A Minimalist Nursery

A Minimalist Nursery

© Depositphotos.com/Fabian Schmidt

Having a baby is such a time of joy. Even from the very beginning we want to have the best for our children. But I’ll gladly let you know, that there is a lot of stuff we don’t need for our babies!

1. You don’t need a nursery.

First off, as a parent, who is also a minimalist: you don’t need a nursery. You don’t need a separate bedroom for this baby. Even if you don’t share a family bed, it’s recommended that you keep baby in the same room as you. Studies have shown babies sleep better and have reduced risks of SIDS when baby is in the same room as their parents. <source>
How long you keep your baby in your room is up to you. Once mine sleep through the night, I move them into a shared room with their older siblings.
Let’s talk about the items you need: Each person’s needs are different, and some babies are higher needs than others, so this list isn’t an absolute. As you spend more and more time with your little one, you will see items you don’t use and items that could be helpful to you. Trust your gut and only keep/get things you know you will use.

My minimalist baby equipment:



  • Bouncy seat. I typically set the bouncy seat wherever I am working and let babe watch me. Or sit on the floor near where siblings are playing, so babe can watch them play. My favorite bouncy seat is this one, but any will do. I avoid getting any with plastic toys hanging in their face.
  • Dresser. This is helpful for holding clothes, blankets, burp clothes and all diaper needs. A smaller 3 drawer dresser is really all that’s needed and it should be able to hold everything a baby needs. Get one that is as tall as your waist so it’s a comfortable height to change baby on top of. (See below.)
  • Changing pad. Changing pads like this one, sit right on top of the dresser, which means you don’t need to purchase a changing table. When your little one is potty trained, you are only left with a dresser, which your child will still use.
  • Co-sleeper, bassinet or crib. If you have a family bed and keep baby in your own bed, then you can avoid this altogether. We just have a double bed, so I like to have a co-sleeper on my side of the bed. To avoid all the production chemicals and off-gassing of new materials,  put your baby on an organic mattress.
  • Wrap or carrier. This takes the place of a stroller. Half the time babies don’t want to be in a stroller and parents end up trying to hold a baby and push a stroller, so let’s just keep it simple. My favorites are Moby wraps and Tula or Ergo carriers.
  • Swing. A swing is the only way I was able to cook dinner when my oldest kids were little. Now that I have teenagers, I just ask them to occupy the baby while I cook, so I don’t actually need a swing.
  • Carseat. Quality car seats are one of the best investments you can make. I recommend this infant one and a Britax transitional one.
  • Diapers. If you are able to do cloth, it is seriously the best choice; for the environment and for baby’s skin as well. I recommend GroVia covers, wipes and these prefolds. I keep these disposable diapers for times when I need them.
  • Diaper Bag. Mine is small, it fits one change of clothes, 4 diapers, wipes, burp cloth and toy.


  • 6 sleepers
  • 12 bodysuits
  • 6 pants
  • 6 socks
  • 1 jacket or sweater
  • 1 pilot hat (for outdoors/windy days)
  • receiving blankets, how many you need depends on what season baby is born in. For winter, I used about 8, for summer, I used 4. I like these and these.

Things to note:
Hats on infants. I only put one hat on the clothing list on purpose. When outdoors, it’s best to keep baby’s ears covered, but indoors, it’s important keep your little ones head uncovered- so in the hospital or at home, keep those hats away from baby. Click here to read why.
Plastics. If you’ve been to any baby section of big box store, you will see an overwhelming amount of brightly colored plastic stuff: plastic toys, plastic seats, plastic plates, cups, utensils… everything you can imagine and more!
But plastic is ruining our environment and poisoning our children. <source> To avoid this from the beginning, let family members know about the dangers of plastic and why you are trying to avoid them. Give suggestions on plastic free options: buying natural wood toys (like these), wooden high chairs, etc. Etsy.com is a great place to shop quality made baby items.
Toys. Currently, my 6 month old son has 4 toys. 1 plush, 3 teething toys. This is a perfect amount! We keep one in the carseat, one in the diaper bag and have 2 for around the house.

Things I don’t have

At this point, I’m not even sure what is considered “normal” versus what I live without. So instead of having a list of unnecessary items, I just gave you a list of all the items that I use and find helpful.
How about you? Do you live with less? Are there other items that you feel you can’t live without? Leave me a comment below and let me know.

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About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. Linda spiker on 06/13/2014 at 10:19 pm

    Great tips! Planning for a baby is so fun and exciting. Glad to see it can be done well without breaking the bank!

    • Rachel on 06/16/2014 at 12:40 am

      Thanks Linda!

      • Kancy on 01/11/2017 at 7:24 am

        The only thing I’d add is to secure the dressers with brackets to the walls…since so many have toppled over toddlers & kids trying to climb them.

  2. Aubrey on 06/14/2014 at 12:03 pm

    Love this post! I totally agree. We did the whole nursery thing with my first two and they never got used.. this time we didn’t even try

    • Rachel on 06/16/2014 at 12:39 am

      Thanks Aubrey!

  3. Lydia on 06/15/2014 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for this post! Where does the baby sleep when she moves into another room since the cosleeper is limited as far as age/weight/baby is moving? And is there a baby carrier that is suitable for infancy to toddler?

    • Rachel on 06/16/2014 at 12:31 am

      I got a crib. But I’ve read quite a bit about moving them right to a mattress on the floor. I just personally like that they have to wait for me to get them up, so I tend to keep my kids in their cribs until they learn to climb out. 🙂

      • Jen on 11/28/2014 at 10:36 am

        We all have floor beds….just mattresses on the floor…works great and provides autonomy for moving babies and toddlers.

    • Andrea on 06/17/2014 at 4:45 pm

      I’d recommend a ring sling for a carrier. Works from newborn to toddler.

      • Rachel on 06/17/2014 at 5:13 pm

        Good call- I’ve had many friends that have loved them.
        I think it’s great that there are so many options these days, I don’t remember any types of wraps when I had my first baby 18 years ago.

    • martina on 06/17/2014 at 4:52 pm

      We successfully used a mattress on the floor once our first two children out grew the co-sleeper. It was wonderful. The mattress allowed either my husband or I to lay with them at bedtime (I could nurse them to sleep) and if comforting was needed during the night we could lay/sit beside them as needed. And it wasn’t until they were older (maybe two) that they ever got off their mattress without us coming to get them. We actually never “trained” them not to get up but, they always chose to wait till we came. We will see if we have the same experience with our 3rd!

      • Rachel on 06/17/2014 at 5:09 pm

        That sounds great Martina!

    • Zulima on 06/17/2014 at 5:14 pm

      Hi, most of the wrapping type of carriers will hold up to 40-45 lbs. E.g. Moby, Boba, Mama kangaroo, etc.
      For bed another option would be a Montessori type of bed (mattress on floor) or a crib. Many cribs can be turned into toddler beds to last longer.

      • Rachel on 06/17/2014 at 5:32 pm

        Great info! Thanks for commenting Zulima.

    • Carrie on 08/19/2014 at 6:02 pm

      My favorite carrier is a mei tai. I didn’t get it until my son was 6 months old, but I used it with my daughter at just a few days old. And although I don’t normally wear him anymore, I can still carry my 21-month old son in it just fine if/when necessary.

  4. Angela Bergeron on 06/15/2014 at 12:24 pm

    Great post and perfect timing for me! I’m about 3 months along with my third. It’s been 6 years from the last child so we need to get everything again, but I know there are a lot of stuff we dont need. Fortunately my friend kept most of her stuff so we only need to get a carseat, which is the only thing we are getting new. I think we want our children to have the best and most we can give them so we tend to go overboard getting them every possible thing we can think of. One thing my kids went nuts over was those jumpy things. We had an activity bouncer thing (big the lay back one, although that was handy when younger and beginning high chair) that was like a walker, but bounced instead. That was perfect when they got older so I could get stuff done.

    • Rachel on 06/16/2014 at 12:39 am

      Congrats Angela! My kids did like the activity bouncers too. It did help me get things done. I have a few friends that were having kids around the same time, so we would trade bigger things like that back and forth whenever we had a little one in that phase, but I didn’t use it for my last 2.

  5. Andrea on 06/17/2014 at 4:53 pm

    This is great. There is sooo much we got rid of that I don’t miss. We did keep a baby bath just for those early weeks until they bathe/shower with me. We don’t use a changing pad at all. Half the time baby is in my lap being changed. If its ever a mess (blow out) I just put an old towel or something down and wash it. We got rid of the bouncy seat but have a travel swing for downstairs then I use the car seat for upstairs if I need to put baby down for a moment (I make sure its at the right angle on the floor). If we had 1 level I would get rid of the swing. We use a backpack instead of a specific diaper bag. The only other thing that has come in handy is an ear thermometer. My kids usually arent that sick as babies but when they are (or teething) its something I dont want to go out and buy in the middle of the night when they are sick to keep an eye on fever.

    • Rachel on 06/17/2014 at 5:12 pm

      Great idea Andrea. I’ve done many a lap change myself! And I like the backpack suggestion.

  6. Adrienne on 08/19/2014 at 4:55 pm

    Again, love this! I honestly regret all of the stuff we had for our son, hardly used any of it.
    One thing though about terminology. Co-sleeping refers to sharing sleep space, so baby in the same room with the parents IS co-sleeping. Sleeping with parents in the family bed is bed-sharing. It is an important distinction when talking about safe sleep and safe sleep habits. 🙂 {Taking note that bed-sharing can be completely safe, when done correctly.}

    • Rachel on 08/19/2014 at 9:43 pm

      Good to know! Thanks Adrienne 🙂

  7. Stephanie on 08/19/2014 at 11:15 pm

    I really enjoyed this post and it came at a very convenient time for me. We are about to have our 3rd baby (and last) and live in a 2 bedroom, 1086 sq. ft. townhouse. We don’t have room for a “nursery” for our baby and I don’t want her sharing the bedroom with my other two (both girls too) until she sleeps through the night consistently. So we cleared some stuff out of our room (decluttered and reorganized!) and made room for a small part of our room to be her space. We will be setting up the crib soon and I’ll be looking for a small dresser to put her things in and I already have a changing pad. We plan to let her sleep in our room up to 1 year if needed and less if she starts sleeping through the night sooner.

    • Rachel on 08/19/2014 at 11:38 pm

      Congradulations! 🙂

  8. Coralie on 04/22/2015 at 5:49 pm

    I’ve read this article with great interest as I have a 18 month old and hoped I’m minimalist in things mentioned here.Turns out I am as I did everything exactly the same and own the same. I even used the same, baby bjorn, bouncer.I didn’t have swing but I have a (second hand) stroller. Still room sharing and will continue to do so for aome time. Another great article that I really enjoyed reading, many thanks! Itwould be interesting to read about minimalism in raising toddlers. Seems to me that the number of owned items,especially toys,tends to grow with the child, especialy when they start to ask for things.

  9. Dottie on 04/23/2015 at 3:29 pm

    I am so glad to read an account of baby items needed that isn’t stuffed with fluff. With our second on the way it is so frustration looking at lists again wondering why so many of the items are even on there. A rocking chair is the only addition I have because it was and is still so fundamental to my first. Love your site and what you’re doing!!

  10. Diana Auerhammer on 02/01/2016 at 11:25 am

    Excellent article. The lists help a lot. I like to see that parents are moving away from the excess and heading back to a simpler way when it comes to equipment for babies. We really got off track on that one for awhile! Good work!

  11. Elizabeth on 03/07/2016 at 4:36 pm

    I would add the following:
    For breastfeeding moms- nursing pads (cloth or disposible), a pump (electric or hand, depending on your needs), and a My BrestFriend pillow (not a Boppy). If you’re going to be doing a lot of pumping and bottle- feeding, for whatever reason, a bottle warmer is a great idea, because standing at the sink, running warm water over the bottle while the baby is crying is maddening. (Been there, done that.)
    For formula-feeding moms- 2 days worth of bottles and parts, a combination bottle/ nipple brush, and a portable formula dispenser. (It made life so much easier for us!)

  12. Diane Negron on 07/15/2016 at 6:54 pm

    Fantastic info for the future! Will keep it in mind <3

  13. gretchen on 02/19/2017 at 10:23 pm

    up to what age does d bojourn bouncer can be used?

    • Rachel on 02/21/2017 at 5:45 pm

      I’m not sure, you’ll have to read the specs on their sales page or ask the company the question.

  14. Trish on 10/22/2018 at 3:42 am

    When I had baby #4 we had no room for the baby and we didn’t find out his gender. He was a surprise baby so we had very few things from his older siblings but we also knew we didn’t need much. Therefore I only bought a car seat, a car seat stroller, diapers & wipes, changing pad, smaller grooming kit, three receiving blankets and 6 sleepers. I already had a carrier from baby #3.
    After baby was born we bought more clothes and some blankets. When he got bigger we got a swing and a bouncy seat. He inherited a crib when he was 9 months old but didn’t really use it until closer to 2 when he moved out of my bed.

  15. Candace on 01/31/2019 at 11:18 am

    OMG your suggestions made me feel so much better about my decision on NOT to do a baby room! I’ve been getting flack from friends about all this crap I need to buy, colors I need to paint the room, and I became so overwhelmed because I simply don’t want any of that! I just want to be a functional mom minus extra mess that the kid will never use LOL!! I don’t want fresh paint in my baby’s room at all. And honestly, everything you mentioned I’ll probably be doing! Many thanks for sharing, you just eased my anxieties big time!!

    • Rachel Jones on 01/31/2019 at 4:09 pm

      I’m so glad Candance! Just enjoy that baby. ❤️❤️

    • Candace on 03/26/2019 at 12:47 pm

      I’m definitely considering skipping the nursery altogether, to be honest. As apartment dwellers, we don’t much have to worry about paint. But I completely understand the push for more things for baby, my sister’s 1 year old (my niece) has SO. MUCH. STUFF. Bouncers, swings, walkers, jumparoos, 2 different pack and plays, and about a million other pieces of baby furniture/toys that just clutter up my niece’s room AND the living space of the house. And the worst part is, she doesn’t use almost any of it. I’m glad to find a list that’s first and foremost about function, the other lists I’ve found have been so overinflated for what our baby’s really going to need or use. I’ve definitely taken some advice here and pared down our list of things to have by May when our little buddy gets here.

  16. Sarah on 02/11/2019 at 10:05 am

    As a minimalist, the gifts were overwhelming, to say the least! There’s a mix of gratitude and panic that comes with a wee apartment being full to the brim. I’m downsizing as much as I can without people noticing!
    I have a Raskog ikea cart for baby clothes. A moses basket I love but barely use. A blanket /towel +bouncer as a floor change station and sit down for bubs. A wardrobe organiser for blankets/diapers/toys and wooden baby hangers for jackets and snowsuits.
    I didn’t plan on co-sleeping or disposables but both came to be by sanity and being given truckloads of diapers.
    I can recommend Milkbarn bamboo burp cloths, Lulujo bamboo swaddles, and Moulin Roti has adorable wooden baby toys. The stack of baby blankets – have been very useful. I think I have 8?

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