the before-baby list

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I am starting to get a little anxious about getting things done around the house before I get too huge/less mobile, and before Baby Sprout makes her big appearance. So as usual, I created a little list. I don’t know about you, but I live by lists. They totally help me stay on track and not get overwhelmed, and it feels so good to cross things off.

So here we go. I broke this list out into two main categories — the things we need or at least really, really want to get done before babe, and the things that would be nice to get done but will play second fiddle.

The “need/really really want to do” list:

1. Finish nursery!!! Check out Wednesday’s post for the full to-do list for that room. This is really the only “need to do” with some big items like cribs left to buy (oh and get and install a carseat… this isn’t related to the nursery, but definitely a need-to-do!).

2. Re-paint the two white dressers in the living room and replace the knobs. These two dressers (the ones on either side of the TV) are slightly different whites (one is an antique cream colour and the other bright white) and it’s always bothered me. Plus, one is getting totally scratched and dinged up because it wasn’t finished with the right paint. Time to haul them outside and give them a makeover. Oh and I have some lovely glass knobs just waiting to be installed.

I also need to do a bit of tweaking to the living room. We’re changing out the rug, de-cluttering, getting rid of the Poang chair, and getting some storage baskets to hold baby things. I want the space to feel a bit more minimalist before baby comes, as I know we will suddenly have an influx of more stuff all around.


3. Finish “phase 2” of my side entry makeover. You saw how I painted and added a wall gallery to the vestibule area, but I have to tackle these awful stairs. Pull up that runner, paint and install a new one, and stain the stair railing a darker colour are all on the list.


4. You can’t see it in the photo below, but our shoe storage situation in our front hall closet is terrible. Just a crappy mat with piles of shoes all toppled on top of each other. Handy hubby has been tasked with installing some custom shelves, like the ones he recently put into the nursery closet. Oh, and I need to get new deeper baskets for the top shelf so we can really pile everything in there – the ones in there now are just too teeny.


5. We had originally planned to replace the 3 interior doors down our hallway (leading to bathroom, nursery, and bedroom), but recently measured them and found out they weren’t standard door size. Because we’re going down the road of possibly doing the second storey in the next year or two, we don’t want to invest in doors right now that may not work once we go ahead with the reno (if they were standard size, we knew we could re-use them anywhere else in the house). So, I need to freshen our current ones up a bit with some new white paint (hard to tell in this photo but they are all banged up), and if I have time, spray all of the door hardware a matte black.


6. I don’t even have a photo for this one since it’s way too embarrassing, but we need to give the garage a serious overhaul. Major purging and organizing is needed in there right now. It’s a nightmare! We won’t get into any fancy stuff this summer, but just a basic toss and a few new shelving systems is in order.

7. Last but not least, the white paint around the foundation of our house needs to be spruced up. It’s looking a little grimy in some areas. An easy sunday afternoon project.


Now for the  “might be wishful thinking, but would be nice to do” list:

1. Replace the light fixture in the dining room. I am really craving something darker and more industrial for this space to go with our harvest table and eames chairs (excuse the old photo that doesn’t show our new chairs!). I have been scouring for some good deals but coming up short. Maybe I’ll have time to DIY something?


2. We probably aren’t going to tackle much in the way of our garden this summer, but it would be really nice to spruce up the curb appeal a little. I’ve love to add a window box, and paint our front door. Red maybe?

3. I keep going back and forth on the idea of installing some sconces in our bedroom to free up the space on our night tables. Again, I’ve been searching around for something reasonably priced and keep coming up short. Will keep looking!

4. The space above our bed in our bedroom has been neglected for ages. I would love to DIY a big piece of artwork for above there.

So that’s it! Too ambitious? Maybe. We’ll see how it goes. Even if none of these things get done, I’m still so lucky and grateful that we have this cozy roof over our heads to bring baby home to.

Well happy Friday guys! Have a great weekend (and long weekend to all you Canadians!). Doing any special? Cottaging? Gardening? Hanging out with friends and fam? Enjoy it! 

  • Ashleigh

    Wow thats a big list, how long have you got to go? Good luck!!

    I am also a list writer, I feel much calmer when everything is written down so that nothing gets forgotten.

    We also get a bank holiday here in Edinburgh this weekend which is odd cos the rest of the country gets it next week.


    • gemma

      I know… we’ll see how it goes! I’m anticipating a few things will fall off the list. I have 12 weeks left, so the countdown is on! :)

      Have a great long weekend!!


  • jules

    We just made a similar list! And I even planned out which parts we start to tackle this weekend. CANT wait to see a dent. I have until early October but I want to enjoy a few weeks in our nice organized home before we bring chaos back into it.
    Also–we are coming to Ottawa the first week in August for our “babymoon” so if you are stuck for a blog topic between now and then feel free to post some ideas :) Looking forward to seeing how your list goes!

    • gemma

      Sounds like we’re really in the same boat! And yes – I will try to remember to do an Ottawa city guide. It’s been on my to-write list for ages! If you want any specific tips, don’t hesitate to email (


  • Megan @ Monroe Makeshift

    That’s quite the list! I know what you mean about finally getting to those things that are just plain annoying. We’re hoping to sell our house at some point in the near-ish future, so we’re marking all of those things off our list too. I’m looking forward to seeing your progress!

  • Catherine

    Great list! Don’t forget to add time in there to get some well deserved rest and enjoy your life as it is now before it changes forever (for the best!)

    You are about to find out that lists and plans are great but from now on will need to be very flexible! You’ll also learn to accept your new limitations… Anyways, baby doesn’t care what the light fixture in the dining room looks like!! And soon, your guests will only have eyes for “Baby Sprout” and won’t notice the dents on the doors, or the paint color of your dressers!

    Enjoy the next 12 weeks!! Such an exciting time ahead !!

    • gemma

      That is very, very true Catherine!! We are definitely taking lots of time out for some “just us” time before baby arrives. Lots of little weekend getaways. Thanks for the good reminder! :)


  • Stephanie

    There’s just something about spring that gets me fired up to get tons of projects done! Among other things, I also need to find some suitable wall sconces for our bedsides. right now we have buffet lamps that we’re using, but I would love to free up some surface space! If you do find sconces, please tell us where you got them from!!

    • gemma

      I will for sure! And you do the same :) I know there are lots of cool looking outdoor ones (sort of Industrial vibe) at the big box stores like Home Depot and Rona, but they are all for hard-wiring in. We’re just looking for corded ones at this point. Good luck with your search!


  • Amanda – Small Home Big Start

    What an exciting time for you guys. Love all your “nesting” DIY projects.

    We swapped out our table lamps for wall mounted lights and love it. Frees up the night stands and get the light at the perfect height for reading. We found ours at IKEA. Not crazy about the light shades (which we can change) but love the base that they came with. Just need to find a way to hide the cords. {}

    • gemma

      That’s exactly what I want.. more room on the nightstand! Just checked out your blog and I do really like those ones from IKEA (and they are corded – what we need!). Hmm… my brain is turning now with how I could hack them….!! Thanks Amanda. Love your place :)


  • Jess

    You’re so cute. Take a breath!. Let’s take a feather from my brother and sister-in-law’s cap. Here’s how they approached the birth of their little girl: “she’ll need a place to sleep (crib), something to wear (clothing), a place to do her business (diapers) and something to eat (insert your food choice here). Everything else is a bonus.” You can’t go wrong with that mindset!

    • gemma

      Absolutely!! What a great perspective. Thanks Jess :)


  • Keren

    I absolutely adore the front door area. My friend’s teensy West Village closet was recently completely transformed thanks to Elfa from the Container Store. Have you seen the nifty shelving? Jacket mess be damned!

    • gemma

      So neat! Thanks Keren.