30 Tips for Nesting

Random Observation/Comment #585: Nesting is as much about routines as it is about physical items.

when babies are creepy

Why this list?

So you’ve decided to stay in your one bedroom because it’s economical and babies usually just eat, poop, and sleep for the first 6 months. Even if you’re living minimally, babies do require a lot of stuff that take up space like bottles and a stroller. To fit another human in your home, you’ll likely need to pare down to the essentials. It’s the process of just doing what you need to do to make it work.

Our nesting period came with throwing away half our stuff, redecorating, replacing major furniture (3 dressers, a desk, a couch, and a glider), and getting help from a professional organizer (we used and really liked, Jeni Aron) and Nana DiCarlo.

Notice that 60% of these are about decluttering and you don’t need a life-changing reason to start living simpler.

  1. Essential” includes who you are are and what you love. Even though you’re taking on a new role as a parent, you’re still individuals with personalities, hobbies, and interests, so don’t just throw away everything. For Clemens, that means only 5 table tennis paddles.
  2. Even in a one bedroom, you can amass quite a bit of stuff – much of it unused
  3. Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying was also useful in the review of items that spark joy and the process of removing items. Some of our favorite tips from this book are echoed below. Read and review this shortly before decluttering in order to keep these principles in the forefront.
  4. Even if you think a shelf is organized, it’s always good to take everything out when deciding what to keep and remove. You’ll find it looks a lot more manageable when they’re outside of the shelf. Plus, it helps you better design future space.
  5. Sometimes you don’t need 10 backup chargers or what you “might need someday” – it’s better to keep exactly what you use and carefully buy when things are needed
  6. Even if it’s really expensive, a less frequently used item or one-time item can be a burden
  7. Track to-dos in a common place. We approached nesting and cleaning up as a project and used a Trello board as the main list. Google Keep is also useful for quick notes.
  8. Storing your stuff at your parent’s place is not the same as getting rid of it. Don’t give people things unless they need/want them or else you’re moving/shifting the burden.
    It’s liberating living with a smaller footprint (no pun intended)
  9. Take breaks frequently and only do this a few hours at a time. Throwing things away takes a lot of decision making and it’s important to have a clear head when doing so.
  10. Take a before and after picture of your space.
  11. It’s a good idea to do the cleaning and purging together. We were good teammates and competitors for what we could remove.
  12. Don’t throw out someone else’s stuff – you have to allow them let it go or else you get resentment on the items removed
  13. Group clothes and items by activities – the easy ones are with skiing, hiking, swimming, or any activity that doesn’t require everyday use
  14. Cleaning and decluttering is a positive way to channel the energy and be productive (especially when you realize the amount of time left until the baby’s here)
  15. If you prefer to donate or sell, be honest with the feasibility of when things can be removed. If you’re selling things, having a pile of “things to sell” still means you have the items.
  16. Another tip for selling things, give yourself a hard deadline. If you can’t donate or sell by this date, then leave it on the stoop. More often than not, someone will come by and pick it up. Your trash may be someone else’s treasure.
  17. Before organizing, decide on the function of each space and then design around that. Storage comes only after you clear things out
  18. Ask for help from a professional when designing your space or if you know you’ll need help decluttering. A professional can act as an unbiased third party to keep us honest and cleaning together.  They also come up with unique ideas for organization and emailed us a homework/purchase list to complete organization projects on our own. Making the process much less overwhelming.
  19. For our organizer, we wanted to go with a person vs. a service so we knew what we were getting. We narrowed down to a top 3 based on Yelp/Google reviews, other article write-ups and a phone interview. We liked Jeni’s approach and greatly appreciated her advice to declutter as much as possible before she arrived to help us maximize time with her to evaluate our space and save unnecessary costs.
  20. When designing your new space, use this time to take stock of what’s not working in your home for your current needs as well as baby. One pain point for us was not having a designated workspace. We factored that into our design and now have a desk that is saving us from much back pain.
  21. Be clever on how to reuse the existing storage solutions and space instead of buying new pieces. Our organizer used a fabric shelf we weren’t using for our clothes to store tupperware lids. Not only it it functional, but it adds a surprisingly pretty element to an otherwise boring space.
  22. Leveraging vertical space while useful, can be overdone. Too much vertical storage can feel like the walls are closing in. Open walls where possible.
  23. Opt for lighter storage. Since our walls are white, we tried to use white or clear hooks and shelves.
  24. Storage isn’t just trips to the Container Store or Ikea. Explore Pinterest to learn about other creative solutions for vertical spaces (ex. spice racks or art ledges for storing children’s books). Visiting second hand furniture places can be a fun trip and also bring in unique elements to your home. That being said, also take advantage of ordering online if tasks can’t be done within a certain time frame.
  25. Pay attention to the material and purpose of furniture.  We scaled down our large sectional that was very difficult to clean. Knowing we’re soon going to be dealing with baby spit-up on top of our shedding cat, we bought microfiber for everything to make sure it’s easy to clean. Invest in a glider. What a treat!
  26. Upgrade to smart technology solutions for dim lighting and voice activation – Amazon Echo + Philip Hues bulbs make everything much easier.
  27. Solicit advice from family and friends with kids, especially those that live in a similar space. Visit and see how they use their space. They will also advise on what you actually need to stock up on in the first few weeks.
  28. Pack and freeze meals for those first weeks with baby (separate post to come)
  29. Not everything off your registry needs to be bought right away. Focus on the 1st six weeks (and clothing up to 6 months). Figure out storage for items beyond that.
  30. Focusing on the “why” was important in making difficult decisions with cleaning and annoying trips to Ikea – you’re doing this for her.

~See Lemons and Vnessa with an Eye for Nesting