Whether preparing for baby #1 or #5, your home doesn’t have to drown in clutter. A must-read for any parents who want to avoid baby clutter with a new baby!
My husband and I lived in a one-bedroom when we were expecting our first child. We couldn’t afford to let the baby items clutter our tiny space. I was even delusional to think we could avoid the clutter altogether (not!).
I realized our home—and our lives—would never be the same. As I’m typing this, I see a a toy banana, wooden trains, a Lego digger, a monster truck, dominoes, papers with drawings, and a ball. And that’s just on my coffee table.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep some order and tidiness even with three kids, or even a single baby. There’s hope! Maybe you’re dreading the impending baby gear as you prepare for your first child. Or you’re welcoming another baby and don’t want to add more clutter to your already tight space.
How to avoid baby clutter
A reader asked about how to avoid baby clutter when preparing for a baby and these are my answers. So don’t worry—having a baby doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a cluttered space.
1. Register for gift cards and diapers
Gift cards are perfect for letting you decide what to buy and when. You can buy items that aren’t exactly “baby registry pretty” (butt cream, anyone?). Diapers and wipes are also smart choices since, while bulky, are always needed.
2. Go for multi-purpose items
Living in a cramped space means getting creative with the items you buy. Ditch single-purpose items and go for those you can use in several ways, like:
- A changing table with drawers below to store baby clothes. Look for ones with a flat top that can still complement your child’s room as a regular drawer and cubby.
- A convertible crib that changes into a toddler bed.
- A bathtub for the newborn stage through toddlerhood.
- Just enough bottles with a few extras and no more.
3. Buy as you go
I’ve received a few reader questions on whether it’s a good idea to get XY and Z before the baby arrives. My general response? Buy as you go. To settle in those first few days with the baby doesn’t take a whole lot.
You don’t have to go to the store every time you realize you need something (especially with a newborn!). But buying extra means you’ll end up with things you don’t need and might forget to return to the store. Not only do you lose money, you’ll also end up with clutter you didn’t need to have in the first place. Instead, buy as you go. Cover your basics and leave the extras for down the line.
Another smart move is to buy at the time you need it. For instance, you’ll likely need a high chair, but you won’t need one for several months after the baby is born.
4. Sell your old or unused baby items
After three kids, I’ve become more familiar with consignment stores, Craigslist and eBay. From children’s books to old strollers, I sell items my kids have outgrown to avoid baby clutter. If the items aren’t in great condition, donate it to your local Goodwill store or to willing friends. Recycle anything else that’s keeping your home cluttered.
Along those lines, don’t open items you’re not ready to use just yet. For instance, we had several food containers we didn’t end up using. Because they were never opened, they sold for a higher price than had we opened it (even if they were never used).
5. Use storage boxes and cubbies
Not every toy will look pretty. You might even have a “toy” that’s 50 individual pieces, like blocks. Or your child has a fascination with cars, trains and trucks and all their ensuing tiny toy models. Buy large tupperwares or canvas boxes, and stack those boxes into cubbies.
Get a few large containers for larger toys like stuffed animals. We have one with a cover that doubles as a seat. You can also get an easy-to-reach toy storage organizer like this:
6. Rotate toys
Remember those tupperwares I mentioned? Use those to rotate toys. For instance, store a few current toys away in a cabinet to help clear the clutter. Then, when your kids have lost interest in the ones available, store them and bring out the ones you had hidden. Not only will you reduce clutter, your kids will also feel like they’re getting “new” toys.
Your lives—and your home—will change, no doubt about that. You’ll likely have more stuff than you prefer. Even places you deemed off-limits will still somehow end up with a rattle or a children’s book.
Still, you can avoid massive clutter with a few strategic moves. Buy as you go so you don’t end up with things you don’t need. Sell, donate or recycle items your child has outgrown. And use storage containers to keep toys, both big and little, from taking over. Your home will look like children live there, as it should, but minus the clutter.
Your home may not be magazine-worthy. Your coffee table may be strewn with just as much toys as mine. But you will be able to keep clutter at bay, one-bedroom or not.
Get more tips:
- The Ultimate Mom to Be Guide: Everything I Wish Someone Had Told Me when I Was Pregnant
- 8 Common Myths First Time Moms Believe about Parenthood
- Morning Sickness Help — Getting Through Those First Few Months
- Baby Must-Haves that Will Make Your Life Easier
- Newborn Care Tips and Tricks for New Moms You’ll Be Glad You Read
Your turn: What are the best ways you’ve avoided baby clutter? How would you answer the reader’s question on how to avoid baby clutter?
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