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ok started downsizing and donating BUT

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

our new place is miniscule! the kitchen is maybe 10' x 4' we do have a dining room though, about 8'x9' living room 10'x10' and has front and side doors and a small closet, which makes placing furniture hard.


upstairs we have our room 10'x10' and the "spare" room 7'x8' the bathroom is a decent size.


we have 4 closets total. IDK what to keep for my DD. Everyone keeps buying her more more more! she has a ton of clothes and toys. I am donating the plastic toys, but want to keep the wood and cloth ones.


We plan on having more children which makes it hard. I feel like I should keep her clothes and toys for future kids. We are also low income and this stuff ain't cheap! so what do I do with it all? Where do I store it? Is it worth it?


post #2 of 26

Can you turn the 7 x 8 into storage? Install double clothing hooks on one side, make room on the other for storage bins and maybe some shelving.

post #3 of 26

I would definitely do vertical storage if I were you.  Can you install hooks to hang your pots and pans and cooking utensils in the kitchen?  What about a loft in your DD's room so you can use the rest of the floor space?  Is she sleeping with you or in her own bed?  I am moving next Friday into a place that is a bit smaller than the one I am in now and am planning to put a twin sized loft in DS's room.  He is still sleeping with me, so no worries about him falling out of bed, but by the time he is ready to sleep in there, he will be ready to be up in the air.


What about storage units that have multiple functions like bench seats with storage inside them?  Cheap bookcases with curtains on the front?  If you plan to have more kiddos and are low income (we are too), I would definitely hang onto the nice wooden toys and find some way to store them.  Also, maybe ask the relatives who are buying her more toys if you can store some at their house so you can rotate them out to keep them fresh, or store them for future children.


You said that you have a dining room and a living room, is there any way of turning the dining room into a play room?  Or at least half of it?  Or can you combine the living room/dining room into one space and turn the extra room into a play room?



post #4 of 26

What I would do is save a limited amount. For example, infants really don't need a lot of toys. I was happy that I saved the cloth toys that can be machine washed when my LO was an infant because I kept rotating them and washing them. I'd save maybe 1 bin/basket of toys for each stage and limit it that way. Or give yourself a number-- 5 or 10.

As for clothing, I would save the things you used constantly.


Maybe in each size

4 or 5 PJ's

3 or 4 t-shirts or onesies

4 or 5 pairs of socks

4 or 5 outfits

Plus 2 or 3 sentimental items


Only keep your favorites and remember that you can shop yard sales, consignment sale, ebay if need be.

post #5 of 26

I live in a shoebox, with 3 closets.  Sometimes it drives me bonkers being so closed in.


I recommend selling the toys instead of donating. Even if you sell small lots for $5, that is more money you have to put towards storage solutions.


I do try to keep 'stuff' to a bare minimum, which really frees up the need for cupboard and closet space.


Some ideas I had for our place-

I put a shelf above our heads in the downstairs stairwell; the stairs are right beside the side door. I mainly use this shelf for shoes, or outdoor stuff.

I then installed a coat rack along the side of that stairwell.


The closet by the front door I put a few hooks on the back of the door and I hang dog leashes and stuff on it. I used one of those build-your-own metal shelfy things, to make more storage. I made the top part into a basket for mitts and gloves.


We do not do under the bed storage- but I know that can be a handy place to put stuff.


I built a small storage closet in the basement for tub totes of stuff I do want and use occasionaly.

Above the washer/dryer I put in a shower rod with hangers on it for drying clothes/blankets.


Vertical storage solutions are good.

I was looking at a Martha Stewart storage bench in a flyer a few days ago and thinking it is a great idea as well.


I also saw in a store kitchen hooks that on one side hook over the top of the cupboard door and the other side is another hook to hang utensils and towels on. Pretty handy looking item.

post #6 of 26

don't save clothes for future kids other than the most sentimental and special. you will get more hand-me-downs then you know what to do with for subsequent kids (trust me, the volume of hand-me-downs is staggering when you are pregnant and you are already in a social circle of moms... unless you live in a very different sort of world than I do, in which case have you seen all the BRAND NEW baby clothes at second-hand shops? very cheap to clothe a baby). plus babies never need all the clothes that they have. pass them along. and be ruthless with the toys- just cause they're wood doesn't mean that you or your DD actually LOVE them. just my 2cents.

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

oooh did not mention we are renting, we don't own this home and we have no attic or basement!


The dining room or living room is waaaaaaaaaaaay too small to combine unfortunately


I do like the hanging pots and what not idea. I thought that was expensive no?


The baby sleeps with us. the little room "her room" is full of stuff right now which I am in the process of getting rid of. We had our own house before so we have a lot more stuff than can fit in this little apartment. However, I was under the impression if the baby doesn't have a "proper bedroom" available DCF would have issues with that...not that we have DCF involvement but we don't vax and some family has issues with that in itself..


We also don't know how long we will be living here

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

also wondering where to put the dipes and diaper pail?


We are downstairs the majority of the day and it stinks having to go upstairs for every change...

post #9 of 26

About diapers, are you using a changing table upstairs? Because that would be the first thing to go. We never use one. We keep diapers upstairs and downstairs with a changing pad or blanket in each location (in a dresser drawer upstairs and in the media cabinet downstairs). We usually run the diapers out to the garbage can right away, because it's in an attached garage. Are your outside garbage cans far away?

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

we don't have a garage or outside garbage. There is a dumpster, but we cloth diaper. I have a "changing table" that I use for the towels in the bathroom lol I just change her on the floor in the living room or on the couch or standing up. She fights diaper changes like hell.

post #11 of 26

Okay, we live in a three room apartment.  It is tiny.  One closet, one built in wardrobe.  We use some of the kitchen cabinets for regular storage.  Money is also tight for us.


I saved one tub of baby things - about 10 gender neutral onesies, three or four memorable outfits, about four outfits I think will fit her next summer, and two or three toys - how many toys does an infant need?  My DD did not play with anything but paper until 14 months, and then it was a $2 plastic truck from the thrift store.  I flat out tell people if they ask if we need/want something, "We live in a tiny place, please do not give us that."  Or if they don't ask, I say thank you and just donate it to the thrift store as soon as it comes into the house.  We saved the cosleeper even though we don't use it anymore, because it is small and we'll definitely use it again.


My family was pretty poor all through high school so I have had the mentality of "Oooh, I better save this because I won't be able to afford it again."  Which has led me to hold on to a lot of stuff in the past.  But I like to think... maybe this is a nice thing, but maybe it's a nice thing I don't need or use, and it clutters up my life and stresses me out. I want to give it away while it is still nice so it can bless someone else, and they can open my bag of handmedowns and smile because they are a little surprised someone would pass on something nice like that.  There's something kind of not that nice about getting a bag full of clothes that went out of style ten years ago, or nasty broken toys.  (Not saying you're doing that!  But some people do, and while it's still generous because someone might want that old stuff... being on the receiving end of things, I would have totally smiled to have received something that didn't smell like an old lady.  But you can't say stuff like that to people because it's ungrateful.)


I'd rather pass on something someone would actually want instead of hanging onto it forever, not using it, because I might use it someday.  And I think I can do this, even if it means I might not be able to afford to buy it.  Because maybe I don't actually need it, and having it languishing in a pile on my kitchen table because I have nowhere to store it doesn't actually make my life any better.

post #12 of 26

Oooh also... do you use your dining table?  We eat at the coffee table, sitting on the floor.  It's not for everyone but it could free up some space somewhere else in the house.  (And actually we do have a kitchen table, we just don't use it for some reason.  So it's gonna go.)


But basically, decide what your important household activities are and set up your house accordingly.  Ours are: sleeping, eating, and crafting, musicking, and playing.


So the bedroom is pretty spare, even though we could jam a lot of stuff in there (it's the biggest rooom - we could have switched and made the living room the bedroom, but oh wells), because it's just for sleeping, and a reading books before bed with the baby.  We have a big bed and a little bed in there.


Then in the living room, we have my computer and sewing machine set up on one table.  DD's bookshelf with her toys is just through the doorway, and there's a wide open space in the middle of the room for her to dump them out.  DP's computer is set up across from the couch and under the TV.  So we can all do our projects together.


Finally, the kitchen has the aforementioned unused dining table in it.  I think we're actually gonna put in a few big bookcases when we get the money for it, plus a big plant.  If you have space/money to do floor to ceiling track and rail (I think that's what it's called) shelving in one spot, you could store all your stuff in baskets (around here, you can get them at the thrift store for a $1) and it won't look too bad.  Putting all the "stuff" in one space helps things feel less cluttered sometimes.   And the tracks and rails don't have to be too expensive, compared to some other shelving options.

post #13 of 26

You said you worry about keeping toys for future kids, but that people just keep buying her tons of stuff.  That probably won't change with a new baby, so I wouldn't worry about it so much.  If you have more kids, I am sure plenty of toys will come your way, whether you need them or not!

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 

well out of the infant toys I only saved a very small bag with maybe 10ish toys in there, All the other toys that I like she is still using. I really want to keep the nice wooden toys...I spent some decent cash on some too..when we had it.


People keep buying her plastic crap toys I keep telling them not to buy!

I think the new rule will be don't buy her any toys and just give us money or something fun we can do together like tickets to the zoo/aquarium/swimming class nice things for her, that won't overwhelm my home!


MIL keeps giving us these huge plastic hand me down toys from our nephew! OMG it's all these weebles sets, which I know are expensive but we have no where to put it! I though DH put them back but lo and behold they were in the truck when we got home and I was pissed.


I found a great pot rack!! It's $40 and I know its at walmart, but we shop there we can't seem to afford not to. Especially since ours has organic food and So delicious coconut milk and Earths balance for a lot less.




We have an antique trunk that I lined and we are using that as a toy chest. I want to make it so we just have the chest full of her toys. I do have a plastic pink sparkly 3 drawer thing (from when I was 12 lol) That I want to put her puzzles and blocks and stuff in.


BTW I am donating some GOOD stuff over here. I literally have 7 bags of clothes, most from old navy b/c they don't fit me anymore! They are nice though from when I was working and we had good money (well to us still poor according to stats) I have been holding onto them hoping they will fit me again, but it's not happening. I also donated all of DD's plastic toys from infancy which are not bad toys I just don't an to keep them, and a lot of baby clothes.


What do you tell people when they come over and say where is xyz I bought her? and it's gone...because my family and friends are that rude to say HEY I don't see the toy I got her! Where is it?!

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

oh we also do not have a coffee table it would literally take up the whole room. Our dinign room is actually smaller than I though it about 5'x7' maybe 5.5...We do have a small table in there that we do eat at, and a plant which is all that fits.

post #16 of 26

Sosurreal, it sounds like it has happened before - having peopel check up on their gifts.  Had you given any of them away? What happened?  What would happen if your DD outgrew something and you gave it awy?  Would they still be mad?


Anyhow.  I have said to some of my relatives something like, "Oh, that, we appreciated you thinking of us so much.  But DD just wasn't that into it/has so mmuch stuff/outgrew it  *shrug*  And the place is so small, we didn't have anywhere to store it, so we decided to pass it on to someone else who could enjoy it." 


I mean, that really sounds like the truth, to me.  Really, then you've done everything you can.  If they want to get mad over it, they're the ones being rude and irrational, not you.


Anyhow, yeah I would just figure out what furniture works for your space, cause everyone's house is different.  Do you ever look at ApartmentTherapy or Design*Sponge.  Alot of the apartments seem to have been done with way more money that I will ever have BUT a great layout is a great layout, and it's a good place to look for small space ideas.  There's also an apartment therapy book called "Small Cool" that your library might have.

post #17 of 26

Do you have any family/friends that you can pass the clothes on to and get them back when their child has outgrown them?


Also, can you keep the toys you don't want at you MIL's for all the grandkids to play with?

post #18 of 26

okay for dipes I would just keep a stash downstairs and 2 dirty diaper "pails", one for each floor, each with some sort of lid but they can be small... like an old food service pail, or a step-lid trash can. That is what we did, well, minus anything "downstairs" b/c we've only ever lived in a one-floor, 3-room apartment. I just changed dipes on the floor outside the bathroom (no pad, actually) and kept supplies near the bathroom. Advantage of a small house is that you are never too far from anything, and I never found a need for a designated changing area.


Yeah, I agree, I would tell rude gift-checker-uppers that you couldn't find space for the toy. Or play in down, like, "oh a lot of stuff had to go when we moved". If you've already told people you don't want stuff, and they give it to you anyway, then this might help them realize you are serious!! Next time they might actually give you the tickets you wanted... I warn people when they are giving me hand-me-downs that I may pass along anything I can't use or find space for. As for gifts, I also give specific requests and always remind people that our place is small. IMO, our responsibility is to be gracious when accepting a gift, but its a gift. We can do whatever we want with it.


We lived in a small apartment and have just moved into a smaller one. I am just not keeping anything that we can't fit. I have a good excuse too, for why I couldn't keep that tacky plastic toy... "no space". Personally I don't feel bad about it and I just try to have a matter-of-fact attitude when I have to explain to others (that said I don't really know anyone as rude as you are describing!!)

post #19 of 26
Originally Posted by Chalex View Post

Do you have any family/friends that you can pass the clothes on to and get them back when their child has outgrown them?


Also, can you keep the toys you don't want at you MIL's for all the grandkids to play with?

I do this with the former, but just be realistic that you might not really get them back.


As for the second its a great idea and a really good way to help MIL edit on her own!! Does SHE want this giant plastic thing in HER house? If not, maybe she'll start thinking that way in advance of offering it to you. If yes, great, let DD play with huge tacky toys over there-- DD will probably love it, and then MIL gets to see her grandkids enjoying the gifts she gave them-- and you get to keep the clutter out of your place.

post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 

can not store anything at MIl's house she is a CHAIN SMOKER ewwww I hate going there and we very rarely do and only if she agrees to not smoke in the house ALL DAY before and after we get there, but last time we went DD had a horrible cough that night and for a few days and I told DH I just can't handle the 3rd hand smoke. The toys she gave us she is getting rid of b/c it's her, BIL, SIL, and our nephew (on the weekends, mom lost custody) all living in her small 2br apt...so she gives us her junk which I keep refusing...but it always manages to get here and then SIL (whom I despise) will literally question where every single toy is, as will my own sis and my BFF and my dad and anyone else who ever seems to get her anything...especially if they got her something appropriate like a wooden toy.

My BFF was here the other day and she got DD a wooden shape sorter (like $10 but still I appreciated it) like 5 months ago and she was like where is it? I was like IDK somewhere in this house we did just move I am trying to sort things out. She was pissed and was like you know I respected your wishes and got her something wooden and you don't even know where it is.

Anyways everyone does this to me. My sis brings home hand me downs from the girls at her work and will be like where is that cabbage patch kid I got from x?


Yes it is rude, but I have serious problems with confrontation (from past abuse) so I literally can not handle it. My other SIL recently asked for all this stuff back she had given me when I was pregnant! UMMM didn't know I was borrowing it...(and already got rid of it) I had a panic attack, and have been sick for days over it. Like seriously can not handle confrontation.


I do not have anyone I can give the clothes to. My BFF said I can keep our holiday decorations in her basement on a crate (it floods sometimes) but the clothes probably wouldn't be a good idea.


In the meantime, I discovered a cut out in the ceiling (in a closet) and am wondering if we do have an attic. There is nothing in the agreement saying we couldn't use an attic, but when we looked at the place the agency said there was no attic for use...I haven't looked up there yet...but come on if I have an attic it is tempting, even if I can only store a little!


BTW every time I ask for a specific toy (even sent with a link and stores it's sold at , pics, ect) we always seem to get something LIKE it but in a flashy plastic version...but actually MIL has been good in respecting what she buys at least.

I just have to make it adamantly clear that we don't want any more toys period. I hate it when people "don't want to deal with my specifics" and just buy clothes though b/c that sucks too.

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