- It is 100% possible to create a maintainable storage system for new moms
- It’s okay to try things out and change it around if it doesn’t work
- You’re probably overthinking this.
- Remember that organizing your baby’s items can be fun.
Hi! I’m here to give you a few ideas about storing your baby’s clothes and items in a small space. Let’s keep it simple. (I’ll try not to talk too much.) And if you’re a busy mom or dad, I give you full permission to skim this entire list and just read the big, bold parts, ’cause . . . yeah, I don’t know when you found the time to look this up in the first place.
(Though, while your here, you might also want to check out my article on how to get anything done with a baby.)
20 Genius ways you needed forever ago to store your baby stuff when there’s no room
1. Get a cheap set of plastic drawers (Baby-Sized!)
I was living in a small room with my husband when we had our first baby and using a little tower of cheap, rolling, plastic drawers was a LIFE-SAVER!! (This adorable elderly lady gave me mine, and I’m pretty sure I owe her my sanity, haha.)
If you don’t like the look of the one up above, though (goodness, you’re so picky–just kidding) there are a ton of other colors and options out there. This one has some bigger drawers. (And surprisingly, I like this cart with gold. Though I normally don’t like gold. Lol.)
What I love most about this rolling drawers tower, though, is that the short, tiny drawers are just the right size for most baby’s clothes. They’re as snug as a chipmunk in a TJ Maxx mug in there. It’s perfect.
Oh, and you can organize the drawers by category and roll the whole thing around with you when you feel like you’re going to split open after labor and you can’t lift anything. So it’s just a winner all around.
Granted, this is definitely a cheaper option. The drawers in my tower would often come off their slots, though they weren’t hard to fix. An easy go-around for this would be to opt for a different style of drawer tower, like this plastic, enclosed drawer tower.
2. Use hanging pocket organizers
I really hope you’re familiar with pocket organizers, because otherwise, my heart is breaking for you. We got two from our wedding registry, and I have seriously never looked back. Even though ours are totally cheap and have started to fall apart in a couple of spots, I still love them.
The reason I love them so much, though, is that hanging pocket organizers are just a great way to maximize storage space. There are two main kinds:
- Over-the-door organizers (also simply called a door organizer)
- Hanging pocket organizers for your closet
The over-the-door design is often used for shoes, but I have been *quite* successful at storing t-shirts, hairbands, hats, and even chapstick in the pockets (don’t ask why I once had enough chapstick to fill up a shoe-sized pocket). I have one organizer on our closet door, and one on the back of our bedroom door *right* now.
Also, please note that if you don’t want over-the-door storage to leave marks on your door, use this ingenious hack.
I currently don’t have any closet pocket organizers, but I have seen people who really like them. Like this one lady from twitter.
And yes, folks, she may have bought it for her husband, but you can totally use it for baby shoes, bows, and onesies. Use your imagination.
3. Get stacking hangers
Did you know that some hangers are designed to let you hang more hangers on them? Like in chains. Like, hanger daisy chains.
Yup, it blew my mind when I found that out too. It reminded me of when I figured out that the two little dots that flash on digital clocks are actually flashing in time with the seconds. (I discovered that when I was 20, and it completely knocked my socks and shoes clean off.)
Anyways, though, some hangers have little hooks on them so that you can easily hang another hanger from each hanger (parallel to and a little below the top hanger). This allows you to create space-saving (and tidy-looking) chains of hangers that go as long as you want (I prefer not to go over 5 or so . . . but it’s up to you!)
You can also get special hooks to make your regular hangers stackable, and I like the look of these hanger organizers (I might even pick these over stacking hangers next time).
Overall, Hanger chains are a great way to maximize use of your nursery closet (or maybe just your family’s one closet, if you’re like me when you had/have your first baby, haha).
4. Change the way you fold your clothes to maximize space (Have fun with it!)
I get it . . . between washing spit-up-covered onesies and trying desperately to sleep for an hour, new parents aren’t really focused on finding new folding techniques.
It’s like asking a charging rhino to stop and take a bite of your strawberry cream-cheese frosting cake. You’re a little distracted.
BUT you can experiment a bit, right? I mean you’re not exactly like a rhino as a sleep-deprived new parent. Mostly.
I preferred to roll onesies and pants when Gem was a baby. It was easy, and the rolls fit perfectly in my drawer tower.
But as Gem’s gotten bigger, I’ve come to prefer file-folding. It keeps her little drawers organized and makes it easy to find things. And it also maximizes the space quite well.
This is a great how-to video from Marie Kondo herself (the cool gal who invented file-folding).
5. Minimize stuff
Alright, don’t hate me for saying this. Everyone tells you to have less stuff, but then you turn around and see an advertisement that says you *have* to own a wipe warmer or your days and nights as a new parent will be (excuse me) *heck*.
So, how do you get rid of stuff? How do you know what’s important and what’s not?
Well, if you already have a baby in your arms and decluttering sounds like trying to water-ski while carrying a buffalo, start by simply thinking about what you do and don’t use (and what you love and what you don’t love).
Don’t be afraid to get rid of that just-in-case-and-it-sounds-really-useful item that you own . . . but never actually use.
And don’t keep that one swaddling blanket if it just never swaddles right and makes you want to go cry yourself to sleep before waking up 15 minutes later to feed your baby again.
Just don’t do it.
Stop keeping stuff you don’t love, and get rid of the stuff you don’t use.
I you want more help with this topic, go and read both The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and/or Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White. Apply what you learn. (They are *very* different books, but do recommend reading them both.)
Also, if you want a basic baby item checklist, check out this awesome minimalist checklist of baby essentials from Simple Living Toolkit.
6. Forget the changing table . . .
This is just my personal opinion. BUT . . . I think that a changing table is likely a waste of space and money in a baby’s nursery (or in your bedroom). It’s like buying your 2-year-old a Rolex. Completely necessary and (maybe) a little extra.
I never bought a changing table. I rotated a couple of retired burp cloths for a changing pad, and I kept my diapering items in a cute basket. It worked great, and the basket was portable (ha!).
7. Rotate clothes not worn
Don’t keep clothes that are too big or too small in your child’s dresser. It’s like trying to keep a mammoth in your bathroom. It won’t work. And why would you do that?
Animal protection services will be all over you. Not to mention the archeologists.
So, rotate the clothes your child wears regularly. Make stuff fit. I like to keep a bag or box accessible where I can stash items to put away as soon as I notice they’re too small. Every now and then I take that stash of too-small clothes and pack it in its assigned box/bin for storage up in the closet (you can just get rid of it if you’re not saving clothes for other kids). Problem solved.
8. Use hooks to maximize vertical space
I’ve never used hooks, but they work great in my imagination. I know of people who love them for saving storage space. Items like hair accessories (hair bows clipped to a ribbon), coats, light bags, or even nursing pillows can be kept on different kinds of hooks and pegs.
This mom suggests that hooks will be helpful later on too:
Keep clothes off the floor-put a row hooks in your closet. Also good for kids-they'll be more likely to hang clothes on hooks than hangers!— Chaos To Order (@chaostoorder) February 27, 2013
Also, if you can’t screw hooks into the walls of your apartment, you can always use command hooks for lighter objects.
9. Use bins or boxes . . . Sometimes
Bins and boxes (used the right way) are useful for storing medium and small items. For example, I use bins just like this right now to store my daughter’s shoes and hair bows on top of a little drawer set.
The key is to have designated storage bins for types of items. Don’t let them become black holes when you’re not looking (Or is it just me who has that problem?).
10. Use other hanging storage solutions (carefully)
Using things like the hanging shoe organizer up above or hanging closet shelves is a great way to utilize wasted vertical space in a small closet.
I also really like the looks of this hanging carousel pocket organizer.
However, just a word from the wise (or not-so-wise): Don’t put too much weight on the hanging organizers and break the closet shelf.
(Not that this has ever happened to me. Twice. In an apartment where the maintenance man came in and looked at all my stuff. Embarassing, let me tell ya.)
Maybe these people should’ve considered a different name for their account when sharing their closet organizer?
11. Don’t forget under-the-furniture storage (not just under the bed)
Don’t forget that the hidden space under furniture is a great place to store baby items too!! (Or you can shamelessly judge me for this. Completely your decision, haha.) I currently have a handy-dandy bin under my daughter’s crib that holds lots of bulky items, like blankets.
In the past, I’ve also slid things like wooden puzzles under the dresser when I was short on space.
12. Get rid of original boxes that waste space
Unless an original box holds an item just *perfectly* for storage, I suggest you let it go (tragic, I know).
Most original boxes waste a lot of space with cardboard forms or foam structures. You might be surprised how much nursery storage you can gain just by letting go of them.
Bags and boxes are the reason you might try to get and stay organized to no avail. Original product packing and shopping bags waste a lot of space. Remove items from all bags, boxes, and original packaging as soon as these items come home. @MySpaceReclaim pic.twitter.com/fw5SbiLPUE— My Space Reclaimed LLC (@MySpaceReclaim) December 6, 2021
13. Get a crib with built-in storage
A crib with built-in storage is a good option if your problem is lack of storage, but not necessarily room space. Here is one that has a lot of decent ratings.
If you want drawers underneath, you can also look for a crib with that.
Or, if you’re poor like me, but appearances are important for you, you can also just opt for a cute crib skirt and still shove stuff. underneath there. But it’ll be covered up, which is nice.
14. Get a mini-crib
Honestly, where were these when I had a baby? I didn’t look that hard for a crib, but these things definitely were not on my radar. But I wish they had been.
Basically, mini-cribs are little cribs that still have plenty of room for your baby (and even a toddler!), but they take up half the space. And you can still store stuff underneath, though it’ll be less stuff, of course (Don’t forget your mini crib skirt either, for you interior design people.)
Decided on a mini crib and it’s literally the cutest. Now I need to decorate this corner. Someone send some inspo plz 🥺 pic.twitter.com/iwPtunSSYY— 𝙷𝚊𝚗𝚗𝚊 + 𝙵 (@earthyhanna) July 8, 2020
15. Use Drawer Dividers and boxes (the right way)
If you don’t want to open your baby’s drawers and feel like you’re looking into a thrift store bin (Unless thrift store bins fill you with joy. Then maybe this isn’t a good comparison.), it can be quite helpful to create a system for dividing your little one’s clothes in their drawers.
Carefully using drawer dividers and boxes in your drawers can save space and simplify your routine for putting away clothes. The trick, though, is to experiment and find the balance between using and not using drawers dividers/boxes. If you have too many spots for stuff it can cost you space instead.
Of course, I didn’t need drawer dividers while I used the rolling drawer tower I discussed above, but I did use small cardboard boxes to help me divide onesies and socks when I finally moved Gem’s clothes to a the DVD dresser-thing we use now.
16. Don’t worry about getting a full-sized dresser for the first few years
My daughter is almost 2 and we still haven’t bought a dresser for her.
Like I mentioned above, we used a rolling tower of plastic drawers for her first year (and it was PERFECT). We now use an old entertainment center with 4 DVD drawers in it (it even looks good with her bed . . . so really, why not?).
17. Look into modular storage
When I started to brainstorm for this article, I was ASTOUNDED by the cheap options out there for modular storage.
Not all modular storage sets have good reviews. In fact, many do not. If you do your research and find some that are ridiculously good quality, let me know. Cause I haven’t found one yet, andI’m starting to think they’re practically leprechauns.
However, I might try this modular cubic wardrobe for $65 (as of 2023), though I’m not sure the quality lives up to the price. But, there are a lot of decent reviews from people who recognize that while it’s somewhat lacking in quality, it performs well functionally.
18. Use the space under the hanging clothes in the closet for storage (of course)
Don’t forget that the space beneath your clothes is space for storage.
Seriously; don’t forget it.
Any space that’s open beneath clothes is potential vertical storage space. Use it.
Just like this person did in this closet:
My client booked me for 3 closets.— IG:jervonwhitney (@JervonWhitney_) August 18, 2023
Closet #1 ATHLETIC WEAR CLOSET
•Got all clothing out and transferred to appropriate closets.
•Hung up clothes and organized.
•picked up trash
•added shoe cubbies
•added clear/white tote drawers for misc. purses, swimsuits pic.twitter.com/Dm1UTZepsz
19. Build custom storage onto walls (shelves, cupboards, hanging rods, etc.)
Obviously, this isn’t a great option for us apartment people. But if you’ve got your own house (that’s my goal someday!!!), don’t underestimate the power of DIY. It can save lots of money and be fun to boot.
For example, a single long, thick board at Home Depot is cheaper than a short, pre-made “shelf” board. And theoretically, one long, thick board can be cut into multiple shelves. Maybe you know someone who can cut wood (or they might be willing to do it for you at the store).
Then those newly cut, shorter shelf boards can be painted/stained/varnished however you want and fixed to the wall with L-brackets.
Okay, I haven’t ever actually tried that, because we don’t have a house. But, naive optimist that I am, I think it would work great.
If you decide to try it out, let me know how it goes!
20. Use Clothespins and ribbon/string
This might sound like a really strange thing to have on this list. But before you discount it, hear me out.
My mother-in-law used to clip bows to ribbons and hang them from cute places. Then they doubled as decor and storage.
I also once saw someone store baby shoes in little clipped pairs on a string pegged across a wall. Again, it doubled as decor and storage.
Just consider this and think about how you might use it in your own space.
21. Enjoy the Storage Journey, and Remember What Matters Most
This final tip isn’t all that relevant to actual storage (I didn’t include it in the article count). But I just want to say the following:
In the midst of all this craziness and stress, don’t forget what matters most.
Ultimately, where your child’s clothes go will matter far less than where your love and attention goes. Never forget to treasure those snuggles and sweet moments of bonding with your little one. Don’t pick storage or clothes over your child or spouse too many times.
This time will pass, and when it passes, you won’t hear anyone say “Wow, I sure wish I’d spent more time figuring out clothes storage space.”
Closing Thoughts About Baby Stuff Storage
Baby storage is both fun and exhausting.
Just remember that this doesn’t all have to be perfect and that you can refine or change your system over time. Enjoy this journey, and share your ideas for baby storage in small spaces below!