Those little rompers and stuffed toys are adorable -- but not when they overtake your home. Follow our room-by-room plan to keep the clutter in check.
Whether you're hustling Baby out the door for day care or a stroller walk, a smart system for storing outerwear and travel gear will help you make a break for it. Where you stash these pieces will depend on the layout of your place, so we offer three options:
Keep it in the closet. Establish a section of the closet for your cutie so his tiny toppers don't get lost between your wool coats. Snake his hat up the sleeve (like you used to do in nursery school). It's one less thing to keep track of. Hang his bunting and carrier on hangers too. Dedicate the top shelf for bulky items such as diaper bags and the travel high chair. What to do about the stroller? Buy a hook that lets you hang your babe's carriage over the door, so it doesn't monopolize your living space.
Send it to the mudroom. An area just for coats and boots? Lucky! Put the buntings, snowsuit, baby carrier, rain boots, strollers, and other bulky things in a designated spot in the room, suggests Stacey Crew, a professional organizer in Charleston, South Carolina, a mother of two, and author of The Organized Mom. Reserve a couple of shelves exclusively for your wee one's stuff.
Tuck it away in the trunk. Keep travel items such as your portable crib or stroller in the car so packing up for a night at Grandma's won't send you into a tailspin. What if the family wheels won't accommodate these unwieldy pieces? Mount a four- to five-shelf storage rack in the garage, near the car. Then you can grab and go before hitting the road.
Designate space for wee dishware. Baby items will get lost among grown-up tableware; they need their own place to live. "Dedicate one cabinet and one drawer to your child's stuff," says professional organizer and mother of two Grace Brooke, of Santa Rosa, California. Once she hits 9 to 12 months, relocate plastic cups, bowls, and utensils to a lower cabinet or drawer so your little one can help herself come mealtime.
Shelve formula and baby food. If you don't, your countertop will be overrun by jars and cans. Clear out a shelf in your cabinet, and designate a Lazy Susan specifically for baby food, Brooke recommends. The approach isn't only aesthetically pleasing; you'll also prevent jars of mush from breaking or languishing in the back of the pantry.
Rack 'em. Rather than letting Baby's bottles take over your dish rack (they have a way of multiplying), air them out in their own special spot. When your sweetie is ready for a feeding, pluck what you need!