I often ask myself “why do such small people have so much stuff?” and “what on earth am I going to do with all of it??” It wasn’t until I had my second child that I realized that they really don’t need that much and that’s why I love Poppylist’s minimalist approach to baby gear. But for the stuff they have, and really do need, here are 5 budget-friendly organizing tips from a self-proclaimed Container Store addict.

Edit, Edit, Edit

The key to keeping kids’ rooms and nurseries organized is limiting the amount of stuff in their room to begin with. I am ruthless about what I keep and what I don’t. Since kids tend to be attached to all of their toys – even the ones they don’t play with – I edit out the kids’ stuff when they’re not home. It seems cruel but my kids have never once asked about something after I’ve donated it. I’m also a big advocate of rotating toys in and out of their room to keep the toys interesting and engaging.

Keep a separate laundry basket for donate/giveaway items

Kids outgrow their clothes so quickly that you’ll need a system to deal with things that don’t fit, stuff kids no longer need or things they don’t play with. My simple solution was to have two laundry baskets in the closet – one for dirty clothes and the other for everything my kids no longer used. Since their stuff is so small, you don’t necessarily need a laundry basket. I used these baskets from Target – they’re cute, serve several different purposes and are water resistant for bath toys, etc. When you’ve filled it up, go through it and decide what you can sell, give away or donate.

Be selectively sentimental

I have to resist the urge to keep every cute outfit, keepsake, and piece of artwork my kids bring home from school. So I limited myself to one large tote bin per child. Giving myself a physical limit for sentimental items has forced me to be really selective and only keep the things that are truly important. I also love the idea of a photo album from Artkive or Plum Print for kids’ artwork. It’s a great way to look back at their creations without all of the clutter.

Play zone defense (against clutter)

For a nursery you’ll need 4 basic zones – diaper/changing zone, sleeping zone, rocking/feeding/reading zone and toy zone. Older kids will need more space in their play zone but you’ll likely be able to scale back in other areas like diaper changing as they get older. Having what you need, where you need it is essential. Super simple until you’re on the go. For around the house, I put the basics for sleeping, diaper changes, playtime and feeding in a rolling cart and took it with me so I knew I had easy access to whatever I needed. I also kept a diaper bag packed by the door for on the go.

Create a place for everything and keep everything in its place

So now that you’ve edited down, created a system for giveaway and sentimental items, and have everything in the general area where you need it comes the fun part – organizing. I like using baskets – personally I prefer baskets that aren’t see through so I (and eventually my kids) can throw stuff in them without seeing the clutter. Target has some of my favorites – Threshold Woven Bins (come in small and large) and a shallow size as well. I’m also a big fan of this lighter woven style and love a good hyacinth basket but those can get pricy. For a more cost-effective option, I love these white bins from the Container Store. Again, lots of size options. Whatever style you choose, I recommend buying from somewhere that is likely to carry the same baskets in the future so you can add more baskets as your child or your family grows.

There’s really no wrong way to organize a nursery or a kid’s room and how you do is highly personal. However you approach it, make sure that it’s a sustainable system for you and for you kids as they get older. An easy system will allow them to get involved at a young age and toddlers especially love to feel helpful. Speaking of which, I hope you have found this post helpful and good luck organizing!

About our Poppylist community mom, Kristin:

Kristin Waldrop lives in Austin with her two standard poodles, husband and two kids – son Wesley (6) and daughter Shelby (3). She’s a full-time working mom and balances her family life with a demanding career in technology. For fun she and her husband keep bees on their ranch in Central Texas.

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