Babies come with a lot of stuff, apparently. I’m of the opinion that they don’t need nearly as much as most folks believe, but even my still-in-utero kid has quite an impressive assortment of accoutrements thanks to our generous friends and family. Our house is a modest 1800 square feet or so, with no garage, shed, attic or basement to store what’s out of use, so keeping the baby gear under control was one of my biggest priorities in this whole endeavor of preparing for parenthood.
Now that pretty much everything has been opened up and put away I’m feeling pretty dang good about my efforts. The really big stuff, like the car seat and the stroller, live in the car. We got one of those snap-n-go strollers instead of a bulkier travel system so it’s easier for little ‘ol me to hoist in and out, and when Jack gets too big for the infant car seat that snaps into it we’ll just upgrade to a lightweight toddler stroller. Since there is literally nowhere in the house to store a stroller it’s important to me that it be slim enough to be reasonably kept in the car whenever it’s not in use.
Instead of getting a full-size swing, we opted for a smaller “travel” swing that’s small enough to stash in this corner behind the door in the nursery. I can actually fold it up to lean almost completely flat against the wall if I want to, but I figure this way it’s easier for me to pull it out of the corner to work its magic. Or I can just stick the baby in the corner to be lulled to sleep by modern technology. Just kidding.
That ottoman next to the fireplace holds some cushy floor blankets and my moby wrap, and the basket nearby contains all of Jack’s toys. I like to toss a blanket over the top of the basket to keep things looking classy (and to trick the cats. Newborn and cat toys are surprisingly interchangeable).
On the other side of the fireplace is the closet. At about 15″ deep and 3 feet wide, it’s not exactly up to par with today’s larger closet sizes. I’m sure it was the height of luxury in 1920, though, so I’ll take it. I got one of those over-the-door organizers for $15 (available here) and one of my sweet friends got me the small rolling cart I’d registered for at Target. The door organizer was too tall for my tiny, tiny door, so I cut off the bottom row of pockets and used some brassy thumbtacks to hang that section on the back wall of the closet. Likewise, the door hangers that came with it were too wide so I just had Nick hammer some nails into the door to hold it up. It stores mostly toiletry items for now, since we’ve got an embarrassment of riches when it comes to baby soaps, lotions, and shampoos, but it’s also a handy spot to stash the monitor receiver and other little handheld devices. If you look closely you can see that each “pocket” is actually two mesh pockets stacked one in front of the other, so it can really hold quite a lot of stuff.
The rolling cart is a good place to stash extra diapers and wipes for now, but has plenty of room to accommodate shoes, small baskets of toys, or whatever else needs stowing as Jack gets older. We’ve got a TON of wipes. This isn’t even half of it!
Pretty much all of Jack’s clothes fit in the dresser, so just a few special outfits are hanging up in the closet. He won’t be able to wear that LSU shirt for probably another six months but it makes me happy, and behind that is the Mets onesie and shorts set I got Nick for father’s day. Nick’s dad is from NYC and they’re both big Mets fans, so I thought it would maybe take the sting out of LSU’s dashed hopes of making it to the College World Series this year. And do you see that little bit of black poking out from the right side? The closet itself is wider than the door opening, so I stuck a Command hook up on the wall in there to hang the Baby Bjorn carrier from. The hook came in a pack of six so I can hang up more stuff down the road if I want.
What our house lacks in practical storage space it makes up for in weird nooks and crannies. This little cabinet is twice as deep as the closet below, leading me to wonder what’s behind that back wall of the closet (secret 15″ deep hideout, perhaps?). For now it holds a box of diapers, a bumbo seat, and a basket that I don’t have a use for right now but didn’t want to get rid of. I imagine down the line this space will come in really handy for storing outgrown or out-of-season clothes.
Speaking of clothes, here’s a little peek inside the dresser. My friend Cassie picked me up some of these little baskets at Dollar Tree and I want to get some more because they fit perfectly inside my drawers. They’re great for corralling things like socks and swaddling blankets, and I have two in another drawer holding diapers and various diaper-changing paraphernalia.
And here’s one crappy picture of my #1 clutter hiding spot: under the crib. Under here we’ve got a ridiculous amount of diapers (there are more behind that stack), more wipes in the back, and a plastic bin I already had on hand that contains stuff we received as gifts but won’t need for a while, like teethers, shoes, and sippy cups. You can barely see that on top of that plastic bin lies a blue plastic envelope–it’s where I’ve been stashing user manuals and product registration cards until I get around to filling them all out and mailing them in. I usually don’t bother with that sort of thing, but apparently it’s kind of important with baby gear so you know if something gets recalled.
It’s amazing to me that, aside from a pack and play and a basket of diapers and wipes in our bedroom upstairs, every single bit of baby gear is contained in this one room, the smallest in our house! Okay, well maybe there are some baby washcloths in the bathroom and a few bottles in the kitchen cabinet, and of course the car seat and stroller in the car, but so far we’ve managed to avoid well-meaning folks’ predictions that our house would inevitably begin to resemble Babies ‘R Us before the kid even came home from the hospital. Perhaps there’s hope yet for us!