I was raised to fight any pack rat tendencies. When I was growing up we held regular yard sales and we also moved frequently, getting rid of stuff every time. You might even say I am addicted to giving stuff away. I love the clean, light feeling I get when I free up space in my closet or dresser.
Since becoming a mom, my house has been joyfully taken over by baby stuff. A friend of mine calls this the baby creep, and it’s insidious. Don’t get me wrong, I love a living room strewn with bright-colored toys. It’s something I thought I would never have.
But over the past year our loft has started to look like an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive. When you have to move piles of stuff just to find clean underwear or running shoes, it’s time to do something.
So I went through Oscar’s baby clothes for the first time in a long time. It was a bittersweet moment. The last time I inventoried his clothes was two weeks before he was born.
I remember lovingly counting onsies and receiving blankets, trying to imagine the baby that would one day be wearing them. It was a magical time, and now, deep in the trenches of motherhood, I sometimes miss it.
At first I was tempted to keep everything. These clothes represent so much. They represent the lovely generosity and good will of friends and family and memories of excitedly opening presents while pregnant. They represent Oscar’s first year of life. I can still see him in some of the outfits and remember where we were and what we were doing when he first wore them.
But, alas, there was too much. Nobody, and certainly not a baby, needs that many clothes. Looking at photographs, I realized that this was Oscar’s favorite outfit:
I also realized that when not clad in solely a diaper, Oscar (like his parents) pretty much lives in pajamas, which offer warmth, comfort, and range of motion. Babies don’t get up and go to the office every day, they don’t need dozens of pants, shoes, and button-up shirts.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly kept quite a lot. We don’t know if there will be more babies in the future, and it’s good to be prepared. And he has a lot of lovely clothes that I will save and give away to friends or family members in the future. But I also got rid of a lot, and it felt good. After hefting several garbage bags full into the back of the car and dropping them off at Goodwill, I felt like I had removed a very large, benign tumor. I now have room to organize the rest, and much more breathing room upstairs.
My perfect moment: the realization that memories are not housed in things, but in our hearts. The realization that holding on to stuff does not stop the passing of time. And the realization that I have been very lucky and very blessed.
Another perfect moment was reliving all of Oscar’s different stages, like when I came across this outfit (which I saved, of course):
For more perfect moments, visit Lori.