Organizing a house is tough enough, but add a baby to that effort, and you have chaos. Whether it’s your first or your fifth child, babies bring extra “stuff” to the home, from diapers and pacifiers to bottles and baby clothes. Combine baby chaos with new-parent exhaustion and you have a perfect-storm organizing challenge. Organizing all things baby can reduce your stress and increase the time you have simply to bask in the wonder of little prince or princess.
We suggest these ideas for organizing your baby spaces:
Designate baby spaces
Some spaces are common-sense: dressers for clothes; the fridge and freezer for breast milk; a changing table with drawers for diapers and wipes. But look for non-traditional spaces, as well, especially as you begin collecting toys, clothes that don’t yet fit but will, and equipment like high chairs, swings, and bouncy seats. Think about spaces like out-of-the-walkways areas on the floor, under beds, on book shelves, and in closets. Even if your infant is still sleeping in your room, you can begin organizing the nursery or bedroom now by furnishing and organizing the space logically.
Designate baby categories
Be inventive and have fun. You might organize by “things that go in the baby,” like food, medicine, milk, etc.; “things that go on the baby,” like clothes, diapers, bibs, lotion, rash cream, etc. Another category might be “thinks that clean the baby,” like wash cloths, wipes, shampoo, etc. While you’re at it, you can begin defining “things that are not for baby,” like your phone, medications, your chocolate stash … so that you can have safe, hard-to-reach places to keep those things as baby starts exploring.
Sort and store baby clothes
Store the clothes that currently are too big or small in out-of-sight places, with labels clearly identifying their sizes. Keep the currently-worn sizes handy and easily accessible. That might mean using clear, plastic containers to help limit the time you spend sorting through drawers and other storage spaces looking for a particular outfit.
One note of caution regarding clothing sizes: When purchasing clothes, remember that most baby clothing sizes run somewhat small. The average newborn baby (around 7-9 lbs.) might fit newborn clothing for only a few weeks, if ever. Many eight-month-old babies fit into 9-12 month clothes. As a general rule, it is better to buy one size too high than one size too low.
Purge when appropriate
Unless you plan on having another baby within 2-3 years, commit to give away the items you have stored as soon as they are no longer of practical use. This has multiple benefits: 1) It clears up space for new things as the baby grows out of old things; 2) It allows you to keep the house as clutter-free as possible, since you end up recycling the same spaces rather than filling more spaces; 3) It allows you to donate the used items to parents and children who need them but can’t afford to buy them – which adds a type of peace, contentment, and joy not possible if you simply store them because “I might need this someday.”
The natural stresses of preparing a house for a baby are enough on their own. Organizing all things baby, as much as possible, prior to birth is one of the best things you can do to lessen your stress and enjoy the new experience to its fullest. It also can be an opportunity to make your house truly a special, unique, personalized home.