Decluttering before baby
The arrival of a new baby is a very exciting time, so before the baby arrives is a great opportunity to declutter and organise your home to make the space you need for your new bundle of joy and all the new baby-related items that will come flooding into your home!
If you have time to declutter your whole home then great, but it can be time-consuming if you don’t know how to approach it. We certainly wouldn’t know where to start so we asked the lovely Esme, founder of Tidy Coaching, to share her wealth of knowledge and practical advice to have you tackling the main areas of your home like a pro. Esme has been helping clients all over the world to achieve a calm and organised environment, blazing a trail of happy, positive homes in her wake. Esme is a certified KonMari Consultant (Marie Kondo), Professional in-home organiser and one of only30 Consultants in the UK who are certified to teach Marie’s method. Here is what she had to say…
WHY DECLUTTER BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW BABY?
- We often have a natural ‘nesting instinct’ when pregnant that makes us want to prepare our homes as best we can before the baby arrives. Why not make the most of this feeling and declutter your home.
- “A place for everything and everything in its place”. This is a great motto for the entire home, but especially with a new-born you will have your hands full. Making sure you have everything you need to hand means no time-wasting and stress looking for things. Decluttering and organising will help you take stock of what you have (and need!) and will create space for those important baby items.
- Having everything organised and in its place helps you create routines – which is great for time management with a new baby.
- Once you know you have everything you need in advance, you won’t end up buying duplicates of things you already own.
- You can spend less time tidying and more time with your new-born, or resting!
- You’ll be better prepared for guests and overnight visitors.
- Coming home with a new baby to a tidy, relaxing space reduces stress levels. Visual clutter creates physical stress for many people.
- You are creating a safer home – no trip hazards for adults or dangers for the baby.
MAKING A PLAN
Before you start decluttering and organising make a plan and, most importantly, give yourself enough time before your due date to complete your plan! Some ideas of questions to ask yourself are:
- Where will the baby sleep? (There are many options for new-borns)
- Where will baby feed?
- Where will my changing stations be and how many will I have?
- What equipment do I need and in which rooms?
- Will I be having guests to stay?
- If you have hand-me-downs from older children (clothing, toys etc). Where are they? Get these out of storage and have another look through, keeping only the ones you really want.
Once you know which areas in your home are designated for what purpose, you can start decluttering and creating the spaces you need.
1. THE NURSERY
If you’re planning to decorate the nursery then this is a perfect time. I suggest decluttering first (letting go of the items you no longer need), then removing everything you’re keeping from the room, decorate and then you’ll be safe in the knowledge that everything you’re putting back has been carefully selected by you as something you love/need.
Here are some handy tips for decluttering and organising your nursery:
- Shelf and drawer space is ideal for new baby items (hanging space is less useful unless you have smarter items of baby clothing for christenings, naming days etc that can’t be folded). Free up as much space as you can.
- Clothing: Get all your baby clothes ready (new and hand-me-downs) and separate out into categories (Baby grow, vests, night clothes, socks etc.)
- Have a final declutter of these items – especially if they are hand me downs from older children. Is the item really useful, do you like it, will you pick it for your baby to wear? Let go of anything that you don’t think you will use.
- Gifting – we often feel an attachment to items that have been given to us by friends and family, but if it’s not something you like, you’re not likely to use it! The joy was in the moment you received it (it’s that thought that counts) and now you can let it go – re-gift it, sell it or give it to charity and know that someone else will enjoy it more than you.
- Store your baby clothing in their categories mentioned above (storing like with like items together) in boxes in your drawers and label the boxes / the drawers themselves – this will help you identify what the items are quickly and easily and will help other people find their way around too!
- Folding baby clothes may sound like an extra chore, but they’re so small, they’re super easy to fold. Storing them folded vertically in a drawer (or preferably in boxes in a drawer) will make your life easier when changing and dressing your baby. You’ll know where everything is at a glance when you open your drawer. Here is a link to a clip of Marie Kondo folding baby clothes.
- Organise clothing according to size – you will undoubtedly have items that are bigger than new-born. Have 0-3 months in the most accessible drawer and store older clothing according to age range in another designated drawer, box or bag (depending on what space you have available) and label, label, label! It will feel great to have the next months to a year planned out clothes-wise.
Items that are not technically clothing such as blankets, muslins, swaddles, sleeping bags, dribble bibs etc can all be stored in their own separate boxes (like with like) in their own designated drawer. Again label the drawers/boxes as a lot of these materials can look the same! You want to be able to identify each item quickly.
e.g. Nappies, wipes, Sudo cream, body creams.
- Think through where to store these – if you have a changing table with drawers, it will likely make sense to store them there. Store them wherever is easiest and the most ‘to hand’ when changing your baby. Keep enough of each item in here to last you the week.
- Boxes are once again your friend with these items – store the wipes in one box, creams in another, nappies in another. Not only is this handy, it also allows you to take stock at a glance of what you have and what needs replenishing. Whilst I don’t recommend stockpiling items, it can be useful to have a storage area for backup stock of items such as nappies and wipes. This can be in a less accessible space (e.g. up in a top cupboard) as you will only need to get them down when replenishing your current stock at the end of the week (or whenever suits you)
If you’re going to have other multiple changing stations around the house then a portable organiser can be useful – again keeping it stocked with the essentials (nappies, wipes, cream etc) and replenished from your stock.
2. YOUR BEDROOM
It is likely the baby may be sleeping in your room for a while when you get home…
- If you have time to declutter your wardrobes, it’s a great opportunity to make way for the maternity (post partum) and nursing clothes that you will want easy access to. If you don’t have time for a declutter (or don’t feel ready to declutter your clothing as you don’t know what you will want to wear a few months down the line) then think about storing some items away in vacuum bags to make space for your current clothing.
- Decluttering the bedroom space…. are there items on the floor, surfaces etc that could be let go of, or tidied away? The more space you give yourself, the more relaxing it will be and the easier it will be to move around the room. Remove all items from the floor if you can as these could be trip hazards.
- Now is the time to declutter any furniture that you don’t want anymore. Spare chairs, cabinets you don’t use? Free up as much space as you can, especially if you need to put a cot or bassinet in the room with you.
- Think through any items you may need to hand in the night and keep them close by in a box within easy reach.
3. THE KITCHEN
- Fridge – Clearing out your fridge and throwing away anything out of date or that you’re not likely to use will free up space for any milk and formula you may need to store. Give the shelves a good clean while you’re decluttering so that everything is ready.
- Appliances – Are there any appliances on your kitchen surfaces that you don’t use (If you never use them then it may be time to let them go) and if they’re rarely used, can they be stored away in cupboards? (the hard to reach corner cupboards are ideal for large appliances). This will free up space for any sterilisers, bottle warmers etc. that you may need to hand.
- Creating a specific drawer for baby related items (bottles, bibs for new-born and for sippy cups, plates and cutlery etc as they get older) can be really helpful. It keeps everything separate, it’s easy to find and as your children grow up they can access it themselves.
- Taking some time before the baby arrives to batch cook your own meals in advance can really help save time and means you’re not cooking meals every evening.
- Declutter any cleaning products – it’s a great time to assess what you actually use and what you may want to re-consider using now there’s a small person about to live in your home. Obviously store any dangerous items well out of the way.
4. THE GUEST ROOM
If you will be having friends and family over for any overnight stays then it’s great to be prepared.
- Make it as easy as possible for someone to arrive without you lifting a finger in preparation.
- If the guest room has become a ‘store room’ / dumping ground recently then take the opportunity to have a good clear out.
- Put fresh bedding on, get out fresh towels and you’re good to go!
5. THE BATHROOM
- Medicine cabinet – clearing out anything out of date and making sure you’ve got all the essential grown-up and baby medication in place and to hand (e.g. Calpol). I actually keep adult and child medicines in separate boxes so there is no confusion.
- Bathing your baby – Have a box with all the items you’ll need for bathing your baby (baby wash and shampoo, creams, sponges etc). Keeping these together in a handy box or caddy mean’s you’ll have everything easily to hand.
6. THE CAR
Yes you can even declutter your car!
- Remove any rubbish and unnecessary items from the car, give it a good clean and fit the car seat (or if it’s a removable one, have a practice putting it in and removing it).
Safety test – Once you’ve got everything organised and tidy, it will be easy for you to do a quick safety check of all the areas your baby will be using (nursery, changing stations, your bedroom, bathroom etc) to make sure there aren’t any trip hazards for you (especially when walking around at night) and nothing that could be a danger to your baby (items falling, baby pulling at anything).
Now you’re all set. Sit down, relax and enjoy your time with your new baby!
ABOUT THE AUTOR:
Esme trained with Marie Kondo in Los Angeles in 2019
Working with clients in their homes across London, Esme offers a personalised service to declutter and organise using the KonMari Method™.
As well as in-home sessions, Esme also works online with clients worldwide, from the UAE to Australia, offering virtual organising coaching sessions.
Esme is passionate about helping her clients achieve a calm, organised living environment that supports their daily life and she enjoys seeing the positive effects that decluttering can have on mental and physical well-being.
Esme is also a member of APDO, the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers.