The emptiness of a cupboard full of baby clothes

 I am a baby paraphernalia hoarder. But to be fair to me, I did think that we would have needed all Little One’s baby stuff again, so I assumed it was all worth keeping. Bags upon bags of her clothes are piled up in our storage cupboard. Every time she moves on to the next size of clothing, I pack up all the things that are too small for her and store them all for ‘the next one’. Said storage cupboard is in the empty room, by the way. The extra room we needed to have for the ‘next one’. It’s like a sick joke. An empty nursery, with a cupboard full of baby clothes. All Little One’s toys that she no longer plays with, because they are too babyish, are boxed up in the garage. Dust has settled on those boxes. They have been there too long.

Recently, I felt the need to cleanse ourselves of some of this baby paraphernalia. I felt like it was holding us in the past, and in the melancholy of our unexplained infertility. What is the point of holding on to this stuff for someone who isn’t even here yet? I felt bad and bitter holding Little One’s newborn babygro and mourning a baby that hasn’t even existed, when it has already been worn by my beautiful daughter and I should feel warm and nostalgic. I have enjoyed dressing her in the pretty dresses and cute onesies. But now they sit there, getting moth eaten, because I can’t let go of this hurt … I have given myself a stern talking to. They are just clothes! Maybe I was keeping them because it was as close as I could get to touching the baby who hasn’t yet existed. Holding the tiny babygro to my face, I could smell my Little One’s baby-ness on it. Maybe the smell alone could kick start my reproductive organs back into action again?

It’s time to take a step forward towards a new era. I have spoken in a previous post about grieving for the image of the baby we planned to have when we first started trying to conceive for a second time; when it all felt like it was possible, real and in our control. In many ways we have moved on from the very clear image we had of that baby, but we need to take another step on. I think this sorting and cleansing exercise is part of that grieving process.

Logic is a powerful thing though, so we haven’t thrown away everything. We still want to have another baby, so it makes sense to hold on to some essentials. But we need to move on from the panic of it not happening in the time frame we originally planned. We need to move on from the emptiness of our full cupboard of unused baby clothes. With a small sibling age gap it would have been most sensible, cost effective and less wasteful to re-use Little One’s stuff. But Little One isn’t so little anymore. And I feel that WHEN we do have another child I want to suck up the excitement of expecting again. I want to spend hours browsing the aisles of the baby stores. It will be a new era, so separate from Little One that I feel its right to start afresh. Rather than digging out the old stuff, dusting it off and feeling relieved think, “Well we got there eventually, but boy has it taken some time and many tears”; I want to celebrate and excitedly prepare the nursery, buy tiny baby clothes and set up the new pram.

 So I have at least halved the amount of clothes we hoard. Gone. To charity. To someone who needs them.

The highchair and baby rocking chair. Gone. To someone who can’t afford to buy one.

The change table. Gone. Knocked and chipped, and now being recycled.

The baby bath. Gone to someone who didn’t see the point of buying a new one for the sake of a few months use.

Some old worn out baby toys. Gone. To the charity shop.

The pushchair. Gone. Sold on for a small amount. Missing a drinks holder (it really wasn’t an essential feature) and probably still containing a few crumbs thanks to Little One’s constant snacking. Perhaps I should have charged extra for that?

I do feel cleansed. I feel I could be a step away from the baby who we imagined but never existed, and a step closer to the baby we are finding it hard to imagine right now, but might just exist one day.


8 thoughts on “The emptiness of a cupboard full of baby clothes

  1. Wow. I haven’t been able to do that with the clothes though I’ve considered it and cried over them many times (during every loss as a minimum). I’ve gotten rid of much infant “stuff” but never clothes and our little one isn’t so little anymore either. You are brave and have an awesome attitude! I especially love the idea that by parting with these items now you can enjoy the new baby excitement later. There is always hope and I am sending a bundle of it your way.

    • It is hard because is seems quite final, and I thought it would be a sign of giving up. But it isn’t at all! We still have lots of clothes we can re-use if needed. There were some things I would want a new baby to wear because it also was Little One’s, but there was also lots of stuff that was stained, unworn or I just knew I wouldn’t use so much again (because fashions change even in four years ;-)! Hope and love back at you!

  2. We did this as well. My wake up call to stop hoarding was when I found that both of our carseats had expired in the time they had been sitting in the garage gathering dust. Seven years that someone who needed them could have used them! I had a big garage sale and donated a lot more shortly after that.
    And, on a positive note, when we finally found ourselves expecting again, people were so excited and relieved for us, we still had to buy hardly anything because our friends and family showered us with gifts. Plus, you’re right. It is so fun to shop for new little onesies and outfits and organise the nursery with a little from the first baby but a lot of fresh new things for the new one. I will be hoping that happens for you soon!

    • Yes, I realised others could use this stuff and I was just being a bit selfish and using it to help me be sad. I wanted to change that! Mostly because I don’t want to spend so much time being sad for the child I don’t have that I miss out on being happy for the child I do have. Thanks for the support!

  3. This post made my heart ache because I am experiencing the same thing, but I am still hoarding. And worse yet, I am keeping my sisters from being able to sell all their hand-me-downs to someone and make a little cash or just clear up space in their homes. I can’t let go yet. But I could see how it would be liberating. Good for you. It was a lovely thing to do.

    • It is very hard to let go. And there is no way I’m ready to get rid of everything, but bit by bit I have sorted through things. And I still have hope that we will get our baby number 2. The clear out hasn’t taken that away, in fact it has helped me focus on achieving this rather than on what I haven’t had. Don’t feel bad about the hoarding. It serves a purpose aswell, and at some point you will be able ready to let the stuff go. Hopefully when you have re-used it all, and your family is complete! love and hugs

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