How to Organize Baby Stuff in a Small Space (from a real mom)
Inside: You’re having a baby – yay! But you live in a tiny home. What the HECK are you going to do with all the baby things suddenly coming your way? Learn the best hacks to organize baby stuff in a small space from a mom who’s been there!
Clutter has always made me tense up. But, baby clutter is a whole other level of stuff explosion.
You know the feeling.
You just got home from your minimalist baby shower, and somehow, even though you didn’t think you registered for that much stuff, you still somehow ended up sitting on the couch SURROUNDED with all the cute little tiny things?
Let me take you through our apartment and show you how we organize our baby’s things in a limited space.
Hopefully seeing how a new mom whose baby is already here can take your anxiety down several notches AND give you the practical tips you need to banish the overwhelm permanently.
The Best Practical Tips to Organize Baby Stuff in a Small Space
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1. Find a system for organizing baby clothes that works with your space.
I’ll tackle this one first because when your babes are tiny, what you deal with most are the baby clothes.
We have actually recently changed our baby clothing organization system. I love the new system so much more than the old system we had.
Quick Tip #1: You think you need more baby clothes because babies make tonnnns of laundry. Not true! Having fewer baby clothes save space and cuts down on clutter. Make a laundry routine and stick with it!
Old Baby Clothes Organization System
Some of the baby clothes were folded in baskets on a bookshelf. All other clothing was hung in the closet.
This worked pretty well for our small space. Mostly because of the fact that we had a bookshelf and no dresser. Work with what you got!
Problems with the Old System
Hanging baby clothes is tedious, y’all.
Plus, putting clothes away was always a challenge with the old system because I couldn’t put the baby’s clothes away while she was asleep in her room.
New Baby Clothes Organization System
Now that we have a dresser, everything for our baby girl is in the dresser.
Only dresses and coats are hanging – we love it! I really like that I can fold all of her clothes while she is asleep.
Then, when she is awake, I take them out of the laundry basket and plop them right into her drawer. Easy, peasy.
We fold almost all of the baby clothes using the KonMari method. Folding this way saves on space and allows you to see what is available.
Quick Tip #2: Do NOT hang onesies updside-down for a space-saving hack. Snapping and unsapping takes FOREVER. When you need a onesie in the dark, with poop on your hand and spit-up in your hair, you don’t want to have to single-handedly undo all the snaps.
2. Use baskets for organizing all things baby.
Baskets, baskets, baskets. Get some baskets!
They are super cute, add tons of storage space and help with organization. We have baskets all over our home because they are so helpful for organizing.
Here are some of our baby-related baskets. Read on to find out where we put them and what is inside!
Quick Tip #3: Tidy up throughout the day. Spend 5 minutes at the end of every day to tidy. I often tidy while I brush my teeth… just keepin’ it real, folks.
Basket Use #1: Nursing Caddy
This basket is always right next to me on the couch access during feedings. It contains the following items:
- Nursing pads
- Nose Frida (+ extra filters)
- Nail File
- Hand Sanitzer
- Daily Devotional Book
- Burp Cloths
- Manual Breast Pump
- Saline Spray for Babies
The nursing caddy’s contents have changed many times. We used to use this as a living room diapering basket. So, it had tons of diapers, wipes, butt creams, etc in it.
Then once it switched over to my nursing basket, my baby was still really young and it looked far different than it does now. I had a lot more things stocked. My favorite nipple butter, more nursing pads, bibs, tons of spit up rags, and snacks.
Now that my baby is 10 months old, I don’t stuff the nursing caddy with as many things. I mostly use it for my nursing pads, chapstick and books.
Side Note: While we have appreciated our nursing caddy, we sometimes have had space issues with it. It is a bit on the small side. If I did it all over again, I would buy this one!
The best thing about the Lil Dandelion caddy is that the dividers are removable, and it’s super portable!
Basket Use # 2: Baby Toys
OK – real talk. I found my perfect toy system 3 weeks ago. My daughter is 10 months old and I just found out about this.
Toy rotating is a game changer when you have older babies/kids.
So, I have three baskets full of toys. Two out of three baskets get used each week.
One basket is in my daughter’s room for her to play with during independent play time. The other basket stays in the living room.
Every week, we rotate the baskets. The basket that was “on vacation” goes to the living room, the living room basket goes in my daughter’s room and her basket then goes on toy vacation.
This system is gold.
My baby plays so happily on toy rotation day. It is like she has never seen the “new” toys before.
You know how your kids always play better at other people’s homes because they have cool toys?
Well, with toy rotation, that happens every week.
And that, my friends, is a stay-at-home mom win.
What’s In Each Toy Basket?
I started by separating types of toys into five different categories:
- Plush Toys
- Noisy Toys
- Big Toys
- Developmentally-Stimulating Toys
You can categorize a few different ways, but this is what worked for us with our current toys.
Once your toys are in different piles, divide them into your baskets. Try to have a good blend of different types of toys in each basket.
Side Note: A friend keeps all the “noisy toys” in a completely separate basket and only pulls it out when she is sick or really needs her baby/toddler to self-entertain for long periods of time. It’s a strategy to try!
Basket Use #3: Baby Books
To be completely honest, I am not a fan of how we organize books at the moment. Our current system is to have our books divided evenly among our toy baskets.
My theory was that this way mom and dad won’t get sick of reading the same books all the time. Unfortunately, when you only have 5 books in each basket you get tired of reading them pretty quickly.
Additionally, now that we are going to the library every week I don’t know where to put the library books. Should they go in the living room toy basket?
I was putting them on the TV stand but I’m not sure that I like the look of that.
(I’m pretty sure that Marie Kondo would not approve of my book organizing.)
Eventually, I realized that keeping a separate basket just for the library books was super helpful organizationally speaking – because you don’t lose the library books.
The best solution for books in general would probably be if we had an actual bookshelf in the living room to use. Ha! Bright idea, right? Use a bookshelf to store books.
Even then, baskets on the bookshelf can still be helpful to organize little bitty baby books. It’s much easier to sort through individual baskets without disrupting the entire bookshelf.
Basket Use #4: Baby Toiletries
We have a bath time basket that is stored under our bathroom sink.
This makes it easy for anyone other than me to give Little Miss a bath… wait, who am I kidding? It makes it easier for me, too.
Organization saves my brain from having to remember where every little thing is in the house.
We always have these things in our bath time basket:
- Bath soap
- Bathtub drain cover
- Baby hairbrush
- Tear-free waterfall rinser/shampoo rinser thingy
Quick Tip #4: Everything should have a home and should be returned to its home by the end of the day.
When you’re too tired to remember your last name AND the baby is screaming, you don’t want to be rummaging around trying to find everything that you need.
Organizing will also help the people that are helping you with the baby. (ex. babysitters, grandmothers, friends)
Basket Use #5: Long-term Storage
A sideways video is better than no video, right?
Hidden storage is vital for staying organized in a small space! If you don’t have large rooms and/or ample storage space for baskets, get some under the bed storage totes or vacuum seal bags that slide under the crib/bed.
This is what we store under the crib:
- Maternity clothes
- Maternity lotions, vitamins and postpartum pads
- Pregnancy pillow (I used this one and really enjoyed it! Great for small spaces.)
We also have large totes for baby clothes that Little Miss has outgrown stored in her closet. I have each size range labeled within the totes so that it is easy to pull out one size at a time for the next baby. (That is if we have another girl.)
Quick Tip #5: Babies don’t care if their nursery looks cute (or even organized). They care if they are taken care of! Focus more on giving your baby a safe sleep environment, a fresh diaper, clothes to wear, and someone who loves them.
3. Maximize changing table storage (or the area near where you change diapers).
Like many of the other things in this post, our organization for the changing table has evolved over time. Currently, we have these items stored on the changing table shelves:
- Cloth diaper basket
- Disposable diaper basket (our diaper creams are also in this basket)
- Cloth wipe solution
- Electric breast pump
- Pump equipment (see below)
- Extra disposable diapers
- Cloth wipes
- Random stuff that doesn’t have anywhere else to go… because even the most organized of moms have miscellaneous stuff floating around.
(You don’t really need a changing table, if it doesn’t suit your space. A changing pad on top of a low dresser can work just as well!)
On top: (which will soon be on a floating shelf above the changing table)
- Wet (ready-to-use) wipes
- Washcloths: to dry off baby’s bottom and for general use
- Coconut oil: nature’s diaper cream, safe for cloth diapers
4. Pumping equipment and accessories deserve special organization attention.
I have a three drawer organizer for smaller pump parts.
I keep flanges, bottles and pump in a bag so that I can grab and go when I need to. My hands-free pumping bra is also stored in the pumping bag.
5. Rotate cloth diapers properly for even use and less wear.
We use a basket system for our cloth diapers. I have two baskets for cloth diapers: when one gets empty it is time to wash and use the other basket.
Basically, one basket is in the washing process while the other is being used.
I have a wide basket for our pocket diaper inserts. I rotate the inserts so that I am using the “oldest” inserts first.
This ensures that I am not using the same 10-15 inserts over and over again, thus completely wearing them out.
Our folded cloth wipes and our homemade wipe solution go on a shelf on the changing table.
If you run out of wipes mid-diaper change, you can’t leave the baby on the changing table to go grab more. So, keep them close!
Quick Tip #6: Small spaces require lots of moving things around. As baby gets older, organizational systems change. (ex: pump parts move out and baby utensils move into the kitchen cabinet)
The Last Thing You Need To Know About Organizing For A New Baby
Being organized with a new baby in tow is a wonderful goal to have – but, don’t let having a perfectly tidy and organized house distract you from the early days with your baby.
Also don’t be afraid to try new organizational systems!
Move things around, try different ideas.
And once baby arrives, see how you actually use the space. Then rearrange if necessary.
Consider a minimalist approach to baby essentials before buying everything left on your registry. But true confessions – I am no minimalist.
THESE are the 40+ things I found pretty necessary during the 0-3 month stage. Yep, I said 40.
Lastly, remember that organizing is to help you.
Don’t let having a consistently organized house become your prison. And for goodness sake, DON’T let organizing and tidying take away time from your new little one.
Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!Song for a Fifth Child, by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)
Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.
June could talk to you all day about homeschooling, parenting, and minimalism. When she’s not homeschooling, decluttering, or blogging, she loves to enjoy perfect silence while sipping a hot cup of coffee and thinking uninterrupted thoughts—which, of course, with five kids ten and under doesn’t happen very often.