I am not a consumer. My husband and I modestly pride ourselves on being minimalists. Don’t get me wrong, I do like getting something new (or new to me) once in a while, but I definitely don’t desire the latest and greatest in clothing, technology or home décor.
I now find myself in a whole new world as we are preparing for the arrival of our first child. I can see how it would be quite easy to be whisked away to the land of adorable — I’ve pulled myself back from that ledge a couple of times now. Many of the baby items I’ve come across I had a moment of “I must have that in order to bring this baby in to the world!” I then chat with some of my friends who have recently had children and they bring me back to reality.
I have discovered a balance over the last couple of months while preparing for our baby in a way that makes me feel like we have what we will need (with a few extras I’m sure) while taking an environmentally conscious approach to our gathering of “baby stuff.”
When you first start announcing you are expecting, everyone is so excited and then immediately start offering you “stuff!” New or recent parents are some of the most generous people out there, or they are yeaning to free up some space in their homes (probably a bit of both!) I have had family, friends and co-workers provide me with wonderful hand-me-downs that we are extremely grateful for and will save our pocketbooks. Recently, we had a friend try to give us a musical potty and his mortified wife stepped in and said that they could hold on to it until a little later.
Other than receiving the generous hand-me-downs, here are some other eco-conscious and pocketbook friendly ways we are preparing:
- Cloth diapers — we are lucky to receive hand-me-downs for the first six months!
- Stores, websites and social media — groups are dedicated to buy and sell, or facilitate trading of children’s clothes and items:
- Kijiji — we found a fabulous, current crib on Kijiji; got a great deal and they threw in a baby seat and a few toys!
- We are getting family to contribute to the “big ticket” items, such as a stroller, rather than having numerous small items that may have already been handed down to us.
- Request for gift certificates towards a newborn photo session.
- We are using items around the house that we already have, such as the extra dresser in the spare room.
- I am trying to gather only what we will truly need, not what we think we might need. I am keeping in mind that I should stick to the essentials for the day the baby comes; we can always get something we want later on.
- We will of course pay-it-forward and hand down anything friends, family or others may need when they are expecting!
If you’re buying brand new, consider purchasing items that are well-made and that will last as suggested by Joanna Moorhead in Buying For You Eco Baby.
Now if we can just keep up this practice throughout our child’s life we’ll be living out our values and providing solid eco-conscious roots for our boy…. or girl!