As your delivery date edges closer and closer, you might notice your baby’s room or possibly your house slowly filling up with baby-related items.  Between the crib, changing table, dresser, stroller, portable crib, high chair, swing, bassinet, and the small mountain of clothes, it can get pretty cramped very quickly.  It’s all useful, but is it all “use-now”?  In most cases, there are simple, organizing techniques that will help you neaten up and gear down and turn your nursery from pig pen to baby zen.

Strollers, and cribs and slings.  Oh My!

Trips to the baby boutique can make your heart soar and you wallet cringe.  There are so many clever items, cute outfits and necessary pieces of equipment that you can easily buy half a store’s worth of stuff in one outing.  Before you buy anything, ask yourself, “when will I need this?”

A crib or bassinet can be used the first day a baby is home.  A high chair?  You probably won’t need one of those until around 6 months.  Before that, it’s just taking up space in your kitchen.  Other items, while very useful, have a short shelf life.  A bouncy seat or swing (depending on which, if any, your baby likes), can be great early on, but there is a point when you’ll find they aren’t used anymore.  At this point, it doesn’t hurt to find your inner Genghis Khan and BE RUTHLESS.  Clear things out as soon as you can (store it for future children, lend it out, or sell it or give it away).

Little Babies, Lotta Clothes

You’ll be amazed how many outfits you’ll have in your closets, drawers, and random shopping bags ready to clothe your newborn.  There is a good chance, you might have enough outfits that you don’t need to do any laundry for the first two months.  If that is appealing to you, skip this section.  If you think you’d like to winnow the clothes down by several piles, read on.

If you are having a baby shower or have already had one, go through the gifts and sort them by size and season.  Keep all clothes for ages 0-6 months that are appropriate for the season.  If you have some stuff for 0-6 that just doesn’t work for when the baby will arrive, exchange it or give it to someone else NOW!  Snow suits in June will never be in fashion or useful.  Stay in touch with your Inner Khan and separate the “must-haves” from the “must-gos”.

If someone gives you a gift and you don’t like it or won’t use, return in.  If it’s only going to collect dust a take up valuable space, then the gift-giver will understand.  They were able to enjoy the shopping experience, express their love for you and you got a very nice credit and a less cluttered home.  This is what we call a win-win situation in the organizing business.

At this point, you should pack away the clothes you’re keeping that are too big in labeled containers somewhere out the way until you need them.  For items that aren’t your taste, the wrong season or size, bring them back to the stores before the baby arrives.  Get a store credit to use when you need something in the future.  Most stores give you a gift card which takes up way less room than more stuff!

Remember, a little organization and preparation can go a long way in helping any new parent feel more in control, more successful and, in the end, a little more sane.