repurposing

Come Again?

Okay, I will be honest here I really didn’t know what else to call it, the idea of calling it Repurposed Baby Shower wasn’t that attractive. Though I suppose that it would have been accurate. But anyway, I regress. Maybe I will try and find a more suitable name for it. But until I do I guess I should make it clear what I am talking about.

Some years ago a couple of my friend’s and I were discussing the amount of waste that is produced each year and that it was hard to imagine what it would look like in our children’s’ lifetimes. This was a moment of inspiration for us all and it gave us the motivation to start repurposing the items that we used more effectively. This is especially prominent when one of use will be celebrating baby shower.

And Invitations

I was trying to think of ways to either upcycle the invitations from past baby showers, or ways to minimize the waste produced. This seems like an integral part of the whole idea and since I have set out to document or lay out the idea I thought that this also needs to be addressed.

It isn’t hard to find baby shower invitations that give you simpler basic options. They often focus on the more simplistic baby showers that aren’t geared toward throwing the biggest party. This is good, and it takes us in the direction that we want to go in but there is still something missing. Maybe it is the fact that you still need to order invitations that still need to be printed. But to be honest all invitations will have this in common unless you make them yourself. I am also all for a DIY project now and then, but I tend to look for projects that last a while. That is, something that can be used more than once and preferably for a prolonged period of time. Baby shower invitations are for a single use, which is the point that I am coming to.

There are cases where sending out invitations is almost unavoidable.

Grandmothers, great aunts, and even your own mother might expect one to make things official.

While an invitation is a nice touch for a formal affair a small baby shower is something that could be done with a minimum of dead trees.

There are sites that give you the option to choose recycled paper for your invitations, and those that offer digital only invitations. This site offers baby shower cards and recycled paper options, and this one allows you to send baby shower invitations as ecards.

A combination like that will allow you to get environmental friendly baby shower invitations that are made of recycled paper for the guests that expect them. The rest can just RSVP via email.

And Decorations

This is one of those things that I think can get overdone pretty quickly. The need to really decorate to the extreme is one of those things that we tend to do when we want to make things perfect. Well, perfect is a little relative.

When we think of what makes a perfect baby shower or for that matter the perfect party we all have different ideas.

Here is a little story.

When I was small my mother took me to a baby shower. I can’t remember who the shower was for, but it wasn’t a relative, that much I know. When we got there, there were about a dozen women. My mother made the remark that they had a big turn out. And the hostess, she agreed, it surely did feel like a lot of people. I remember that we were served cake on paper plates, there were nuts, and other snacks, and little decoration. The only real thing that could be called decoration was the table where the gifts were sitting. It was covered in a festive, note the use of festive, table cloth. It wasn’t there to fulfill a specific purpose it was there to fulfill any purpose.

Jump forward to a baby shower I was invited to during college. A friend of mine was hosting a baby shower for her sister and she asked me to help. The difference was dramatic. The entire house was decorated in what could only be called a extravagant. Everything matched, it fit the look, it made a statement, and honestly I feel that the whole baby shower got a little lost. Don’t worry I won’t get in trouble for telling you this. Shannon is still my best-friend and she has talked about the silliness of the whole thing many times.

If I had to say which shower was more personal, I would have to say the first one had more character.

Not because it lacked decoration, but because it focused on what was important to the party.

The amount of decor you need to make the right amount of statement while keeping it true to your needs is up to you. But I think that we have a tendency at times to go overboard and to host a baby shower that fulfills its purpose we don’t need to.

I found a page on The Bump that broke down the budget into ten parts that give you an idea of what they might cost. Some of the suggestions seem oddly balanced, where as others gave me a bit of the kitsch vibe, but in general it was good at giving you some ideas.

And Gifts

Ah, here is the real point of contention for most people. Both the person being given the gifts and the people giving upcycled gifts. The gifts provide most of us trouble anyway, why would giving used gifts be any different?

Most of us will pain over the gift, unless we are complete certain that the gift that is given is also truly wanted the tendency to second guess it is big. A secondhand gift comes with the burden of being used which for many people has a little bit of a taboo quality about it.

This gets easier when you talk about the topic with your friends. It really doesn’t turn into a big topic, especially if you are all on the same page.

Here is what we usually do:

  • sit down and address what the mother will need;
  • taken an inventory of what we have on hand;
  • fill in the blanks when something is missing;
  • that includes purchasing new items.

Here is a list of items that work well as hand me downs:

  • Highchair
  • Baby Furniture
  • Rocking Chair
  • Bathtub
  • Swing
  • Strollers
  • Baby Monitor
  • Towels
  • Burp Cloths
  • Clothes
  • Swaddling Blankets
  • Car Seats
  • Vibrating Bouncer

As well as various toys that are no longer needed or played with.

As you can see it is all pretty straightforward, by being organized we avoid the unnecessary stress of what turns into competition when it comes time to give gifts.

By taking a direct approach we minimize the discomfort and avoid giving giving gifts twice. That is, giving the same gift as somebody else. While this can turn out alright, it can also be a problem when you give something specific. Diapers, bottles, and formula are all things that you can have plenty of, but a stroller is something that really doesn’t lend itself to being doubled up.

This method might not be ideal for everyone, though it does give you some alternatives, and if you are planning a baby sprinkle then this might also be worth your time.

How It Works

The way that a secondhand baby shower works the best is when everybody involved is clear about what the baby shower is about. That usually means that the baby shower is smaller, comprised of a close circle of friends that share the same values, or at least understand the purpose of the baby sprinkle. This leads me back to the baby shower invitations, and why a small set probably doesn’t hurt.

Of course if the shower gets bigger there are still plenty of ways to gently reminder everyone who will be attending that it is just a sprinkle, not a full shower.

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