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Baby Checklist: 10 Things to Do to Prepare Your Home for a Newborn

May 9, 2019

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Portrait of a 12 day old newborn baby boy wearing a gold crown. He is sleeping on a beige flokati rug with his hands behind his head to illustrate Baby Checklist

In honor of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle’s royal bundle of joy, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, I thought I’d offer some important ways to prepare for a newborn. A sort of “baby checklist.” If you’re currently pregnant, you likely have a handle on the big stuff: diapers, car seats, strollers, etc. But you may be wondering what else you should do to get your castle ready for your new infant. Here’s a list of 10 things you need to do before you bring your little one home:

  • Give Your House A Safety Exam
    Make sure your entire house is a baby safety zone. It may seem a lifetime away, but in no time, your new tiny bundle of joy will be mobile; getting into everything. It’s best to prepare ahead of time, instead of waiting until you’re sleep deprived, to babyproof your home.
    • First and foremost, get rid of any toxic chemicals in the kitchen and bathroom. The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that cleaning products, including laundry and dishwasher pods, and medication should always be stored out of sight and out of reach in securely locked cabinets.
    • Use magnetic locks on any cabinets that are not out of reach.
    • If you have firearms in your home, remove ammunition and lock it away in a place separate from the gun. Store those keys in a different area from where you keep your household keys.
    • Finally, check or install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 
  • Get Prepared for Visitors
    Experts recommend preparing for overnight guests before baby comes home. The nanny, or a volunteer helper -- whether family or friend -- will need a place to hang her or his hat. The last thing a new mom wants to do is race around searching for sheets and towels the moment she gets home from the hospital. Stock up on toothpaste, toothbrushes and toilet paper, too.
  • Get some sleep
    You’re going to be tired. Very tired. Exhausted, even. Getting up in the middle of the night to go to another room to feed and soothe your baby may seem impossible. Instead, get a co-sleeper or a bassinet. That way, your newborn can sleep right next to you, out of harm’s way. Life will be much easier if you can easily feed the newborn, put him or her back in their bed, and immediately fall back to sleep yourself. 
  • Make Room in the Kitchen 
    Even though your baby will start on an all-liquid diet, you’ll still need to make room in your fridge for breast milk and formula. Experts recommend new parents give their refrigerator a good cleaning prior to creating space. Wipe down the shelves with a warm sponge, scrubbing especially sticky spots with diluted white vinegar. Do the same with the shelves in the door. When you replenish your fridge, make sure you leave plenty of room for the needs of your new family member. Your kitchen counters might suddenly feel crowded with pump parts, bottles, nipples, pacifiers, and teething toys; all needed to be sterilized. Experts no longer suggest you boil them. Studies show that hot, soapy water will kill common germs.
  • Smooth the Edges
    Your interior decorator may have done an excellent job creating the look you wanted with sophisticated furniture made of glass and/or metal. Unfortunately, glass and metal aren’t baby-friendly. In fact, they can cause injury. That’s why you need to remove anything that is breakable or has sharp edges. If you can’t bear to part with it, put it far out of reach or protect the edges with plastic guards so baby won’t get hurt.
  • Lock it Down
    Once your baby can crawl around and pull up, he or she will get into everything, and I mean everything. New parents should cover all electric sockets, get safety latches for cabinets and get rid of any and all magnets. Make sure you don’t have any dangling cords, either for window blinds or appliances. You might feel foolish, but try crawling on the floor to see what dangerous things babies can find that you might not even consider.
  • Rockabye, Baby
    Babies find gentle bouncing or rocking soothing because it reminds them of their time in the womb. With that in mind, a good baby checklist includes creating a special place in your home designated for rocking your precious gift. Just find a comfy seat to put in a quiet place so you can sit and bond with your infant. It can also be a good idea to find a safe swing or a chair where your baby can rest by herself or himself. 
  • Organizing the Nursery
    Feeling the urge to nest is perfectly natural. It is also useful. Before your water breaks, buy some diapers, but don’t overload on newborn sizes because infants grow very quickly. The same goes for newborn clothing. Avoid the mistake many new mothers make of washing, folding and putting away all of the adorable newborn onesies. If you give birth to a large girl or boy, none of those newborn items will fit.
  • Prepare Baby Bed
    Experts caution not to use any bumpers, blankets or pillows in your new baby’s bed because of the risk of SIDS. Instead, just swaddle your baby. Swaddling is actually a sleep aid for newborns. You can also use a sleep sack, which will keep him or her warm and toasty. 
  • Don’t Lose Sight
    New parents who live in Montecito might find it difficult to keep an eye on their baby all the time due to the sheer size of their home. But that’s an easy fix. Just invest in a baby monitor. That way, you’ll hear when the little one cries. These days, you can get video monitors and apps for your phone so you can see for yourself that your newborn is safe and sleeping soundly.

Do you have other tips for a baby checklist? I’d love to hear them. Planning on moving to or into the area? Call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at

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“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch