Space Saving Recs — The Bump
D.C. Area Babies

Space Saving Recs

Ladies - new mom here in need of advice.  We live in Del Ray and have a seriously small house with a lack of storage.  I am trying to clear out the soon-to-be nursery and wondering where the heck I am gonig to put things.  So I was hoping for recommendations on space saving techniques - do the space saver/ziplock bags really work and are worth it? Any recs on other storage for a nursery besides the normal changer/dresser?

 And also looking for advice on downsizing on baby stuff.  For instance, high chair. I realize we won't need this for a while, but are the ones that sit on your existing chair just as safe/good as the freestanding ones? Were there things people told you to buy for your baby and you realized after, you just didn't need or could go without? TIA!

Re: Space Saving Recs

  • kastlekastle member

    FWIW, I've used space bags a lot & never had an issue.  I know others have not had this experience.  The key is to not overfill them (if anything, slightly underfill).

    Also, we put storage tubs under our beds. If your child is still in a crib, this might not be ideal for doing in the nursery, but you could maybe put it underneath your bed if that space isn't being used.

    And, finally, our bathrooms are *tiny*.  Like 5' x 8' tops...just big enough for a shower/tub, sink & toilet.  We put a shelf above the door to hold extra soap, shampoo, contact stuff, toilet paper, etc.  If your nursery is really small, consider maximizing your vertical space somehow.

  • We turned an old cabinet my dad made years ago into the changing table.  It has two shelves inside, is the right height for us and just big enough for a contoured changing pad.  This piece of furniture has served many purposes from bookshelf, tv cabinet, china name it.  So, just look around!  It might be right under your nose :)

    Ditto Kastle on tubs.  Bambino's linens are being stored in tubs in his closet since we lack a linen closet.  

    I can't remember if you said you are in a house or apartment but we set up several of the Ikea Gorm shevling system in our basement (I think it was that or Ivar maybe?) and that has helped us a lot. 

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  • The Space Bags work fine, but I have a problem underfilling them. It's so tempting to cram as much as you can in them and they always bust for me.

    C's crib has a lot of room underneath and we stash stuff there all the time. We have this dresser in his room, which is a really good size. It doesn't take up too much room, but has a little height so there is a ton of storage. We only put clothes in two of the large drawers. In the other two we put all of his linens (including towels) and cloth diapers. Next to his rocker, we have a very small book shelf that doubles as a table/nightstand and is where we keep a lot of toys and books.

    The really hard stuff to store is the gear - the bouncer, swing, jumperoo. All that stuff that you use in phases. Do you have a basement? That's where we throw ours, but I know we're lucky to have storage down there. Or, you could just pick them up second hand and then get rid of them when you're done. 

    We don't have a high chair, we use this. It's probably sturdier than a real high chair because of the type of chair we have it on. We started using it very early (it reclines) while DH and I ate dinner, so we didn't really need to store it beforehand. And it doubles as a booster, so we'll be using it for awhile.

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  • We live in Del Ray too and have been facing the same issues! I have yet to figure out a whole lot about adding space, but I can tell you what baby stuff we downsized on.

    -Highchair - So far, we have been using the Be Be Pod or Bumbo chair. We just set it on the floor and feed her their. May be a little awkward sometimes, but it sure beats having to walk around a highchair in my kitchen. I realize at some point we will need something else, but at 7 months, it is still working. If you have a sturdy, stable dining room table, i have seen the little clip on chairs. Friend of mine has one and it looks like it works great!

    -Swing - We bought the full size Gracco Luvin Hug. We used it more in the very beginning, but it has been relegated to our attic now. I wish we had bought the thing that your infant car seat sits in. I don't know how well it works, but it seems like it makes sense for a small space.

    -Pack N Play - We had it set up as a changing station downstairs. DD never really napped in it. Once she started pulling up, we lowered the mattress part and she would sit and play for a few minutes at a time. Now that she is crawling, it has been packed up also. She refused to be in it because she couldn't crawl around. We now just change her on the floor.

    -baby bathtub - DD has always loved the shower. I just put her in with me and she gets so happy. We bought the baby bathtub with the shower feature but have only used it twice. When DD was smaller, I would just run a bath for me and then put her in once it had cooled some. she would play for a while and just relax. 

    These are a few things off the top of my head. I hated the fact that our living room looked like a Toys R Us ad. But we now have one of those super yard things set up with foam mats as the floor. She loves it. Much easier for us too, we can put her in it and she can crawl and play while we cook dinner.

  • Have you bought your crib yet?  There are these ones with drawers on the bottom that will add a lot of storage for sheets and blankets (oy vey, the number of blankets and burp cloths you will receive for baby is astronomical).  I can't recommend highly enough tricking out your closet.  Two levels of bars, shelving.  All will help you to keep all the babies things in the nursery.  We use a lot of baskets to organize as well.  Ditto on the under bed storage boxes.  I really prefer clear bins for storage, it's a whole lot easier to see what is in there.   

    Vertical storage is key.  In our last house (the tiniest cape I've ever seen) we used a lot of wall mounted shelves because we didn't even have wall space to put a full bookcase.

    We use one of the booster seats and do not have a high chair.  The disadvantage is that they can't really sit in the booster till they sit up.  A lot f folks use teh high chair early on, not for feeding but containing the little one while they are in the kitchen.  We just used the bouncy chair or swing near the kitchen table till DD was big enough to sit in the booster.  At those early stages anyway you are doing all the feeding.  I found it easiest to have DD in my lap for the first month of solids.

    My DD did not really take to the bouncy chair but loved her swing.  This seems to be a baby to baby preference thing.  We lent our swing and bouncy to friends and their son prefers the bouncy to the swing.  You just don't know.  I highly recommend borrowing if you can till you figure out what your LO likes.  If you can't borrow, but off Craigs List or at a consignment sale (I got my high end swing for $20 - it retails for $140).  If it doesn't work out, you won't feel bad reselling and you should get all your money back.

    While we lived in the worlds smallest cape, we still bought the monstrous exersaucer and it was the right decision even though you tripped on it regularly in the living room.  It was hours and hours of entertainment for DD.  She still plays with it at 15 months.  We did wait to 6 months and put the swing and bouncy away when we got it to make room (by away, I think I meant lent to someone else - serious lack of space).

    Now that we live in a much bigger house and have a playroom I wouldn't change any of my decisions.  I still think they are right for me.        


  • Space bags definitely work! We used them for a lot of DS's clothes, as well as extra comforters and pillows we had lying around. It freed up a lot of space in our closets.
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  • I will just chime in on the "equipment" thing. I am not a big Bumbo, exersaucer, Jumparoo person, mostly due to my profession. But if you feel you really need these things, I would recommend borrowing them from a friend. We did that with a swing and I am so excited to get rid of it and hand it back to my coworker!
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  • I also recommend getting (or borrowing) the Baby Bargains book.  I used this mainly for determining what I didn't need.  For instance, it tells you just how much clothing you need right away.  We didn't get any newborn clothes and I had to buy them anyway, so it was nice to know I was fine with just some onsies & t-shirts.  I second the storage under the crib.  I stored BabyCrown's toys under there in clear bins until he was old enough for me to lower the mattress all the way.

    I also second slukd79 on the equipment comment.  We ended up getting some additional stuff that we really didn't need, but the main thing was a swing when tiny and then an exersaucer when older.  And this would be dependant upon your child.

  • Thank you all so much for your advice and input, it is GREATLY appreciated! I never even thought about putting up shelves and using storage space under the crib! Thanks again!
  • We have a full size high chair, but I really wish we had just gotten one of those that you strap onto a regular chair. This is  what my parents have at their house for ds and it works great and ds loves it.

    We also have this

    that we use now when we travel and he's done great in it since 6.5 months - but he sat pretty well then.



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  • Can you get one of those closet organizing systems?  They can be kind of pricey, but they definitely utilize all the available space.  Then you could get a smaller changing table or go without one.  My friend never had one - just changed the baby in the crib each time.

    As for baby gear, I feel like the space saver highchairs are just fine.  I know many moms that have used them as their primary chair.  It's also nice b/c you can take it with you when you visit grandparents, etc.  I think you really only need either a swing or a bouncy, but not both.  We went with the bouncy seat b/c it was smaller/cheaper than a cradle swing.  Plus I could carry DS around the house in it.  I would bring it into the bathroom while I was showering.  I never sterilized bottles in one of those fancy microwave sterilizers.  I hand washed them and ran them through the dishwasher periodically.  I didn't do the bottle warmer either.  DS was fine taking room temp/cool formula.  We didn't know what kind of stroller we wanted, so we just got the Snap n go frame for the car seat.  It saved us lots of room and it is really easy to use.  We didn't buy a real stroller until DS was about 6 months and could sit/hold his head.

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