9 Tips for Setting Up and Organizing the Nursery

Setting up and organizing the nursery can be overwhelming. When I was in my last trimester and working on preparing the nursery I found it tough to get organized. I had garbage bags full of hand-me-downs, stacks of unopened shower gifts still in the packages, assembled nursery furniture, and very little idea of how to get the mess under control.

Even though I was a bit clueless about when I’d need to start using each of these items, I did know that I needed to get some sort of system in place so I knew where things were when we brought our daughter home. 

Here are 9 Tips for Setting Up and Organizing the Nursery.

I learned these from friends or figured them out in the early weeks of setting up the nursery, that helped me stay organized.

organizing the nursery

1. Wash, Sort, & Store Clothes

If you were given hand-me-downs or baby shower gifts, it’s great to get a few sizes of clothes washed before the baby comes. Once cleaned, I recommend sorting by size – but remember that each brand varies a little bit in size. It’s helpful to keep an eye on the sizes and group the same width/length items together rather than going 100% on what that tag reads. When you sort the clothes put the larger sizes in tubs or baskets of your choosing. My personal preference is the plastic drawers because they store about the same amount of clothes but are easier to access (Example: No. 1 in photo). Be sure to label the clothes with masking tape or a label maker so that when all of the sudden you’re moving up to the next size you’ll have no problem finding what you need. 


If you get clothes as gifts, jot yourself a note about who gave you what. It’s nice to send the giftee a photo of your sweet little one wearing the outfit they gave you. And when they gave you an 18-month outfit at the baby shower it gets hard to keep track of where it came from. 

2. Fold sets of clothes together

My daughter was born in December so it was important to keep her warm. In those early days, I sorted clothes into sets and folded them together – a pair of pants folded into a onesie. This way when she was on the changing table and needed a new outfit – I just had to grab one thing. I was folding laundry anyway so it was just as easy to tuck the pants inside to make a set. Even though it isn’t as crucial now, I still do this with my 9-month-old’s clothes – it’s easier to hang the diaper covers on the same hanger as the dress – than try to sort through a basket of all bloomers.

3. Have a “Too Small” basket ready

This is my favorite tip because it is SO helpful to your nursery organization. I recommend creating a specific spot for the too-small items. When you notice an outfit no longer fits you just toss it in the “too small” basket. Then when the basket is filled or you have a little free time – you can unload the items and put them in the proper container for storage. It not only keeps you organized but it takes a little off your plate so you don’t have to remember which items in the drawer still fit. (Example: No. 3 on photo.)

4. Get Tubs & A Label Maker

If you’re having a baby shower you’ll probably receive non-clothes items you need in the future but aren’t ready to use right now. I sorted these items in small tubs and labeled them so they were easy to grab a few months down the road. These items included sippy cups, formula samples, tableware, and bibs. (Example: No. 2 on photo.) While you’re at it, find a keepsake box or tub – we came home from the hospital with lots of cards, documents, and keepsakes, it’s great to have a place to keep them safe amid the shuffle.

5. Prepare Changing Table Area

You’ll want all diaper-changing items at arm’s length but make sure you don’t forget the less obvious items. In addition to diapers, wipes, and cream; you’ll also want extra changing table sheets and liners stored nearby for when things get messy. The best advice I received when setting up my diaper station was to keep a minimum of 2 sides of the changing table easily accessible – sometimes you need extra hands! If there’s extra storage at your changing table sleep sacks, sleepers, and onesies are a great addition! I’m a little embarrassed to say how long it took me to realize the changing pad liners needed to move from the bottom shelf to the top of my changing table!!

6. Get a big bookshelf

Start with a big bookshelf right off the bat, even if it seems empty at first. Hopefully, you’ll acquire lots of books over time, I know ours is overflowing already at 9 months! If there is extra room you can always set toys on the shelves.


Sign-up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination library if you are able to! Check availability here.  If you have a library card from the Metro Library Network (Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha), you should qualify. It’s a free program that sends your child 1 free book per month until they are 5 years old! You can officially sign up once your child is born as you have to enter their birthday!

7. Chose Storage Friendly Nursery Furniture

Look for nursery furniture that has extra storage functions, like a crib with a drawer or a changing table with storage below. 

8. Make a Storage Area For Infant Items

There are quite a few infant items babies grow out of quickly so having a storage place already planned out will give you a little extra piece of mind. Think of things like the bassinet, swing/bouncer, baby activity mat, and reclined bathtub.

9. Storage for Instruction Manuals 

ALL the baby things have manuals, loose parts, recall information, etc. Find a safe place for these to be located. I found that the sheet or curtain zipper bag works GREAT to store these items. It was oversized enough to fit the larger manuals and sturdy enough to fit the extra screws and tools.

Looking for additional organizing tips? Check out this article!

Hopefully, these 9 Tips for Setting Up and Organizing the Nursery will make your transition home from the hospital and the first few months of your baby’s life a little less stressful!

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