Pregnancy Tips: Organizing your home pre-baby
Your shoes are color-coded, all of the DVDs Netflix made you forget about are alphabetized, and your kitchen gadgets are stored in super-slick little bins. Yay! You’ve got the organization essentials totally covered. Your pre-baby home is super organized. But now that you’re about to be a new mom, you have an entirely new set of stuff to sort and manage. So let’s look at some new ways to get organized before your new baby!
1. Sort your sizes. The baby stash your friends showered you with is beyond awesome. You have a rainbow of kiddo clothes in a buffet of sizes. You need to plan for what your newborn will wear right now, but you also want to organize the rest of their dainty little duds. Obviously, the newborn or size 0-3s are going in the dresser drawers or hanging in the closet. Keep the rest of the gear (sizes 3-6, 6-9 and — you get the picture) somewhere else. Use clear plastic bins with dividers in them to arrange each size grouping. This lets you see how much of each size you have, making it easier to move in new clothes as your baby grows. It also helps you notice what’s missing, meaning you can shop to fill the gaps.
2. Line up the linens. Bath towels, hand towels, washcloths — they all have their very own special place. With baby coming soon, your linen closet is suddenly exploding with hooded towels, crib sheets, changing pad covers, and burp cloths. Before baby gets here, that storage space needs a major overhaul. Start by completely separating your stuff from the kiddo’s. (No full-grown adult wants to get out of the shower and grab an infant-sized towel.) If possible, store baby’s bed linens close to their crib to make for much easier middle-of-the-night diaper overflow sheet changes. Give baby’s bath-time gear its own shelf, storing towels/washcloths with shampoo, body wash, and water toys.
3. Clear the clutter. Get ready for the takeover! Even the most stylish and chic house is about to become stuffed and cluttered. Your soon-to-be baby is about to bring their stuff into every corner of your abode. Make way for all the things that come with a new baby by decluttering what you already have. Begin with the breakables. In less than a year, your baby will be up and active: That means your grandma’s antique vase is a prime target for their curious little hands. Keep the decluttering going by removing anything potentially dangerous (like the samurai sword your S.O. just had to have). Now clear out things that serve absolutely no purpose. The “interesting” little statue your college roommate gifted you can probably go, and so can the purely decorative shoe tree.
4. Make the most of multitaskers. You’re all about kicking up your feet at the end of the day, so you bought an ottoman to do just that. But that doesn’t mean it can’t pull double-duty. The super-stylish ottoman can have a secret — it opens into a storage bin! Swap out anything you can for a multitasking option. The coffee table can have shelving for toys underneath, and the changing table can also house linens, diapers, and wipes.
5. Prep the pantry. Okay, so you’ve decided to breastfeed. Does that mean you don’t really need to change what’s going on in your kitchen yet? Even if you’re absolutely, positively sure you’ll nurse, you never know when things won’t go as planned. Your milk doesn’t come in, there’s a medical issue, or your baby just can’t get the hang of that latch thing, and suddenly you’re bottle feeding. Clear out a shelf or a cabinet, designating it for baby only. Stock bottles (just in case), nipples, measuring cups and spoons for formula, and anything else baby might need. You can even get a jump on the solid foods and sippy cup years by packing away a few pint-sized plates and other eating utensils.
6. Load and lock. Don’t wait until your kiddo is crawling around to start storing potentially poisonous or otherwise dangerous items away. Instead of leaving the cleaning products under the bathroom sink, in a kitchen cabinet, or scattered around the rest of your house, gather them together and put them far, far away from prying little hands. Lock them in a basement cabinet, or get a storage bin that you can completely secure. Keep the chemicals above baby and toddler level, making it impossible for your little one to ever reach them, even if someone forgets a lock or a latch.
Erica Loop is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh. When she’s not busy creating kids’ activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies, you can find her trying to hang out with her teenage son, being chased by her two Olde Boston Bulldogs or teaching a children’s karate class (she’s a third degree black belt!).