Making Room for Baby: decluttering tips

When I lived in my one bedroom floor-through apartment in New York City with my young daughter, I did start to feel overrun in that first year by the THINGS she needed. I was frugal, but still had the diaper pail, stroller, Baby Bjorn, exersaucer, 3-in-1 travel crib (used everyday), and a growing collection of plastic chewy items. So it was no surprise when the organizing experts at the New York City Choice Mom event drew a crowd.

Organizational expert Elizabeth Kaplansky, of Paradigm Organizing, offered these tips:

Stick to the basics
Editor’s note: see also the list from Choice Moms of what they did and did not end up needing; you might be inclined to think everything “baby” will be needed, but often times it is not. Also see this recommended list of newborn items.

  • Equipment: crib, changing table, swing, stroller, car seat, carrier
  • Layette: onesies, two pieces, sweaters, socks/hats, sleepsacks, swaddling blankets
  • Feeding: bottles, burp cloths, bibs, pump, nursing pillow
  • Diapering: diaper bag, diapers, wipes, ointment, changing pad, trash can
  • Bathing: tub, shampoo/soap, brush/comb, washcloths, hooded towel, water toys
  • Sleeping: pacifier, sheet saver, sheets, blankets, bassinet, monitor

Maximize space

  • find a dresser to double as a changing space with a pad
  • use your walls for shelves, bookcase, rows of hooks
  • get a crib with a built-in drawer or use plastic rolling bins underneath
  • hang a shoe organizer over a door for smaller items
  • invest in a hanging closet organizer or add extra rods, shelves, drawers

Storage: like with like

  • keep all diapering supplies together in a basket
  • dedicate a kitchen shelf or drawer to baby feeding supplies
  • contain toys in a chest or laundry bag on hooks
  • store bath and health items in a handled plastic basket
  • use an accordion file case for mounting paperwork
  • store blankets and bedding under the crib or use a swing arm hanger
  • use a separate hamper for baby laundry

Maintaining order
It’s easy to lose control quickly of your space, so set habits right away. It takes less time to maintain organization than to devote time you won’t have for tackling cleaning projects.

  • Get yourself organized — it’s much easier to focus on baby when your home is in order
  • Less is more — stress is greatly reduced the less “stuff” you have
  • A place for everything — after you’ve designated a place for everything, clean-up is MUCh easier
  • Tidying — the adage is sleep when baby sleeps, but make sure you set aside 10 minutes each day to put everything back in its place
  • Constant thinning — regularly purge outgrown items, use long-term storage or donate

For more on preparing for the Newborn stage, use keyword “becoming.”

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