First thing’s first, I did not set out to become a minimalist. In fact, I’m still not completely certain that I am a minimalist in the true definition of the word. I can claim two things though: clutter stresses me out, and I like simplicity.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I did like most first time mothers do. I went to Target, got one of those lovely registry guns, and shot the crap out of that thing. Literally, if something was in the baby section and had a barcode, it was going on my registry. I registered for everything from bottle warmers to Baby Bjourns (yes multiple, even though I was only having one child), a Rock ‘n’ Play, diaper caddy, infant tub, and baby food maker. You name it, and I wanted it. I was completely and totally caught up in the moment – give a pregnant woman a registry gun, and watch her go nuts!
Then my daughter was born, and it took me less than 48 hours to realize that I would need to have a garage sale.
But seriously, the bottle warmer that I “just had to have” never made it out of the box. Those adorable muslin swaddle wraps that retail for $40 a pop – yeah, she hated them, and preferred the free ones from the hospital. Oh, and don’t even mention the Pottery Barn bedding that I just knew would be perfect. My child didn’t sleep in her crib until she was 6 months old.
If I had to plan for a new baby all over again, I’d do it from a minimalist’s perspective, and here’s what I’d do:
Buy basic onesies. Smocked dresses are adorable, but I have several newborn sizes that were never worn. Why? We hardly ever left the house, and even when we did she was swaddled or wrapped. Basically, my child lived in white onesies for the first month or so of her life.
Skip the baby bath tub. I may get some heat for this… I bathed my daughter in the bathroom sink. It’s the perfect height ergonomically. I’d just line the sink with a towel, and bing, bang, boom – the sink is now an infant tub. Once we outgrew the sink (it didn’t take long), we moved to the regular tub with a towel. When you live in a rental property, space is often an issue. Truth be told, we didn’t really have the space for a bulky infant tub, and we survived without it.
Stock up on feeding supplies…for yourself. Forget the endless array of baby feeding supplies on the market. You’ll either use a bottle or a boob (or both). That’s the simple part. Skip the warmers, steamers, dryers, cookers, and whatever else is out on the market. What you really need is a stock of healthy snacks and go-to meals for yourself. Between late night feedings and tending to your lovely infant all day, you’ll need to keep your energy up.
Turn your dresser into a changing table. I didn’t buy a changing table. As I mentioned earlier, space and clutter were issues for us. We opted for a changing pad on top of a sturdy dresser. Truth be told, I only changed my daughter on her “changing table” maybe 5% of the time. The other 95% of diaper changes were on my lap, the floor, the bed, park benches, at the mall, the back of my car, etc…
Wait until the baby is born to buy non-essentials. I consider car seats, cribs (or other sleeping apparatuses), onesies, feeding supplies and diapers to be essentials. EVERYTHING else, in my book, is a non-essential. There aren’t many things in life I can’t promise, but I can promise that your baby won’t come out ready to sit at the table for family dinner. That being said, if you can, wait to purchase things like high chairs, strollers, toys, and play yards when they’re ready for it. If people want to buy these things for you, politely ask for a gift card or register for gift cards.
So there you have it, my tips for minimalism with an infant. Now to figure out minimalism with a toddler. Stay tuned…