Babies may be little, but their stuff is huge... and it takes up a ton of space in your house. With my first one, I was so excited to register for all the latest baby gear and gadgets. By the time Tiny came around, I was ready to donate it all to other unsuspecting first time moms. However, there are a few essential items that even a minimalist mom should consider.
1. Plastic bags. Recycle most of your grocery bags, but save a few. These can be used to line the small trash can next to the changing table, because face it, you don't want a large stash of used diapers in the house. The DiaperGenie and DiaperChamp are common registry items, but they require special bags. They eat toys (trust me on this, when Baby is old enough to figure it out, it's fun to drop your stuff in there and watch it disappear), and they don't really capture the stench all that well anyway. Stuffing a plastic bag in the diaper bag won't take up a lot of space and it won't add to the weight you're toting around, but it will give you an emergency container for dirty clothes, dirty bottles, or even a used diaper if you had to change Baby on the go.
2. A wristlet size purse for Mama's personal items. I use this cute pencil case (only I didn't buy it from a UK website) that easily transfers from the diaper bag to my book bag to my larger purse on date night. It holds my wallet, my keys, my phone, a lip balm, a travel hand lotion, and a few cough drops. It keeps my things from getting lost in the diaper bag, and it's easy to pull out when I drop my kids off at the church nursery. Plus it's cute enough to be used on it's own when you go out without your littles. Can you say.. late night trip to the grocery store while the daddyman keeps the kiddos? That's what I'm talking about!
3. Sling. Strollers are great when you are out for a walk, but for everyday errands or just holding baby around the house I chose to use a Maya Wrap. It was great for carrying my baby, but also worked to strap her to a grocery cart or a highchair. It'll also work as a nice cover-up if you get stuck somewhere in public with a hungry infant.
4. Baskets. Baby's have a lot of stuff, but so do toddlers, preschoolers, little girls, tweens, & teens. Choose storage containers that will look good anywhere in your house, any season of life. I use these baskets from Target to hold diapers Tiny's room, socks and underwear in the Tot's closet, & toys in their playroom. As my girls get older, I can see them using these for their fashion accessories (purses & belts). They are pretty enough to use for winter gear on the coat closet shelf or even to line up across the top of the kitchen cabinets. I don't know what I'd put in them, but I've seen other kitchens with baskets for extra storage and it looks pretty. :)
5. Cups and boxes. Not just for drinking, cups are the ultimate toy. A cup can be a drum, a bowling pin, a (very temporary) hat, a sand box mold, a bath toy that also works great for rinsing baby's hair, holder for tiny hair accessories, snack dispenser, stacking/nesting toy, etc. Empty boxes are great for hours of free entertainment. Toddlers will enjoy decorating them. Then, they'll hide inside, or turn it upside down and set up a tea party on their "table." We even turned three diaper boxes into a play kitchen! For more ideas on How to Repurpose a Cardboard Box into an Afternoon of Fun before you recycle it, check out my post on Oh Baby! Foods blog.
Everyone is different and everyone will have a different set of "essentials" that make raising a baby easier. My point in this post is just to say, you don't need everything. Beware of marketing traps ~ a wipes warmer? really? because today's babies are too wimpy for cold wipes? (Don't be offended if you bought one, but please share if you did and still feel like your baby wouldn't have survived the diaper-years without it.) It's expensive to raise a child from birth to empty nest. My advice is this: Don't go nuts in the first few years and save nothing for a time they'll actually remember. Maybe even college.
~ Plain & Simple As That