Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Welcoming a Baby Without a Nursery | Frugal Hacks For Growing Families

Nobody puts baby in a...closet!  Or, do they?

My oldest child is 9 currently, and boy!, have things changed!  When we found that we were expecting for the first time, everything was purchased new {*Gasp!* I know!!  What was I thinking?!} and was perfectly furnished to match all of the "model nurseries" you found in the latest Parenting magazine.  We had it all...a large convertible crib {which, by the way, was not even used for the first few months of life, and was never converted...}...a diaper changing table/dresser combination {which wasn't very suited to re-purposing elsewhere once we had no "nursery"}...a complete nursery ensemble:  a mobile {which she didn't watch and coo at, ever}, a quilt {you were never allowed/suggested to use for anything but a wall hanging no one wanted to hang}, bumper pads {you loved but knew were supposedly "safety hazards", so you couldn't really use}, basket liners {no one ever noticed}, and a diaper caddy {that was never where you could reach it at the time of greatest need}...a wipe warmer {which was only good for drying out wipes so they wouldn't clean as they should}...need I go on?  Needless to say, we spent hard-earned money on a nursery that she will never see, never remember, and never really needed.

Now, fast-forward to child #2...Appearing 22 months after our daughter, our son was the one we were going to be "smarter" with.  We planned to "re-use" all of our past nursery purchases to save on costs. Even our chosen bedding and matching stroller/carseat (yes...I said it all matched) was gender neutral, so even with a boy coming after a girl, we made it work.  We said "good-bye" to our newly furnished office/guest room, and made way from nursery #2 (essentially the same as nursery #1), and redecorated my sweet almost 2 year old's room to be a "big girl" room.  We did learn about buying clothes from consignment sales, instead of brand new, so that was helpful, but even at this point, we were still under the belief that we had to have a "proper nursery" for the baby and a newer, separate room for our "big girl".  We reused the furniture {still not using the crib for the first few months, and still never converting our convertible bed, that we purchased specifically for that functionality}...and decorated/furnished our second nursery just as before, as useless and wasteful as it may have been.

Now, finally, let's look at our most recent addition, our third child (daughter), who just turned 18 months.  I suppose that after having 9 years, 2 children, and 1 income, we learned that there were major differences between what is truly necessary and functional versus what a "model nursery" is. So, I will start again with this, "Nobody puts baby in a...closet!  Or, do they?"

When we found out that we were expecting a third child, we had lots to think about!  We had three bedrooms (and no extra rooms that could turn into a bedroom), and those three bedrooms were all occupied.  We knew we didn't have the option to sell and buy a larger house currently, so we had to get creative.  We also knew that, looking back, most of our "baby" purchases were not necessary, nor were they functional.  So, (thanks to Pinterest and my old pal, Google) I found many ideas on how to add a "nursery" into an already occupied room.  We weren't the only ones!!  We found cribs halfway in closets to maximize floor space...we found bunk beds for older siblings to combine and make room for a "nursery room" again...we found crib "nooks" in the master bedroom corner...and more!  And what they all came down to was finding only what was truly necessary at the time, and using just that.

That's exactly what we did.  And I will tell you, our sweet 18 month old has not once complained that she didn't have her own "model nursery".  Not once has she gave me grief about her changing "table" being the top of our master dresser {and not being used much anymore, so it's about to go back to it's original purpose}.  Never has she compared her second-hand bed to that of other babies she knows.  She doesn't complain that many of her "play areas" are in the living room and kitchen, instead of her own playroom {she would drag it all back in our family areas, anyway...}.  She doesn't care.  She has a roof over her for her tummy...a warm, cozy bed to sleep in...and all the love in the world!  She may not have the "model nursery", but she is happy.  And that is what is most important.

Here's our sweet girl's *new to her* BIG GIRL CRIB/BED in her new semi-shared {pretty much just for sleeping} room with her big sister (who is loving her new AG doll-inspired room decor that came with this re-design):

So, if you are expecting, I challenge you to think outside of the box.  Don't buy things just because you're "supposed" to have it.  Buy what you know you need {and buy it second-hand whenever possible} what you already have to make extra storage, etc.  Do what works for YOU and your family.  It may not be the "traditional" way of thinking...but if it's safe, and functional for you and your little ones...that's okay!  A nursery isn't what your child(ren) will ever's the love found in the place they call home that matters most.

Here are a few of my favorite places for "inspiration" on a frugal and not-so-traditional nursery...

{unknown source on Pinterest}