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 find places to store the abundance of baby gear.
Although babies are small, they take a huge amount of planning. Here is how to get ready:
Clear Out Space
Convert a spare bedroom, office or guest room into a nursery. Clear out extra furniture, beds, boxes and bins. Create “stations” for your baby’s sleeping, feeding, diapering and dressing. Find easily accessible places to store everything you will need: diapers, wipes, burping rags, etc.
Declutter The Rest of Your Home, Too
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.”
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.
“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 furniture that might pose a hazard.
“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.”
Before bringing baby home, put up baby gates to close off restricted areas and separate pets.
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.”
Put plastic safety plugs into electrical outlets.
Baby-proof kitchen and bathroom cabinets and dresser drawers with plastic locks. Move cleaning supplies and medications up high.
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.”
Wurth also suggests night-lights with motion sensors in the baby’s room and in hallways.
“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 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.
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
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.