I went into this whole parenthood thing with the mindset of a minimalist. I figured that kids are babies for such a short time, so most of the things that people say you really “need” aren’t real necessities. That said, I quickly realized once I had a real-life human baby on my hands that even though babies don’t “need” all this baby stuff, it certainly does make life a whole lot easier.
That said, I still don’t like having a ton of “baby stuff” around that will only be used for a short time, so I try to get as much “bang for my buck” as I can by choosing things that can grow with my baby and our family. This is good for our wallets, good for the planet and good for minimizing clutter.
Here are 10 fantastic items that you can use well beyond the baby years…
Convertible High Chair 1 of 10This high chair will grow with your child until they no longer need a high chair at all, at which point it makes a perfectly wonderful chair that a grownup can use too.
Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair ($229.99) from Diapers.com
Latte Bowls 2 of 10These little bowls are the cutest and great for measuring out ingredients or for portion control. I had them before I ever had a baby and now they make the perfect baby food bowls.
Bowls ($30.00 for a set of 6) from Anthropologie
Stylish Rocker 3 of 10A rocking chair is a wonderful thing to have when you have a tiny baby to rock and nurse to sleep, so try to choose a stylish one that you won't mind having in your house once your baby is too big to rock.
Eames Rocking Chair ($154.00) from Interiortrade Furniture
Trash Bin 4 of 10A trash can with a lid is a must-have when you're dealing with stinky diapers, but why waste money on a bin that is diaper specific? Just choose a trash can you like that you can continue to use throughout the years.
Knodd Trash bin ($24.99) from IKEA
Tea Kettle 5 of 10We had a fancy bottle warmer that we ended up returning, because it wasn't any more convenient or quick than using our tried and true tea kettle to heat up the water. Take the money you saved on the bottle warmer and buy a pretty kettle you'll get to enjoy for years to come!
Nambe Tea Kettle ($125.00) from Macy's
Dresser 6 of 10Don't waste your money on a changing table! Spend the money on a quality dresser and stick a changing pad wedge on top and there you have it: instant changing table. Then, once you're beyond diapers you'll still have a nice looking piece of furniture that can grow with your child.
Anders Dresser ($2,799.00) from Room & Board
A Regular Size Mattress 7 of 10If you feel like bucking trends, you can forgo a crib altogether (we did!) and have your baby sleep on a floor bed Montessori style. One of the benefits is that you save money on a crib and crib mattress and can just buy a larger mattress that your child will be able to use for years to come.
JÃ–MNA Mattress ($79.00) from IKEA
Non-Baby Blankets 8 of 10Baby blankets are great, but so many of them are so cutesy! Unless you genuinely want to incorporate primary colors and baby jungle animal prints into your overall home decor, stick with blankets that match with the design in your home so you can use them as lovely throws once baby gets bigger.
Ferm Living Little Remix Blanket ($81.95) from Fawn & Forest
Convertible Water Bottle 9 of 10There are at least 18,000 varieties of sippy cups out there and your baby probably won't even like most of them, so why not just skip ahead to a convertible water bottle like this. You can purchase a sippy lid and then graduate to a regular lid as your child grows and no longer needs it. Perfect.
Bottle (prices vary) from Kleen Kanteen
Versatile Art 10 of 10Avoid overly baby'ish art for the nursery. Stick to more versatile pieces in fun colors that are still kid-friendly and you'll avoid having to do a complete room redo when your baby is no longer a baby. Everything in Ashley Goldberg's shop would be a great example of this!
Ashley Goldberg print ($20.00) from Ashley G on Etsy
Do you have any other items you might suggest that are good for growing with a child and/or a family? I’m always looking for great multitasking products!
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble. More Babbling…