Who Needs a Crib? The Nursery, Montessori Style

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image via Montessori for Everyone

Want to save a quick $100 or more on your nursery? Do your tot’s room up Montessori style and skip the crib and toddler bed completely.

Many assume that a crib is a baby “must-have”, but it’s not. What you really must have is a safe place for your baby to sleep. Montessori-style nurseries often forgo the crib in favor of a Montessori child bed– a mattress or pad on the floor, since in the Montessori way of thinking, a crib is not an “inspiring’ place for a baby. The idea is that with just a crib mattress or pad on the floor in a baby-proofed room, babies are free to explore their environment at will. This helps babies develop motor and cognitive skills.

If you’re familiar with Montessori education, you may have already known about Montessori infant rooms. I learned about them recently after seeing a post at the BlogHer website about why blogger Tara (of Tall Tara) and her family had decided not to use a crib. I read more about the idea at these sites (Google Montessori low bed to find more articles):

This is an idea that really intrigues me from a child-rearing perspective in addition to a money-saving one. I like the outside-the-box thinking. I think I could do it.

What about you? Have you tried a no-crib nursery? Do you think you could?

What other pluses and minuses do you see with this idea?

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Which Crib Sheets are the Best Bargain?

There are lots of crib sheets out there, but which give you the most for your money? It’s so frustrating to try to put on a shrunken crib sheet in the middle of the night! And finding that your $20 crib sheets are coming apart at the seams after only a couple of washes is no fun, either.

The following sheets get top marks in both price and quality from parents and reviewers alike:

Carter’s Easy Fit crib sheets come in jersey knit, sateen, velour, and print versions that list for $12 to $18. The Jersey and Velour versions seem to get the best ratings from shoppers. By the way, Carters bedding (along with some of the Disney Baby sheets and a few other brands) is actually made by Kids Line.

American Baby crib sheets also get high ratings. They come in jersey, organic cotton, percale, chenille, velour and flannel versions. The jersey sheets are a good value at under $9. The organic cotton sheets list for around $15 to $19. You should be able to find them on sale for $13 or less. The chenille sheets get really high ratings. They list for around $26, but you can find them on sale for $17 or $18.

Store brands can also offer savings. Target’s Circo knit sheets are a good buy at about $10. They get much better ratings than the Circo percale sheets. Readers also tell me they like Circo’s velour crib sheets. Another store brand sheet parents favor is the Koala Baby knit crib sheet by Babies R Us (made by Crown Craft). They run $9 to $11.

And sometimes convenience is king. Readers adore QuickZip sheet sets  (around $33 for the starter set) and Summer Infant Ultimate Crib Sheets ($15 to $20). They’re more expensive, but can save you lots of time during those middle-of-the-night sheet changes. The Ultimate Crib Sheet comes in an organic version.

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Easy DIY Nursery and Kids’ Room Decor: 20+ Projects You’ll Love

Yep. I’ve been playing around over at Pinterest again. This time I’ve put together a board full of irresistible ideas for making your own nursery and kids’ room decor. More than 20 projects, in fact! Check it out and let me know your faves!

Tip: Planning a nursery? Search for “nursery” at Pinterest and pull up dozens of photos for inspiration.

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Find Sales Near You with Yard Sale Treasure Map

I found out about this site in a magazine I was reading recently. Real Simple or ShopSmart, I think? It’s pretty cool if you like scouting for deals at yard sales.

Yard Sale Treasure Map is a planning tool that lets you find  sales near you and plan the most efficient route to hit all of them. It takes all the sales listed on your local Craigslist board and puts them on a map. To use the site, simply type in your city, choose the number of miles you want it to search, and go.

You can even search the sales for particular items, like baby gear. Simply type in what you’re looking for and you’ll see a list of sales that have it.

Add your own stops (lunch! Starbucks!), add sales you found on sources other than Craigslist, and remove any sales that don’t interest you. The final step is to print driving directions of your optimized route.

Pretty cool, huh!? There’s also an app for iPhone and Android (Thanks Amy!).


Yard Sale Shopping Tips for Pregnant Folks

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Crib, Mattress, and Accessories for Under $350? Here’s How

Last week I issued the following Cheapskate Challenge to readers:

Let’s say you only have $350 (including shipping) to buy the following 10 items online today:

  • Crib (full-size, fixed-side)
  • Crib Mattress
  • Two waterproof mattress protectors
  • 3 crib sheets
  • 3 swaddling blankets (actual blankets big enough for swaddling, not SwaddleMe, etc.)

What would you buy?

Think carefully. Try to choose items with the highest quality possible rather than simply choosing the cheapest items you can. What do you buy? It can be done! All items must be new and in stock. You can exclude sales tax from your total.

I received so many thoughtful, smart responses. Spending less than $350 on these items is very, very doable. Here’s how:


  • Even though the challenge excluded second-hand items, buying gently used items is a great way to save up to 50%. Check your local consignment shop, consignment sales, Craigslist and more for gently used crib sheets, swaddling blankets, mattress protectors and more. It’s okay to buy a fixed-side crib second hand as long as you check for recalls and inspect the item thoroughly to make sure it meets current standards and is in great condition.
  • IKEA was also excluded from the challenge since their cribs and mattresses can’t be purchased online. If you’re lucky enough to live near one, definitely check it out. You can pick up a great crib for just $99 and a matress for as little as $35.
  • Bundles can offer fantastic savings. Last week Walmart offered a Graco Lauren crib plus crib mattress for $145. Other bundles throw in crib bedding, too.
  • DIY: If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can find patterns for crib sheets, swaddling blankets and more online. PrudentBaby is a good place to start. Etsy is a good place to look for handmade items at various price points.

To get you started, here are some of the items readers recommended. Mix and match to fit your lifestyle and budget:



Mattress Protectors/Pads:

Crib Sheets:

Swaddling Blankets:

You’ll find many more reader responses to the challenge, including reasons for the items chosen, in the comments here.

**The winner of the Cheapskate Challenge? Danae!**

What do you think? Leave feedback and recommendations in the comments!

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