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    Getting Ready for Baby

    August 6, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    On Saturday, I began a massive four-day project. This isn’t something I would usually choose to do during a move where there are still boxes piled high in some areas of the house, but this project was a bit of a specialty. It was part of my preparation for Baby O. It dawned on me I was barely three weeks from my C-section, and I was having enough contractions at the time that I wondered if I would make it that long.

    Besides, why start stacking boxes of boy baby clothes in the garage when they will be moved into the master bedroom within the month? It seemed highly inefficient.

    Preparing for subsequent babies is different from preparing for the first baby. With the first baby, there are a lot of needs. Now, many Americans tend to define “needs” in a way I do not {this is not to say I think it is wrong to have extra things if a person can afford them}. For instance, our first never had his own designer nursery, never had an exersaucer or a bouncy chair. And he survived just fine. But Baby does need food, clothing, shelter, a place to sleep, etc.

    My philosophy on future babies is that no supplies are as cheap as the ones we already own. Thankfully, we have always had enough storage space to capitalize on this fact. Even when our little family of three lived in 600 square feet, we were blessed with a basement where I could stash boxes of outgrown baby clothing.

    It has been fun revisiting our old baby boy clothes, items we haven’t seen for over six years. And, of course, we have been blessed with a number of new items from a small family shower that a generous aunt and cousin threw to celebrate Baby O.’s impending entrance into the world.

    So getting ready for Baby around here involves very little shopping. I have a short list of things I need {mainly bottles since I have always had to supplement my milk supply}. Other than that, preparation involves moving furniture and doing a huge amount of laundry.

    Emphasis on huge.

    I think I have done fifteen loads of laundry in the last four days. Of course, this is including regular laundry also. But it is still a lot of washing, drying, folding, and putting away.

    The new house is interesting. Our bedroom is slightly smaller than the one in our old place. However, the closet is larger. So this time the changing table and tower of drawers can go inside the closet. This makes the whole room look bigger and tidier! The only large baby item in our actual bedroom will be the crib!

    The System

    The real reason I am writing all of this {other than to bore you to tears} is because I realized that my storage system, which I learned from some book somewhere many years ago, really works. There was no blind searching through the garage, hoping that we would find baby clothes. They were all right where they should be, even though everything was in disarray from the move.

    The secret is simple. In each child’s closet, I keep a small cardboard box as a catch-all for outgrown clothes, shoes, socks, etc. When it is full, I go through it, tossing or donating items that I didn’t like, don’t want to keep, are too stained, etc. If the box is still full, I begin to pack it away for storage. Otherwise, I wait a bit longer.

    Each box gets two 3×5 cards. On the cards, I write a number and a basic title, like “Boy Baby Clothes 0-3M.” On the lines below, I write out exactly what is in the boxes. This list will say, for instance, “0-3M onesies” and then there will be tally marks next to it telling me how many are actually in the box. The two cards are identical. One, I tape to the outside of the storage box. The other, I put in my little card file that I keep in the house. Then, on the box, I write the number nice and large on each side of the box so that there is no missing it.

    This process takes me about ten minutes, and saves me loads of time later on. It not only helps me find clothes for kids growing in and out of the various sizes, but it also helps me find clothes for folks we meet who are in need, even if it is just to borrow a 2T ski vest for the weekend.

    So when I found my project starting this weekend, I took my numbered cards and went out and grabbed the necessary boxes. Three minutes later, the first load of laundry was underway. What a time saver!

    Finished Project?

    Last night, I tucked away the last clean burp cloth. The changing table is stocked, and later today I’ll find a sheet to drape over it so that it doesn’t collect dust while we wait for Baby.

    But I’m not done.

    Our second crib has been being used by some friends these past few months, and so we still have that to go get. Then I’ll be back to laundry, this time preparing the bedding.

    Did I Mentioned How We’re Blessed?

    I forgot to mention that I actually have new {to me} bedding this time around. My cousin was kind enough to bring over her son’s old bedding. Frankly, it doesn’t hardly look like it was used. The nice part is that it matches our bedroom perfectly. Six years ago when we registered for our first set of crib bedding, it matched our room. Then, when our sheets died, we replaced them with a different color. It is completely unnecessary for things to match, but I must say I think it will look so very nice! It was like receiving a surprise luxury item and it reminded me of the best advice I was ever given.

    If I can ever find the camera and USB cord, I’ll post a few photos of our cutest baby things…

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  • Reply Kansas Mom August 7, 2008 at 4:51 am

    Absolutely, we don’t need as much. When First Son was born, we were living in a 400 square foot apartment with no laundry. Since it involved going up and down three flights of stairs and down the block to the laundromat, we had a week’s supply of everything. Now, we only need a couple of days and I’m thinning the clothing a lot, especially those boy clothes we haven’t needed in almost five years.

    I’m not getting rid of all of it, though. We’re not planning on another baby anytime soon, but we’re not deciding against it forever…

  • Reply Brandy August 7, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Kim: Laundry. Yes. It is true. And there is no going back. The babies keep coming, and the laundry keeps mounting. Thankfully, this is a chore that has never bothered me (unlike, say, cleaning toilets). 🙂 Doesn’t it help that the laundry is so cute?

    Kansas Mom: Isn’t summer nice, with all the simple onesies? Our two daughters were winter babies, and it was so complicated to bundle up such tiny little things. I thoroughly enjoyed the summer months with our first son. And since summer weather lasts until October here, we’ll enjoy a few months of onesies yet!

    We love having a second crib, especially since, with one exception, our older “baby” has never been mature enough when the next baby was born. And then, when that baby has outgrown it, we’ve always been able to lend it out and help others.

    I was surprised, KM, and maybe you are finding this to be true, that as the laundry becomes daily, Baby actually needs fewer clothes, blankets, etc. I’m paring down a bit since I realize that I don’t need a three-day supply of burp cloths when laundry is done all the time.

  • Reply Kansas Mom August 7, 2008 at 1:31 am

    I’m amazed all over again at how little babies need. We have so many clothes I’ve promised myself never to buy anything for a girl again (at least not for years until my nieces will be wearing the same size as my oldest daughter). Second Daughter basically wears onesies and nothing else. It’s summer and she spends most of her time cuddled up with one of us or snug in her sling or carrier – she’d be too hot in anything else. We have to do laundry every day anyway, so there are always plenty of clean ones. I’ve finally decided most of the clothes will go to the consignment shop or Goodwill. We will probably lose storage space when we move, plus it seems a shame to let them sit unused when there are others who could really wear them.

    Oh – and my sister is pregnant with a girl due in a few weeks. We have enough to split all the hand-me-downs in half and still give some away!

    I also followed the link to read your crib story. We have a similar one. We didn’t want to buy a second crib, but First Daughter definitely needs to stay in hers. We decided to just wait and see what happened since we’ll keep Second Daughter in our bed or the co-sleeper for the first few months. My mom called recently and offered her brother’s crib. They want to keep it for their daughter, but are happy to loan it out, so they drove it from Michigan to Illinois and my folks drove it from Illinois to Kansas. We have a gorgeous crib on loan (which is perfect since we won’t have to store it when we’re done with it) and no cost to us! I’ve been meaning to write a post about it, but maybe it can wait until we actually put the crib up in a few months.

  • Reply Dominic and Kimberly August 6, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Laundry. Can I just say that I was shocked at the amount of laundry I had to do as a first time mom? I was warned about it, but I am still shocked at how many loads I do each week. Gone are my days of doing laundry every other week. We are so excited about Baby O’s arrival!

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