Getting Organized for a New Baby

Guest post by Lynne Harbison

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Lynne is a professional organizer helping busy mums online and in Madrid implement systems to declutter and create space, maintain order and restore a calm balance in their homes.



 

Before my baby arrived I thought I was really organized. I had everything bought, the pram, the bottles, small baby grows, the car seat, the cot and a few blankets…. I was ready! Or so I thought. I didn´t think too much into the future. Or that a tiny little baby would have so much stuff and require more room than my small two-bedroom apartment was prepared for. In short, I was prepared but my home wasn´t.


In this blog, you will learn about savvy items to organize your home and easy ways to organize your spaces for the new arrival. When Erin, my first child was born I quickly became overrun with outfits, pyjamas and all sorts of little miniature clothes that were gifted to me that I never opened my wardrobe in the spare room for fear they would all fall out. Overwhelmed I would send my husband out to buy 3-6month babygrows convinced we didn´t have any. Then I would feel guilty when some months later I would find them stashed at the back of some drawer. Babies grow quickly and it is good to have crystal clear places for each stage of your baby's journey.



Benefits of decluttering and simplifying your home before your baby arrives


It's well known that having a cluttered home can put a strain on relationships under normal circumstances but when you add a new baby and sleep-deprived parents to the mix - the happy new baby mood becomes overshadowed. Being able to see what you have is key to maintaining order, you save time looking for things and you will be able to reach for things when you most need it.


But to be able to see the things we need, we must first create space. Creating space i.e decluttering, before you have a baby can be really gratifying. It's a perfect opportunity to pare down, donate things you don´t use and it will feel like a fresh start - because you are in fact, starting a new chapter. Whatsmore, simplifying your home before the baby arrives allows you to complete it without interruption, you will have more headspace to think how you would like to organize the rooms and where you need to put furniture. Having everything ready including your home allows you more time to enjoy your bundle of joy when he/she finally arrives.



Savvy material to keep your home organized upon the arrival of a new baby


  • Command Hooks - great for hanging muslins off your changing station so they are within easy reach, hanging baskets in the bathroom.

  • Bins Bins and more bins! - purchase bins of various sizes. You will use these to store your baby grows, pyjamas, onesies in your wardrobe and/or in your changing stations. In addition, they are also useful to hold creams, nappies which tend to get scattered all over the home.

  • Drawer Dividers- awesome for storing small clothes individually and upright so you can see every item of clothes you have in the drawer.

  • Labels - a simple word on a drawer or on the bin saying exactly what is in there will help maintain the order. In this way, if you have someone else putting away your baby´s clothes, they know exactly where to put them.

  • Clothes dividers in the wardrobe - I always suggest with my clients that they keep things like shirts and dresses hung in the wardrobe and everything else can be organized in drawers and shelves. This not only saves you time but it is ultimately better for the clothes. The clothes hanging in the wardrobe should be divided by month to start off with: 0-3 months, 3-6months etc then as they get bigger, organize by year.



How to organize spaces in your home for your baby



Setting up spaces in each room for tasks such as changing the baby, can really help you stay organized in those few weeks. It will not only avoid the need to walk around the house with your new baby in your arms, opening drawers and looking for things, but it will make you feel relaxed and calm before the big arrival.


  1. Living room:

This is where guests come and see you, it's where you relax and hang out and spend time with your child. It can be useful to create a space for you to be able to change your baby, or at least a small basket with the essentials you may need: towel, nappy cream, babygrows and onesies, nappies, baby wipes. I recommend creating space on a shelf or sideboard in the living room with these changing essentials and a space for you to set things you need while you feed the baby (eg. a place for the remote control!).


  1. Bathroom:

So you´ve bought the essentials to bathe the baby, but where do you store all these bath products, toys and towels in your bathroom? It's good to think about this now because before you know it, your child is 3 and has a whole basket of toys he likes to play within the bath! My suggestion is to keep two baskets in your bathroom: one for wet items (shampoo bottles, shower gel, sponges and toys etc) and one for dry(storage of sponges, towels, small cloths). Try to hang the baskets above the bathtub, this not only saves on space but it makes it super easy to clean.


  1. Baby´s Bedroom:

Time to clear out that spare bedroom wardrobe! Yes, that overflowing wardrobe where you store your long dresses, coats and jackets you occasionally wear. Having a designated space for the children´s clothes that are going to enter your home as gifts or hand me downs helps you stay on top of clothes that are too big and keep them within easy reach for when you need them. Creating hanging wardrobe space will save time and headaches later. Don't forget to use the wardrobe dividers mentioned above to order the clothes by age group.



Drawers and drawer dividers are great for storing: socks, tights, onesies, pyjamas, trousers. Investing in drawer dividers as mentioned above will allow you to store their clothes vertically, saving on space and allowing categorization of clothes. Your change table should be placed within easy reach of all your clothes if possible. Normally change tables have two or three layers of drawers. Use these to their maximum capacity adding labels to help other people in the home to know where to put things back. If there are no drawers then divide the space using small baskets with labels and organize the contents by groups.


My top tip: Create a “Too Small box”: set a small basket or bag in the corner of your wardrobe near where you normally change your baby. When you realize dressing your baby one day that something is too small put it straight into that box. When it's full, it gets donated or stored away, labelled with the age group that your baby has passed and saved for your next! This will really help you have a constant cycle of clothes in your baby's clothes and always have space.


  1. Nappy bag

In the early days as a new mother, one thing that used to drive me mad was digging through my nappy bag looking for the pacifier or the wipes because I simply had too much stuff. One thing no one ever told me was that nappy bags are only meant to hold a few articles that you are going to need that particular day- not articles for a week! Try to go for the minimalist approach when packing your nappy bag and use these tips to help you stay organized:

  • Store pacifiers in a tupperware box

  • Utilize outside pockets for things you need access to a lot. Wipes, pacifiers etc.

  • Organize the nappy bag by investing in coloured zippered mesh pouches. Put different things in each coloured pouch, for example: red= nappies, green= wipes, pink = change of clothes etc. Nice bright colours will allow you to open your bag and reach directly for what you need.

  • In your home, create kits with ziplock bags. For example, a restaurant kit which can have the bib, utensils etc that you need to eat out. Beach kit: which would have sunscreen, hat, insect repellent etc. This way you can just grab them as you walk out the door.



Get to know your home again and create your own system


Take some time before the big arrival and notice how you move through your home. Look for spaces that you maybe haven´t thought of using before. Get a friend or a professional organizer to help you look for ideas on where to create stations. Very often a fresh set of eyes can see spaces you may overlook. They can help you move furniture around and take the bulk of the work from you. Create your own organization system now, and then later you can tweak it - in fact, it will be easier as you will have done all the hard work!


Congratulations on your pregnancy and all the best!

Lynne x


Lynne Harbison

My Home Space

www.organizemyhomespace.com


Lynne is a professional organizer helping busy mums online and in Madrid implement systems to declutter and create space, maintain order and restore a calm balance in their homes.


 

If you're an expecting mom or dad living in Madrid (or anywhere in Spain) and you're wondering what giving birth in Spain is going to be like, Madison from Madoula can support you on that journey! As a doula, Madison's goal is to help every family feel confident and have peace of mind as the birth of their baby abroad approaches. She mainly works with intercultural couples and English-speaking couples to help them understand the process here in Spain compared to their home culture, to have hands-on support during the birth itself, to feel confident breast or bottle-feeding, and to lend practical and emotional support during the postpartum period.


Madoula Services include:

All services are available online or in-person (in Madrid and surroundings).


Giving birth in Spain, far from your home country, can be an empowering experience you approach feeling totally at peace and ready!



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