What’s Your Stash Strategy?

When I bought my first sling, I only needed the one. Then I needed a more comfortable one. Then the baby got a little bigger and there was another one. Then I realized I could sew them. Then I decided that I needed to learn how to wrap. Then I needed something with more support than a SPOC. Soon, I needed more support than the non-GSW I had, then more support than the cotton wrap I had. Got anything more supportive?

In the course of my BWing development, I’ve made a few blunders, bought a few things ill-advisedly and generally accumulated too much stuff. Admittedly, FSOT is handy for sending things on, but don’t let the enthusiasts fool you- buying something just because you’re told it will “hold its value” is not a good idea. Some things do resell quicker than others, but you’ll nearly always make some sort of a loss. In a falling market you may make a considerable loss on an expensive sling. And then there’s postage. Let’s not talk about postage across the Pacific!

Eventually, I landed upon the idea of a stash strategy. I have a strategy- a vision of the stash I want and need. I stick to that strategy and, no matter how tempting, I don’t buy anything that doesn’t conform to the strategy. In the long run, I’ll save money, closet space and hours in wasted time and fluids drooling in FSOT listings.

My particular strategy is simple: anything that comes into the house must be usable for both my toddler (almost three), infant (nearly six months) and any other newborns that may arrive (unexpectedly). I don’t do much in the way of handwashing, so the carriers ought to be fairly hardy. I don’t like to treat wraps gently or worry about them, so they can’t be so expensive that I won’t be able to shrug it off when the kids make a stain. That’s my strategy. Simple enough!

When nesting, for example, I didn’t set out to buy gorgeous carriers, soft and suitable for a newborn. To me, they weren’t worth the investment since it would only be for a few months. I did have a couple of wraps already in the stash I’d been holding onto that were suitable for the baby but not the toddler- but they were rehomed very quickly since invariably the toddler wanted whatever wrap the baby was in. There was no point having carriers I didn’t/couldn’t use.

Some people have a stash strategy that balances hard-nosed common sense with a desire to try different things. Others plan their strategy around the ages and stages of their children- soft, stretchy wrap for the newborn period, heavy duty mei tai for the toddler/older baby stage. Others choose according to their own wardrobe or what visually suit themselves or their children. To some people the gender of their children and the colour of their carriers matter, to others not. There are no hard and fast rules except one: it’s your stash so you decide.

Next time you find your keyboard suspiciously wet while checking out FSOT, close your mouth and think. Try and decide how this carrier may fit into the stash that you have and the stash that you want. If you have a stash strategy already in mind, then you’ll find it easier to bring carriers home that you’ll use and love.

What’s your stash strategy? Do you have one? Leave a comment and let us all in on it!

About Steph

Steph is a Mum of three with a passion for babywearing and some excellent skills with knots.
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6 Responses to What’s Your Stash Strategy?

  1. emmadavidson says:

    I treat slings the same way I treated boyfriends before I met The One: it’s right for now, and let’s not think too much about the future.

    My criteria are simple:
    Do I like it?
    Will it be useable right now?
    Is it machine washable?
    Can I afford it?
    If the answer is yes, I buy it.

    So I have over 20 slings. So what? Some have been put away until I had the next baby and needed a newborn sling again. Some have been given away to friends who needed something in a hurry or couldn’t afford to buy. Most are in regular use – my slings are as much a fashion statement as a parenting tool. I’ve just swapped my clothing budget for my sling budget. When I look at it as a “want” rather than a “need”, it’s easier to justify purchases when I can afford them, and also easier to turn down tempting bargains when I should be spending on necessities instead.

    My sling motto: If you can’t see my shirt with a baby on me, then I might as well have a pretty sling!

  2. Steph says:

    LOL, Emma! I’m with you. I have no clothes budget, it’s all wraps. I find I tend to obsess over one wrap, though- so I’ll only wear pfau, size 3 for a month or something. No matter what. Then I get sick of it (because it’s like wearing the same shirt every day for a month) and I rediscover something else in the stash.

  3. Ruby says:

    Strategy implies planning! I don’t plan much of anything; I see the opportunities arise and take the ones that suit at the time. Pretty ad hoc.

    I have just last week acquired the one wrap that had been calling me for the last year. Before that, I never cared for a specific design or style. There’s one other wrap I have been looking at for nearly as long, and I may well get it at some point, but can live without it if I don’t.

    I’ve got 12 in my “permanent” (or “current”) collection, and another 2 that I have borrowed to try different woven textures. Mostly long wraps at the moment, but there are ring slings that get a daily workout, and mei tais & structured carriers waiting for the babies to grow. Or the wind to change…

    One thing I do prefer is to buy wraps that have already been used. Part of it is because I have a limited budget (don’t we all!), but another part of it is wanting to use something to its fullest, not perpetuate the disposable consumer nature. I also like to buy from people Downunder – partly for environmental reasons (less carbon strain in shipping) and partly because I want my money to float around our economy a bit more. And when I am buying second hand and/or locally made, I am supporting families with similar values to my own. FSOT – for sale or trade – is our own “mini-market”; I really enjoy buying from someone I ‘know’, and whose children I care about in the broader community sense.

  4. Steph says:

    Woah Ruby, never thought of the local market like that. Being an economist, I always saw it purely in market terms. I saw the environmental impact, certainly, but rather missed the social/community aspect. I think there’s definitely a post there in and of itself.

  5. Natalie says:

    I think carriers are like shoes. You can’t find the one you want. It finds you. And if you don’t respond it will quietly call your name, day and night, for as long as it takes.

    Hence my last two aquisitions…

    I used to try and fool myself that I made weighed up, logical, practical decisions and justify them that way. Now I figure I should just go with it!

    I am now off to put cotton-wool in my ears and try not to think about pods.

  6. Annie says:

    At the moment my strategy seems to be to let DH decide – might sound a bit odd but I find if I say ‘oh there’s this carrier for sale on FSOT’, he’ll ask what it is, I’ll explain and he either says ‘get it – I know you’ll use it’ or ‘you’ve already got one just like that, you don’t really need it’ – its like he’s my conscience talking, he can look at it without the emotion (I tried to show him a really pretty carrier the other day so he could see why I really wanted it and he didn’t even want to look, its like he wants to stay completely impartial…) That’s not to say I wouldn’t buy something that I REALLY wanted just because he said I didn’t need it – but also, seeing as he’s earning the money, I like him to have a say in where it gets spent. And Ruby, I love your thoughts on spreading the money amongst like minded community.

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