The journey of a Christian wife, stay-at-home mom, quasi-tree-hugger, and cheapskate to find ways to "CHanGE" her life to be Cheaper, Healthier, Greener, and Easier. Constructive feedback always welcome!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cheaper?, Easier: Cleaning Stored Baby Clothes

This week, we found out that we're having a baby BOY! Since I'm only in my 18th week of pregnancy, we're getting a bit of a head start in switching out Dot's girly baby stuff with gender-neutral and/or boyish stuff. Not only are most of the clothes the wrong gender, but also the wrong season. We have clothes for a baby girl born in the spring, and this time we're having a baby boy in the winter. -I've already started trying to sell her girly cloth trainers (one out of 3 sold thus far) and Boppy covers (one offer to trade for boyish covers thus far, still waiting to see if it pans out). Today I tackled a bigger project--the baby clothes.

Lots and lots of baby clothes. Four boxes worth as well as a box of bibs and burp cloths. And that's just from Dot's first 6 months.

I sorted everything into 4 piles: Keep (the gender-neutral stuff as well as Dot's coming-home outfit), Give Away (Huz's cousin is about to adopt a baby girl), Sell Now (stuff I could argue is fall clothing despite it being worn by Dot in the spring and summer), and Sell Later (stuff that is undeniably for spring and summer). I plan on consigning the Sell Now pile in the next few weeks and the Sell Later pile in the spring.

Now came the next hurdle: cleaning the icky yellow stains out of the stored clothes. Despite my best efforts to wash them before putting them away, 3-4 years of attic life has taken its toll. Most of the stains are probably from drool or spit-up milk; surprisingly, I didn't find any poop stains. Guess I took care of those at the time. I decided to focus my efforts on the Give Away and Sell Now piles as a trial run. But how was I supposed to get those stains out?

I found this blog with good instructions on how to do so. Here's more precisely how I did it.

1. I put 2 scoops of OxiClean powder into the washer, added the clothes, and poured a small amount of detergent into the dispenser. I set the washer to Soak, No Spin. Maybe it's because I have a front-loading, HE washer, but I don't have the option to soak overnight like Bettijo does. It just soaks and occasionally agitates for 41 minutes. This part worried me at first; I was afraid the clothes wouldn't soak long enough.

2. When that cycle was done, I poured the regular amount of detergent into the dispenser and filled the fabric-softener dispenser as much as I could with white vinegar (something I do anyway). I put the washer on Heavy Soil with an extra rinse.

3. I inspected the clothes as I pulled them out of the washer. The stain-free clothes went into the dryer or were hung to dry inside. The stained clothes went outside to sit on our sunny front porch for a couple of hours. This part is different from Bettijo's as I didn't rewash anything that was still stained.

Two hours later, the stains were completely GONE. As in, I couldn't see where they originally were. And that funky sour-milk smell was gone. There is one bib that couldn't be salvaged; it appears to have a chocolate stain on it (have no idea about that one!), so I gave it to Dot as a plaything to supplement her current "I'm a baby" stage. (Don't ask.) The sun-dried clothes went into the dryer on No Heat for about 15 minutes to soften them up from that crunchy stage.

Now I'm thrilled that I don't have to toss a bunch of clothes; I can now try to consign them as the sales' rules state that the consigned items must be stain-free.

I'm not sure if this will be Cheaper. I'm hoping to take the proceeds from the sold baby-girl clothes to buy baby-boy ones. If I make a decent profit at the consignment sales, my net loss won't be much. I could even hope to come out even.

How is this Easier? The process followed here sure was easier than trying to take pre-treater to each and every stained piece of clothing!

Unfortunately, my Sell piles together are about twice as big as my Keep pile. We personally tried to buy gender-neutral stuff for Dot when she was a young baby, but a lot of her presents were quite girly. So I have a lot of work ahead of me.

As a side note, this baby is currently being called Tiny Tim thanks to Dot. So maybe his code name on here will be Tim. To follow my current pattern, he would be Sun. Let me think about this one a bit longer...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MIA...but for a good reason...

Sorry about the lack of posting lately. I haven't had too much inspiration, and I've been bad about sticking to my own resolutions for change. Part of that is because we have a big change of another type headed to our household around the holidays. I'm pregnant with baby #2! I may do some posts soon about my cloth-diaper stash and why I plan to breastfeed like I did with Dot, but for now, I have quite a few other priorities that unfortunately may take away from this blog. If you're willing to hang in there, thanks so much!