If you have a little bundle of joy on the way, it is time to assess the space in your home, plan a nursery and start making room for the abundance of baby gear that is soon to come your way.

Although babies are small, they take a huge amount of planning. Undoubtedly a new baby is going to change the way you live, and your home needs to adapt to support the change in lifestyle. Whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment or four bedroom house, you’ll have to make plenty of preparations.  Here is how to get your home ready:

Clear Out Space for a Baby Nursery

Convert a spare bedroom, home office or guest room into a nursery.  Clear out extra furniture, beds, boxes and bins so you have room for baby needs. A small space is all you need, as long as you have room for a crib and a changing station your baby nursery will have all it needs..

Add a Changing Station

Make room for a changing table for diapering and dressing. You can buy a standalone changing table, or lay a changing pad on top of a low dresser.

Find easily accessible places to store everything you will need: diapers, wipes, burping rags. Bookshelves are a good option, so you can quickly access any baby items you might need. You can also use an over-the-door shoe hanger to store varies baby changing item if you are working with limited space.

If you are indeed short on space, consider picking a mini-crib for your child to sleep in. These cribs are more compact than traditional cribs, while still giving your infant plenty of room to sleep.

Declutter The Rest of Your Home, Too

Marine decorations in room

Clean out additional rooms, and you can set up additional feeding, diapering and playtime “stations” in other parts of your home as well.

“The equipment for baby is so large,” said Leslie Gail, owner of Declare Order Professional Organizing in Chicago. “Having a plan for the swings and pack-and-plays is tricky when you’re not using them.”

Car seats, bassinets, strollers, play pens and other baby supplies take up a lot of room. You’ll need to purge some of your household goods to make room for the infux of items.

As you declutter, you must decide what to do with furniture that isn’t ‘baby-friendly,’  such as breakable knick-knacks and picture frames. Consider using a self-storage unit or a full-service storage service to keep these items temporarily. Renting a storage space will allow you to go through and decide what to do with items at your own pace. You may also want to keep items stored until your baby is older or until you move to a bigger home.

Baby-proof Everything

Tonia Tomlin, president of Sorted Out, LLC in Dallas and author of “The Moms-of-Multiples’ Guide to an Organized Family,” recommends completing baby-proofing before the baby is born.

“You’re alleviating any procrastinating,” she said. “The more you can get done the better, because the fact of the matter is they’re going to be mobile faster than you think.”

Colleen Driscoll says: “A lot of times what people are thinking about with child- or baby-proofing is, ‘I have to go to the store and shop for all of this stuff,’ but a large part of making your home safer for your child is rearranging and reorganizing.”

  • Inspect coffee tables. “Some coffee tables, for example, have sharp edges or glass in them,” said Colleen Driscoll, executive director at the International Association for Child Safety. “Some have metal that if a child falls on part of the metal, or if the child crawls under the table and lifts their head up—there are just so many different potentials for injuries.” Store or get rid of any living room furniture that might pose a hazard.
  • Install gates. Before bringing baby home, put up baby gates to close off restricted areas and separate pets.
  • Secure furniture. Make sure your furniture is sturdy and can be secured to the walls, so it can’t be pulled over as your child grows. “Tip-over hazards are a common risk that parents don’t think about,” Driscoll said. “We want them to anchor their furniture in the nursery, even in their bedroom, and that includes televisions.”
  • Don’t be shocked. Put plastic safety plugs into electrical outlets.
  • Secure cabinets.  Baby-proof kitchen and bathroom cabinets and dresser drawers with plastic locks. Move cleaning supplies and medications up high.
  • Make halls, stairs safe. Identify and eliminate tripping hazards, said Danielle Wurth, owner of Wurth Organizing in Scottsdale, AZ. “You’re up during the middle of the night … and you don’t want stuff congested down hallways and blocking walkways,” she said. “You also don’t want to trip on a laptop wire that’s looped around your desk. You want all that stuff secured.”
  • Light the way.  Wurth also suggests night-lights with motion sensors in the baby’s room and in hallways.
  • Stock up. You will need diapers, wipesointmentbaby shampoo, baby-friendly laundry detergent, and the list goes on. “Have everything at hand and ready to go,” Wurth said. “I’d buy several of everything.” Wurth says to buy diapers by the case from Costco, take them out of boxes and put them on shelves with chrome shelf dividers.
  • Have a secret stash. Use under-crib hidden storage for less frequently used items that are accessible, but out of sight.
  • Prep the laundry area. Babies create more wash than you’d think! Devise a system for washing and putting away baby’s clothing, blankets and towels. Tomlin says a hamper  in a closet takes up less floor space.
  • Clean the counter. Set aside space for bottles, formula, bottle brushes and baby food. You might need to find a new home for that fancy espresso maker.
  • Organize the bathroom. Create storage for bath toys, baby shampoo and soap. A mesh storage bag neatly holds wet toys in the bathtub.
  • Arrange the wardrobe. Babies receive lots of clothes in different sizes, so sort by size using kids’ closet dividers, labeled drawers or boxes. Sort by current season, off-season, consign and donate,’” Wurth said. You may also want a place to store clothing for future babies of yours, or those of friends and family. Use stackable bins or vacuum seal bags to store them.
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Liz Wolf