Is your family growing? Congratulations! Now you must prepare. Whether you are about to welcome a new baby into your home or you just got a brand-new puppy, you are going to need to do some safety-proofing for your home to keep your new addition safe and you (and your spouse) sane. Wondering where to start? This is the guide for you. Below, our moving and storage experts at Stor-It give you a crash course on home preparation for your new baby or pet. Take our tips to heart to ensure that your bundle of joy comes without a side of stress, and for all the changes to your space, consider reserving your self-storage with us today!
Preparing for Babies
As you can probably assume, safety-proofing your house is by far the most important thing you need to do before the baby arrives. Since your baby won’t be very mobile when you first bring him or her home, some of your prep work can be done on the fly after the baby is back at your house. (That being said, you should do as much as you can before the delivery, while you are still not completely exhausted.) You don’t want to wait too long. Babies start crawling and exploring before parents know it. Prioritize safety to get ahead of the many accidents (happy and not so happy) that will likely befall your household once your baby moves in. Here are a few essentials you should cover.
- What needs babyproofing? Babies and toddlers are very oral learners and will put almost anything in their mouths to try it out. This is great for testing out new varieties of baby food, but really bad when it comes to all of the cleaning supplies, chemicals, and pill bottles that you have around your house. It doesn’t help that most cleaning supplies and detergents are sold in fun, colorful packaging—in other words: eye candy for babies. As babies make no distinction between eye candy and real candy, you’ll need to keep these products out of sight so they stay out of your baby’s mouth. Lock up drawers and cabinets that have any cleaning supplies, medications, or other harmful chemicals. Do the same with drawers and cabinets that have small, swallow-able items like office supplies, jewelry, or electronics accessories. When in doubt, lock up anything that even might pose a problem for a toddler.
- If you can, move things out of reach. The best way to keep things out of reach of the newest member of your household is to simply keep them out of reach. Cabinets that are head height are a godsend for new parents. Have a high-up clothes cabinet? A lofty linen cabinet? These spots make great storage locations for cleaning supplies and other hazardous materials. Before making the switch, make sure to clean out the old cleaning-supply cabinet. For the sake of the linens, and for the sake of your child. A blue stain on the base of that cabinet will ruin your linens. That same blue stain may become food for baby, which can lead to serious medical complications.
- How to get creative with babyproofing. We get it: you can’t remove every last thing that may be dangerous to your child. Things like furniture edges, lighting fixtures, large appliances, and staircases are all home mainstays. They can’t be removed, but they can be proofed. There are many different options when it comes to babyproofing your house. Plastic, snap-in locks have always been one of the most popular babyproofing mechanisms. Other ones that have been gaining in popularity over the past few years are magnetic locks for your low-level cabinets and drawers. For low-flying edges, we recommend investing in some foam to cushion the corners. Hide the cords of lighting fixtures and other electronics, and push your large appliances up against the wall. Have stairs? Get a gate. Read online reviews to see what parents who are battling it out in the toddler trenches say about the best baby-proofing products on the market.
- Take the next babyproofing step earlier than you think you need to. “They grow up so fast.” You won’t understand how true that is until you have one of your own. Something to keep in mind throughout your entire babyproofing years is that kids will get stronger and smarter with each passing day. The babyproofing system you have been using from ages 0-2 might not work for a 3-year-old. Update your babyproofing system before you find yourself walking in on your toddler rooting around under the sink because they’ve figured out how to open the babyproofed cabinet.
Prepare for Visitors
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Not too many of us are living in villages these days, but we still all need help from friends, family members, and neighbors for certain aspects of childcare. This is especially true for those who are welcoming in their firstborn. The first is always the toughest. Allow your parents or your partner’s parents to help whenever possible. New grandparents are easy, free babysitters and a wealth of knowledge in those all-important first few months. They’re also more than likely incredibly excited about spending time with their new grandkid.
Before you go into the delivery room, gather up the things that guests might need or want while staying at your place. Guest towels, a backup pair of sheets for the guest bedroom, soap and other essentials for the guest bathroom are all great things to acquire now before everything gets hectic and everyone gets sleep deprived. You are going to be having loved ones cycling in and out of your guest room. Have the supplies ready for them to have a pleasant stay, and they’ll be much more affable to babysitting when you and your partner need a break from parenting for a second.
Clear Room in Your Fridge
In the first few months of your baby’s new life, your fridge is going to encounter some major changes. Not only should there be a dedicated shelf for bottles of formula and/or breastmilk for the baby, but there should also be space for the pre-cooked meals that friends and family members bring to you. Cooking is typically one of the first things to go by the wayside after having a baby. You are just too exhausted and busy to be spending an hour and a half in the kitchen making a tasty meal from scratch. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to feed hungry firstborn parents. Neighbors will drop off casseroles, guests will bring frozen meal preps, and you should also buy some easy, quick-cook meals before going off to the hospital to have a baby. Don’t parent on an empty stomach, and don’t keep around that week-old produce that is never going to get eaten. Prep your fridge to keep both you and your baby satisfied.
Preparing for Puppies
Take a Trip to Your Local Pet Store and Cover Your Bases
Like human babies, animal babies make messes. If you’re getting a new pet, you’re going to want to do everything you can to prevent mess. Start by investing in a tarp and cleaning supplies. These are essentials for your pet’s sleeping area. Specially designed food and water bowls that won’t tip over are far preferable for new puppy owners than regular kitchen bowls. These bowls will greatly reduce mess during meals.
Speaking of puppy meals, we recommend getting a dry food puppy blend for your new furry companion so that they get all their essential nutrients. Treats and toys are never a bad idea to keep the little guy or gal happy.
Leashes, collars, and dog tags are all a must as well. Get a collar that has expanding capabilities so that you’re not buying four separate collars over the course of your puppy’s first year. Consider steering clear of squeaky toys. Not only are squeaky toys particularly annoying for you to put up with for long stretches of time, but the squeaking part of the toy is swallow-able — aka dangerous. Think about setting up an appointment to get a digital chip implanted into your puppy so that if he or she ever gets loose, you can easily track them down rather than resort to setting up flyers around town.
Make a Sleeping Plan for Your Puppy and Start Potty Training ASAP
Some pet owners love having their dogs sleep in bed with them. Others prefer their dogs on the floor either at the foot of their bed or somewhere else in the house. Others still like their dogs to sleep in kennels. What’s important to remember is that the choice is yours, not the dog’s. Establish your preferred sleeping routine early on in your puppy’s life. Habits can be hard to break for dogs after they have become the norm.
Speaking of habits, it is important to get your puppy potty trained as quickly as possible. While you’re doing that, you’ll want to designate a room of your house for your puppy to sleep in, as he or she is sure to have a few accidents during the day and night. (This is why the tarp is important.) In addition to the tarp, stock your puppy’s room with a travel crate, food and water bowls, toys, and dog bed. Due to the mess you’ll likely encounter, we recommend using a mudroom or a laundry room for this transitionary phase. After your puppy has become normalized to the new living situation and (hopefully!) potty trained, you can begin to establish the sleeping situation for you and your puppy.
Preparing for Babies and Pets
Pet Gates and Puppy Gates
Puppies are highly destructive creatures. They are little furry balls of energy that can and will rip up entire rooms of your house — especially when you leave them unattended for extended periods of time. Babies are less destructive and less high-energy, but still should be barred from going into certain places in a house for their own safety. For both, stairs are a particularly charged area. They’re unsafe for babies, and they lead to regions that you may want to protect from your puppy. Get a gate to keep pets and puppies safe and out of areas that they shouldn’t be exploring. If you want to get your new baby a puppy so that they will grow up together, the same type of gate will suffice for keeping puppies and toddlers corralled.
Declutter Your Home
Getting a baby, a puppy, or both? Declutter your home, and you’ll simplify your life before it gets complicated. Things that you rarely use or never use that are just taking up space on your countertops, closets, cabinets, and other areas around your house should be gathered up and sorted into four piles. These are the trash pile, the take-it-to-a-thrift store pile, the try-to-sell-it pile, and the store-it-away pile. For the final pile, the store-it-away pile, you may want to consider getting a storage unit to fit all of your stuff. In addition to giving you more space, a storage unit will keep items far away from chew-crazy puppies and curious babies. For collectors, casual hoarders, and anyone with prized possessions, self-storage is a huge plus — especially with new members of the family around.
Learn More and Store Your Stuff With Us
Want to learn more about preparing your home for baby or a puppy? Ready to invest in self-storage to store your extra stuff? Our team here at Stor-It has you covered. As Idaho’s oldest and largest self-storage provider, we have high-quality storage solutions to fit storage needs large and small. In addition to our wide range of storage unit sizes, we also sell packing and moving supplies on-site to help make the storage process that much easier. With 14 Idaho storage facilities conveniently located across the Treasure Valley and beyond, we’re only a short drive away from wherever you are. Partner with our team to take the hassle out of storage and get back to what’s really important in life: your new family.