Let me start by saying that I have loads of baby stuff. Every room of our home has at least something 'baby'. I was one of those people that thought you could get away with not having a ton of stuff when you have kids. It IS possible, it's just hard to do. What's even harder is finding baby stuff that is not obnoxious. If you are someone who loves the bright colors and loud noises then ignore this post, but if you are hoping to keep your home looking like adults still live there, read on.
My first tip to keeping your home free of baby clutter is decorative storage bins. Right now, these 4 tiny bins hold the majority of Fox's toys (he's 7 months old...he doesn't need that much) and some burp cloths. If you have a baby, you know it is nice to always have these things around so you aren't scrambling to find them emergently. I got these little bins on Amazon and they fit perfectly under our credenza in the living room. Shop this look & some of my other favorites by clicking on the pictures below.
My next tip is to designate a space for the majority of your baby stuff. This can be your nursery- ours is just on a different floor. Even if you live in a smaller home or apartment, choose a corner or nook to keep toys/baby things put away when needed. This room used to be Phil's office, but when he stopped working from home I jumped on the opportunity to make it more cozy and baby friendly. We have 2 big dogs so crawling/play space is limited in our house. We opted to pop up a gate and voila- Fox has a room to play in.
Since this room is still very much a part of our everyday use, we didn't want it to be bombarded with unappealing baby gear. We wanted a place for stuff to be hidden but also still had to be practical. We found this Skip Hop playmat and activity center and I feel like they are perfect if you are looking for something that is not a total eyesore. (Click photo to shop!)
Surprise! More fancy storage. I got this shelf setup at IKEA and as Phil (reluctantly) finished putting it together he said, "I feel like this is a rite of passage- every mom has this thing". He doesn't know THAT many moms, but to be fair, my sister/BIL and my brother/SIL have this in some variation, and it is apparent that the older your kids get, the more these shelves fill up. Currently, there are a bunch of books + some burp cloths in the bins and that cute lil Nate Berkus basket has some toys in it. I still have NO CLUE what those little leather hammocky things are for, but they are cute, right? I am sure they will make a great bed for a Spiderman action figure or some matchbox cars in the future, but for now-- what can I put in those suckers? Ideas welcome!
I have a major issue with high chairs. I think the fabric ones are gross and non practical, but the sleeker the high chair gets, the more expensive they get. It seems that the ones that look the most simple cost the most. If you have been following my blog, you may have picked up by now that I love me some IKEA. Which is why when I found this little number for $19.99 it was a no brainer. All it took was some gold spray paint to spiff it up a bit. It still doesn't look "cool" per say, but at least it's not a giant chair covered in whales (and dried baby food) sitting in my dining room.
A friend recently asked me if it was necessary to have a Pack n' Play set up in the living room at all times to have somewhere to change your baby. I personally do NOT think this is a must, especially if you live in an apartment or a home that does not have much extra space. In our home, Fox's nursery is upstairs. Instead of setting up a Pack n' Play on the first level, we just created a little box full of essentials & change him wherever is convenient- our bed, the floor, etc. This includes diapers, wipes, butt cream, a burp cloth & a changing mat. You can make these bins as decorative as you want (ie put them in a cuter basket) and leave them in different rooms of your house if that is what works for you! This one is on my nightstand-- I have had this there since right after Fox came home and have added things that I have found to be convenient over time-- chapstick, binkis, and the black bag is full of emergency stuff (Gripe water, a thermometer, a nose frida, tylenol, nail clippers, etc). Takes up much less room than a Pack n' Play.
Again, I know hiding baby stuff isn't always practical. Sometimes it's more work than it's worth-- this is just my own personal choice & I figured I'd share some tips in case you are as anal as I am :) And don't get me wrong, while I love sweet, muted color toys, I realize that baby stuff is bright and obnoxious for a reason. In our house, behind each organic toy or wooden teether is a plastic, chemical filled Baby Einstein or piano playmat blaring with bright colors and sounds (seriously- we couldn't live without this or this! ) The key is to find a balance ( & always have a space for that crap to hide!)