November 9, 2012

Organizing: Making Room for Change

Posted by Kristin

Anytime a major change is happening in your home, knowing how to prepare for that change can feel a bit daunting. I've often felt this way when I knew we'd be moving, down sizing to a smaller space or needing to create an area in the house for a new activity. When we moved this spring, there were a lot of upcoming changes that I knew would affect our home and how it functioned. Namely one big change: BABY!

Its amazing how someone that isn't even here yet can change the way you think about everything from what you eat to where you will store future sippy cups and bath toys. So hold onto your hats as we take a tour of small changes I've made to make room for Baby Who.

  • Storage: Not too much has been done out here yet because our land lord still has to paint the dry wall. I plan to make it purely functional for the winter by having a few baskets to stash our winter gear and a dedicated space to store the car seat.

  • Cabinet Space: When we first moved in, I made sure there was some extra cabinet space left over for future baby dishes and bottles.
  • Dish-rack: We already have a pretty functional dish-rack that isn't used nearly as often now that we have a dishwasher. I debated getting a separate drying rack for bottles but thought it may be one more thing to clutter the counter. We'll give our regular dish rack a try first and see how it goes.

  • Shower Storage: Originally we had a small hanging rack which held most of my shower necessities while the rest lined our tub. I knew that we'd need a space to stash the baby's shampoo and body wash and that we'd want it in close proximity to the tub. So we got a much bigger hanging rack and now have plenty of space along the tub to store any baby bath supplies. Another tip: one mom told me to make sure that your baby wash is in a pump bottle. That way you can still have one hand on the baby while they're in the tub instead of needing both hands to open a regular bottle of shampoo or body wash.
  • Bath Toy Storage: There's a great little nook under the curtained-sink that isn't used for anything right now. So I filled a spare basket with baby bath toys and supplies and stashed it under there.
You'd never know that this.... stored under this.
  • Washcloths: At first, this basket full of yellow and white wash cloths was purely decorative. They're available if guests need a wash cloth but are seldom used. After determining that the baby could handle an adult washcloth (super soft ones), I figure I'll just cycle through these ones instead of using a separate stash of baby-only washcloths.

Dining Room
  • Convertible Design Space: While this room doesn't have much in it for the baby, it was important to leave a flexible space in which I could set up my drafting table for design work if needed. Normally, we've used our second bedroom as an office but since we knew it would be a nursery from the get go, we made sure to have a space in the dining room that could also function as mini design studio on a temporary basis. All I have to do is move the small side table, set up my light-weight drafting table, grab the chair that's already in there and we've got ourselves a workshop ready to go.
  • Maximizing Closet Storage:  Along with room for my drafting table, I also needed my drawing supplies to be organized and close by. Luckily, this closet in the dining room serves multiple purposes. Instead of using the closet for one purpose (like dishes or linens), I use each shelf for a different kind of storage. The top is for extra large serving platters, then a shelf for linen-closet type items, followed by a shelf full of reference books and photo albums, then a shelf dedicated to my drawing supplies and landscape design books, and finally a space on the floor to store all our tools and diy-supplies.

Living Room
  • A Mini Office: Since we don't have a full on office in this house, we knew that we'd need a small but dedicated work space in one corner of the large living room. After considering our options for a desk, we found this desk at Good Will for $25, snagged it, and painted the base white. We plan on making a new, wood top at some point but the true selling point of this desk is that it can be disassembled. Let's just say that heavy desks and frequent moves taught me a lesson or two. I bought hanging file storage racks for the bottom drawers and recovered an old mail sorter in some fabric to hold all our bills and mail. A spray-painted frame backed with chicken wire has bills, cards and other items clipped to it until they're ready to be sorted or used.

  • A Small-Footprint Chair: Originally we had two large white chairs in this room. But after a week of living with them, we knew one would have to go to make room for baby gear. So this Pello chair from Ikea fit the bill and takes up much less space. It's also super lightweight so it can be moved in a snap if needed. After living with it for three months, it's been easy-as-pie to slide out of the way once we added furniture pads to the bottom of the legs.

  • Flexible Storage: My hubby loves books. I love open storage and baskets. This Expedit bookshelf from Ikea seemed to be the perfect solution. It can be used vertically or horizontally, can hold books or storage baskets, and was a bargain at $70. The best part is that I've purposefully left those two baskets empty knowing that we'd need a space to stash baby books, toys and blankets down the road. So bring on the baby clutter!

  • Open Space: I also resisted the urge to fill in the open space with too many things. I knew we'd have a swing in here at some point and figured that some left over open space would help us find a suitable place for the swing to live. Plus, having an open area on the rug is essential for tummy time and lots of other baby activities.

  • A Napping/Nursing/Reading Nook: Although this space is good for pre-baby life, I figure it's a good idea to have a quiet space for me to rest with or without the baby. Plus, this super comfy chair (which used to be in the living room with its partner) seems like it could be another quiet place to nurse or read to the baby.

So those are just some of the ways that Casa Thomas has prepared for life with a baby. Probably the simplest way to think about it is to make sure everything has a place. That way, when you round up all the toys, books and blankets (or just plain old stuff) at the end of the day, you know where they all live. 

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