Planning the perfect baby nursery is very exciting and a little intimidating. Many parents start thinking about the nursery as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Others prefer to put it off for as long as they can as the idea of planning a nursery is overwhelming. Once you have chosen a room or space, there are so many other things to think about: colors, theme, furniture, and organization. Where do you begin? A nursery checklist can help you organize the nursery items you want and need.

You will be spending a lot of time in your baby's nursery, so comfort and safety are key! You want to create a safe and secure nursery environment, so choose nursery products with safety in mind. You will also want the nursery environment to be calming and comfortable, with little areas of stimulation interspersed here and there where you need them. A nursery should be serene and simple, not chaotic and cluttered. A cluttered nursery will frustrate you. You may end up wishing you hadn't bought that matching bedside table that you constantly bang your knee against when heading to the change table.

It is easy to get carried away with all the entrapments and accoutrements of furnishing a baby nursery. To avoid overspending, create a budget. Know how much you can afford to spend on furnishing and decorating your nursery. Your baby will not know the difference between classic Winnie-the-Pooh and a generic teddy bear. Your baby won't need that rocking horse until they are three years old, no matter how cute it will look tucked away in the corner. You want your nursery to grow with your baby—you will need the space. It is amazing how much stuff a baby collects!

Nursery furniture should be simple and easy to use. There will be many pieces of furniture you will be using for the first time. The easier it is to use, the better! As far as baby stuff goes, the nursery is full of big-ticket baby items,a bassinet, crib, changing table, dresser, Diaper Genie, rocking chair or glider rocker, never mind the overall décor. It is a lot to think about!

When you have chosen a specific model, go to the store and learn how to use it before you buy. If you are comfortable with how it works, buy it, bring it home, set it up, and practice. You will want to know how to use all of your nursery items before your baby arrives. It will be very difficult trying to figure out that Diaper Genie with one hand while holding a wriggling baby in your other arm.

It is a good rule of thumb to try to have your nursery complete one month before your due date. That will clear the air in the room, dissipating any noxious fumes from new paint, wallpaper or carpet. Quite frankly, in your last month of pregnancy you will need to relax and enjoy those last moments of being pregnant. You may even want to spend a few afternoons in the nursery just unfolding and refolding all those tiny infant clothes while daydreaming about your baby.

Planning your nursery is a very exciting time. It will be one of the first times you fully realize that you will be sharing your space with another human being. It is also overwhelming with the sheer number of things you need to think about before your baby arrives. Think, plan, obsess, and look around you for inspiration. Most new mothers are attracted to a certain look and feel in the nurseries they see in magazines and department store displays. So pore through magazines, walk through the nursery section of your local department store, and let your imagination lead you to your perfect nursery.

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