by Melissa Jaramillo
While this article may not be presented to you in a lovely spiral-bound notebook with color-coded tabs, we can help you get the whole "getting ready for baby" experience to be a pleasantly organized one.
There isn't a "one-size fits all" organizational method that works for everyone. Since there are so many different ways to get organized, don't fret if your best friend appears to have everything ready to go and you're still feeling like a tornado. Chances are, they are too! Getting ready for baby doesn't have to be filled with chaos. These tips and methods can get you on the color-coordinated road to happiness -- or at least through to next week.
✓ Determine whether you'll go digital or use a physical planner. We suggest you go with what makes you comfortable and the least stressed-out. Take advantage of today's technology such as using Google Calendar to keep track of all your appointments, meetings and events.
✓ When you make your lists don't put everything in the world on them. Some women suggest making a "list notebook" that contains every single list you make all in one place. This method might seem old school, but there's something so satisfying about crossing a task off the list. Speaking of tasks, try to bundle them if you can. Purge the mental clutter! The other really important tip is to start a new page every so often and bundle any left-over outstanding tasks.
✓ Shopping should be fun. It can turn into a nightmare if you haven't prepared for the journey. Go through sales ads and make a list for each person on your master list. Consolidate shopping by going to stores that have the most items on your list. Wear comfy shoes and stay hydrated. Shop "off" hours and space things out. Shop online! When all else fails, consider creating gifts homemade goodies.
✓ Organizing a baby shower employs some of the tips you've read above. Here are a few more gems. After setting up your baby registry, determine who will host the shower? How will you determine the budget and guest list? What are your invitation options? How do I plan the baby shower menu, games, theme, choose the location and select a date and time? Manage your expectations, time and employ your new methods!
✓ Knowing what to expect when it comes time for your labor and delivery helps ease any anxiety especially if this is your first baby. Create a pre-delivery checklist that includes important contact numbers, childcare arrangements, insurance, birth bag items and a reminder to install the car seat (can't bring baby home without it!). Decide where you'll give birth-- at home, birthing center or hospital. Your choice will determine any other items you need to prepare for and add to your lists.
✓ During your first weeks together, you and your baby may feel a bit overwhelmed. These plan-ahead suggestions can make the transition smoother. Stock up on easy to prepare meals. Keep on top of the household chores. Choose your baby's pediatrician and take care of finances. Have your postpartum supplies on hand including must-haves for baby. Big bonus tip: keep track of your friends' and family's offers for help -- don't be afraid to cash those chips in!
Ultimately, you should consider what will make your first weeks at home easier. Will you be the organizer junkie or ask someone to help you handle the tasks?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.