The baby shower gifts, the items you buy for yourself, and the free hand-me-downs people think you need from their kid that they have held on to for 20 years pile up, and all of a sudden, you can’t even see the floor to your home anymore. There is so much stuff, so little space, and all for such a tiny person. I do not handle lots of clutter well. It makes my mind frazzled, and I do not like to move things around or step over piles of stuff continually. So when I realized baby items were about to take over our small home, I decided to be creative in how my house was set up to alleviate the crazy and encourage functionality, hopefully.
How to Prevent Baby Items from Taking Over Your House
1. Only bring out the baby items you need.
A newborn baby doesn’t need a high chair or an activity center. The baby needs somewhere to sleep, a swing maybe, and a bouncy seat to lay them in since it is nice and portable. Only worry about putting together baby items that you’ll use immediately. Leave everything else tucked away out of sight.
2. Set aside kitchen storage.
Before the baby even arrives, clean out a section of kitchen cupboards or a shelf in a pantry for the baby items needed in the kitchen. Bottles are used so often that you will probably be washing those bottles to use them again right away. Put any backup bottles and parts up in a cupboard off your counter. I bought little storage boxes to keep bibs in, spoons and bowls, etc., that we would eventually need, but not for a while. Any formula, rice cereal, and baby food were kept there until we were ready for it.
3. Buy aesthetically pleasing baby items.
Register for and buy items that you think look nice. You will have to look at the baby swing all day, every day. It’s okay if you spend a little extra on the one you think looks nice. Baby gear can be bulky, and when we had our babies, we were working with limited square footage, so the more things compacted into one thing, the better. Like the bouncy seat swing combo. Perfect.
4. Invest in storage you don’t mind looking at.
You can put baby toys in bins that go with your motif. I had little wicker baskets full of rattles and stuffed animals that everyone buys the baby. Then, my husband put together a cute shelving unit for the nursery where we kept the extra stuff and books. When the toys got bigger and bulkier, he made them a nice wooden toy box to keep in the living room, and then we moved some stuff into the bedrooms to help alleviate congestion.
5. Purge baby items you’re not going to use.
Only keep baby items you are really going to use. If I had a dime for every blue type of stuffed animal people gave us, I would be rich. It is a sweet gesture, but it just becomes cumbersome to keep all of this extra stuff that we either don’t like, need, or will never use. I felt terrible purging things because of the incredible generosity of our friends and family. So I decided to donate it to another mom in the market for what I was getting rid of (here is an excellent list of places you can donate gently used baby items). It is okay not to need all the things, and it makes keeping your house in order a lot easier.
6. Come up with a system for baby clothes.
The change of sizes and seasons means dresser and closet cleaning day! Taking out the old and putting in the new! I keep plastic totes labeled with the size and season of clothes in the basement for the child following behind. It keeps the dressers uncluttered with clothing items not being worn and makes for easier and neater drawers and closets.
7. Designate a baby area.
Keep a baby area in every room. We have already addressed this with the kitchen, but this is true of every room. Ensure the bathroom has a shelf or drawer empty for baby towels, soaps, lotions, and powders. The medicine cabinet has a spot specific for gas drops, Tylenol, etc. That way, in each room, there is a specific place for baby items, and we know exactly where to find what we are looking for without having to ruffle through everything.
Bringing a baby into the home is so much fun! The items are adorable, and we are more excited to use a Mamaroo than the baby is. But when it gets to be too much, it is overwhelming and puts chaos into our lives. Adding a child to the family is change enough. There are some things I just didn’t want to lose like, a neat-ish home. With a bit of creativity and simple organization, I felt like I could accomplish my goal of blending the baby items into the normalcy of our home and promoting optimal functionality. I hope some of these tips helped you set up your home perfect for your new phase of life as well!