Five Kids' Things It's Okay To Sneak Into The Charity Shop Bag

Kids' Things You Should Send To A Charity Shop: Thomas the Tank Engine Train Which Bullies Your Child

Right before every birthday, I feel the need to purge our belongings (because there will be new belongings entering the house soon and we don't have the room to store them). Ditto Christmas. And, apparently, ditto the birth of Baby Number Two (who has one shelf in Matilda's wardrobe and nowhere to keep any toys).

I'm not going to talk to you about minimalism - there are plenty of other blogs you can read if you want to know why Too Much Stuff Is Bad For Your Children or Clear Shelves Are Good For The Soul. All you need to know is that, over the past couple of weeks, I've been adding to the pile of charity shop bags in the corner of our bedroom. A lot more than I was expecting to.

It started off with clothes which will never fit me again and novelty books Secret Santa gave me in a fit of desperation. Steve, the hoarder, added two books and a pair of staticky work trousers.

And then we started bringing the baby things down from the attic and realising that, actually, if we never could bring ourselves to put a particularly naff T-shirt on Matilda, there's not a lot of point in holding on to it for Baby Number Two.

And then I started asking myself where I could free up a little space in Matilda's room...

So, here's my list of baby and kids' things which can be bunged in the charity shop bag (or, in some cases, bin) without more than the teensiest hint of guilt:

Duplicate Toys
If your cupboard houses twelve different wooden puzzles and only ten of them are pleasant to look at, it's okay to ditch the rest. Definitely get rid of any which make loud tambourine sounds at you until you've completed the whole thing (more annoying in the middle of the night than a smoke alarm with a failing battery). 

Anything With "VTech" Emblazoned On It
It doesn't matter who gave your kid that thing, pieces of plastic which won't shut up do not deserve your sentimental attachment. 

Clothes Which Aren't To Your Taste
If you don't want your kid to wear Barbie merchandise until they're old enough to request it for themselves, that's totally fine - you can either store it in the limited cupboard space available to you, feeling guilty/irritated every time you notice it, or you can donate it to the charity shop for somebody else to love.  

Oh, and clothes which need to be ironed. Obviously.

Threadbare Hand-Me-Downs
Ah, it's so, so, so nice to get a bag of clothes passed down from somebody else's kids. But, here's the thing: lots of us (myself included - believe me; I've just been through the bags of Matilda's old babygrows) have this sentimental filter which makes us go, "Oh, I loved this romper SO MUCH that the weaning stains are invisible to me and the hole under the sleeve only adds to its charm". When you receive hand-me-downs which are covered in pasta sauce and bobbly bits, it is totally okay to let them go.

Outdated Books
Yeah, Beatrix Potter books are so pretty and your kid loves watching Peter Rabbit and Friends then making you hide "in a rabbit hole" (under their duvet) while "Mister Gregor tries to take your face off" (WHAT?!?!), but, to be honest, I don't want my kid reading about kittens being smacked for having grubby knees. 

Anything which comes out of an attic after thirty years of storage needs scanned for casual 1980s racism, sexism and acceptance that children should be given ice cream for pudding, three times a day. Don't hang on to books which offend your personal principles.

* * *

Honestly, I've been sneaking things out of Matilda's room for weeks now and she still has much more stuff than I believe a two year old needs; she had fifty-nine soft toys, at last count, but not enough plastic teacups to invite them all to a picnic (NOTE: Please do NOT give her any more plastic teacups; that is NOT the problem here). I've kept everything she loves or I love or the person who gave it to her obviously loved. 

But not every child's toy or T-shirt is loved; some of them are dutifully panic bought as a gift by somebody who doesn't know your kid and then are never once played with or willingly worn. Better to give those things a chance of use by sending them to the charity shop than have them taking up space in an over-crowded home.

Is there anything you would add to this list?

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