Designing the ideal diaper changing station
It’s dirty, it’s messy, and no one wants to do it, but it has to be done. Changing baby diapers is not what we want to do in the middle of the day, let alone 3 am when our eyes have us tired out on the ropes in the 12 round of the boxing match as we fight to keep them open. Nonetheless, we must clean the baby's bum. Can we optimize this process to make our lives easier though? Of course! Which is why I’m about to go over how to create the optimal diaper changing station so your mind can wander aimlessly while you swap out poo catchers.
To start out let’s go over what to avoid. As you read through this you may think to yourself “oh that looks really good, why wouldn't I want to do that?” This article isn’t about creating a station that looks good, it’s about efficiency. We’re trying to create a system that limits frustration as much as possible and increases intuitiveness and ease of use. Small things that you think wouldn’t be an issue soon become the biggest pain in your ass when you have to do that task 3-5 times a day and every time it pisses you off, and on top of that one simple frustration are the 1000 other ones that you had to deal with earlier in the day. And we all know you didn’t get great sleep last night, so compound your irritability meter by 10%. Mommy deserves a nap, doesn’t she?
“Oh wow, this looks cool, I want my table to look just like this,” you may be thinking to yourself. No, wrong. This Image to the left appears organized and operational, but that’s all it is, appearances.
Let's go over having everything hanging in front of you will soon become uncomfortable and annoying. You’ll constantly be reaching for the diaper, lotion, or towel. Something you’re going to find difficult to do when you have the baby's legs in the air with one hand.
What you want is everything just to the right or left, within less than an arms reach, and never in a drawer. Drawers are only for excess items, not for stuff you need to access when the sprinklers are going off and you need to quickly grab a towel for defence and clean up.
Speaking of clean up, I highly recommend coating your changing station with some kind of hydrophobic spray or paint. This way everything wipes up easily when it comes time to clean. Also, make sure you have a mat that goes under the table and covers up your floor for a good 2-5 feet on either side of the station area.
Another misstep made in the photo was to store the diapers vertically instead of horizontally. What happens when you do this is that you grab one and it pulls out another with it. Which you then have to go back and readjust. It might not seem like much, but this is the pitstop of mommyhood, and just like on the track we’re looking to shave off every second possible and get right back in there. So find a way to have the diapers on deck lay horizontal.
Excess items are not your friend. Pictures are nice, but you don’t want them taking up space and in the way of your essential items like they are in the above photo. These are the kinds of things to hang on the wall if you must. We obviously want the station to provide the right aesthetic but only in your choice of furniture and storage containers, outside of that, leave it bare so nothing else can get hit and you don’t have to worry about cleaning another potential item. The less the better, but again, if you want to hand photos or a mirror on the wall, go right ahead, although not sure that’s really where you want to put a mirror.
As we continue, to the left is a decent example of what you want your changing space to look like. Obviously a few of the no-no’s I referenced are in here, but all the essentials are compartmentalized on the top of the counter. They even did a phenomenal job of separating the diapers from the lotions and powders.
I’m not sure if the trash can is opened by hand motion, but that would be an important feature to have in a trashcan, it’s important for it to have, at the very least, a foot pedal. Last, all the extra items are (likely)neatly stored away inside the drawers to avoid clutter and mess.
To top it off, I just wanted to share this clever set up in the photo to the right. Putting the changing station in a closet with a door saves room, and stores away something that you probably don’t want to be thinking about every time you’re in there. The only downside is that if there is an emergency and the door is closed you’re going to have issues. So, like the trash can, some kind of motion operated, or pedal to open it up would be a really smart install if you feel you need your changing station hidden away.
If you’d like me to design a diaper station that’s perfect for you I can do that as well!
What I do is make it so living in your home is intuitive and easy. Essentially people invite me into their home to analyze and identify the frustrations they experience on a daily basis.
After that, I design and build a custom product to solve the identified frustration so that they save time and have more control over their life. As a result, they reduce what they have and get more organized so they can feel relief.
Now get out there and wipe you up some babby bums in record time by setting up an optimal diaper changing station!