Baby Essentials (or Not): Changing Area

With Gen, and now with this coming baby, we’ve chosen not to purchase a baby changing table. We found that an inexpensive changing pad met our needs well, which I purchased with a sale coupon before Gen was born. With Gen, we placed it on a long dresser in her room. (She & I have since traded dressers, and it now holds the baby’s bed.)

During our various moves, we’ve hauled around a kitchen “baking” cabinet (similar to a microwave stand) that I’ve always used for storing my mixer and baking supplies. In our new home, however, the kitchen had room for all these things; but no room for the cabinet.

We tossed around ideas of possibly using it as a potting table for plants or even just freecycling it. But then I realized that the cabinet fit well just outside our bedroom door, in the dining room. Since the baby won’t have its own room, I thought it would be a good place to store baby clothes and supplies.
I placed the old changing pad on top, and it just fit! (This is great for middle-of-the-night changes, without disturbing the rest of the family.) It is also an ideal placement for easy access at birth, since this is also the room we will be using for the waterbirth tub.

The exterior of the changing pad is getting quite worn, with some tears, so I decided to make some sturdy new covers for it. I wanted the covers to also coordinate with our home’s decor, since it is in the dining room! I went to the fabric store, and purchased some cotton “duck” and flannel fabrics during a 50% off home decor fabrics sale. (I made sure all the fabrics are washable!)

I sewed up a handful of covers using this easy-to-follow $2 pattern. (I originally intended to use this free pattern, but I was having trouble grasping the directions without pictures- probably just my sleepy pregnancy brain, since it really is a simple project.) I ended up using much less elastic than the directions called for; perhaps our changing pad is smaller than theirs?

Inside the cabinet, I placed eight matching metal bins from the dollar store to organize the clothing items since there aren’t any drawers for this purpose. (They won’t be so full once the endless loads of laundry begin!)

On the end of the cabinet is a towel bar, which I put to use for hanging a multi-pocket diaper stacker. I found this at a children’s consignment sale earlier this spring for a few dollars. It has been the perfect solution for storing those cloth diapers (from craigslist), covers, and burp cloths, as well as the changing pad covers!

One of Calvin’s “moving in projects” this spring was creating wall shelves, repurposed from a discarded, broken bookcase left on the side of the road. He placed one shelf on the wall above the cabinet, and I added baskets of diaper-changing supplies (mostly bigger diaper covers, calendula ointment, etc).

We already had the baskets around our house, so I didn’t need to buy anything new. (The pastel yellow basket is saved from my own nursery as a baby!) A little basket holds our stack of handmade bibs, since it is within easy reach of the dining table.

Several years ago, I created the pictures hung on the wall. They are copies of scrapbook album pages of Calvin and I, in matching thrift store frames. (I like to pick up basic black frames, when I can find them; usually about 50-99 cents each.) Gen always enjoyed seeing pictures of us, when she was a baby (and still does), so I thought it was fitting to have pictures of Mama & Daddy above the changing table, just at the baby’s eye-view.

Since I repurposed items around the house, combined with some homemade and inexpensive additions, we didn’t have to buy any new baby furniture! The total cost of our baby’s “nursery” was about $35.

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3 comments to Baby Essentials (or Not): Changing Area

  • Joy


    I went searching through your archives for this particular post. I remember reading it when it was new and thinking you did a nice job.

    Well, now we are expecting our 4th, and are in a small rental. We have given away all our baby “gear” after the 3rd, and so I am trying to figure out how to fit everything. But, babies do not have to take up much space. This time around, I am considering not getting a stroller, high chair, or swing.

    Thanks for the simple solution posts. Helps me get my creative juices flowing.


    Michele Reply:

    @Joy, Congratulations! :) Glad it helped!


  • […] Moses Basket sheets for a friend’s baby bed (borrowed a couple years ago, and returned) and covers for our (very well-worn!) changing pad, that these sheets would be […]

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