How to Minimize the Baby Things in Your Home and Stay True to You
My least favourite thing leading up to becoming a parent was all of the frustrating and unsolicited advice from practically anyone who could see that I was pregnant. Amongst the long list of so-called helpful tidbits were things like:
Make sure you do anything you’ve ever wanted to do before your baby gets here, because once it’s here you’ll never be able to do anything
Good luck travelling with a new baby
You need to buy a bigger house because baby’s come with a lot of stuff
And a personal favourite,
Beware of your house becoming overrun by all of the colourful and plastic toys and baby accessories
I’m not going to get into why anyone—stranger or otherwise—feel the need to share an unfiltered version of whatever comes to mind when they hear that you’re expecting, because that could be a novel in and of itself, so I’m just going to stick to the task at hand and explain how we’ve managed to minimize the “baby-things” in our spaces.
Firstly, Mark and I are relatively minimal people; we’ve always been drawn to simple spaces that aren’t cluttered, have an intentional aesthetic, and just feel good to be in; so long before Birdy ever joined the picture, we had a really good sense of how we wanted our spaces to be.
Second of all, we’re also a duo who believe that quality trumps quantity, and don’t often subscribe to the huge consumer mindset of needing to buy anything and everything that we come across. For a while now, we’ve been working at being more intentional with our purchases, so that has carried into our role as parents when it came to buying things for Birdy. We’ve always stuck to “less is more” when it comes to clothing and toys for Birdy, and the only thing that we truly have a lot of for her, is books (which too many books is never a bad thing, especially when most of them are secondhand, and they are also so great for littles to become accustomed to). A few things that we tried to keep in mind when it comes to material things, is that not only are babies and kids changing/outgrowing everything at a rapid pace which quickly out dates high volumes of toys, but they also don’t need to be inundated with new toys constantly when a lot of the time they’d rather play with simple non-toy items—you’d be surprised at what non-toy items that they’ll often gravitate towards and play with more than any of their toys.
Lastly, we had a feeling before Birdy was even more that she would thrive best in an outdoor environment, so ever since birth we’ve been trying to immerse her and her curiosity into nature as opposed to always having her play indoors. Of course, with living in Calgary, outside play is not always possible, but we try and make it happen as often as we can. Simple activities like shovelling sand, pinecones, or rocks into buckets is something she’s always enjoyed. She’s spent what felt like hours collecting berries and leaves into her buckets, throwing rocks into the river, or playing in her little backyard pool. Nature is the best source of exploring and learning, so it’s definitely a great resource to utilize if you’re wanting to minimize all things kid/baby in your home.
Chances are that if you have a child, your home isn’t going to be 100% baby free, that just wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense; but, I thought I would share a few tips and resources that might be helpful when it comes to minimizing the colourful, loud, mass-market plastic toys and baby items.
1 - Even before baby is born—or starting now—gently implement buying guidelines for your family members or friends who are wanting to spoil your little.
We knew from the get-go that we wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page when it came to gifting Birdy and that we all knew what was important to us when it came to buying her clothes, toys, or otherwise. You can simply have a simple, more generic rule like no plastics, or no toys that require batteries/make noise, or you could even be super specific and compile a large list of small businesses or shops that you’d like to help support whenever a gift is wanting to be bought.
2 - when you’re on the hunt for goods for your babe, stick within the colour palette and aesthetic of your spaces (especially if it’s going to be a larger item that will be visible most of the time).
I know that there is a time and place for colours and certain items when it comes to development and learning milestones, but either have a hidden space for those things (like in your living room credenza, or lidded wicker baskets), or find versions that compliment your style and values (sustainability, vegan, etc, etc).
3 - one of the best practices that we started doing in the months after Birdy was born was ensuring that every night—no matter how tired we felt—we tidied up our space and put everything back in their places.
There is no better feeling that waking up and coming downstairs into a clean and renewed space. No matter what the day holds, or how hard the night was prior, wandering into a tidy space at the start of a new day works wonders.
How have you managed to stay true to your space since baby arrived?
Are there any areas that your struggling with most when it comes to minimizing the takeover of baby goods?