If you are a new mom, you may be surprised by the sheer quantity of stuff you now have for your baby. How can such a small person need so much?! If you’re a seasoned pro, you’ve probably figured out some nifty tricks to organizing all that stuff and making it more manageable. I know I have, and every time I find a new trick, it seems so simple, and I think, why has nobody shared this with me before??? For shame my mommy friends! So here are a few things I’ve learned that I wish somebody had told me sooner.
- Bottles: Never store baby bottles fully assembled. I used to store my bottles all neatly assembled. It was cleaner and easier. So why would you do it differently? One word, and an ugly one indeed, MOLD. If there is even the teeniest bit of moisture on the bottle or the parts, you will seal it in when you assemble the bottle and it will become a petrie dish for mold. Imagine my horror, opening up a bottle and finding icky green spots. I went on a bottle disassembly and examination rampage, cleaned them all, and threw out quite a few just in case. Lesson learned: store them disassembled!
- Baby cabinet: Store all of your bottles, spoons, cups and containers in one cabinet, designated the “baby cabinet.” I have a little 2-drawer shelf I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond that I store my bottles and parts in. I have different sized nipples in labeled Zip-locs. All my baby spoons are in a plastic cup.
- Baby shelf in the pantry: I have a shelf (well, half a shelf) dedicated to baby items in my pantry. All his food items, yogurt, cereal, etc. are on this shelf. I store my baby cereal in plastic Tupperware instead of the cardboard container it comes in, and I have a tablespoon in the container to portion it out when I need it.
- Bibs: I found a neat tip on Pinterest, put Command hooks on the back of your high chair and hang your bibs on it, so they’re always there when you need them.
- Baskets: There are toys EVERYWHERE in my house. Living room, dining room, bathroom, master bedroom, and of course the nursery. So I have a pretty basket in each room (they have tons of choices at places like World Market and Old Time Pottery) that I throw the toys in when I clean up. They sit inconspicuously in each room, adding to the décor, while secretly hiding a quick access toy stash.
- Frozen milk and baby food: I have a separate freezer shelf dedicated to baby items. I bought a long skinny plastic refrigerator tray from Bed Bath & Beyond to cycle milk (newest in the back, pushing the oldest ones forward. Next to that I have Ziploc freezer bags of baby food cubes, labeled with the date and ingredients. I cycle those the same way. My milk storage bag and freezer packs go on the same shelf.
- Diapers: I stockpile diapers. (I'll dedicate a future post to couponing diapers.) So at any time I may have 10-15 bags of diapers. I stack them by size under my changing table. I also have my stash of wipes and a basket of medicines and other baby products inside. On top I have a Prince Lionheart changing station, far more convenient than that diaper hanger that probably came with your baby bedding set.
- Closet: Since we have a small nursery, there’s no room for a dresser. I use hanging shelves in the closet for clothes, hats, linens, and shoes. Socks go in a gift basket I got at a shower. I have two big bins in the bottom of the closet, one for clothes that are too small, and one for clothes that are too big. So when he grows out of something, I toss it in the too small bin. When it’s full it gets labeled by size and put in the attic. Then I cycle in the “too big” items, and so on. All this takes up half the closet. The other half has shelves for big toys (walkers, bouncers, etc.) and the top my husband takes for his hunting clothes!
- Books, stuffed animals, and nick nacks go on one long high shelf my husband put up across one wall of the nursery. It’s just a few Lowe’s floating shelves mounted side by side, he had to cut the one at the end (and the bracket) to make it fit. I’m planning to hot glue a rattan ribbon across the front of them to cover the seams, I just haven’t found the ribbon yet (I saw this on HGTV, yet another project I haven’t finished.)
I’m always looking for more ways to organize, so share some of your projects!