Three Chicago-area organizing professionals share their best
tips for helping new parents keep everything baby needs in
Babies are super tiny and portable, but boy do they
require a ton of stuff. From nursery essentials like diapers, wipes
and onesies to more unwieldy items like jogging strollers and
Exersaucers, these items can quickly take over your home-and even
We consulted three of Chicago's top organizing
professionals for their best tips for helping new parents get their
baby gear in check.
Nelson, owner of Less is More
Professional Organizing Services
Erin Kelly, owner of Arranged By Erin
Gugnani, founder of Organizing with You
Diaper bags tend to be large, which means small items easily can
get lost. Use colorful plastic or nylon pencil pouches to
store kits of supplies: one for milk/bottle supplies, one
for solid food, one for diapering, etc.
Sarah Giller Nelson
Keep it simple. If you have a nanny or regular
babysitter, make sure they have their own bag to use. Don't let
this bag become a "catch-all." Keep just basic items like
diaper changing supplies, snacks and medical supplies. Refill bag
at end of each day.
Use see-through bags and sort by category for:
medicines, snacks, games, outdoor activities and baby items. This
is a great way for the diaper bag to hold all the essentials that a
mom will need to lug around with her.
A hanging sweater bag in a closet makes good storage for baby
clothes. Most of the clothes can be folded to save space.
Purge clothes after each season.
Even babies and young kids have seasonal wardrobes. You can
re-use the same storage tub for two seasons. For
example, label one side "winter clothes" and the other "summer
clothes." In the summer, store your winter clothes in it and
have the winter label facing forward, and reverse in the winter.
This way you don't have to make room for four different bins. You
can apply the same storing concept to other things as well.
Keep a bin or basket labeled "outgrown"
in a handy place in the nursery closet. As you
find clothes that no longer fit, put them in the bin. When that is
full, move the contents to a storage space that is a bit more out
of the way.
Avoid using large toy chests, as they tend to become catch-alls
for all sorts of things. Instead, store smaller groups of
items in their own bins or baskets. Save the larger
containers for a single category of large toys, like stuffed
animals, large trucks or big blocks.
Use your old laundry baskets or even inexpensive colored mesh
laundry baskets to store different types of toys such as stuffed
animals, cars, blocks, etc. Train your toddler to be
organized at an early age and make it easy for him or her
by attaching a picture of the type of toy on the front of each
laundry basket, so it's easy for them to learn how to put it away
as they learn visual cues.
Containerize/categorize as much as you can. Put
toys out of reach that you don't want kids to have direct access to
(i.e. games with many pieces). Encourage your child to take out one
thing at a time.
Sometimes toys can take control of the interior of your car.
Keeping items contained in plastic boxes to fit neatly
beneath the seat with each storage box labeled for each child's
name can help keep things organized. In addition, keep a
supply of clear plastic bags inside the car to store dirty/wet
clothes/bibs until they can be brought into the house for
Keep a mini baby kit in the car, stocked with
diapering items, extra pacifiers and snacks, just in case. Make
sure to update the diaper size and any clothing as the baby
Keep your reusable bags in the car for
groceries, cleaning up and other uses. That way they are always
available in case you have a need for them.
Use your dresser as a changing table by using
the drawers to store your diapers, wipes, lotions, burp cloths,
etc., and use the top as a changer by placing a changing table pad
on it. The same dresser can then be used when your baby is older to
store clothes, blankets, socks, etc.
If you have a multistory house or don't want to trek to the
nursery every time a diaper has to be changed, create a
portable changing station. Use a basket or a bin to keep a
small supplies of diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, plastic bags
and a leak-proof changing mat neat and contained.
It sounds simple, but be sure to place your Diaper Genie and
trash can right next to your changing area and keep all of
your other supplies within reach so you easily can reach
everything without having to step away from baby.