By Heidi Meyer
- 1. Decorate the room
Decide where in the room each zone should be located, the colour of the walls, bedding and any other décor items, lighting and storage. Keep the main colour of the room simple. Use changes of linen, rugs, lampshades and pictures to make it stimulating or to bring in themes. This makes it easier to change when children outgrow their rooms. Select low-maintenancefloor coverings such as wood, laminate or tiles – a quick sweep or mop and they are like new again. Use rugs for activity zones and to add texture and pattern to a room.
- Furniture and supplies
When selecting furniture, choose pieces such as a crib that allows for under bed storage. If you are short on floor space, a dresser makes a great changing table when you add a changing pad on top. Place a comfortable chair for nursing with an ottoman to put your feet up. Next to the chair have a small table with a lamp on which you can place a glass of water or bottle and other feeding item. Shelving helps to display special keepsakes, organizes books and picture frames. A music box, CD or tape player helps to soothe baby to sleep and a baby monitor so that you can hear when the baby wakes up.
- Simplify – Everything in its place
A place for everything, and everything in its place is one of the fundamentals of organizing, it is not about decluttering so that you are left with the bare essentials, but for you and everyone in the household to know where everything is.
- Have everything accessible.
Keep items close to where you usethem. A changing station should have all diaper change necessities; diapers, wipes, diaper rash ointment, Vaseline, cotton balls, burp clothes and baby lotion or powder handy. You should be able to reach all the items with one hand. It would make sense to have a step-operated pedal bin for the dirty diapers, and the laundry hamper next to it. The drawers of the dresser can house clothing or bedding as well as extra diapers. A small toy helps to entertain baby while being changed!
Keeping lids off containers makes things quicker and easier when using storage boxes or tins.
Store things that you use often and the current size of clothing in the most convenient space in the cupboard, at an accessible height so that you can get to them easily.
Put boxes and baskets with out-of-season clothes and clothes to be passed on, on the top shelves of the cupboard. Don’t forget to label these. This will free up space in the closet and will still be accessible when needed. Store heavy items below waist level, infrequently used items on a higher level and harder to access shelf or in another area of the house.
Pack diaper bag with…diapers, wipes, change of clothing, burp clothes, plastic baggies, snacks and water for you, a pacifier and a small toy! Keep it with your stroller at your point of exit and remember to stock up after every outing.
- Group similar items in closets and drawers, e.g. Blankets and sheets separate from clothing and toys. It makes finding items much easier for everyone and one can see very easily when enough is enough. Retrieval of toys and clothing need to be easy and also helps when putting things away.
- Containerise Toys. Label or colour code the containers (25 l max). If it is a toddler, put a picture of the contents on the container. Allocate homes for these containers, place books on bookshelves.
- Memorabilia – give keepsakes like baby’s first booties or her hospital bracelet, an instant home in a memory box. Label the box and go through it once a year to rid yourself of items that are no longer of value to you.
- Optimise space with flexible storage solutions
- Use a hanging closet organizer to organize shoes, accessories, and clothes you can’t hang. This is a great way to utilize all that empty space in the middle of the closet or on the door.
- Use closet organisers, like jock and sock storage boxes, or drawer organisers for storage of small vests, panties, leggings. Roll them so that you can see them instead of stacking.
- Hooks are easy to install and can hold just about anything.
- Baskets offer endless storage solutions for books, blankets, toys, stuffed animals, clothing and shoes.
- Organize the bathroom essentials in a bath caddy.
- For the first year one container might be enough for toy storage, but it will grow at an alarming rate. Get clear containers and label them in big, clear writing so that your children and domestics can read and see what’s inside. If they are too young for reading, use pictures instead.
- Look at the vertical space in the room for additional activities or storage. Paint a wall with blackboard paint. Put up notice boards or magnetic strips to display their art, photos and other mementos or use suspension wires with magnets or cloths pegs.
- Toy boxes are great for dress up clothes or soft toys, but don’t store hard plastic toys in them as they are often broken when children rifle through them to find a specific toy.
- Wire basket systems offer extra storage in cupboards for clothing.
- Tiered toy box systems are ideal for storing larger toys, again keep like with like.
- Transparent hanging shoe or jewellery organisers are ideal for small items like booties, toiletries, small toys and pacifier
- Mesh hanging organisers are great for Soft Toys and balls –like the mesh hammocks or long tubes that can be suspended from hooks on the wall or ceiling.
- Plastic containers in all sizes and colours for Knick Knacks to games.
- Keep pieces together
- Puzzle pieces. Assign a letter to a puzzle, write it on the box as it arrives and on the back of all the pieces. When a piece is found you’ll know exactly in which box it belongs.
- The buddi A4-12-drawer-unit is ideal for storing individual puzzles where the boxes have broken.
- Remotes & Electronic Games. Put labels on the remote and car with the same number so you will always know which belongs to which.