get it all dealt with.
Again, as mentioned above, depending on the amount of stuff you've got, this may take you quite a few 15 minute decluttering sessions. That's perfectly OK! You'll also notice that many of these areas where baby stuff is present is already it's own mission, combined with the adult stuff for the space as well, so most likely you've already cleared out some of your baby clutter, or will, as you work through various Declutter 365 missions on the calendar.
You can start with your baby's closet and clothes, since they grow out of things so quickly.
In addition, don't forget to check the sock basket for now outgrown little socks, who'd lost their mates, that can now just be decluttered.
Since babies grow out of their clothes so quickly, you can also do yourself a favor, while you've got a baby, by creating a "too small basket" that you can place baby clothes in, as you come across them, that your baby has outgrown. It's amazing how one day a little cute onesie fits, and it seems like the next day it doesn't anymore. Instead of digging through too small clothes each time you need to change your baby's outfit, separate out those small clothes immediately and save yourself hassle.
Casey sent in these photos, above, of how she organizes and then declutters her baby's clothes. She stated, "I wanted to show the way I organize small baby items! I use small baskets/buckets inside drawers for socks, mittens (and new socks) and hats. I also keep a basket next to the dresser for outgrown items so I can get them out of the drawers ASAP. I pack them away when I have an extra box and extra time!"
Next, after dealing with closet and clothes, focus on what else is in your baby's nursery or bedroom.
You can get general tips for how to declutter a child's bedroom here, and these instructions will also apply to baby's rooms.
When focused on this room you may be getting ready to transform the space from a nursery into an older child's room, so decluttering will help you fit in all the big kid stuff more easily.
Don't forget to declutter any large furniture in the room that is no longer useful, such as a rocking chair or glider, changing table, bassinet, or the crib if it's been outgrown.
You can get ideas for how to upcycle or repurpose a used baby crib here, if you're ready to stop using it as a sleeping place for your baby.
You'll find a lot of baby stuff in your kitchen and pantry, so make sure to check the cabinets and pantry shelves to clear out old and unneeded items.
The photos above were provided by three different partipants in the daily missions. The left hand photo in the collage is from Ashley, the top right hand photo is from Tabitha, and bottom right hand photo is from Genevieve.
Don't forget, when it's time, to get rid of that high chair!
Along with the kitchen itself, don't forget your pantry and refrigerator/freezer.
Declutter pantry shelves of things like baby food, baby cereals, toddler finger foods, and whatever else you bought to feed your baby, but that somehow didn't get consumed before they grew out of that eating stage.
Next, head into your bathroom. You'll need to declutter baby toiletries, such as baby shampoos and lotions, as well as things like baby fingernail clippers, etc.
In addition, make sure you declutter bath toys if they've been outgrown.
Finally, get rid of things like stools that helped your child reach the sink, or potty training supplies like a small portable potty (those are more toddler things, rather than baby things, I know).
Your living room or family room should also be decluttered of anything your kids have outgrown, including things like walkers, bouncers, baby swings, pack n' plays, playpens, etc.
One participant in the decluttering missions, Jodie, sent in this photo below, saying that this was the stuff "Out on the curb for pick up" after she worked on the mission.
Along with some of the bigger "toys" or equipment used to entertain or soothe your child, listed above, we often buy baby toys and other items for them.
The key is to declutter these items, or at least put them away into storage to be retrieved later if needed for a later baby, when your child has outgrown them developmentally.
You can get more tips on how to declutter outgrown toys here.
Another area not to forget about are all the bags you take out and about with your baby. First, declutter your diaper bag, or whatever other bag you normally carry baby's stuff in.
Next, clear out your purse, and I bet you'll find a pacifier or small toy, and don't forget to clear out the entire diaper bag every once in a while as well!
Once you've decided it's time to get rid of your baby clutter, and no future babies are likely to live in your home in the near future (the third life stage discussed above), make sure to check all of your major storage areas in your home, clearing out any stored clothes, toys, or other baby gear you had saved for future use.
You'll appreciate all that extra storage space, which will no doubt come in handy to help store all the kids stuff that will replace the baby stuff!
There were a couple more miscellaneous items I thought of as well, that you'll want to sort through to remove old, outdated, or outgrown stuff once you're decluttering baby supplies and equipment.
They include laundry or cleaning supplies bought specifically for your baby, decluttering medicines and first aid supplies that your child has outgrown, or doesn't use, and childproofing supplies once they've been outgrown, like that gate for the stairs.
In addition, you may want to get rid of items you used to help feed your child, like break pumps nursing pillows.
Finally, once your baby is out of diapers, you can declutter excess diapers, wipes, changing pads, etc. (and also celebrate, because having potty trained children is a blessing!)
Here's an idea for repurposing an old baby wipes box, in case you don't want to get rid of all of them!
Remember, your decluttering task isn't complete until the clutter leaves your house, so make sure to take things to be donated, sold, recycled, etc. as part of this mission!
One Declutter 365 participant, Jelva, sent in the photo below of what she accomplished when working through this mission. She stated, "Bye bye baby clothes."
I hope seeing these pictures, and these instructions for getting rid of baby clutter have inspired you to tackle the baby gear, supplies and equipment you've got in your own home.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
Photos of baby toys courtesy of Christina Vlinder
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!