Preparing the Nursery (2): Organizing a Functional Nursery on a Budget
Updated: Mar 23, 2019
As we are counting days till the due date, I continue researching and looking for the next logical step in my preparation for our baby girl. It seems, most of the experienced moms out there agree, baby-size stuff can make a pretty big mess and pretty fast. Knowing my hubby and me, having a mess will just add stress and anxiety to a new period in our life – parenthood. So, before we start nesting, my goal is to come up with an organizational storage system now that we can maintain it later. There will be so many changes once the girl arrives. Creating organizational systems early will save us a lot of energy, which we will definitely need later on. Preparing and organizing the room in advance is an act of love for yourself and the new baby. When the nursery is organized and ready for the baby, we will be able to focus on the baby, and not worried about finding lost items or where to store everything our baby girl will need.
If you're organizing a nursery for the first time, chances are you might be in the same position as I was, just a few days ago, overwhelmed by the massive number of storage and organizing recommendations and options on the market out there. If you are in need of some tips and ideas on how to organize your nursery, keep reading it. I have decided to share my favorite ones that helped me to stay on track and reach the finish line. Since we believe, we made a pretty good investment in purchasing storage-friendly furniture for our nursery (read Preparing the Nursery (1): Baby Furniture to learn more); you might be surprised to find out how little we actually needed.
Arranging Furniture for Function
Before I even considered going “nuts” on buying various containers, drawer dividers, and the decorative pieces for our nursery. The first thing we did was rearranging the baby’s furniture to establish the two main zones: changing and sleeping. The functionality and safety should be considered the top priorities in a nursery when creating the flow in the room, Besides this, the most important thing to keep in mind when preparing to establish a shared room is to prevent clothes or toys from getting lost among the other stuff.
Sleeping zone. Someone said that the function of the room depends on the activity. In this case, when I thought about sleeping, I decided to keep the crib away from the doors so that, when my hubby comes back home, or we receive the guests, or when I want to peek in to check on the baby from my bedroom, all these daily yet straightforward situations would not wake her up. Placing the crib near the drafty windows and curtains where the baby can easily reach, was not an option either. It easily can create dangerous moments for the baby. Also, we placed the crib next to the commode where the toys and sleeping related stuff will be kept. So, again everything is within reach.
Changing zone. After researching, it seemed to be very logical that one of the key pieces - the changing table - should be placed close to the dresser. When changing the baby, diapers, wipes, and a fresh, clean outfit should be easily accessible at any point. Therefore, we set our cute dresser with four drawers next to the changing table.
Though I am the one in charge to prepare the nursery, as I create the organizational systems, my goal is to make it so easy to understand that my hubby and others can easily follow it, without my help. The last thing I will want to focus on is constantly explaining where everything goes so, as I am creating the zones, I am organizing them in a way that makes senses to others and not just myself.
Controlling Drawer Clutter
This tip is probably my favorite – investing in drawer organizers/ dividers. Just by looking inside my own closet’s drawers, I concluded, it’s the smallest things that give me the most trouble to keep my drawers neat. So, I cannot even imagine with baby’s stuff. The moms out there seem to confirm my suspicions, babies have many things, and all of it is small.
I grabbed a measuring tape, and wrote down all measurements of the possible drawers and spaces where I thought would be a great idea to have a space divider or container. Afterward, my sister, the future first-time aunt of our baby girl, and I went to IKEA for some “hunting” of storage space organizers. It was not that easy to decide as I imagine prior, but we ended it up on agreeing that the NEW Ikea collection Rassla is the best fit for us.
Therefore, we started with getting a pack of Rassla white boxes (25x41x16 cm) with the dark grey inside layer by the designer Jennifer Idrizi for one of the deeper drawers in the Stuva / Följa commode. Just for 79 NOK (about 7,5 EUR or 8, 6 USD) per two pieces in the package, These two pieces fit the Stuva drawers perfectly to keep everything in its place. (please, refer to the photo collage on the left). As for now, I placed both of the dividers into the top drawer, keeping the bottom one for larger items. It took me just under the minute to assemble it, and it can be easily unassembled when it is not in use. Also, I love the idea that it can be washed if it becomes dirty.
I also left the two drawers under the crib as it is. The idea is to keep the blankets, bed-sheets, mattress protections, and similar items for the crib which we will not be using daily, down there. So, I feel there is no need to divide these drawers into smaller sections.
As you can imagine, I could not say NO to the smaller version (25x41x9 cm) of Rassla white boxes with dark gray inside layer for the drawers in the changing table and the second, smaller commode. While there are a total of eight regular size drawers in the changing table and the dresser, I purchased a total of 4 packages for 69 NOK per set. I may regret this decision later, but I would rather wait than overdo it.
Grouping and Labeling Baby Clothing
Even before baby girl makes her debut, no doubt, we will have heaps of clothing on our hands—and odds are, sizes will be all over the map. Based on the advice of the experienced moms out there, we’ll go through many sizes of baby clothing in her first year. First of all, before we even start buying anything, we will have to consider the time of year she will be born. Summer clothes of a newborn should be lightweight and breathable to keep the baby from getting heat rashes, while winter clothes should include hats, mittens, and booties. Therefore, it feels reasonable to buy and organize them based on the sizes of average babies at certain ages (keeping in mind though that our baby might be bigger or smaller than average). However, the idea is to group clothes and other necessities in the drawers as follows:
the top section and the top two drawers of the changing table and the dresser would be dedicated to the clothes and items for the newborn (birth to two weeks). We are expecting our baby girl to arrive at the end of July. Therefore, summer infant’s clothes will be lightweight and breathable, so they most definitely take less space than the ones for the cold season.
the second section would be the two drawers for the sizes 0 – 3 months ( 2 weeks to 3 months old). Depending on the weather outside in autumn, but the clothes would usually be thicker.
the third section would be the 3 – 4 drawers for the sizes 3 – 6 months. Since at this point the cold seasons will be here already and probably at its best, the clothes and other related items will need more space in drawers.
I am not planning to start storing the clothes for six months and up. At least not yet. I don’t want to pack the nursery so full that we don’t have room for the baby to grow. As the baby girl grows, we are going to be changing the nursery with it. So, the nursery can smoothly be transitioned to holding larger clothes and toys by getting rid of the stuff she would not use it. Basically, we will be enforcing minimalism as well. Even though this is easier said than done, but it is very important. To avoid accumulating more possessions than we need or have the ability to store.
Moreover, one way to make something easy enough for everyone to use is to label everything. So, I will easily mark these sections by writing with the chalk on the colorful stickers on the drawers’ handles. Since I have extra “chalkboard” like stickers, I will use them, to identify sections within the divided drawers, also. Even if I may think that a bin of socks is obviously where the socks go, the idea is to label it. If that box runs out of socks, I would love my hubby and everyone who will help me to know what belongs in it. I will share the photos once I start accumulating the baby clothes in my future posts.
The other ingredient in the recipe in avoiding newly-baked parents’ disaster is containerizing everything.
As I mentioned before our place is quite small, and we like our space decluttered and as minimalistic as it is possible. We merely keep the basics, so no shelves are hanging. Personally, this is my way of becoming dust-proof and spending less time on cleaning and organizing our home. Actually, one of the things I have learned since we moved to Norway, Norwegians work to live rather than live to work. If you live to work, you are probably crossing that fine line between being engaged and being consumed by work. It also applies when it comes to taking care of your home. So, prioritize the quality time with your family and friends over wasting time for never-ending cleaning. Anyway, going back to preparing the nursery… I came across the attractive open bins from New Ikea’s collection – Angelägen, for the shelves of our changing table.
The first ones I grabbed were the two Angelägen bigger boxes (25x44x25 cm) for the two shelves on the right of the four drawers of the changing table. Just for 79 NOK (Norwegian kroner) per box, the two white and black bin with orange handle will make it easier for us and later on for our baby girl to keep track of and find all the little things in need. The best part, we will be able to quickly see what’s in the bin, because of the netting in the front of the box. And again, it took me just a few seconds to assemble them. The light and durable material can be washed if/ when it is dirty, which is a great possibility not even in that far future since we have a dog running and sniffing around.
I also purchased the smaller version (18x27x17 cm) Angelägen bins (3 pieces in a package for 99 NOK). As of today, the idea is to keep four containers in space above the drawers, and the two bins on the top of the changing table. Don’t they fit perfectly? Let me know what you think in the comment section below. Have you already prepared your changing table? Share your experience below. I would love to hear from you and maybe learn a thing or two.
Moreover, I couldn’t leave without getting the set attachable containers on the side of the changing table - Önsklig (also for 99 NOK/ set). Ideally, this would keep everything from diapers and washcloths to skin care products and towels within a hand reach at the changing table. The baskets save space since they hang on the edge of the changing table. Also, I love the idea of having a wastebasket within reach. You can choose to attach the wastebasket on the side of the changing table or place it on the floor. This way you can discard the diaper, wipes, etc. without leaving the baby’s side. The included hooks provide you with a convenient place for towels and washcloths. You can hang the hooks on the side of the table or attach them to the wall.
The rumors say, a new member of our family will bring joy and exhaustion, happiness and chaos, and will probably be the best and busiest years of our life. I am using these favorite tips and advices, indicated above, to help us have the most organized nursery ever, so we can spend more time with our baby girl and less time trying to find the things we need.
I have no doubts; my organization needs will change over time, so flexibility with my space and how I organize is the key. Since there is no much flexibility when it comes to furniture, I am excited about the containers and bins I have chosen. There definitely changes that can be made at any point. Also, as you may already notice, I did not get any giant toy bins. I can imagine they get filled up relatively quickly, so all those tiny pieces just end up piled on top of each. Therefore, I see no easy way to retrieve anything, whether I am looking for a stuffed animal or a tiny ball, in these huge containers. When everything is organized, we will be able to find what we need without much effort – even half asleep. It will also help us to put things where they go when we are too tired to clean up.
Do you have your favorite tips and hacks on how you organized your own nursery? Share them below. As always, I am up for learning a new thing or two.
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