Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Drowning in Toys

I would describe myself as organized. Other people might conclude I have (mild) OCD. Whatever the case, the result is the same: I find comfort in order. Every day, Eric and I are vigilant about keeping the boat tidy. We make sure that everything has a place and everything goes in its place (I am much more enthusiastic about this process than Eric). It is tedious, but since our space is small, it only takes a few items "out of place" for the entire boat to look like a disaster zone. And this was before we had a baby.

Enter, Helina.

Babies seem to require a lot of stuff. Some of it is necessary and some of it is not. We try and only buy what is necessary, but "necessary" is a word subject to broad interpretation, and as such, I find us accumulating more and more baby contraptions with every passing day. That being said, I have no doubt Helina has less stuff than many of her peers (that is, with the exception of those living on a sailboat smaller than 54 feet). However, considering Helina's favorite thing to play with is her burp rag, I don't feel too bad about failing to outfit her with every baby product under the sun.

Even though we strive to get by with as few things as possible, on any given day, the interior of our boat resembles some version of this:

Helina's World
Now, if you look closely at the photo, you'll see that Helina really doesn't have that much stuff--it just seems that way because our space is so small.

So, how do we keep from being overwhelmed with baby gear in a small space? For starters, we don't leave everything out at all times. The photo above is accurate as far as what we own, but also a bit misleading. In general, when Helina isn't using something, we put it away. This practice helps us preserve our sanity, but I also think it helps Helina stay calm. I've noticed that she gets a little stressed when there is too much stuff around her (she either takes after me or she is tuned in to my stress level), so I try to not surround her with too much at any given time.

We also make sure that at the end of the day, all baby-related items are out of sight, so our salon remains an adult living space and not a child's play room.

So where does all of her stuff go? Right here (look closely):

Hidden Baby Gear
The majority of her toys, blankets, devices, etc. are stored in one of the small cabinets behind our recliners:

Nesting Owl
Some of her belongings are too large for the cabinet, so we needed to find other places for them to reside. When not in use, her tummy time blanket folds flat and hangs inside the forward stateroom, on the doorknob to the forward head (guest bathroom):

Forward Stateroom 
Since Helina's blue chair is small and (somewhat) resembles adult furniture, it remains in the main salon, in front of our ice maker and in between our recliners:

Staying on top of Helina's baby gear is important, not just for our own mental health, but also so we can go sailing (the whole reason we have the boat). If Helina's things were always out, readying the boat would be a huge ordeal. Since everything is always put away (including our stuff), we are always ready to set sail.

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