So you’ve managed to survive morning sickness, Lamaze class, and an over eager mother-in-law. You’ve learned to effortlessly negotiate your belly behind the wheel of your new SUV and to ignore the lies shouted at you daily from your scale. You even made it all the way through your baby shower, sucking in your belly the whole time to keep those, “You look amazing!” comments coming. But now, here you are, in the middle of your living room floor surrounded by a sea of baby booties, breast pads, and binkies. You feel overwhelmed almost to the point of tears. But don’t worry first time mom – you are about to get it all under control by following these few simple steps on how to organize all those presents from your baby shower.
Get something to eat and drink, you are going to need sustenance (but put a lid on that drink unless you want the first stain on that Boppy to be from your cranberry juice cocktail).
The Big Stuff. These are the items that require assembly or time to read an instruction manual, like an ExerSaucer, crib, or stroller system. Place the boxed items in the baby’s room and open one item every two days. Create a file folder for owner’s manuals and warranty information and keep it in a safe place. You’ll be glad you have it if you need to order replacement parts or in the unlikely event something breaks. Also, grab an envelope to fill with product registration cards and place it with your unpaid bills. The next time you or your spouse sit down to pay bills, fill them out and put them in mail (or fill them out online). That way you will be sure to be notified of any safety recalls.
Sorting: Phase 1. For this step, you will only need to make two piles – Things I Need Now and Things I Will Need Later (you could add a third pile for Things I Will Never Need, like Aunt Martha’s hand knitted sippy cup cozy).
The Things I Need Now pile should include items like:
- Receiving blankets
- Onesies, mittens, burp cloths
- Diapers (but only the newborn size)
- Lanolin (if you plan to breastfeed and didn’t get any at your shower, drop everything and go get some now)
- Rattles, mobiles, plush toys
- Decorations for the room
- Clothing (but only up to size 3 months)
- Baby monitor
- Changing pad and covers
- Baby bath and supplies
- Baby hygiene kit
- Soft books
Now you will need some clear totes like these. Everything that will not be put to use in the near future can be stored in them. Put clothing in one, toys and books in another. Stack them on the floor of your baby’s closet, close the door and, for now, you can forget about them.
Sorting: Phase 2. You will need four laundry baskets or boxes for this step.
- Basket #1: Toss all the newborn clothing and textiles inside this basket. Add a pair of scissors and a plastic grocery bag and put it next to the TV. Tonight, your assignment is to watch A Baby Story until you are scared silly while cutting the tags from the tiniest clothes you have ever seen. Launder them within the next two days using a baby-friendly laundry soap and put them away in the baby’s dresser, organized by size.
- Basket #2: Place all the bath and hygiene items in this one. Grab the basket and head for the bathroom. You will need to clear out a drawer or an area of a cabinet specifically for baby items. Use a plastic basket that fits the designated area as a catchall for small items such as nail clippers and thermometers.
- Basket #3: Mementos, cards, photo albums, first curl boxes and the like go in this basket. You can place the contents temporarily in a paper grocery bag and store it in the top of your baby’s closet. Later you can invest in a sturdy canvass covered cardboard box for all those precious baby keepsakes. If you have a journal or a “baby’s firsts” book, keep those in your desk drawer for easy access.
- Basket #4: This basket is for entertainment. Place all newborn appropriate toys and books in here. Take the basket and find an out of the way spot in a common area of your home. A large cloth-lined wicker basket makes a nice home for these items. Tuck a floor cloth or blanket in the side for a ready-made play station.
Now you can sit back and pat yourself on the back (or the shoulder – let’s be realistic) for a job well done. If you get more gifts for the baby, place them in their designated location the same day you receive them. That way you can keep your house in perfect working order for the arrival of your little one.