By Regina Leeds, The Zen Organizer
NABBW’s Organizational Skills Expert
Your baby, your way
OK so your baby (or maybe even his baby!) is now an adult having his or her own children. You want to share your wisdom without coming off as everybody’s meddling nightmare mother-in-law or Grandma Nightmare…
What’s a boomer to do? I’ve got your answer: give the newly pregnant in your family my newest book One Year to an Organized Life with Baby!
Babies are precious gifts and we’re all captivated by the many items created just for them. Unfortunately tiny clothes, stuffed animals, cribs and changing tables can crowd you out in a snap.
In One Year to an Organized Life with Baby I offer a comprehensive guide for pregnant women and their partners/spouses. And because the arrival of a baby takes so much preparation, my co-author and mother of five, Meagan Francis and I stay with you through the fifth month of baby’s life.
From how to tell family, friends and co-workers about the pregnancy to altering your will and packing the hospital bag, we’ve got you covered.
Don’t wait for the baby shower to share a copy!
How to Create the Perfect Nursery
When it comes time to put together a nursery, there is something we should consider beyond the ‘cuteness factor:’ safety. The overall concern is with products that ‘off gas’ or emit toxic substances into the room. Here are some tips direct from the new book to help guide your choices.
- Look for low or no VOC paints. Benjamin Moore is my personal favorite. Many other paint companies offer a selection including Sherwin Williams and The Real Milk Paint Company. Be sure you paint the room or area well in advance of baby’s arrival so that it’s free of fumes and be sure the area is well ventilated during the process.
- Real wood furniture is a better/safer choice than particleboard and once again it’s the off gassing of chemicals that’s the issue.
- As you might imagine wool carpets and rugs are safer than their synthetic brethren.
Recycling at its Best
- Do you have a big dresser in another room you aren’t using at the moment? How about the one Aunt Martha gave you that never fit in with your décor? Hasn’t it languished in the guest room long enough? If it’s got deep drawers and a wide top, it’s worth its weight in gold. Why not paint it a festive color that blends with the one you’ve chosen for the walls? At The Land of Nod stores or in their catalog you’ll find a pad you can use to convert the top of the dresser into a changing table, thus eliminating at least one item from your shopping list.
- In addition to your baby shower gifts, baby will no doubt be given a wealth of hand me downs from moms in your circle of friends. Mothers have a hard time parting with these items but they love to give them to a baby they know personally.
- Make use of containers to store items you aren’t ready to use. By the time the containers have been emptied you may be ready to recycle them into toy boxes. I like the selection at The Container Store.
- If you are lucky enough to have double hang rods in your closet, you can put dressy outfits or those that are a size or two too big on the bottom and keep the every day choices at your eye level. As baby grows you will want to switch these so that he or she can start making his or her own choices. You may discover your bundle of joy is a would be ‘fashionista.’
- A word to the wise: whether it’s clothing for baby or for your pregnancy, accept items that do not have to be returned. Do promise to pass them on to another deserving mom when the time comes. As sure as you live it’s the precious item that will be the one you spill cranberry juice on and not the top you picked up at Target for a song.
- If you do however feel moved to accept borrowed items try and color-code them with a dot of nail polish on the product tag. As you or baby outgrows an item you’ll be reminded it’s one you have to return. \’Mommy brain\’ sets in early. Don’t burden yourself with having to remember which items are yours and which are borrowed.
A Blessing on your head!
In the book we include some Feng Shui tips from Ariel Joseph Towne, the Feng Shui Guy. I’m going to share a few here but remember to use any traditions from your family or spiritual home to add a blessing to this room. As you put it together for example play music that you love. If you like to read or meditate, sit in a chair in this room and fill the room with all of your hopes and dreams for this child. There is no one-way to create a sacred space. For those who are open to it, here are three of Ariel’s favorite Feng Shui tips for the nursery:
- Avoid placing the crib so that baby’s head is either in line with the door or under a window.
- Use full spectrum light bulbs to simulate natural lighting. We are bombarded by electromagnetic frequencies wherever we go these days. To counteract those in baby’s room, add a Himalayan salt crystal lamp. Its soft glow is the perfect night-light and it will put negative ions into the room.
- Having lived in a water environment, baby may enjoy the soft sounds from a decorative water fountain in his room. This is one of the most common Feng Shui tools used. It is traditionally used near the entry to the home itself or the entry to an individual room. It is meant to draw in money. With the rising cost of college these days, it may turn out to be the Feng Shui tool of the moment!
The Baby Within
As you set up baby’s first space, it might be fun to take some time to remember your room growing up.
- Did you have to share it or did you have your very own space?
- Did you have a hand in decorating it or did your parents make all the decisions?
- Were you deprived of toys or were you the envy of the neighborhood?
It’s great to stay in present time and be sure that the nursery reflects the needs of this child. Very often we have unfulfilled needs from our own childhoods and then the space we create isn’t for the baby in our midst but rather the child we carry within. Unfinished business from the past can be as toxic as paint or formaldehyde! A baby represents the ultimate journey of discovery with another human being. Make it gentle, safe and beautiful from the start.
Regina Leeds, the Zen Organizer, is the author of eight books on the subject of getting organized. One Year to an Organized Life with Baby is her newest book. Read more about The Zen Organizer at www.reginaleeds.com.