My latest article for the Community Co-op newsletter gives an intro into Nesting 101 and how we approached it with an eco-friendly twist.
The article is below and here is the PDF version. Enjoy!
Babies are on the brain in our household. In fact, as a write this, I am approaching the 37th week of my pregnancy and will most likely be holding a bundle of love come press time. With pregnancy comes an intense and borderline neurotic organization known to many as “nesting”. I think that I have officially crossed over the nesting boundary, skipped through the panicked purge and landed just short of slash and burn. Bless my husband and toddler for holding on through these final hormonal weeks.
The stress level of having a second child is drastically reduced when it comes to baby gear and obtaining the basic necessities. My “to do” list has revolved around cleaning the house of unneeded, unwanted and unused items, transitioning a number of our toddler’s baby items to organic and/or chemical free and securing a special place for this little one to call her own.
This article is my approach to Nesting 101. It’s a way to rethink, repurpose and reuse some of your goods and tap into the plentiful resources available for baby and children’s gear. With this pregnancy I was working with an already stocked assortment of basic baby gear, but these same tips apply to first-time parents, older children and even adults.
Tips: Getting your hands on the goods
- Shop those garage sales. I fully admit that garage sale shopping takes time, sometimes lots of it, and I did a lot more hunting, circling and research when it came to sales before my daughter was born. But, if you put in the time, you can reap amazing rewards. The prices are usually cheaper than even my favorite go-to source (see below), but it is luck of the draw.
- The Consignment Store: An emporium of deals. Consignment stores are the single best time and money saver you’ll find for quality items that are used, loved and back on the shelves for repurposing. Children, particularly babies, grow at an alarming rate and most of the stuff they wear and use is stored in the “outgrown” bin before it has had a chance to get abused or damaged. The best part of the consignment store experience is the store credit and/or cash you get when items you’ve dropped off sell. It’s a win-win all around.
- Online Classifieds: Hit or miss. Craigslist can be a great resource for picking up used items. The variety of what’s available for sale is seemingly endless and ever revolving. I like that the search area can be expanded to include much of the Pacific Northwest if the object of your affection is particularly unique or hard to find. But, you’ve got to act fast, because what’s there today is quite likely going to be gone tomorrow.
Reducing the Clutter
Kids are clutter magnets. They seem to bring home junk and stuff as fast as they bring home germs, dirt and smooches. For all the effort my husband and I have put into keeping our small house relatively free of unnecessary toys and gear, it’s inevitable that children get stocked up at birthdays, holidays and all the other errands and events in between. Extreme nesting involves fanatical purging and getting anything that isn’t used out of the house.
- Frequent used bookstores. The library is our go-to source for almost everything we read, but occasionally there is a book that is worthy of a second, third or umpteenth read and a permanent home on our bookshelves. The used bookstore is a great place to unload materials that you no longer read and get screaming deals on already used books. As a mother who tries to limit errands to only what’s necessary, I appreciate that the used bookstore donates any unwanted items to the library for you.
- Donate. Donate. Donate. The curbside pickup from our local charity is an almost monthly event at our house. I schedule it in advance and have an empty box ready in the garage. It makes it easy to unload our unwanted items that are not worth selling, but still have life left in them. It feels good to donate to those in need and to know that my items will have a second life.
One of the biggest goals of my nesting phase was to transition existing clothing and baby gear that wasn’t organic and was full of chemicals to safer and cleaner alternatives. With some extra time and patience, I have found a good assortment of organic clothing items at the consignment store. My best find was an organic, all wool and flame-retardant free bassinet mattress that replaced the chintzy, vinyl-coated foam one we’d had with Beckett. Our family has been focused on educating ourselves about the dangers and concerns with exposure to unknown chemicals, pesticides and reducing our risk. I can rest easier knowing that our home is safer and that it was purged, cleaned and reorganized on an affordable budget thanks to reusing, repurposing and reducing.