I'm having my first baby in April/May, and now that hand me downs have started rolling in, I'm quickly realizing we need to make room for baby stuff NOW. We live in a smallish two bedroom apartment, which doesn't sound too bad, except that we moved from a three bedroom house and lack a ton of storage space. We have a tiny kitchen w/no dishwasher and little counter space, and our second bedroom is already taken up by a futon, bookshelf, and other furniture.
We're planning to have the baby in our room and set up a clothes/diaper storage/changing area (dresser w/changing pad) in the second bedroom. We also have a small closet we can keep some stuff in. However, I really need help figuring out how to keep other stuff--toys, books, etc. that I'm sure people will give us--from taking over.
If you lived in a small space with a baby, how did you make it work? Are there any storage systems you can recommend for toys, etc.? My main concern is creating places to put everything so that it isn't just all over the floor all the time.
Any success stories from people in similar situations are much appreciated!
Fiction writer by training, writer/editor of anything anyone will hire me for by trade. Me + D=my girls E (4/2011) and little N, 1/2014.
Nesting for your first and getting everything you THINK you need (and being given gifts of things other people think you need) can mean a lot of stuff. But I found that after DS, i realized we didn't need about 90% of the things that we had and what we THOUGHT we'd need.
Our key items were: a small basket for diaper changing on each level (cloth dipes, a change pad, tub of wipes, cream), a shelf or drawer for clothing storage, and a basket of small toys for under the coffee table, maybe a small shelf for random gifts. Slings and carriers got hung up in the closet, as did a small backpack for outtings. Really...I think that's it. When we do the baby thing all over again, I'm ixnaying all the "stuff" people say you need and sticking with the bare basics.
I think being a conscious consumer and not being afraid to pass things on when you're done with them or if they're not of interest to your child or in line with your values will help keep the stuff at bay and your space organized. DS always preferred found objects to toys most times and real-life things we'd use in the early years too.
Laurie, wife to DH (Aug/04), mom toDS1 (Nov/05) and DS2 (June/12).
I agree with being careful on what you accept and pass on as it comes in to your home. Just because it is free, doesn't mean it needs to clutter your already small space. Keep only the best of the best clothing you receive as hand me downs and re-donate the rest. I find going thru clothing more than once helps. Go thru it when you first get it. Set it aside for a few days and go thru it again, getting rid of more.
I understand it can be difficult to know now what things you will use once the baby is here and what is just extra clutter. Waiting till baby gets here and going thru things again might help if you are unsure what to keep.
For storage, always look up. Try to keep less used items and larger sizes of clothing up and away. Hooks on the wall or over the door for jackets and towels too. We also used the hanging sweater shelves to put onesies, socks n things. Now we use IKEA baskets and drawer organizers. They have tons of great things for small spaces.
I forgot to add, we also put the changing area in the bathroom. DH built a table to go over the unused bidet. I've also seen tables that go over the tub or that are mounted and pull down from the wall.