It’s Not All Mary Poppins

I love this!

Babies bring with them a LOT of clutter. Lots, lots, lots.

Of course, the babies aren’t buying the clutter, bringing it home, trying to find storage space for it, then maintaining the damned stuff — washing, dusting, disinfection, whatever. No, we loving parents do all that ourselves. To ourselves.

Some of this clutter — clothes, stroller, diapers — is pretty much unavoidable. But a lot of it… in fact, in North American families, I would venture to say most of it… is not.

Crib? Well, that baby could be sleeping with you. (Though this is a family style choice, not a moral one.) Point is, some families do without, having the baby with them for a period, then graduating the wee one to a mattress on the floor, or even their very own bed. Diapers? Make them cloth, and you’ll be throwing out a whole lot less plastic and assorted chemicals every week. Stroller? You need one. ONE. Car seat? You only need one if you have a car …

We assume so much is necessary that really isn’t. But I’m getting carried away. That’s not my focus today.

What I wanted to share with you was this. An online toy-rental. Is that not tres cool? You can have the toys that are appropriate for your baby’s age and stage, without having to buy them. When you’re done, you send them back and receive the next month’s installment.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a Canadian version. I don’t mind, because I am urban, and there have been toy lending libraries in urban centres for years now, often done through the public library. But if you don’t have access to the perks of urban life, this would be a great service.

Anyone know if there’s such a thing here?

(I found this via: The Un-Clutterer, one of my favourite reads. When you live in a small house populated by lots and lots and lots of bodies, you dreeeeam about uncluttered living. When a solid third of your clutter is people, though, the bodies of your near and dear and your livelihood, there’s only so much you can do about it …)

June 3, 2008 - Posted by | daycare | , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. That is a marvelous idea. I have a neighbor who is adopting from Korea this summer and she keeps asking me, “what do you REALLY need?” and I tell her I’m not the person to ask, what, with no bottles and no crib and one stroller, etc…

    Comment by Bridgett | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. Yes! That is so true. What you *really* need for a kid is a relatively small list, and very easy to find used. Then there is what my husband and I call the “alternative universe of kids’ stuff”. In our case, garbage bags of clothes, toys, etc. appeared almost immaculately at our doorstep once word got around.

    With respect to lending services, I only know about what’s available around my home (an urban centre).

    Comment by lisa | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  3. This is timely. We are expecting our first baby and trying to figure out what things we need. We live in a small house too and are wary of cramming it full of clutter right from the beginning.

    Comment by Lucy | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  4. That is a great idea. Our garage is full of toys the kids outgrew and we have yet to donate. Not to mention what’s in the house. We could have used this.

    Comment by Mike | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  5. OMG, I love Unclutterer! (Thought I have to be honest, I just can’t do it for some reason. I’m actually thinking of hiring someone to help, I’m that bad at it.) Anyway, one of our local libraries has a toy lending section. I can just imagine my in-laws’ reaction if I ever tell them we’re borrowing toys. My kids would be inundated by shiny new things within a week!

    The root of my baby clutter problem has never been me (no, not miserly me) but overzealous grandparents and well-meaning family and friends, most of whom haven’t had kids (or not in the last 18 years) or who live in huge houses with an unlimited capacity for non-recyclable plastic.

    Comment by Kat | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  6. The way my kids chewed on toys, this doesn’t appeal to me. It is possible to keep the clutter down if it really matters. I’m all for passing along equipment like cribs, strollers, swings, etc and certainly clothes, but teething toys? Nope.

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | June 6, 2008 | Reply

  7. My only question here would be about the ick factor, especially with baby toys, which, let’s face it, get chewed on. A LOT. How do they handle the cleaning in between?

    Comment by kittenpie | June 6, 2008 | Reply

  8. Why DON’T we have this in Canada???

    Comment by nomotherearth | June 9, 2008 | Reply

  9. Cool. I think I may have to check this out. Of course Jeffrey pretty much has no need for more toys. Being the only grandchild (and only great-grandchild)he’s pretty much innundated with all things fun.
    We usually follow the advice of PT and OT as far as our purchasing goes. In fact, I saw a lot of their recommendations on list of toys.

    Comment by Dani | June 10, 2008 | Reply


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