AKA: please make it easy for me to find a clean swaddle in the middle of the night in a dark room while the baby is crying and I’m covered in spit-up!
By Elise Hay, owner of Organized Sanctuaries
A nursery is a sacred place. It’s where your newest, most precious gift learns the fundamental elements of life: feeding, sleeping, cuddling, playing.
It’s also a busy place that comes with a whole lot of stuff: diapers, play mats, the cutest baby booties, pacifiers… finding ways to create a restful, calming space amongst all. the. stuff. can be overwhelming, especially when you feel like you’re up against the most perfect Instagrammable pics, as you scroll through social media late at night.
A simplified, clutter-free home has a real impact on how we prioritize our family life, and I’m here to help you sort through it all and create a nursery that reflects the type of home you want to welcome your baby into.
1. Label everything.
Yes, this makes it easy for you, but you’ll really thank me when your mother-in-law offers to help you put away the baby’s laundry and everything gets put back in its place.
2. Tidy up those drawers
You know that friend who makes everything look so easy and put together, like she’s hardly trying at all? Meet your new bestie, the ever amazing drawer organizers. You can find them at various stores, but the IKEA Skubb ones are a fantastic, inexpensive option. They help keep “like with like,” as us professional organizers say. Teeny tiny socks: you get one compartment. White onesies, another. No more messy, jumbled drawers.
3. Shop in your own closet
Make it as easy as going to your favorite baby store. Closet dividers help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Label them to organize by size; if you have kids that share a room, you can use them to separate by child. They can easily be spray painted to match your nursery decor.
4. Declutter and purge
Add two bins to your closet: one labeled “donate” and another “outgrown.” As you find clothes that no longer fit, have holes or stains, or are no longer in-season, toss them in the appropriate bin. When the bin gets full, take the time to either a) donate or b) store the clothes for a future child. Creating dedicated spaces for these items, even in the short term, will keep your drawers and closets filled only with the items you use.
5. Store away the good stuff
Speaking of clothes that no longer fit: get yourself set up for the inevitable rotation of outgrown clothes. Large plastic bins are the most practical way to store by size, for a future baby of your own, friend, family member, or Buy Nothing group. Remember to label the bin and only store what you want to keep! Everything else should get donated. Tip: even clothes with stains or holes can be donated through Threadcycle, which partners with many organizations like Goodwill and The Salvation Army.
6. Make long-lasting choices
A dresser can double as a changing table when securing a changing mat on it. A storage ottoman is a restful place to kick back while feeding a baby, and can serve as toy storage that kids can easily use. Streamline your space with functional, multi-use items that lives past the newborn stage.
7. Color code
Not only is it pretty, a color coded system makes the transition to toddlerhood easy when they start learning to put away their own belongings.
8. Make clean up easy.
Large bins hide large bulky toys and stuffed animals. Teach your little ones early to take care of their belongings and respect their physical space by establishing solutions that are practical for little ones to help with. Containers with tight fitting lids make it tricky for toddlers to help – I’m a huge fan of large, open woven and water hyacinth bins.
9. Create a space for you, mama.
A nursery is a space for baby bonding: feeding, reading, cuddling. Make sure to include your needs in the planning. A side table with a tray to hold a glass of water, any needed nursing items, a framed special momento: keep it simple and clutter-free so that the focus is on the precious babe, but just enough that it reflects what the nursery is all about: a sanctuary for you and your baby to grow together.
10. Make it work for YOU
Personalize the space, make it reflect your style, and align it to your flow and routine. (Prefer to change diapers in the bathroom? Store them there and not in the dresser!) Taking time to consider how you actually use your space might shift how you arrange and organize your belongings.
Elise Hay owns Organized Sanctuaries, a professional organizing and decluttering business, and is a mom to two daughters, ages seven and two. She offers one-on-one sessions to organize any room in your home, as well as organizational coaching to enable family members of all ages to adopt sustainable, long-term organizing habits. Elise has a passion for simplicity and all things tidy, and loves to help clients cut through the clutter to reveal a calm sanctuary. Because at the end of the day, all we really need is to be surrounded by the people and things we love.
Follow her on Instagram @organizedsanctuaries for organizing tips and giveaways.
Email her to schedule a complimentary 30-minute organizing consultation.