When I had my first two kids I lived in a much larger home than what I’m living in now. Purchasing items that wouldn’t take up space or served double duty didn’t really cross my mind. With Jeremiah I’ve had to really think about what I’m bringing home from the store (or ordering from Ebay/Amazon) because space is limited. After almost 4 months I think I can speak confidently about how things are working for us.
First things first, that infant bath tub.
I had one of those big blue tubs with my first child and I never ended up using it beyond her first 1-2 baths. It was huge and had to be filled up with warm water, then emptied, then you have to find some place to store them. I donated mine after the first use and ended up letting her shower with me as a small infant (definitely not for everyone) and once she was old enough I just gave her a bath directly in the tub. With Isaiah I purchased a little mesh lounger for bathing and ended up not liking that very much either. When he was really young and couldn’t hold his head up, it didn’t provide enough head support for my liking. Once he could sit up he could easily fall right out; the lounger ended up facing the same fate as the infant bath tub.
This time around I purchased the little seat above; I almost purchased the Angel Care one, but it was a little bit bigger and pricier so I went with this one. I hang it in the kids’ bathroom with a suction hook I purchased at Target; it’s up and out of the way and can easily be cleaned (unlike the mesh seats). When he was really little I put a towel on the seat before I placed him in it, now that he’s older I don’t use a towel anymore and it’s working just fine.
With my first child, 10 years ago, cloth diapering was not even on my radar. I bought Huggies/Pampers or whatever was on sale and never gave it any thought. With Isaiah, who is 3, I researched it and ended up cloth diapering him for the first 6 months. I wasn’t sure if I would like it so I didn’t want to purchase the expensive diapers. I ended up buying some cheap ones directly from China (cough**Sunbaby’s**cough). I absolutely hated them. I had read tons of reviews from people who loved them so I thought it would be a good purchase, but man was I wrong. They leaked every time that he peed, they were a pain to stuff (the inserts had to be placed in a pocket) and they were just too much work for a product that didn’t actually do it’s job. I toughed it out for 6 months and then ended up selling them on Craigslist.
This time around I bought 6 Bumgenius Freetime AIO’s (all-in-ones) and I LOVE them. I also have 2 Flip covers with 6 inserts, that makes for 12 cloth diapers if the Flip cover stays dry enough to re-use. If you want to cloth diaper full time this will probably not be enough; I’m sure it’s doable, but I haven’t tried it. I use 1-2 disposable diapers every day, usually at night, and more on days I’m washing or stripping the cloth ones. This arrangement has been working great so far; instead of purchasing about 240 diapers a month I only go through around 60. The savings aren’t significant right now, but over the course of 18-36 months it will really add up. (**note, I don’t use cloth wipes right now, but I’ve used these and liked them).
The cloth diaper suggestion wasn’t really a space saving one, but the dirty diaper disposal system is. Rather than purchase a big diaper pail I am using a Kangacare wet bag which I hang on the door by the changing table. It doesn’t take up any floor space and it masks the smell 100%, I love it! When it’s time to wash the diapers (every other day) I just empty the contents into the washer and then turn the bag inside out and throw it in there with them. It works perfectly. No bags to deal with or pail to clean out.
Even if you aren’t cloth diapering or don’t plan on buying Dreft, I highly recommend Nellie’s laundry soda. It’s all natural, free of dye’s and other chemicals found in traditional laundry detergent and the tin takes up very little space. You get 100 full loads out of each can and when you are done you can re-use it (I use mine as planters). I wash everything with it, including baby clothes and the cloth diapers.
I’m not usually a fan of travel systems or traditional diaper bags, but since I found these I’ve become a believer. I needed a system that would fold up really small and fit in the back of my van and leave enough space for Isaiah’s bike and anything else that I am hauling around. Without a garage or anywhere else to store a stroller mine lives in the car at all times. When I did have it inside It folded up small enough to fit behind my bedroom door; it’s actually not much bigger than one of those little umbrella strollers when it’s folded. I even use it as a jogger; the front wheels lock so there is no shake. The one thing I do dislike about the stroller is that it doesn’t have a console for phones/misc. junk. But, that’s where my diaper bag comes in. The Skip Hop has clips that attach it to the stroller. I strap the diaper bag on and I have my phone and anything else I need readily available. It’s perfect, especially when you have 2 other kids to wrangle.
I’ll probably do another one of these at some point to add a few items I thought of as I’m finishing up this post. My Honda Odyssey comes to mind! Seriously people, I know there’s no way to look cool driving a mini-van, but if you are willing to give up your cool-people car for some more space get a Honda Odyssey. I love that thing.