By Heidi Meyer
You just got the good news that baby is on the way.
In the excitement you immediately go out and buy the first item. Slowly but surely before the baby arrives, your home fills up with clutter, good and bad, from well-meaning friends and family. Of course the purchases of the special furniture to equip the sanctuary for your little one will also need a space.
The reality is, everything you own needs a home and so does baby and not all of us are so fortunate to have a room that was intended for the baby. Most probably, you’ll have to repurpose a spare bedroom or an office. You’ll need to find a new space for the computer and clear the room of everything you no longer need, want or love. Let’s be honest: Are you really going to need your varsity notes and textbooks once Junior’s around?
Don’t wait for the last couple of weeks before getting organised, do it as early as possible in your pregnancy.
- Reality check!
The room is cluttered….Cupboards filled to capacity with clothing. Floors and shelves covered with items that you don’t know what to do with, unwanted gifts, papers, bags and unused appliances. All happily bonding with the dust bunnies under the bed and contributing to a musty smell permeating the room. To make matters worse the domestic wants to create order and shoves more things under the bed and into the shelves that are already filled to capacity. Can you change this, into the tranquil space which you and your child will need and enjoy?
Edit your possessions that are now occupying the space that needs to house the influx of new baby accessories and furniture. Cleanse this room of everything that does not make you smile! Decide what to keep and what to toss.
- Create a plan of action.
Visualise what you want the space to look like when it is finally organised. Find pictures of what you like, visit expos to get ideas and write down your goals to create a sanctuary for your child one that is functional, peaceful, and reflects your sense of personal taste, initially the room and its décor is more for you than it is for the baby.
- Think about the mood you want to create. Do you want it to be quiet, peaceful, warm, comfortable or cozy?
- What activities will take place in the room? When I design or organise any room, I keep the kindergarten model of organisation in mind. What makes it work is that the room is divided into activity zones and everything that is needed for that activity is kept in that location in clearly marked containers, which makes finding, using and putting things away a breeze. Create zones in the nursery for feeding, sleeping, a changing station and playing.This will determine the storage of specific items close to where they are needed.
- Sort and purge
This is the most important part in organising and creating space.
- Set time aside. We all lack time and if we don’t plan time to do this, it will never get done. A basic room with lots of clutter can take anything between 5 to 8 hours to sort and sometimes even longer.
- Take It Easy: It is not necessary to do everything at once. Limit yourself to work, say two hours at a time. Take baby steps, never haul everything out of the closet onto the bed. Work on a shelf at a time and make quick decisions.
- Stay focused, don’t get distracted by spending time on things that can be done at a later stage. Remember you are here to clear the room not do anything else! Prepare yourself, it will be more chaotic at first until order is restored.
- Keep your goal in mind, on how you want the room to look like… this will keep you motivated to stay on the job.
- Now it it’s time to get physical: Have black bags, boxes, packaging tape, markers, storage containers and vacuum bags at hand.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes, put on your favourite music to help you get into the mood.
- Start at one end of the room, work clockwise from top to bottom.
- Work on one shelf at a time. Be ruthless! You cannot create space if you hang on to everything. Take out each item and decide immediately what to do with it. Sort like with like.
- If there are items that you are not sure about, put them in the question pile to be dealt with later, but make the decision before you take your break.
- Be ruthless, get rid of stuff you no longer need, love or want. Do not get distracted. Toss broken or incomplete items.
- Make immediate decisions on where the unwanted items will go, to your domestic, an orphanage, another family member and place the items into the appropriate boxes.
- Do you believe that you should hang on to something just because someone gave it to you? Be very critical when keeping items. If you have less, you will use more. By thinning your belongings, you will actually use a greater variety of your things.
- If you have lots of clothing, toys and blankets that you will not use, donate them to a friend or shelter where they will be used. It helps if you know the items are going to a good home and are not being wasted.
- If there are items that are sentimental place those in a memory box in the top of the closet. They do not all need to be displayed.
- Find a home for keepers in another room. Take these at the end of the session and don’t be tempted to find a space for them before your finished sorting in the area you are busy with, otherwise you will create just more chaos trying to find space in the room you are taking them to!
- Clean shelves or containers as you go.
- Place all the keepers in the rooms they will be used in. You might have to look at creating a small workspace in the living room or bedroom. Put up shelves elsewhere to house books.
Now that all the clutter is gone and you have a clear canvas you can start to personalize and to furnish the space. Remember what we’ve said earlier, you need to create the mood, look at zoning the room according to the activities, and then put the furniture and décor items into place to create a peaceful and functional room.