Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Baby Prep: Putting Together the "Perfect" Registry

I want to begin this post by saying that the perfect baby registry is non-existent. It's unattainable. Perhaps in a perfect world where everyone who wants to shower you with gifts (and those people are sweet and amazing and I'm so grateful for them) has unlimited cash and the desire to follow your registry down to the exact brand and color for every item -- perhaps there you would find the perfect baby registry. 

For the rest of us, a baby registry is our chance to brainstorm about our own needs for our own household, compile those needs into an organized list (mmm, warm fuzzies), and share that with those incredible and generous people who ask us how they can help us out. Those beautiful angel-people can then choose whether they want to buy from your registry or not. 

Can you tell that I'm already trying to convince myself that it's more important to be a gracious person who's thankful people love her rather than the anal-retentive, concrete-sequential monster ready to do some arm-ripping because someone bought the wrong color? 

In this post, I'm including a HUGE list of links that I used to determine my own registry needs (you'd be amazed at how many different kinds of baby registry lists exist), some reasons why I love the place I chose to register, and the way I chose to put together our registry.

So let's get started!

Where to Find Baby Registry Ideas

When you register online or in a store, you're often given a sheet or a sample registry full of ideas and recommendations. While this can be helpful, often MORE helpful are the lists compiled by all the blogging moms who have been there, done that, and bought many, many T-shirts. These ladies come in all shapes, sizes, value sets, design aesthetics, and income brackets. Here are the many examples you can find: 

Money-Saving Registries

Luxury Registries

Minimalist Registries

Have-it-All Registries

Crunchy-Mom Registries

All of these different places are just SOME of the sites and blogs I visited to get baby registry ideas. The best place for you to look would be your favorite "Mommy Blog." If you haven't started following one of these, I'd recommend doing some browsing. Somewhere out there is a woman with a blog whose values, money-spending habits, and design aesthetic intersects with your own. If, like me, you can't find someone who is EXACTLY like you, then just follow a few different people. Then you can start creeping on them to get your own ideas!

Where Did I Register, and Why Do I Love It?

Like I have said before, I registered at a great site called Simple Registry. The main details on their page: 
  • You can register for anything from any place. And when they say anything they mean anything. Classes, homemade meals, a cleaning service . . . If you can think it up you can register for it. Gifts from people are redeemed as cash, letting you purchase a wide-array of things. 
  • You can split pricey items into multiple portions. That $150 baby carrier you really want might be hard to get as a single gift from someone, but you can split it into, say, 3 portions of $50 each, making it more likely that people will give for it. This is a great option for those of us who don't own ANY big ticket items yet and still need to buy them all. It can get expensive, y'all!
  • It comes with some great tools to make set-up easy for you. There's a mobile app that lets you scan bar codes in stores or take pictures while you're out shopping. There's an instant registry feature that puts together a generic registry for you and then allows you to tweak it here and there. Then there's the simple adder (my favorite feature) that allows you to add an item to your registry from anywhere online. If you've used Pinterest before, it's essentially the same concept. 
  • If you're getting ready for this baby with help from a team (moms, aunts, sisters, etc.) or you and your spouse never have time to go over the registry together, you can give people a custom simple adder button which allows them to "pin" gift ideas onto your registry. Again, it's essentially like sharing a Pinterest board with someone. Then you get administrative power to accept or deny items others want to add to your registry. 
  • When people give to your registry online, Simple Registry keeps track of everything for you and provides a Thank You list, making it easy to write thank you cards. Even better, when it was provided, they keep track of the contact information for those people so you don't even have to look up an address!
  • People can still give you gifts in person. All they have to do is check off the item on your registry as though they're giving you cash or check. That item will be marked as purchased, and they can give you the gift in person! Or they can actually give you cash or check. 
  • You can be as specific or as generalized as you want. Adamant about a certain car seat? You can make sure the exact one you want is on your list. Couldn't care less about the clothes your baby receives? You can just create a general gift category and let people make their own decisions. You can be as picky or as non-committal as you want! And you can even write a note next to each item to let your gift-givers know about your thoughts on each item. 
Check out some Real Member Registries to see how different people use the site. 

And now . . . 

How Did I Put Together Our Registry? 

This is not a list of items on our registry. You'll have to go to our actual registry to see that. If you're interested in seeing our actual registry I detail that at the bottom of this post. 

Where We're Being Picky

A lot of the items we're being picky about are bigger items or will constitute a bigger portion of our child-rearing goals (like baby-wearing and cloth diapering). For other items we don't care as much about brand as we do about material or look.

Things that I've already detailed on my Must-Haves posts are on the registry (mostly), and I'm usually pretty clear about the brands that we prefer.  

Where We're (trying to be) Open-Minded

A number of items don't really matter to us when it comes to brand. Being the kind of person I am, I naturally have some things that I would prefer above others, but I've realized that a registry is more for the sake of others. If I absolutely have to have a certain item, I'm either being crystal clear about it or (more likely) I'm just leaving it off my registry.

What Did I Leave Off the Registry?

I left a car seat off the registry, as well as our nursery furniture. I'm not including a lot of items in the baby feeding area or the baby distraction area. Besides a few bottles and a breast pump (which we'll get through our insurance), I won't need food items for a number of months. I bought a high chair over a year ago, and we already have a food processor. Watching my sisters-in-law feed their kids has been extremely helpful, too. I didn't register for any swings or bouncers or exo-saucers either. I know that babies love certain items and hate others, and I don't want to get a lot of stuff without knowing what our baby does and doesn't like. Time in nurseries and play dates with friends will help us figure out what the little bug would love.


Those are the basics of the registry process. The rest of the Baby Must-Have posts will be more interesting since they'll be about actual products!

Keep it real,

For those of you who want to see our registry, I'd be glad to share it with you! It's finally finished and ready to be shared. Simply like Bright Sycamore on Facebook and let me know in a private message that you'd like to see the registry. I'll send you the link. 

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