Designing an Organized Nursery

One of the most exciting parts of preparing to bring home your newborn is setting up the nursery — though it can also be stressful. You want a space that is functional and, of course, cute. Sometimes a nursery can become a cluttered, chaotic space, especially after the baby comes home when you might not have as much time and energy to keep things tidy and organized.

While hiring a designer is an option that some parents choose, there are many techniques and products made specifically to help parents set up an organized — and fun— nursery themselves.

Why You Need a Functional Nursery Ready Before Baby Comes

With a baby comes a lot of necessary things — clothes, diapers, toys, pacifiers, bottles, strollers. The list goes on. As the parent of a newborn baby, you’re going to be pretty tired pretty often. Taking the time before the baby comes to set up a nursery that functions well will save you tons of energy once you bring your baby home.

An organized space will make it easier for you to take care of your baby when you’re tired or stressed. You’ll know exactly where everything is when you need it, which will make life a little easier for you, your partner, and your baby.

Planning, organizing, and decorating the nursery will make you even more excited to bring your baby home. A beautiful, tidy space made just for your newborn is a satisfying sight worth working hard for.

How to Design a Functional Nursery

1. Designate Separate Functional Areas

At a minimum, the functional areas you should aim to have include:

  • A comfortable chair for feeding and reading
  • A table for changing diapers
  • A dresser or other storage for clothes, toiletries, toys, etc.
  • A crib

Keep everything you might need when utilizing those separate spaces within arm’s reach, i.e. diapers stored above the changing table on a shelf or spit up cloths stashed beside the feeding chair.

2. Give Everything Its Own Place

Every item you need should have its own home. Put books on a shelf, store blankets in a bin, and so on. This will help with the tidiness. Things placed on the floor due to lack of specific storage make the space look cluttered. Not to mention you don’t want to trip over something when you rush to soothe a screaming baby in the middle of the night.

3. Label Your Things

Whether it’s with an electronic label maker or just a permanent marker, put labels on all bins and drawers. This will help you out when you’re getting used to using your new nursery as well as help anyone else who might be giving you a hand with your little bundle of joy.

There are plenty of options online for cute stickers made specifically for nursery organization.

4. Leave Room for Potential

You’re going to have a lot of stuff, that’s for sure, but try to leave room for growth as you plan your nursery’s layout. More stuff will come as your baby grows and acquires more toys and gadgets. You’ll be glad you saved some space for it!

Tips and Tricks for Nursery Organization

Designate totes or bins for future clothes that can be kept in the closet. You’ll probably end up with clothes that don’t quite fit yet and don’t belong with the rest of your baby’s day-to-day wardrobe. Keep these in a separate spot. This way only the clothes that currently fit your newborn are taking up space in the dresser.

Store bulks and multiples separately from current-use items. It’s always a good idea to have back stock of diapers, rash cream, and other things you use frequently. But you don’t need to keep five packages of baby wipes right next to the changing table. It looks cluttered and isn’t very efficient. Keep enough to get you through a couple of days and hide the extras in a storage bin in the closet or under the table.

For smaller items kept in your baby's nursery, use drawer organizers. This way, you can keep different items in one drawer without having to worry about rummaging to find what you need when you need it.

Create a keepsake box. There will be things in your nursery that you won’t want to get rid of because of the sentimental value — old clothes you loved to dress your baby in, his first pacifier, you name it. It’s okay to hang onto those things. Keep them in a special box that you can look through whenever you’re feeling nostalgic!

Get rid of things you don’t need. Friends and relatives can be very generous with gifts for your newborn. You’ll probably end up with things you don’t need or don’t want. Give away or donate items that would otherwise create clutter.

Taking care of a newborn is at times challenging and exhausting. Making the time to set up a functional, tidy nursery space while you’re expecting can save you trouble in the future when you have a lot on your plate. As the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder”!

Moms Share Their Nursery Organization Techniques

“My biggest challenge was always the clothes rotation. They go through sizes so fast! I kept two storage containers under the hanging clothes in the closet, one for clothes that are too big and one for clothes that are too small. As soon as they grew out of something (sizes between brands are different, so it's not always a complete clean of a particular size) I would put it in the ‘too small’ box. And when the ‘too small’ box filled up, I'd close it up and put it in storage for the next baby. On subsequent babies I still do the same. Now their ‘too big’ boxes are the next size up from our oldest.” –Heather Roland

“My kids share a bedroom. We moved out toys to make room for the crib. We ordered a two-pack of collapsible storage ottomans. Each child has one to store their toys and stuffed animals as they grow; until then, one is in the bedroom holding stuffed animals, and the second is in the living room holding more toys/stuffed animals. We picked up a closet system that allows for both kids' clothes to be stored separately but in the same space. Anything that's not the next sized up or is a too big hand me down is either in a garment bag or in a storage tote, stored in another closet.” –Hannah Hillenberg

Floating shelves above the diaper changing station helped us a lot! We keep all diapers and wipes and diaper cream on the shelves so it’s close by and out of the way.” –Audry Waters