How I'm Preventing Baby Stuff From Taking Over Our Home

Right now the two topics I chat the most about with my mom friends are sleep (which I refuse to talk about just yet haha) and our homes. Why our homes you ask? Because it's shocking how quickly a home can fill with stuff and you can feel like you're being held hostage by your belongings. Heck, that happens to my non-mom friends as well. We live in a townhouse at the moment so while we feel very fortunate for our home, between our furniture and all of Thomas' things, it didn't take long after moving in a year ago to feel our living area getting crowded. We made a few decisions that we've been really happy with on our main floor so I wanted to share them with you in case you're feeling like your child's stuff is starting to overtake your home!

A few disclaimers, because it wouldn't be the internet if I didn't feel the need to have disclaimers.

I know I only have one child. I get told "just wait until you have more kids" anytime I feel remotely like I have something under control haha. So yes, I know that having more than one child is difficult and it means more stuff but I will cross that clutter filled bridge if I get to it!

We feel very fortunate to have our home. The real estate market in Vancouver and it's surrounding areas is crazy at the moment so we don't take for granted that we have a nice home to live in. It was a battle to get our home and we know that a townhouse is more space than a lot of people have at the moment.

Now back to the post!

When we moved into our home Thomas was 3 months old so we knew to keep our furniture inexpensive and baby friendly. We purchased some furniture for our new home but we knew that we wanted to keep it to a minimum. We wanted to try to keep as much free space open as possible because in our old home we felt like we had furniture or "stuff" in every nook and cranny. It felt crowded and visually a little stressful. We technically have space for another chair and a little storage cabinet in our current living area but we said nah, we wanted as much empty space as possible to give a more open feel.  Shortly after we moved in we set up Thomas' jolly jumper and that's when we knew we needed a little space for Thomas' things. We purchased a playmat and placed it next to our little living area. The mat we chose is adjustable in size so when we first put it together we made it a little bigger since Thomas wasn't mobile yet and he spent a lot of his time playing on the mat. Now that he's running all over the place we have made the mat smaller and while he doesn't spend all of his time playing on it, at the end of the day it's the place his toys go when we clean up. The mat is where his bigger toys live and where the soft toy box with all of his little toys is kept.

At daycare they practice putting all their toys away and while he definitely is not cleaning up just yet we like the idea that his bigger toys stay on the mat and when he's done with his smaller toys they go in the toy box. He can have fun and pull out as many toys as he wants because regardless of how messy things get while he's playing it doesn't take long to put all of his toys away and for things to feel organized again. Ultimately I'm just a huge believer that everything in a home (not just baby toys) needs to have a place to go because that allows for quick clean ups... and I'm all about getting house work done quickly.


We don't keep all of Thomas' toys in the toy box though! We store some in a bin in his room and we swap them out. He has his favourite go-to toys but since pulling all of the toys out of the toy box is the best game ever, he will often pull out extra toys and leave them around. So we just keep the toys he's loving at the moment in the box and the rest are in his room. For example, he has a basketball/soccer net toy that we rotate between his room and our living area and every time we bring it down it feels new again. He's so happy with the toys we keep downstairs and let's be honest, he has way too much stuff anyways so he's not exactly missing out haha. We have also let family know that if they are ever going to purchase a gift for Thomas, they need to respect the size of our home and the size of the area we are keeping his toys in.

I'm starting to feel like this post is going to make me look like a super uptight mom but I can assure you, I am hilarious and a great time and YOU ALL WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH ME. JK, but in all seriousness having some sort of resemblance of organization in our living area makes it a lot easier for me to have fun with Thomas without worrying about the clean up after. Besides, Thomas has no idea that we have taken these few steps to make sure our home feels like adults actually live here as well and that we aren't buried in kids toys haha. We have so much fun playing and laughing and it's just a bonus for mom and dad that we can clean up really quickly and at the end of the day our home feels like a home for all three of us.

I'm sure this is nothing brand new but if you're living in a home with littles and you don't have an extra room to make a play room, or your kids are still smaller and need to be in the room you're in most of the time, maybe this will help? Maybe not? Who knows really but I'm going to post this anyways because I've already typed all of this up and I need to feel a sense of purpose in my life.

If you have any tips for living in a "smaller" (smaller is relative, let's be honest) space with kids please let me know. Thomas is only going to get bigger which means his stuff will only get bigger.


  1. When I had my son in London, we were living in a 600 sq foot flat, and keeping the stuff under control was a real challenge! My best suggestion is to get relatives to gift your child lessons or experiences instead of toys. It turned out really well, as it meant I could do a few of the more expensive classes with my son, and my in-laws would either come and watch, or I would send photos. I know there are some relatives who just REALLY want to send toys, and it can be a challenge getting those family members that don't live in the city to understand how little space you really have. Something that also worked well for us was organizing toy swaps with other families. That way you can either exchange some toys for awhile, or even permanently trade away things that your son has outgrown for new ones. It doesn't need to be a huge neighbourhood thing, though those can be good too, even 4 or 5 families can make for a good swap afternoon.

  2. The biggest cause of clutter for us right now is just all the extra little gizmos that we have for Eleanor. She has a proper nursery but we have a ton of stairs in our town house and I'm not totally recovered from my C section yet so we have everything rigged up on the main floor for me to hang out with her there all day and be near the kitchen and the tv. To avoid all the trips up the stairs we cot a change table and little portable crib for the main floor, in addition to the toy box and all the little swinging chair and the exerciser and the activity mat...so it definitely feels crowded. I've arrived at a mental compromise for myself by reminding myself it's temporary and be keeping it all organized and neat. So crowded, but organized.

    Courtney ~ Sartorial Sidelines


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