My post on Tuesday regarding clutter foisted on you from other well intentioned people inspired one readers to send me an email. I am so excited for this reader, even though she sees a potential problem looming I am thrilled for her. Not only because of her happy situation but because she has already discovered the joys of living with less before starting a family. What a great opportunity to for getting it right. My children were 18 & 20 went I embarked on my more minimalist lifestyle and although I am sure they will tell you I was a miser there were a lot of things I could have done differently and better.
Here is what our reader had to say…
“…I’m pregnant with our first and although I’m really happy about that I’m already getting anxious about the huge amount of stuff I see other new parents drowning in. I know you need some stuff for the baby, but since when did baby’s start to need stuff in stead of love, care and attention? (and food and clean diapers of course) I’m really interested if and how other readers have resisted the flow of stuff into the house as it seems that I allready get overwhelmed by the stuff offered or just plain dumped on me…”
When I had my first bub almost 23 years ago now I couldn’t afford to lavish her with stuff. We had gone from double income no kids to one income, a baby one month later and threw a home mortgage in on top of that seven months later. Luckily I found having baby to be relatively inexpensive because I really didn’t have to provide much except breast milk. Honestly the grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends provided just about all I needed. I let them know what I required and they gave it to us as gifts. Of course there was also lots of stuff given that we didn’t really need but in those days I was happy to receive anything and everything. I am much wiser now and so is my reader.
The beauty of pregnancy is that it takes, all going well, nine months to arrive at the wonderful day of delivery. That is nine months to prepare for the happy day. In this case that is nine months to let people know that it is important to you to maintain a more minimalist lifestyle even with a baby in the household. Now is the time to make it clear to people that you do not want to raise your child surrounded by unnecessary stuff.
I would suggest that mothers-to-be investigate what products they will need as the bare minimum to take care of baby from day one. Narrow it down to the specifics of what brands you prefer. Then let it be known to those around you who will not be able to resist (namely grandmothers-to-be) that these are the items you would really appreciate receiving. It takes the guess work out of gift giving for your loved ones and hopefully will appease their need to adorn baby with gifts without unnecessary clutter build up.
My reader is so right, there are only so many things that she will really need to begin with. The only things essential to a babies survival is food, clothing, shelter to be kept clean, have somewhere to sleep and last but certainly not least love.
Here is a list of things I would think to be essential for when baby arrives…
- Somewhere for baby to sleep
- Sheets and blankets
- Something for transporting the baby safely in the car (If travelling this way)
- A pram/buggy/stroller or sling (not immediately essential)
- Food and feeding supplies (If breastfeeding is unsuccessful)
- Enough clothing to keep them cosy
- Baby bath (optional)
- Change table (optional)
- Some toiletries ~ baby wash, lotion, powder.
Correct me if I am wrong but outside of that short list everything else is either optional or a requirement brought on by special circumstances. And this list gives lots of options for gift giving ideas.
Without wanting to sound melodramatic or pessimistic I personally don’t think it is advisable to acquire anything but the absolute essentials for bringing baby home prior to the birth. And even restraint should be shown to acquire those items until the last couple of months. It is unthinkable but unfortunately there is no guarantee that everything will go well. If all else fails this is a good point to make to those people who will try to insist on purchasing items for you in advance or who bombard you with all their consumerist ideas on what you “absolutely will need” for you baby.
Now is the time to set the guidelines as to how you want to raise your child, without excess or unnecessary gadgets, thing-a-ma-gigs, fluff and nonsense. In a non-consumerist environment that respects nature and you and your child’s sense of identity. Stick to your ideals regardless of what others might think ~ because there is a good chance they are wrong ~ and if people do insist of endowing you with stuff you don’t need feel free to find it a new home. There are no shortage of people out there who would go without otherwise who would appreciate your kind donation.
Our reader would love to hear her fellow 365’ers views on this subject.
Today’s Declutter Item
Shopping for craft supplies is like shopping for baby supplies ~ you only need what you can use at the time. There is no need to stock up for the future. And once the items are not longer necessary pass them on to someone who might need them.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
The reader who was the inspiration behind this post. I congratulate you and wish you all the very best for the future.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast