Montessori-Inspired Diaper Station and Clothes Storage System

I am excited to share our new diapering station and clothes storage system for Violet!

Around 11-months-old, she became very frustrated with our changing table,
rolling and lunging and basically scaring the sh*t out of me,
so I decided to:

1. move diapering to the floor where she could be safe and feel more respected and independent
2. remove her dresser/changing-table, because I didn’t want her climbing it and the drawers weren’t accessible on her level anyways

After MUCH deliberation, and aimless online-shopping binges,
I decided to work with what we already had.

Creative constraint almost always yields the best results, don’t you think?

I love the challenge of reinventing what we already have.
It’s a homemaker thing.

So I moved her changing area to the floor,
and turned her toy shelf into a clothes station!
Here’s the scoop:

The Diaper Station

1. An incontinence pad placed on the floor

I cannot tell you how helpful it has been to have packs of these handy through her first year! They’re affordable and stand up to hundreds of washes. Plus they’re HUGE and seem way more comfortable than those dinky, crinkly pads that come with diaper bags. In fact, we always pack an incontinence pad in her diaper bag!

2. A container of wipes placed on the floor

It’s been great to just have the wipes on the floor next to Violet.  When she’s fussy I often ask her to hold a wipe for me, and it gives her something to focus on.

3. A basket of desitin and aquaphor on top of her shelf, but within our reach

A true Montessori-style nursery would have EVERYthing within baby’s reach.  But I’m just not that extreme, honestly.  And let’s be real, I don’t want Violet interacting with tubes of goop covered in poop-germs. So all her ointments are within our reach, but not hers.  And it’s working out FINE.

4. A diaper pail within our reach

We have this diaper pail and have been very happy with it.  I like that you can use regular trash bags in it.  And while it’s on the small side, that means we are forced to take the trash out before the room is reeking.

…speaking of which, I just have to share: I think everyone should treat themselves to an air purifier for the nursery!!! We already had one to assuage my horrible morning sickness, but once Violet was born we moved it into the nursery.  And boy-oh-boy – it zaps smells like nobody’s business.  Seriously.  Treat yourself.  …and your baby!  …no one should have to live in the stench of their own poop all night. Seriously though.

5. Clean diapers in one of her cubbies

I love having diapers on Violet’s level because she helps to choose a diaper, and therefore is usually happier to have it put on!  Win-win!

6. A doll or small toy to interact with during changes

We got Violet a Stella Doll for her first birthday gift, and it is SO sweet.  I love the soft body and she delights in popping the magnetic pacifier on and off. It’s an ideal toy for the diaper station because we can talk about body parts as we go through her physical care routines.

The Clothes Station

1. An Ikea Kallax Shelf

We already had this shelf in Violet’s room for her toys. But I decided to take her toys out of the nursery and use it for clothes instead. Because:

A.) We needed a safe dresser solution and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on new furniture.
B.) I figured that I’d rather she play in our living room, and reserve her bedroom for sleep. That’s what adults are supposed to do, so I wanted to follow suit and keep her room focused on calm transitions, self-care, and sleep.

2. 8 Ikea Trofast Boxes

I had planned to buy some of the boxes that are made for kallax shelves. BUT, when I saw them in person, I decided against it. Because:

A) I felt like they were unwieldy for Violet to handle because they take up the entire cubby.
B.) I knew I wanted to tape labels on the outside, and the materials were all fabric or wicker.
C.) A lot of them had sharp edges
D.) They were kind of expensive in a set of 8.

So I was about to leave IKEA feeling very lost and defeated. But… my Mom noticed some small plastic bins on the way out! They were under $5 each and had rounded corners and were made out of light plastic. Plus, they fit in a kallax shelf! Bingo! They actually look nicer than I expected once they’re in use. And Violet can pull them out without hurting herself. YAY!

3. Homemade Labels

Violet and I took pictures of her clothes on the floor and I whipped up these simple labels, then laminated them.  We taped them to her cubby bins together and I LOVE how they turned out!  They’re not glamorous or perfect photos, but they serve their purpose.  …And my husband commented that they make it easier to put away her laundry.  So win-win-win!

You are 100% welcome to print and use our labels if you wish.  I’ve also included the label for dresses that we taped to her closet door and the label for wipes that we taped to the floor. Here are the PDFs: DIY Clothes Labels

free printable clothes labels montessori toddler nursery

I hope this post has given you some ideas for promoting independence in your own nursery! I found a lot of satisfaction in utilizing the furniture and resources that we already had in our home.  And I can really truly say:

This simple setup has dramatically improved Violet’s behavior during diaper and clothing changes.

She is MUCH calmer on the floor than she was on a tall changing table. And even at 12 months, she enjoys being involved in physical care routine.

If you have ideas for me, please share them in the comments below. I love editing our home to suit the evolving needs of our family and am always gathering ideas!

Until next time,


montessori clothes storage toddler preschooler ikea shelves

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