ages and stages
Cleaning Jerk

Prepare For Your Kid’s Arrival With This Home And Nursery Cleaning Checklist

Don’t allow yourself to be so overcome by the joyous anticipation of bringing home baby that you straight up forget to prepare said home for said baby. Baby-fying your place might mean picking out a nursery space, deep cleaning your house for the first time in longer than you ought to admit, or moving to a new place altogether. Read up and start preparing ASAP, because if you think your wife hates cleaning up after you now, wait until she’s a few months pregnant.

Clear The Air
It turns out the average American home is one hell of a chemical shitstorm. Of the 80,000 chemicals approved for human use, zero have been tested for child safety; a child’s room can be 300 times more toxic than the rest of the house. Fortunately, there are some simple, effective changes you can make that will limit your kid’s exposure to noxious fumes or chemical clouds. Start with these:

  • Institute a strict no-shoes policy. No problem.
  • Ditch synthetic air fresheners and fragrances. See ya phthalate-r.
  • For mold removal, clove oil > bleach. Bleach in general is a no-no.
  • Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
  • House plants. Everywhere.
  • At least try to avoid the produce with the most pesticides. Because yeah, going all-organic is expensive AF.
  • Eliminate toxic cleaning products. DIY yourself some Lemon Pledge … with actual lemon peels.
  • Switch to beeswax candles. All the romance, none of the benzene.
  • Use essential oils. Chemical-free, and you’ll smell all festive and cinnamony.

Flickr/F.D. Richards

Doing all that will go a long way to ensure the cleanest air your kid breathes is at home. If you’re still paranoid, you might find your answer in that health and wellness gray area between “Doctor recommended despite little substantial evidence” and “My cat lady great aunt swears by it:” the air purifier. A New York Times reporter put 6 popular models through the paces, if you’re buying what great aunt Irma’s selling.

At this point, the air in your house should be fresher than fresh. Once they leave the front door, they’re screwed, but at least you did your part.

Clean The Carpet (But Not How You Think)
That fresh, new smell you get from a professional deep carpet cleaning? Totally toxic. But you still need to get all the crap out of your carpets before bringing the kid home, so consider using a green cleaning service. Both Zoots and ChemDry are national chains with good reputations, but if you need to go local, ask these 2 questions: Are their cleaning solutions plant or chemical based? How do they dispose of their waste water? If they can’t clearly answer these questions, keep looking.

Keep It Clean
Even if you’ve followed all that to the letter and pride yourself on weekly deep cleans of your home as a matter of principle, you can throw that out the window (along with the rest of your principles) once you come home with the kid. What little time you have left will be spent sleeping, not cleaning, so it’s a good thing that a new crop of online services have popped up that provide maids on demand in most major cities. Handy is just one example that will help make your place cleaner than you ever could, even before you had a baby sleeping and screaming and pooping all over it.

Just don’t forget to tip.

Where To Put The Nursery
Regardless of how much space you have (or wish you had), it has to fit somewhere in your house, and there are many factors to consider. Before you get into the real work, here are a few of them:

  • Light. Natural sunlight enhances any room’s mood, and you know what they say: happy baby, happy life. They don’t say that? Whatever, your wife will understand.
  • Noise. Doesn’t make a sleepy baby happy. See above.
  • Temperature. They don’t deal too well with cold, either.
  • Electricity. There’s a shocking number of baby gizmos and gadgets that are as useless as a Frogger high score without an outlet.
  • Space. For tiny humans, babies require So. Much. Crap. And all of it has to fit somewhere. Where can you fit it, and what do you have to give up to do so?

Movin’ On Up?
If your answer to the above was, “A bigger house,” don’t stress. Do aim to move during the second trimester, when morning sickness should have abated and beached-whale-ness hasn’t begun. A few other helpful tips:

  • Don’t let her climb any ladders. That should be more obvious than helpful.
  • She should also avoid all paints. But you already knew that.
  • Lifting is actually doctor-approved. Only up to about 25 pounds, but hey, if she insists on throwing out a bunch of your crap, at least you can ask her to haul it to the curb herself