What to unclutter when you’re expecting

Recently I was browsing the Unclutterer forums and I came across this older post: “Having a baby in three weeks but need to declutter first!” It immediately brought me back to the days when my wife and I were preparing for our new arrivals. We bought lots of stuff, and even used some of it!

We didn’t have any clothing, bibs, bottles, wipes, diapers, or blankets on our own shopping list because we felt we’d likely receive them as gifts. If you’ve decided to go without a baby shower, then you’ll want to add a few of these to your acquisition list.

As an anxious parent-to-be, you want to do your best for junior. So you hit the store with the best intentions, but end up leaving with a combination bottle warmer/lullaby library/cradle/Diaper-Change-O-Matic 3000. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. Here’s what we found ourselves still using after junior’s first birthday.

Some people use a basic changing table with some storage, not unlike this one from Badger Basket. It’s nice to have everything you’re going to need – diapers, wipes, change of clothes, etc. – in one spot. But honestly, we ended up using a simple changing pad on a bed just as often. It was just quicker and sometimes speed is of the essence when diapers are concerned.

A convertible car seat is great to have as it can go from rear- to forward-facing as your child grows. They are heavy, but a worthwhile investment.

A trusty Pack N Play is versatile. Bring it with you when you visit grandparents, or wheel it into your bedroom if junior isn’t feeling well.

A good stroller is essential. Find the safest one that will still grow with your child, as these are expensive items. The quick-fold umbrella-style models are adequate for when you’re in a pinch, but I don’t recommend using one as your sole stroller. They offer no storage and can often be real hassle to fold up.

Finally, a diaper bag is a must. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere with my kids without a bag of essential gear, like diapers, wipes, etc. Again, you can go nuts here and get a bag that charges your phone and does a million other things, but a simple canvas tote works perfectly.

Preparing for a new baby can be both stressful and fun. Try to focus on the latter, and leave the Diaper-Change-O-Matic 3000 at the store. After a year, you’ll be changing junior on any flat surface you can find. And that’s OK.

3 Comments for “What to unclutter when you’re expecting”

  1. posted by Sue on

    It’s funny, but we did without many of those things you’re mentioning. We only used a changing pad as well. No car = no carseat. We didn’t use any playpen, either. We also did not use a stroller, but carried both our kids in a baby carrier. For us, this was the absolute must-have item that got the most use, up to 2 1/2 years of age with the first and still going strong with the second.

  2. posted by Lizbeth on

    Three baby essentials:
    A soft carrier (we used an Ergobaby but there are many good brands), which we used everyday when our youngster was a baby, and up to the age of 5 on hiking trips.
    The second is a dishwasher basket for little things, especially if your washer doesn’t have one built in. We still use ours and our “baby” is 12 now.
    A diaper-backpack is far more versatile than any other kind of bag, is easy to carry, and can be converted into a daypack as little ones grow.

  3. posted by G. on

    And I say ditch the huge diaper bag and use a backpack with a couple of diapers and zip-bag of wipes, a couple of small trash bags, and maybe a change of clothes. Stash extras in the car*. There’s less temptation to take everything, much lighter & easier to carry, and it keeps your hands free so maybe you don’t need the huge-ass tank of a stroller to ram into other people and try to cram into the car.
    Even if you don’t own a car, a good car seat is a necessity. If/when you rent or borrow a car, do you really want to trust whatever they have available, or have to scramble to get one? And more useful than the “official” playpen – those plastic panel fences that you can fold out – not only can they be used to keep baby IN, they can be used to fence baby OUT of things, at least for a while.
    Two things totally unnecessary IMHO – walkers and swings.
    *If you have no car and depend on the tank stroller, I’m not sure how to lighten your load, I’ve never been in that situation.

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