Pregnancy hormones can cause the nesting instinct to kick in. Here's how to harness your new mom-to-be superpower to get things done!
When I became pregnant, I wanted to experience everything pregnancy had to offer—no matter what! My prayers were answered, and I had my fill of morning sickness, cravings, prenatal kicks, and a rapidly expanding waistline. In the last trimester, I was thrilled to have the insatiable desire to nest.
73 percent of pregnant women experience the urge to nest in some fashion.
A babycenter.com poll showed that 73 percent of pregnant women experience the urge to nest in some fashion. Instincts play a part in nesting at the end of pregnancy—a mom-to-be wants to make sure her home is clean and organized for the baby’s impending arrival. If you're pregnant, you might find that this urge can have you doing anything from stocking the freezer with hearty casseroles to alphabetizing your entire pantry … right after you surprise your partner with a garage makeover.
Regardless of how much time or energy you have to spend on this pivotal part of your pregnancy, take advantage of these inspired ideas when that yearning to start feathering your nest strikes.
1. Plan in advance for your nesting surge
It’s difficult to predict what your energy levels will be throughout your pregnancy, so take advantage of the first trimester and craft a detailed list of all the decluttering, organizing, and home projects you want to tackle when you embrace your inner nesting.
Here are a few ideas you might feather your nest with.
- Straightening your home’s closets
- Scrubbing all the door and window frames
- Eliminating cobwebs lurking in ceiling corners, and under beds and sofas
- Organizing your Tupperware and silverware drawers
- Ditching the spices you haven’t touched in years
- Streamlining your laundry room—babies make lots of dirty laundry
- Cleaning neglected things like cobwebby corners, window screens, and ceiling fans
- Deep cleaning your kitchen and bathroom
You get the idea. Now’s the time to plan ahead so you won’t waste precious time when the urge hits to make your home shine.
Bump it up a notch: Keep this nesting list as part of your baby book or journal. You’ll be able to reflect on all the neat projects you were brave enough to take on before your sweet baby arrived. What a keepsake!
2. Simplify your surroundings
Organizing expert extraordinaire Marie Kondo took the nation by storm with her heartfelt approach to decluttering. Kondo’s goal of tidying is to make room for meaningful objects, people, and experiences. Her philosophy involves simplifying and organizing your home by getting rid of physical items that do not bring joy into your life.
When your nesting instinct kicks in, channel your inner Kondo and start reducing the extra claptrap that surrounds you.
Last spring, I jumped on the Kondo bandwagon and donated or tossed over 50 percent of my family’s possessions. If the item didn’t make my heart sing with joy, out it went! As someone who always went overboard with pregnancy nesting, I'm certain that if Marie Kondo had been on my radar back then, I would’ve taken this rite of passage to new heights.
Preparing to bring a new baby into your home is cause for major celebration. When your nesting instinct kicks in, channel your inner Kondo and start reducing the extra claptrap that surrounds you. My colleague, Get-It-Done Guy, has a two-part episode—Clean, Organize, and Declutter with Marie Kondo's Magic—that can help you get started.
Bump it up a notch: Don’t forget your car and pocketbook! Now’s the time to freshen up your car’s interior and get your favorite pocketbook up to snuff before you head to the hospital.
3. Embrace your creative side
In addition to going to town cleaning and organizing, another exciting facet of nesting is tapping into your creative side. Even if you don't think you have one!
I’ve always enjoyed arts and crafts projects, but each time I was pregnant my interest skyrocketed. I can thank pregnancy nesting for our hallways that are decoupaged with family photos and the extravagant garden scene painted on our outdoor deck.
We now have access to hundreds of tutorials on YouTube and other online learning platforms, so if you suddenly feel called to stencil a seashore mural in your master bath—go for it!
Bump it up a notch: Expand your artistic touches beyond your home décor. Scrapbooking with favorite photos is a fun way to express your love of family life. Handwritten notes are also an unexpected creative touch in today’s digital age. Before the baby arrives, pen a romantic note of thanks to your partner about how excited you are to step into this next phase of your lives together.
4. Bring on the food
One realization that nesting is underway is the sudden need to start whipping up hearty casseroles, stews, and other delicious concoctions that will feed your family for weeks after the baby is born.
Nesting in your kitchen is the real deal! If you’re someone who loves to spend time creating meals, dabbling with new recipes, baking up a storm—this phase of nesting will totally resonate with you.
Preparing and freezing as many meals in advance of your delivery as possible will be a lifesaver after your baby arrives.
It’s also a great idea to plan beyond your frozen meal stash. Meal planning is one of the best gifts you can give your family. Before the stork arrives, give meal planning a try.
This is also a great time to thoroughly clean out your fridge, give your cupboards an overhaul, defrost your freezer, clean your stove and microwave, and straighten underneath your sink.
Bump it up a notch: Baking is a sweet way to get excited about your baby’s arrival. Once in baker’s mode, make extra cookies, brownies, or muffins that you can freeze to gift to the special folks who have supported your pregnancy. (Think delivery room nursing staff, OB/GYN staff, co-workers who picked up the slack, and your hungry labor coach/partner.)
5. Prepare your nursery with clever hacks
During my struggle with infertility, I spent hours of precious time daydreaming about designing the perfect nursery. Everything would be cute, whimsical, and dripping in a soft, soothing color palette. I would have quintessential bonding moments in this dreamy space where I planned on spending as much time as possible alone with my new baby.
My first baby came to us through adoption so I wasn’t as prepared as I would’ve been with nine months’ notice, but I still created the nursery of my dreams. It was a carousel theme that exceeded all of my expectations in terms of design. But, because I didn’t realize how quickly babies grow, it was one of the most impractical rooms I’ve ever had in my home.
Eight babies later, I’ve learned that you can combine charming and practical ideas to create a great space for your baby to start off and grow in. Here are some of my favorite nursery hacks:
- If you're dreaming of a theme-based nursery, choose items like framed artwork, posters, or bedding to represent the theme rather than having something grand like a painted mural or furniture. You can still create the desired effect without the expense. As your baby grows, you can easily change the artwork.
- Removable wallpaper is a hot trend! You can make a wow statement with removable wallpaper as the focal point on even one wall.
- Avoid nursery furniture pieces like changing tables and baby dressers. Babies grow fast, which means they outgrow these cutesy items in the blink of an eye. Instead, look for a bureau you can use as a changing table for the first couple of years. A neutral color will work well with your nursery scheme but will also grow with your child into her toddler and grade-school years.
- Spice racks make a wonderful alternative to clunky bookcases. IKEA’s BEKVÄM spice rack is a popular choice for under $5! Check out this DIY for some playful ideas.
- Use plastic dish tubs as drawer dividers. You can easily sort sleepers, onesies, nightgowns, and everything in between. You can easily remove them from the drawer when you want to organize or pack your diaper bag. Roll clothes and store them vertically (thank you, Marie Kondo!) before placing them in the dish tubs.
Bump it up a notch: Nursery bling is overrated. Think long-term, and take ideas from other rooms in the house. Pegboards, for example, are a wonderful way to organize the garage but also work well in the nursery to create extra shelving for a place to hang loose items that don't have a set storage area such as baby’s jackets or bath towels.