Of all the things to tick off before a new baby arrives, decluttering your home is a smart place to start... they may be small, but they come with an awful lot of stuff. From blankets and bottles to the cot and pram, everything needs a home, so freeing up storage space is essential.
The desire to organize your home for a new baby can come at any time during pregnancy, but we’d advise starting early – welcoming a new arrival is daunting enough without a decluttering checklist to tick off right before your due date!
‘While we’re all for pretty nursery ideas, you’re best off focusing your efforts on what’s really going to benefit you. You’ll be far more appreciative of sensible home organizing ideas and a clutter-free home when you’ve got a newborn to care for, particularly in those early days’, says Jennifer Ebert, editor at Homes & Gardens.
Areas of your home to declutter before a baby arrives
They may be tiny now, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly your little one grows. Organizing a house with kids in mind now will save you a job further down the line, so bear this in mind as you’re decluttering. Safety in particular should be a priority.
‘The usual babyproofing rules apply, but parents should pay close attention to wires and cords. Crawling babies have a habit of finding all the nooks and crannies we may not realize are there so declutter and tuck away any exposed wires for safety’, says breastfeeding counselor Katie McCaan of parenting blog, Bump to Bubble.
As any organizing pro (and parent) will tell you, decluttering is the first step towards a well-organized home. We’ve listed the areas to focus on before the big day.
1. The loft
Whether it’s the loft, garage, or the cupboard under the stairs, you’ll want to start by clearing the clutter from your catch-all space, particularly if you’ve been using it to store just-bought baby bits. Not only will you get a better idea of what you’ve got/need, but you’ll also free up room for items you won’t be needing straight away (too-big baby clothes, toys, car seat inserts, the crib etc).
‘It’s easy to get carried away trying to get everything "ready" pre-baby, but my top tip is to avoid assembling bulky baby items – you won’t need most of them at first so they’ll wind up as clutter, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve’, Bianca Sprague, experienced doula and founder of online pregnancy and parenting center, Bebo Mia.
2. The closet
‘Decluttering my closet to make space for maternity and breastfeeding-friendly clothes was one of the very first things I did, then I moved onto the baby's closet. Freeing up space for effective closet organization ideas is essential – 'future you' will thank you when you’re looking for fresh clothes or a nappy in the middle of the night!’, says Katie McCaan.
Once you’ve decluttered, think about how you want to organize baby clothes, then customize your closet storage ideas to suit. If you’re sharing a closet with your baby, utilize vertical space with cubby-style organizers, like this one at Amazon, or add an extra rail to hang baby clothes.
3. The fridge freezer
Your baby might be on an all-liquid diet, but you’ll still need to declutter your fridge to make space for milk, formula and make ahead meals, as well as all those delicious casseroles and lasagnes your guests will (hopefully) be bringing you regularly!
‘It’s also worth organizing your freezer, especially if you’re planning on batch cooking. Divide meals into usable portions, so you can simply defrost the perfect amount every time. The same goes for when your baby moves onto purees – ice cube trays are great for this’, says Millie.
4. Kitchen cabinets
While you’re in the kitchen, you might also want to think about organizing kitchen cabinets, or at least one, ideally close to the sink.
‘Having a dedicated space to put away bottles, pumps, and sterilizers can make the feeding routine a lot less stressful. Similarly with decluttering kitchen countertops; between the bottle warmers, baby food containers, and drying racks, you’ll need all the space you can get!’, says professional organizer Dana Gilgrist, founder of St Louis-based organizing service How Neat!
5. The living room
Know that you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the sofa when the baby arrives, so you’ll want to ensure your living room ideas are comfortable and well-equipped. The less clutter you have lying around, the easier it is to keep tidy, too, which should help you relax.
‘You’ll have a lot of guests in those first few weeks and having space to accommodate them can really help. Less mess and chaos also supports mental health for a new parent that’s going through a world of changes’, says Bianca Sprague.
Prioritize accessible living room storage ideas for baby’s necessities (diapers, blankets, change of clothes, wipes, etc) as well as your own (chapstick, jug of water, phone charger, TV remote… anything to make life that little bit easier). Store items in baskets (with handles, like these from Target) so you can transport them easily from room to room.
6. The entryway
Ever tried carrying a car seat through a cluttered entryway? What about pushing a stroller? Add in a bulky baby diaper bag, shopping carriers, and anything else you’re hauling, and you’ll soon realize why decluttering an entryway is on the list of pre-baby priorities.
‘You want a clear route through ideally, so anything you can get up and off the ground the better. Get rid of items you don’t need and organize your hallway closet ideas with hooks, shelving, and shoe storage ideas. I’ve also set up an entryway ‘drop zone’ next to the front door (a basket which I can dump things into) leaving my hands free to deal with any tears or tantrums!’ says Lucy Searle, content director at Homes & Gardens.
How do you prep your house for a newborn?
If it’s not already, your home will soon play host to all sorts of new things, from moses baskets and baby gyms to bottles, diapers and toys. Even the tidiest of homes can start to feel cluttered pretty quickly, so take advantage of that nesting instinct and clear out the clutter.
Consider which rooms in your home you’re going to be spending the most time in (the living room and bedroom, for example) as well as areas you’re going to need access to regularly (closets, kitchen cupboards and fridge freezer, for example) and focus on these first.
When deciding what to cull, think about those items you’re less likely to need or use in those early days; bicycles, exercise equipment, and so on. Move them into the garage for now, you’ll be glad of the extra space, and you can always get them out again when the time is right. Prioritize storage space for baby essentials and give everything a home, so it’s quick and easy to tidy.
Decluttering in advance of a new arrival is time well-spent. With big changes on the horizon, a neat, tidy and well-organized home can help you feel calm, relaxed and ready for anything, plus allows you the freedom to enjoy those precious moments right from the start.
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For 10 years, Tara King worked as a Content Editor in the magazine industry, before leaving to become freelance, covering interior design, wellbeing, craft and homemaking. As well as writing for Ideal Home, Style at Home, Country Homes & Interiors, Tara’s keen eye for styling combined with a passion for creating a happy – and functional – family home has led to a series of organization and cleaning features for H&G.
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