A baby might be the smallest member of your family, but the stuff that comes with them can take up a whole lot of space. Bassinet, change table, bulk boxes of baby food, a tiny closet’s worth of adorable outfits – yep, the pitter patter of tiny feet signals a desperate need for more room.
If extending your home or moving isn’t a viable option right now, fear not. These clever tips will help you prepare your home for a new baby and accommodate your growing family. (Please note that these tips aren’t suitable for all growing families. For example, if your runaway dalmatians have returned home with 99 puppies in tow, a few storage hacks probably aren’t going to help that much.)
Get Creative With Home Storage
- Is your growing Mount Everest of nappy boxes threatening to break free from your cupboard? Consider under-bed storage (or under-cot storage) to keep these and other essentials out of the way between changes (everyone’s favourite part of parenthood).
- Up to your ears in baby clothes and toy animals? Use an over-the-door shoe rack to organise singlets, socks, mittens, and other bits and bobs. This will free up space in your drawers and make it easier to organise and access these items. (Hint: A strong hook on a door can also create a sneaky place to store a stroller.)
- Swap space-hogs for space-savers. A coffee table with no shelf underneath is useless to you, and so is a TV stand with no in-built drawers. Consider any furniture items that take up lots of space and shop around for a clever alternative.
- Install a second closet rack underneath your regular one. Baby clothes are short enough to hang from quite low – and even if they do touch the ground after a few months, your bub probably won’t care about a few creases in his or her onesie.
Stick to the Bare Necessities
You’ll be surprised by how many unnecessary toys you can gather in a short amount of time if you don’t take some preventative steps. In this case, ‘preventative steps’ means telling your family members and friends to take a step back. Yes, it’s very tempting for them to spoil your new bundle of joy. But you should make it clear to them that you don’t really have the space for every item in the Toys”R”Us catalogue. If they want to shower you with baby gifts that are practical and convenient, great. Bring ’em on. But the elaborate car racing kit and Barbie’s dream mansion can wait until your child is old enough to demand these things for themself.
Here are some great alternatives to suggest to your gift-obsessed relatives and friends:
- A baby monitor
- A mobile (a hanging mobile for the cot, obviously – not an iPhone for the baby)
- Some pre-cooked meals in disposable containers (for you, the exhausted parent who has no time to cook or clean dishes)
- A kneeling mat for the bathroom
- Nappies and wipes
- Baby bottles (if you’d like some on hand just in case)
- Offers to vacuum, clean the bathroom and help around the house from time to time
- A baby sling/carrier
- Blankets and wraps
- Babysitting coupons (your friends will think you’re kidding when you ask for these, until you redeem your first coupon for a night out by yourself).
Rent a Self-Storage Unit
And here’s the part where we shamelessly promote ourselves.
But seriously. Welcoming a new tiny person into your home is a great motivator for clearing out excess items and decluttering cupboards. If your football memorabilia or vintage record collection is taking up the space you need for the new baby’s wardrobe, temporarily renting a storage unit is a smart decision. For example, you may want to store:
- Large furniture that needs to give way to a cot or changing table
- Sporting gear that you won’t be using again until you’ve recovered from feeling exhausted all the time
- The Nintendo console you haven’t touched since the ’90s (sacrifice its shelf space for the baby’s first moments scrapbook).
You really don’t need to upsize to make room for a new child. With some storage hacks, a dash of discipline and a handy self-storage unit, you can prepare your cosy home for your littlest family member.