I’ve now hit 34 weeks, and things are starting to feel really real now. I know, it’s been real all along, but 34 weeks is when one of my friends gave birth last year so labour, birth and, you know, actually bringing a baby home has been very much on my mind lately.
Interestingly though, my nesting instinct kicked in pretty early, and it’s really shocked us all! It’s probably not the best thing to admit on my blog, but I’m not a tidy person by nature. In fact, I didn’t used to see untidiness. Sounds weird, right? But I’d be that person that would step over a washing pile because it just didn’t look messy to me before, or Ben would come home from when after a day when I’d been working at home to find me surrounded by blankets, empty cups, plates and so on – and I just didn’t “see” it!
Well, that’s all changed lately. I’m not going to claim I’m the perfect housewife (whatever that might be!), but suddenly, I can’t sit still if there’s something out of place around me. And on top of that, I just want to declutter everything in sight. It’s a very strange scenario if you know me well! So here are the ways we’ve been sorting the house in preparation for baby’s arrival:
Decorating the nursery
This one seems like it should be a priority item, but in reality, we probably won’t really be using this room apart from storage and nappy changes for a good few months. Baby will be sleeping in our room in a bedside crib – we’re planning for around 6 months, but we’ll see how it goes when she arrives.
Nevertheless, planning the nursery gave me my first focus for preparing the house for baby girl’s arrival; it was the thing that sparked my interest in getting the house up to scratch. In truth, it didn’t need a whole lot of work – as I’ve already shared, we decided to keep the colours the same, so it just needed some new, baby-appropriate furniture, plus a few touches here and there. We’ve added more bits and pieces since that post so I’ll share a post once the room is completely ready – there are still a couple of shelves to put up and the white walls need a lick of paint here and there where the last people had stickers that pulled off the paint.
I would say that this is the Marie Kondo effect, but I’d actually never done any research into her techniques until around a week ago! Apparently my natural instinct throughout my second and now into my third trimester (in fact, starting around week 13!) was to get rid of old and defunct stuff around the house. It was only when I started cleaning and tidying on a more regular basis (we cleaned before, I promise! We just didn’t have a proper routine for it) that I started to notice the amount of stuff we had that we weren’t using.
We’ve emptied so many drawers, cupboards and cabinets over the past couple of months – I would say it’s been exhausting, but in reality, it’s been quite refreshing! You wouldn’t believe the amount of stuff two people can collect in around 8 years of living together, even though we feel like we’ve culled it with every house move – and there have been 4 of these!
My brain seems to be being sensible for once and listening to the people who’ve told me just how much stuff you’ll acquire with a baby – from nappies and pushchairs, to books, clothes and toys. My thought process seems to be that if I can get rid of as much as possible now, leaving behind only what’s necessary, the house won’t feel quite so much like it’s overflowing when we acquire even more stuff in future!
Storage & Organisation
And as a result of all the decluttering, we’ve been rethinking our storage spaces. As a new build house, our home is quite limited on storage – we only have some built in cupboards in the eaves of our attic bedroom (and only because the last owners put them in), so our other storage options have simply been cupboards, wardrobes and chests of drawers we’ve had to put in ourselves.
We’ve culled a couple of cheap, old IKEA pieces we’ve had for a number of years that did us well in their time but were starting to show their age, so we’ve now got some sturdier pieces of furniture for storage that are much emptier than before. To go inside these and on sideboards, to help keep us organised better, we’ve bought drawer dividers and handy little storage baskets. It seemed a bit silly at first to invest in buying more stuff for this purpose, but so far, it’s kept us far more organised and tidier – we can see everything we have and use, and if we’re not using it, we get rid of it.
In addition to that, we’ve bought some Really Useful Boxes (that are exactly what they say!) as storage boxes for the garage where we can keep seasonal things. That’s the last job to do in terms of decluttering and organising: the garage! We tend to do a big spring clean of this space once a year, so we’re thinking it’ll now be once she’s arrived, but the garage isn’t somewhere she’ll be spending time anyway!
This is really Ben’s role! He’s taken on a few jobs such as choosing the pushchair and travel system and taking the lead on putting together the furniture, but working in the home automation industry, adding baby relevant technology to the house has been his big thing.
First up, we’re updating all our home security with our alarm services. Our old system was, again, put in place by the previous owners and, I’ll admit that we hadn’t done a lot to change it – we hadn’t even figured out how to change the code! It’s something we’d been meaning to do for a long time, but baby on the way has given us the push to do so.
On top of that, we’ve also added a new Ring doorbell. This isn’t exactly a hugely necessary thing, but Ben’s wanted one of these for a long time so I gave in! It allows us to check who’s at the door from afar, but it also has a function that records a short video clip if someone passes close by to it – the way our house is laid our, it means that anyone approaching will be caught on camera. It just gives an extra peace of mind really.
The final thing is that, like the other rooms in our house, the nursery is now all set up with smart home appliances, including Rako lighting which can control all the lights and lamps in the room with 4 different lighting settings – meaning we have everything from full bright light, to dim ambient light on only selected lamps – a Sonos speaker, and an Amazon Echo Dot. These are all, in fact, connected too so that we can simply say “Alexa, goodnight” and she’ll set off a bedtime routine where the lights dim, the Sonos will start playing whatever we choose (white noise etc.) and will slowly decrease the volume and light brightness until they’re off. Again, this is something that isn’t necessary at all, but it makes a really handy little system for us, and is something we already use in our bedroom – it’ll just make life a little bit easier, and if it gets Ben excited for baby prep planning, I’m all for it!