You’ve had the news – you’re expecting a baby or about to adopt. Congratulations!
Nine months may seem like an eternity to sort things out, and in terms of buying baby basics and being ready for the arrival, it probably is.
But if you need to rearrange things in your home to make space for the new arrival, it can never be too early to get started. Moving rooms around needs careful planning, and trying to create a room almost always means losing another one.
Even if you’re one of the growing number of people who have their baby in the bedroom, or even, controversially, co-sleeping, there is still baby paraphernalia to find a home for.
From prams to boxes of nappies (or real nappy buckets) tiny babies may not take up much human space, but the things we buy to attend to their needs definitely do.
It can be really exciting deciding what the nursery will look like. There are wide varieties of things to choose from, colours to decide, gadgets to buy….
A few points to remember include:
· Babies have survived for centuries without the latest, greatest gadgets. It doesn’t mean you’ll love them any less because there’s a particular gadget you don’t have.
· Babies’ needs are simple – food, love, sleep. Everything else is a parenting aid. It’s up to you and your budget to decide what you need and what you can skip. (I learned this the hard way: I turned up, ridiculously, in the delivery suite with two packed full large suitcases having followed every checklist in every magazine I could lay my hands on. In reality, I only needed a couple of nappies and babygrows.)
· Decor items are nice to have, but non-essential. Invest in essentials first. (Crib bumpers and anything that decorates a cot can, additionally, be dangerous.) Remember that your baby will have no idea who Winnie the Pooh or the cast of ‘Frozen’ are: baby’s priority will be a calm space – and yours if you’re blessed with a baby who doesn’t want to sleep.
· The squishy, helpless, ‘babe in arms’ stage lasts less than a year. Before you know it, they’ll be up and moving around, then toddling, then speaking (not necessarily in that order). Invest accordingly. (I, for example, bought a fabulous cot that could be turned into a bed, but ended up putting baby’s Moses’ basket in the cot as it looked just too bit for our seven pound new-born. However, it did pay off later as our little man grew – and, (being shallow?),my baby bedroom furniture matched beautifully. I can honestly say that it mattered more to me than my baby boy. When you buy, think about how long baby will be using the item and what the next stage will be to make the best of your investment.
· If baby is not in your room with you, where should their room be? Close by so you can hear? Do you need an intercom?
· Safety first! Make sure anything you use, from paints to furniture, from electric socket covers to teddy bears, meets appropriate safety standards.
· Things will look and feel calmer and better if you have plenty of places to store things. If you are buying things for the room, look for items with extra drawers, extra cupboard space, lift up seating, and the like, to make the most of the space you have.
· According to Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), up to the age of 18, the cost of raising a child costs £151,000 for couples, rising to £185,000 in a single parent family. Be realistic about your budget and the costs ahead.
· There is a strong market for second hand baby items. Unlike school children, babies don’t tend to wear out or ruin items. The washing machine is more likely to have faded them long before any harm comes to them. Your child will not suffer if you buy good quality second hand things, cleaned up, of course.
Creating a room from an existing space has a domino effect on other rooms in the house unless undertaken well.
The best place to start is with a good declutter of the room you’re clearing, separating things into ‘keep, throw, recycle, sell, donate, giveaway’. Give yourself time to do this well. Make sure you have plenty of bin bags, and pack things into boxes for moving and keeping safe until things have their new homes.
You may even want to separate the ‘keep’ pile(s) in boxes marked with their destination rooms eg kitchen, living room, study.
Unless you are blessed with huge amounts of space, the rooms things are going to will also need a good declutter.
And if things are still overcrowded, perhaps it’s time to get some self storage space to give you more space without having to move house! It will probably be a lot cheaper than you imagine.
But once it’s clear, you can enjoy filling it back up ready for the new arrival!
You may have saved toys and clothes from older siblings. You may have been given things by well-wishers. Now is the time to look at these things closely to see if they are usable, and, if so, whether you want to keep them or pass them on.
And when this baby outgrows its first sets of clothes and toys, you may want to store them away as keepsakes. Make sure you follow the storage bible: clean and dry!
Rather than Superman/Wonderwoman ‘pants’, you may prefer to don your ‘Honestly Brutal’ ones! Be brutally honest with yourself about whether these things will ever be usable again, and if you decide that yes, they will (or that you can’t bear to part with something that gives you joy or brings back a special memory), decide whether to keep and/or store, or pass on.
As they grow, children need space to play, to develop, and to do their homework. The older they get, the more they also need privacy. Adults too need space, to maintain healthy relationships with their partners and ‘recharge their batteries’.
Given the journey ahead and the pressure on space that most families now feel when a baby arrives, self-storage is becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle option.
New types of storage like easyStorage come in at around half the price of traditional self storage.
You can get a no obligation idea of what this might cost you on our cost calculator (there’s even a way to estimate what space you might need), or call our team, free, on 0800 061 4091.
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Our storage packages have the added benefit of free removal of your items, saving you up to £1,000. All you need to do is pack your items (or we can pack for you, supplying boxes and packing material) and we’ll pick-up your items and store them in our safe and secure easyStorage facility. Then when you are ready, we’ll deliver them wherever you need us to. You just need to give us two working days’ notice. Perfect if you are moving house, running out of space, or just need somewhere to store your stuff.
Our storage plans provide you with a cost-effective alternative to renting your own lock-up storage space as we’ll only charge you for the storage space you need, making it cheaper for you.