Making space in your home for a soon-to-arrive baby is always a struggle, whether it means giving up the home office, the spare bedroom, the music room or even that guilty second walk-in wardrobe. It is almost impossible to find space elsewhere for all the furniture that previously inhabited the room to make way for the cot, the play-area and the change table. But it’s all for a good cause.
When we had Bebe we were just a couple in a three bedroom home, it was easy to sort out the almost empty room and create a nursery. When we had Bambino it was a different story! Almost ten years in the same home, a five year old, and a small main bedroom wardrobe…. There was a lot to sort through to make room for the baby. We’d been using the third bedroom as a spare bedroom and I’d taken over the closet, we had also sold or given away the majority of our baby things so had to start from scratch again with all things baby!
- Create a budget
Redesigning rooms, especially for a new purpose, can be surprisingly costly. Keeping track of how much you’re willing to spend will help keep costs down. Consider asking friends for hand-me-downs or checking out Gumtree or your local Buy Swap Sell pages.
- Hire boxes instead of using disposable ones
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), almost a third of the waste that ends up in landfill comes from households. With this in mind, hiring boxes instead of purchasing disposable ones are also another great way to reduce waste. Hired boxes tend to be more durable as well, reducing the risk of damaging items. Plus, knowing you have to return them will motivate you to sort out the clutter faster!
- Prepare your packing supplies
Keep a supply kit of packing tape, masking tape, scissors, newspaper (for covering delicate items), a utility knife and permanent markers handy.
- Label all of your electronics
Wires can get crossed and adapters can get lost so labelling all the electronic bits and bobs will help to recognise what everything is. The last thing a new mum wants is to lose the charger to the laptop or the TV cable (hello Netflix)… or heaven forbid your phone (the only way I could keep track of feeds and nappy changes in those early weeks #Mombie).
- Create “keep”, “toss” and “donate” boxes
Repurposing a room is the perfect opportunity to declutter. To keep things in check, the “donate” pile should always be the largest and the “keep” pile should always be the smallest. If an item hasn’t been used in at least four months, the likelihood you’ll use it again is very slim. Let alone with a newborn around…are you really going to use that exercise ball, or throw another Luau with loads of Hawaiian decorations in the next 12 months?
- Use crumpled newspaper for extra padding
To prevent shuffling around of items in the boxes, fill the top and the bottom of the box with loosely crumpled newspaper. Perfect for the family heirlooms and wedding China you’ve never used.
- Sort kept items into categories
Categorising items will help when needing to find them in the future. Too often household items get lost in storage – I was determined not to let that happen so the checklist became my best friend.
- Repurpose furniture
Repurposing furniture is a great way to keep things low cost and conserve space. If finding a new home for the desk was going to be too hard and you thought about giving it the toss, why not use it to create your own change table? You can find loads of DIY options online. We used chests of drawers with both boys instead of change tables, the height was actually heaps better PLUS we could continue to use them way after they’re out of nappies!
- Recognise the hazards
Curiosity grows as the baby does and exposed power points, sharp edges, balcony accessibility and furniture that has the potential to fall are all risks not worth taking. The ABS reported that one of the most common locations a child can get injured is inside their own home. Red tape all the hot spots as you pack up a room so childproofing is included in your budget.
- Take advantage of the blank canvas and plan the design
After everything has been removed from the room and the hazards have been childproofed, this is your opportunity to get creative. You can plan the colour of the walls, placement of furniture and décor without any other distractions…my dream!
This article was written in collaboration with box hire and packaging supply company – Hire A Box.