Minimizing With Baby: Creative Ideas for Multi-Use Items

Here’s a classic post from our early blogging days at Now that my second baby has arrived, I’ve found these items have gotten even more good use.  We’d love to hear about your unique ideas for baby gear!

When I was pregnant, my hormones drove me into a state of hyper-nesting which I channeled into home remodeling, random organization projects and, of course, baby shopping. I envisioned myself as a wild haired, sleep-deprived mom who was on the brink of a breakdown because she had never had the foresight to buy a ___________(fill in the blank).

Although I did become more disheveled and exhausted than I ever imagined in my first few weeks with my baby, I also learned that it really is possible to get along with a lot less than most registries suggest. My best strategy for minimizing was finding items that served many purposes. Below are my multipurpose favorites:

Nursing Tanks/Camisoles:  I purchased my tanks at Target and loved their versatility and comfort for over a year of nursing. They worked as a part of my wardrobe, and always hid the flabbiest part of my new-mom belly. Now I still use them as tank tops under sweaters or button downs.


The Boppy/Sit-Up Supporter:  Boppies are easy to score as hand-me-downs or find at the occasional rummage sale, and their use extends for good six to nine months of baby’s first year. In our early days we used our Boppy as a nursing cushion and also nestled baby into it when he absolutely would not sleep. You are NOT supposed to do this because of smothering risk, but we kept him in the living room and watched him as he slept It was the only way we could get our colicky son to sleep outside of our arms for about a month and we were happy to sit and watch him just to get a break. As he got older, we used the Boppy to support him in his wobbly first experiences with sitting up.

baby-swimming1.jpg The Storage Bin/Swimming Pool:  When Roscoe was just beginning to sit up securely, we used a storage tub to cool him off without too much room to topple over. While under close supervision, he enjoyed his mini-soak. We didn’t want to use a kiddy pool because of its enormous size and Roscoe’s unsteadiness when sitting up. The bin was a great solution and didn’t cost a dime! We just pulled out the Christmas ornaments and suddenly had ourselves a backyard pool.changing-table-baby.jpg

Dresser/Changing Table:  We bought our nifty dresser/changing table in the “as is” section of Ikea for $150. It was marked down because of a small, unnoticeable crack in the underside of the base. Although Roscoe’s dresser is the second most expensive piece of furniture in our ultra-thrifty household, it was worth every cent. The flip-top changing table saves space and can be removed and converted to a simple dresser when Roscoe is older.

Prefold-Cloth Diapers/Burp Rags/Re-usable Paper Towels:  Prefold diapers have more than earned their money back in the many ways we use them around the house. The ones he has outgrown have been employed in our baby-proofing efforts, as burp rags, and for household spills.

While nesting may bring about crazy energy, sleep-deprivation inspires some funky creativity. We were amazed by our ability to problem solve under our ever-changing circumstances in those early days. Having more stuff wouldn’t have eliminated the stress, but being able to trust our intuition and use what we had minimized the baby gear in our house. The state of my hair and my ability to get a good night’s sleep were another story.


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of using a plastic container you already have as a makeshift baby pool! I’m sure I’ll be able to stick baby in their before it gets too cool! (Its still hot in NC) Thanks!

  2. Hi,

    We just bought the SAME changing table off someone from Craig’s List. Just wondering if you were able to buy a changing pad that fits it? We had a similar changing table/dresser made by ChildKraft about 7 years ago (which we had also bought from Craig’s List) and had a great pad that came with it. Anyway, it seems nowadays they don’t make a pad that fits with this style.

    Thanks for your help. Thought it couldn’t hurt to ask.

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