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When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things that I started to plan for was what I wanted the nursery to look like. We live in a 1bedroom+den condo, so the plan was immediately to turn our 6.5’ x 8.5’ den into a functional nursery. Slightly daunting? Yes! Doable? Absolutely! Keep reading to see my tips for nursery organization in a small space.
Only get the necessities
We tried to avoid overcrowding the room by only getting the necessary pieces of furniture – a crib, a dresser for her clothes, a rocking chair for feedings and bed time, and a small bookshelf. One thing that we skipped out on was a changing table. I would have loved to have a changing table, but we just didn’t have the extra space without everything being super cramped. We decided that having a rocking chair was more important to us, so instead, we have a diaper cart set up in our bedroom and we do her diaper changes on our bed. It works perfectly for us, and I’m actually so happy that we chose this solution rather than cramming in a changing table or foregoing the rocking chair.
Choose your furniture wisely
When it came time to choosing the dresser for the nursery, I looked at SO MANY different options! Long ones, tall ones, deep ones, shallow ones – you get the point. I ended up choosing a tall dresser with 6 drawers from Ikea that fit the corner I wanted it to go in while having the largest dimensions to allow for more storage space. I also made sure to pick a crib that didn’t have any extra design elements on the sides which would increase it’s dimensions. Prior to purchasing any of the furniture, I also made a mock layout on powerpoint to scale to make sure everything would fit without being overcrowded. I totally recommend doing this, because I actually had to pick different versions of some things because when I saw them all together I realized I wouldn’t have enough space. Just remember, you can maximize your space by choosing furniture that take up the least amount of floor space, are not too bulky, yet are still big enough to serve its purpose.
Avoid bulky shelving
Shelves are great for storing things like books, some toys, and other little knick-knacks. BUT if they’re too bulky or too over-stuffed with things, they can make your nursery look even smaller than it is. When we first set up our nursery, we decided to re-use a shelving unit that I previously had for makeup and it was just too bulky. As soon as you walked in, it became the focal point of the room and the thing that caught your eye. Major no for me. I ended up purchasing a smaller book shelf from Wayfair that I ended up loving so much more. It’s small and compact, doesn’t take up too much floor space, and had enough room for all of Mia’s books + a few other things such as her piggy bank without looking too crowded.
Use drawer dividers to keep everything organized
I strongly believe that good organization is the key to a functional nursery, whether small or big. Babies come with SO MUCH STUFF, so figuring out how best to organize everything is super important. Since the dresser we got was from Ikea, I got these drawer organizers to go with it and they fit perfectly. Each drawer has a mix-match of different sized dividers to help keep everything in place and this way I know that each category of things has a designated home. I also found that grouping similar things together in the same drawer worked really well (i.e. one of the smaller top drawers has all of the accessory-type things such as socks, headbands, hats, bibs, and bloomers). Another good tip is to use the drawer dividers to separate clothing like onesies, sleepers, pants, etc and keep them grouped by age.
Rotate new clothes/toys often
It’s no secret that babies go through clothes EXTREMELY quickly since they are constantly growing during those first few years. If you’re tight on space, there’s no room to hang onto things that aren’t being used anymore. Make sure to get rid of anything that no longer fits or toys that they no longer use often in order to make room for new things. I try to avoid having to do a huge declutter of Mia’s drawers, so I actually go through her freshly washed clothes every time I do her laundry and pull out the things that I had noticed were tight on her during the past week. It’s so quick and easy and frees up a ton of space so I can move clothes that will actually fit her up into the top drawers.
Less is more
I absolutely LOVE looking at pictures of nurseries and seeing all of the different décor and accessories that parents use to create a specific theme. BUT, in a small space, less is actually more. It’s easy to go overboard with décor pieces which end up making the space look more cluttered than cute, so try to be as minimal as possible. We avoided any themed décor in the nursery because we didn’t want it to be overwhelming, so the only type of decoration that we have are some large vinyl flower stickers on the wall above the crib. We also tried to keep the top of the dresser as clear as possible so that it doesn’t look over crowded.
Avoid having toys everywhere
Toys are a great learning resource for our kiddos, but they can create A LOT of clutter and mess, so a huge tip for keeping your small nursery organized and looking its best is to not have toys everywhere. Right now Mia is 4.5mo so she’s only now starting to play with larger toys, which we actually keep in a designated spot in the living room since she spends most of the day out there. For the nursery we have a small woven basket that sits on top of the side table that has a bunch of her smaller toys in it (rattles, teething toys, etc). I love this because it keeps all of her go-to toys in one basket right next to the rocking chair without creating any clutter, and it looks super cute on top of the table.
Try to utilize other areas for long-term storage
One of the things that I like the LEAST about our nursery is the fact that there is NO closet since it was originally a den, not a bedroom. Closets are so beneficial for multiple reasons – you can hang certain baby clothes up if they are too bulky to fold and you can use the extra space behind closed doors for longer-term storage of items like clothes or toys that your baby has outgrown, new items that they have yet to use, bulk orders of diapers, etc. If you have no closet like us, or your closet is super small, try as hard as you can not to utilize the space inside the nursery for storage of these items because it just looks messy! Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely store some things in there – we currently use the 10 inches of space on either side of our crib to store our Diaper Genie on one side and a few toys that Mia got for Christmas that she’s not quite ready for yet on the other. However, everything else I store in other closets in the condo or in our storage locker, because I really want to avoid overcrowding the space that we do have.
The key to keeping a small nursery organized is to avoid overcluttering at ALL COSTS! Use the little space that you have wisely and try to keep as much empty floor space as you can. Having a clean, minimal look will help to open up the space and make it feel a lot bigger than it really is. Also, prioritize what things are your necessities and what you can live without. Yes it would be nice to have all the fancy new gadgets that are on the market these days, but is it reasonable considering the shortage of space? Last but not least, make sure everything has a home – keep drawers organized and clean them out often so you can free up space for new things.
Even though our nursery is quite small, I am SOO happy with how it turned out. Everything is organized and has a home, and it never feels cluttered or too overwhelming. I hope these tips help you in organizing your small nursery and I’d love to hear if you have any other tips or hacks to share!