Preparing for Ryser to come home to our new place in LA was so exciting but also overwhelming. I love being prepared, so of course, I registered for all of the top baby must-haves to make sure we were ready for anything! My friends and family also gifted me so many amazing baby items, so when it came time to really organize the nursery, we realized we had SO MUCH STUFF. David and I looked at each other and asked: “Where is all of this going to go?!” We needed serious help!
Thankfully, I knew of two amazing companies that specialize in cutting through the clutter and making spaces beautiful and functional with intentional organization. I had the opportunity to work with The Container Store to provide closet design and storage materials (bins, dividers, etc.) and Organization & Relocation, a team of professional organizers. These two companies were both so incredible to work with. They really changed my life!
I first focused on the closet because the storage available there would dictate what the storage solutions in the rest of the room would look like! I sent the measurements of the nursery’s closet to the Container Store along with my needs so they could get started on a Custom Elfa Closet Design. When designing a custom Elfa Closet, you have the option of 3 different styles: Elfa Classic, Elfa Décor, and TCS Closets. Elfa Classic is the original custom shelving and storage solution with all-metal components. Elfa Décor has the same functionality but adds wood accents and more deluxe options. Finally, TCS Closets are their fully built-in solution. Given that we are in a rental and really just needed basic shelves and drawers, we went with Elfa Classic!
I knew that I had a ton of boxes and smaller items that would need shelf and drawer space, and their team sent back a design proposal within days! They completely customized the design to my exact closet and allowed us to make changes like removing a drawer to add space for a laundry basket or adding more hanging space. Once we confirmed the design, they sent out someone to install the entire shelf system. We didn’t have to do a single thing! It was seriously so easy and fast!
With the closet installed, I was then able to schedule a day to have Organization & Relocation’s team of experts come into our home to set up the best systems! To prepare for their arrival, I purchased all of the bins and drawer organizers from the Container Store that they recommend. They also asked that we clear the nursery of all products so that everything could be sorted and then put back in. This first step really helped us to see what products we actually needed, what we should get rid of, and what products needed to be removed from the nursery (yes, removed)!
I learned so much from Organization and Relocation that I wanted to share with you all of their best nursery organizing tips! Here is the good news up front: you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) lose your whole house when you bring home your baby. It’s really easy to end up with way too many baby items but it’s possible to find a path through the craziness!
A great question to ask yourself as you start this process is, “Do we have enough room for this item?” And not just that but, “Do we have enough room for this item and for our house to still feel like a house where adults live?” That second question will really help!
Of course, not all houses and apartments have unlimited storage so you have to work with what you have. The space you have available to you will dictate what kind of organizational decisions you need to make. But, these guidelines can apply to anyone with any kind of storage!
1. Be openminded about getting rid of things.
Just because your Great Aunt Sue gave you a baby gift does not mean you have to keep it. You have no obligation to keep every single product or gift! If the item is not what you wanted, if you won’t use it, if it’s a duplicate of something you already have…get rid of it.
2. Start a keepsake box that you go through every 6 months to a year.
Of course, there will be things that don’t have a purpose other than being sentimental! And you should absolutely keep these things. Start a keepsake box! Be sure that you go through it every 6 months to a year because what is special now may not be special in the future.
3. Store everything in labeled bins.
Say yes to bins! Some baby clothes can be hung and stored in drawers (if you have room), but for the most part, bins are the best storage solution for an open closet. You should be able to see every label when you step into the closet or storage space so you’re never searching for something. Items that have daily or weekly use should be stored in more immediate reach while seasonal items or clothes and toys that are for when your baby is older should not be in close reach. (See #4) We chose to use the Whitewashed Wood Bins in the closet with the White Bin Clip Labels!
4. Dedicate a few bins to future clothes and toys.
You know those adorable hand-me-downs and fancy outfits that you won’t be using for maybe a full year? They don’t need to be easily accessible because they will just be in the way. Store clothes and toys that are for the future in labeled bins not at immediate reach. You can always move bins around when those items become relevant!
5. Have stock and back stock stored separately.
It might seem like a good idea to store your entire supply of an item or product together, but that is a mistake! There are items, especially disposable things like diapers and toiletries, that you need immediate access to, but you don’t need to have your whole supply within reach all the time. If you have 5 bottles of baby bum cream in the drawer you’re going to open and use all 5. That creates clutter and it’s not efficient. Instead, only put one tube of cream in the changing table drawer and keep your back stock in a dedicated bin in the closet. This applies to any product you use but also have a bulk supply of: diapers, wipes, etc. I loved using the Linus Shallow Drawer Organizers for products stored in the changing table drawers and Clear Plastic Storage Bins for bigger items like diapers. You can see I kept the back stock of our Parasol Diapers in their packaging and on a closet shelf.
6. Dedicate space in the kitchen for baby supplies.
If you’re like me, you were probably worried about baby products taking over your whole house. It’s so tempting to put all of the baby stuff in the nursery so it is out of sight and out of mind from everything else. But trust me: you should dedicate a drawer or shelf in the kitchen to baby items. Preparing and storing milk all happens in the kitchen, so your bottles should be easily accessible. There are also a lot of bottle accessories that would be out of place in the nursery. It’s also a good idea to keep a space in a cabinet or pantry clear for large, countertop bottle related items (drying grass, bottle warmer). This way you can stash that gear when you want to clear the countertops for company to come over or for a special event.
7. Make sure your nursery has a good flow!
You’ve heard about a space having good feng shui, but really what is that and why does it matter?! Following feng shui means that the furniture should be arranged in a way that you can walk through the space easily AND safely! Important items should be in reach at each station: if you are at the changing table, you should be able to easily reach diapers, wipes, bum cream, and the diaper pail. If you are at the crib you should be able to reach the sound machine and humidifier. But don’t forget safety: the layout should flow so that there is no risk of tripping or bumping into anything. As a new mom, you’re so tired that you don’t have any more brain power to navigate a complicated space! Simplify the layout and it will simplify your new mom life.
I promise, if you follow these guidelines from Organization and Relocation, you will have the most organized nursery of your dreams! Now, all of our baby products have a place: I don’t have to search for anything or even go out of my way to grab a product. And the Container Store’s products are what made it all happen! Their Elfa closet system is so strong and customizable, and they have so many styles and sizes of drawer dividers and bins. They have products to fit any style or space. Working with both the Container Store and Organization & Relocation has made this transition to parenthood SO much easier.
The Container Store is also having a closet sale right now! 25% off all shelving and 25% off Elfa installation! Such an amazing deal! It ends on Sunday, October 14th.
Do you have any closet organization systems or tips you swear by? I would love to know in the comments below!
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