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The Top 6 Affordable Baby Essentials for Small Spaces
It’s easy for baby gear to take over anyone’s home – especially those of us in small spaces. Luckily, with a little creativity and the right products, you can minimize the baby footprint in your house.
As a first time mom, all of the options for baby products can be totally overwhelming. ‘What do I really need?’ was a constant question of mine…along with ‘that costs how much?!’ But before you panic, the things that are true essentials for your baby are probably less than you think. And thankfully there are a lot of space-conscious items on the market (list of recommended products below).
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Baby Essentials for Small Spaces: Recommended Products:
Most of the product that we’d recommend you start out with are ones that the baby needs in their first couple months — other items (certain toys, even a high chair or swing) — can be purchased later. Focusing on newborn essentials means that you’ll have more space freed up, and can also buy things on an as-needed basis as baby grows.
1. Mini Crib
As you can tell from the name, mini cribs are just like standard cribs, only smaller. There’s ton of options to choose from and these are a great option for compact nurseries. Your baby can stay in most as long as they would a normal crib, and some will even convert into twin beds later on. Note: be sure to purchase a mini crib mattress and sheets that fit your new crib, rather than standard size.
A couple good options include:
This is the crib we have: it’s beautiful, wooden, and converts to a twin bed.
Babyletto Origami Mini Crib ($267)
Another popular option for mini cribs. It’s cute, collapsible, and on wheels.
2. Collapsible Bath Tub
Stokke Flexi Bath ($45)
This practical tub is collapsible and highly portable. It can be stored flat but pops out to be a nice size tub that fits kids up to 3 or 4 years old. We only have a shower in our cabin (no bathtub), and this sits nicely on the floor for bath time. For newborns, add the Stokke Newborn Insert from 0 – 8 months ($20).
3. Pack ‘n Play/Portable Crib
Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer ($99)
A portable crib is nice to have for travel, but one like this can also come in handy with a newborn: it has a bassinet/newborn sleeper and changing station on top. If you want to keep baby close to you or skip the crib/bassinet at first, this is a space-saving alternative.
4. Car Seat & Stroller Combo
Graco SnugRide Click Connect Infant Car Seat ($120)
After the crib, your car seat & stroller are probably the items with the biggest footprint. One way to reduce the space they take up in your house is to get a combo stroller/car set set like this one. The car seat will combo with a variety of Graco stroller bases, such as the foldable Graco Breaze ($98).
5. Baby Bouncer
A baby bouncer is great to have when baby needs a portable place to lay. Lots of rockers on the market are large-scale, with automatic rocking features or a large base. For a more inexpensive option, check out the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker ($26) rocker is a space-conscious option that does essentially the same thing as those at 3 times the price & size.
For an even more compact option, but one that’s pricer, check out the Graco Slim Spaces Compact Baby Swing ($59) (pictured above). It’s collapsible, easy to carry from room to room, and height adjustable.
6. Changing Pad
Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad ($20)
Changing stations in small spaces vary a lot, but one essential you’ll need is a changing pad. A changing pad can convert almost any surface into a changing station. Add this sturdy option on top of a dresser, shelf, etc. and you’ll have an instant changing station.
Finding the space for a changing station can be one of the trickiest parts of planning for baby. There are plenty of full-scale ‘changing stations’ on the market, but a dresser top or shelf top works just as well. Add some storage (baskets, shelves, hanging pockets) and you’ll be covered. We used cloth diapers, storing them on a shelf above the changing pad and in a drawer below. Rather than a standing diaper pail that takes up space, we had a hanging wet bag. All of the other diapering essentials were on a shelf above the changing pad with backups of items in a closet elsewhere.
There’s also plenty of Portable Changing Mat Stations ($30), if you prefer that to a stationary set-up.
The Number 1 Space Saving & Money Saving Tip:
Before you start your registry, the best thing you can do is take inventory of what you already have in terms of space and storage. Even if you feel like you have none, look for unused nooks of your home, places where you could add vertical storage, and spaces that could be dual-purpose.
When you’re in smaller living quarters, your space begins to shape uniquely to how your family functions in it. Many of the ‘one-size’ solutions available won’t work because they don’t fit into how you’ve designed your space. The best way to maximize what you have (and save money!) is to start with an inventory of your existing space.
*Note: the prices in this article are accurate at the time of writing & to the best of my knowledge.
Check out my article on What You Really Need for a Baby in a Small Space.