The first months with your baby are amazing – but certainly not easy. Aside from the heart-melting smiles and hours of watching your bundle of joy sleeping peacefully, there’s also a steep curve of adjusting and learning involved. One way to make it easier for both baby and parents is having your home well organized with everything in its own place.
Once you’re done with the more obvious preparations, including setting up the nursery, buying baby clothes and accessories and baby-proofing the house for when the little one starts crawling, there are a few other things to consider that will make the whole situation more manageable. Here’s what you should take care of before the baby arrives:
1. Declutter thoroughly
If there’s one thing you’ll need with a new baby in the house, it’s space. And not only for all the baby accessories, toys and clothes you’re about to get. You also need a decluttered home that’s easy to clean and maintain, where you have enough space for your baby to crawl and play and for you to move around unrestricted. The last thing you need while rummaging through the home at night, looking for that one toy that settles your baby, is to stub your toes on chairs you don’t even use.
Start the decluttering process at least a few months before the due date. Go through every closet and every room of your home to slim down your possessions. Clothing, books and papers, decorations, appliances and furniture – discard everything that you no longer use or need. Apart from the items that you’ll end up recycling, donating or simply throwing away, there are possessions you probably want to keep. It might be art, decorations, collectibles — small children don’t mix well with any of those categories — or furniture that you like but which takes up too much floor space, and so on.
For all those belongings, you could rent a self storage unit located close to your home. A 5’x5’ storage unit is ideal if you’re planning to store just some boxes of extra stuff. However, if you intend to store larger items, like furniture and appliances, you should consider a larger unit. Renting storage space is a good idea for the first years of your baby’s life – you can use it to save clothes, toys and accessories that your child outgrows for when you’ll expand your family again, or to give to family members or friends.
2. Make room in the kitchen, bathroom and pantry
Pay extra attention to reorganizing these spaces, as you’re soon going to need a lot of extra storage in there. From the baby bathtub and various care products in the bathroom to bottles, food processors, bottles, bowls and baby food in the kitchen and the pantry, your space is going to get challenged. Make sure you empty out a drawer in the bathroom for your child’s necessities there. Reorganize the kitchen cabinets so that you can store everything that you need to prepare the baby meals when the time comes.
Since you’re at it, you should also perform a deep clean of these areas – you’ll have a lot less time for that once the baby comes.
3. Add “baby stations” throughout the house
Most parents set up a nice nursery for their newborn – however, you and your child may not be spending that much time in there! In fact, you’ll probably find yourself quite often with the baby in your bedroom, on your living-room sofa or in the kitchen. That’s why it’s a great idea to set up some “baby stations” throughout the house, to avoid having to run to the nursery every time you need a diaper, some wet wipes or fresh onesies.
These “baby stations” can be a basket that contains all those basic baby necessities plus a changing mat and a few toys. It’s a simple and inexpensive setup that will make the first months at home with your new baby a bit easier.
4. Think long term
Many new parents, especially first-time parents, focus too much on the newborn stage of their baby’s life and tend to lose sight of the fact that this stage is a very short one. So, when designing the nursery, keep in mind that it will very soon be a toddler’s bedroom. A baby bassinet is all cute and cozy, but you’ll be able to use it for a grand total of four to six months. Instead, get a convertible crib that turns into a twin bed, one that you can use for many years. Apply the same principle in other areas too – avoid getting furniture, carpets, wallpaper and so on that are only suitable for the “baby stage” of your child’s life. Ideally, you should be able to use the nursery, without too much remodeling, until you child is school aged.
5. Don’t overbuy
Clothes, toys, gadgets, appliances – there’s virtually an endless supply of baby products. However, try to temper your enthusiasm and don’t purchase a lot of things beforehand. Some products sound great, like wipe warmers or soothing seats, but how often will you use these gadgets? Is it worth spending tens or hundreds of dollars on them? Instead, focus on those items you’ll definitely be using a lot, such as the stroller, car seat, highchair, and so on, and get good quality ones. Another great idea would be to borrow – or even rent – specific baby gear that you are thinking of purchasing, particularly if it’s something expensive, to make sure it’s a good fit for you and your baby.
Also, don’t go overboard with clothing and toys. Do buy items for the first couple of months. But buying for many months or even years in advance usually leads to a lot of unused pieces of clothing. Also, don’t forget about presents from family and friends – you’ll probably be getting a lot of clothes and toys anyhow, so wait and see what else you really need to purchase.