Build a Diaper Basket

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A close-up of a basket of diapers.

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I’ve never really been one to use a changing table for changing baby’s diaper. Oh, we had a makeshift changing table for the first child or two. But, in reality, once they grew beyond the newborn phase, we took to changing them on the floor, usually on a blanket or portable changing pad. It was just so much more comfortable  to sit with them on the floor to take care of business. 

Quite honestly, I’m surprised I’m sharing this with the world.

Is this taboo? I’m not really sure.

I bought an honest to goodness changing table at a garage sale when FishChick was born because I felt like that was what you were supposed to do. But, other than store baby supplies, it didn’t really serve its purpose. I didn’t use it once she was a tad bit mobile.

Instead, I have diaper baskets. One upstairs and one downstairs. And in the house where I bathed the kids in the master bathroom, I kept a basket in our room, too. The Diaper Basket is what works for us.

What works for YOU?

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  1. Our diaper changing supplies are in the linen closet on a shelf, out of reach of little hands. We have always changed them on the floor. With our first, we had no extra room or money. We just use a plastic mat underneath to protect the floor. Even if we used cloth, I couldn’t imagine using a changing table anymore. Oh – neither of our parents ever used one. Maybe that influenced us?

  2. We actually use our changing table more now than we did when our daughter was smaller (she’s 20 months now). Birth to six months we changed her wherever, although we had a playpen with a built in changing table in the living room and that was perfect. After six months or so (when she started taking her naps upstairs in her crib) we used the changing table all the time. It’s in the bathroom, which works a heck of a lot better for me than being in her bedroom. And, I’ve found when she’s on the changing table she knows what we’re doing and she (generally) won’t try to wriggle away. If I try to change her on the floor…forget about it. She’ll be running off with her diaper half off, missing shoes, and her pants around her ankles. Luckily, we got a really good deal on it, and it’s pretty – so my plan is to use it as a regular bathroom shelf once she’s all potty trained.

  3. We had friends who used a desk and the grandfather built a removable changing table top for it. My husband built a simple and inexpensive shelf and added a removable changing top that is deep, with higher sides. The shelf is tall so it does not hurt my back to bend over (but shorter people have had to stand tiptoe) and wide so there is room past the changing pad for other essentials and toddler feet. He also cut out holes to run straps from the changing pad to help secure it down. I picked out baskets before he built it and my husband designed the shelves to accommodate those. We have used the shelves to store diapers, blankets, burp cloths, toys, etc. It becomes a great toy/book shelf as the child grows and the changing top can be removed, extending the life. We enjoyed this so much that my husband built and painted another removable changing top to match a chest of drawers we got since our second child was born when the first was only 16-months old and they were able to have separate rooms. Now the original shelf/changer is in baby #3’s room and the drawers are sans changer in the big boys’ room.

  4. That’s what we do at our house it’s more convenient than running to a table to change a diaper.

  5. I do the same thing, I have a diaper basket upstairs and downstairs. Both have diapers, wipes, a towel to lay on and diaper cream. Quick and easy!

  6. We’ve always used the floor to change our boys. Even in our tiny apartment with our first baby, we kept a bin of diapers and supplies under an end table. There wasn’t room for a changing table there. Since then we are living in our 2nd two story house. We change our youngest on the floor in his room. The bottom drawer of the dresser holds a rolled up towel and all the diaper supplies. I probably wouldn’t know what to do with a changing table now at all! : ) I thought it was weird that we did it this way, but reading through the comments it looks like NOTHING is weird!

  7. We use the ‘diaper basket’ method as well and have for years! I am still using the ‘western themed’ lined basket made for our four year old boy, but now it houses the two younger girls’ diapers and wipes. Ours is in the living room…or the crossroads to our home.

    Blessings ~

  8. We used the changing table when they were little. Now we use the floor, or the patio, or the back of the car…wherever we’re at!

    I also keep a diaper basket in the car at all times with diapers, wipes and a change of clothes. That way we don’t have to take a bag with us when we go somewhere.

  9. I’ve always used the couch, floor or the bed for baby #1, 2 and soon will be doing the same for #3. I had a c-section with both of my now toddlers and the floor was not an option for a few weeks, in fact a changing table probably would have been a good idea for recovery but I highly doubt I would have continued to use it after I was able to move more fluidly without much pain. And with the way my kids move…a changing table would be dangerous rather than a nice commodity.

    I also never used a basket, though I think that might be a great way to go this time. I always used an empty shelf or space to gather all diapers, wipes, ointments etc. on both the first and second floor. The ‘diaper area’ usually ended up chaos so I believe this might end up being our solution! Thanks for the awesome tip!

  10. As soon as our kids outgrew the pack’n’play changing pad and got really squirmy (about 6 months old), we switched to a changing pad on the floor. And I love having supplies in a basket like that; right now stuff is a little bit more, ahem, all-over-the-place, but it works for me.

  11. I use the changing table for the baby who is 7 weeks old but once they get mobile like my 2 yr old I also use a diaper basket.

  12. I use an old desk/vanity? with a changing pad on the top. Leaves plenty of space underneath for my diaper pail. I also have a 1 story apartment, and cloth diaper. It just seems easier to keep all the cloth diaper stuff together. Not sure what I will do when my baby girl starts eating solids and I have to walk to the other side of the apartment to rinse the poo off the diapers.

  13. I bought a changing table for my first because I was “supposed to.” But then I switched to cloth diapers and really needed a place to organize them. From then on I almost ALWAYS used the changing table. I even took DD upstairs to change every time. It kept me organized because everything was always in one place — diapers, wipes, spray, cream, and wet bag. So when DS was on the way I bought a second changing table for his room because it helps me so much. I still do change them there frequently and DD is over 2 and DS is 10 months and both quite wiggly at times. I found if I trained them to lie still on the changing table they typically would even when being still was NOT their idea of a good time. Both did/do fight me more on the floor, bed, etc. than on the changing table. (DS tries really hard to roll away from me and then crawl off if I change him anywhere else. Plus he kicks me.)

    And worse, now, I have gotten into the habit of changing them in random places and there are diapers ALL over my house. Often, but not always, clean ones…. I think if I used disposables I would be more likely to use a “diaper basket” of sorts, but with cloth, they all need to be collected and washed, so it makes more sense to have a designated space.

  14. i did floor as well. i had 2 and still have one changing table. i can count on one hand how many times i have used them for that purpose. i use it for extra storage in my kitchen.

  15. Your diaper basket looks almost exactly like ours! I keep ours at a level that is easy for our 2 year old to reach. Then, when it’s time for diapers changes (I always do both kids at the same time or I forget who I changed last and how long ago!), he goes to get a diaper from his basket and one from his baby sister’s basket. He loves to be able to be Mommy’s helper and this is one more simple, yet still very helpful way he can help!

    Now, I just need to figure out a better way to stay on top of keeping the baskets stocked…!

  16. We have used it all…changing table, towel on the bed, towel on the floor and on the couch. I really liked our changing table but with a quad, running upstairs wasnt always something I wanted to do. Now he is just too heavy to pick it up and put on the changing table, which is good since he is now into pull ups and we can do those standing up. 🙂

  17. am i the only person who can’t live without a changing table? lol. well i probably could, but i would rather not. I think maybe its because I had become use to her being at my standing level for so long in the NICU

  18. I LOVE my change table. With our four kids we’ve been through 2 of them. I use them until the baby is potty trained. I love knowing that all the things I need are exactly where I need them. Have never had a baby roll off… so far so good!

  19. I change my kids on the floor… so much easier! AND, we have the VERY SAME diaper basket as you have in the picture! 🙂

  20. We didn’t have a changing table for our son–mostly for financial reasons. I used a surf-board shaped tummy time mat that happened to match his Hawaiin-themed nursery bedding and decor perfectly.:) I received it as a shower gift, and my mother had also purchased a floor gym for him, so we didn’t need to use both for playtime. We just laid the surfboard mat in his room and sat on the floor to change him. I also kept a basket stocked in the living room with diapers, wipes, and extra onesies (he had a knack for leaking out the legs of his diapers–we could never use the Huggies brand because of that!).

    I am expecting baby #2 in June, and my husband will be finishing his PhD and starting a job not long after that (so the financial reasons for not having one will go away somewhat:))–I am thinking about trying a changing table, even though others say that it’s more hassle. It would be nice to have just for the extra storage space. We’ll see!

  21. We are diaper basket people too. We have a changing pad with a nice soft cover and a basket filled with diapers, cream, wipes, and hand sanitizer.

  22. for my first i wanted a changing table but couldn’t find one that i both liked and could afford. so we made a make shift one on top of his dresser. for our second we’ve done the same thing but on top of a table. you’re right in that it’s only really nice when they’re tiny. once they’re older, the floor works just as good, if not better. i have diapers upstairs and downstairs too except that i always forget to stock the one downstairs and end up having to run upstairs anyway… 🙂

  23. I have a changing table too and am using it on baby #2 right now. Couple of thoughts on the subject….

    Just like @Miriam I am 5’2 and the bed just kills my back. I’ve done the floor, but she tries to wiggle away from me too much. I feel like she is contained on the table 😉

    Secondly, I love the diaper basket. When I had my first baby I had one practically in every main room. Bedrooms, living room, bathrooms. Even though I had the changing table then, I would change her on the floor, in the pack and play etc. Then I read a story about a woman who started losing her weight by taking the hampers out of all of the bedrooms and carrying the clothes down to her basement for the wash. I figured if I had to change my daughter on the changing table in her bedroom then I would make myself do the stairs…hence more exercise. And it has helped. And now that she is almost 20 pounds it is a workout!

  24. I have a changing bad, and a floor. What else could I need? I have a small two shelf bookcase. I mean SMALL. it holds 2 of those baskets that you show and in one I hold the girl’s pull-ups and the other holds my boy’s diapers. Never needed anything else. Had a changing table but it was more a clutter holder. Got rid of that thing as soon as I could. 🙂

  25. I always did this, too! I also kept changing pads, hand sanitizer, diaper creme and those little diaper bags that you use for stinky diapers in my basket. Everything at your fingertips!

  26. We repurposed a dresser that was storing craft supplies/random junk into a changing table. It was a dark stain so I painted it to match the room. The drawers contain his clothes and extra bedding. I have an over-the-crib diaper holder picked up from Freecycle that holds a TON of diapers, plus wipes, burp cloths (which have become nose-wipers now that we’re well past the spit-up phase) and lotions/creams. I bought a changing pad with curved sides to go on top and 2 covers for the pad. It has worked well for us and was a real space saver, too. The baby’s room is not very big so we had to make good use of the available space. I had a changing table for my first child and after a while it really just becomes a catch-all.

  27. We’re with you about changing on the floor. It is just so much easier. We do not have a changing table, but we do possess a dresser with a changing pad on top. I found that as a petite woman, as my babies grew, they were harder to lift up onto the table. They also became more mobile, so there was a safety factor on the floor. I had much less to worry about when my little ones tried to crawl or roll away.

  28. I didn’t have a changing table for my firstborn until he was about 6 mths old & I hated changing him on the floor. Once I got the table, I was overjoyed. Finally a comfortable place to do dipes! It has baskets on the shelving that hold the cloth / disposable diapers & other baskets that hold all the baby “essentials.” Now that we’re in a much smaller home and with a 2nd baby in the home, I still love it. I need things to be accessible & in one place & the changing table does just that for me.

    When we were in a 2-story home I did have a diaper basket for downstairs but I still preferred the table for upstairs.

    We stopped using it as a “changing” table by 8 mths or so for each kid, but it’s still handy to store everything. Plus, since the table is in our guest room now, the mattress makes for a great “desk” for my dad’s laptop when he visits!

    Now that we’re about done with all the little baby things except diapers, I plan on using it as storage for my scrapbooking supplies. Great baskets & the table still looks good. We use the floor to change diapers now, but storage for everything is still great to have.

  29. we’re a cloth diapering family. so having everything in one place is what we need. we do use a change pad on top of his dresser. his diapers are in a laudry basket on the floor next to his dresser. He can roll from tummy to back so far. But he doesn’t move much when he is on the pad. There is a cross above the changing area that he talks to. I think he is talking to his guardian angel or other family members that are watching over him.

  30. We use the floor as well & I’ve had a diaper basket for awhile now 🙂 We keep it hidden under a side table in the living room & it makes it so accessible 🙂

  31. I always used the bed upstairs or a big ottoman we have downstairs. I never use the floor because my back aches. My changing table also became storage shelves and I had a diaper basket for downstairs!

  32. Good tip. I will remember this when we get baby number 2 some day. We had a changing table for our son, it was given to us. It was more for storage too. We just used the changing pad that came with his diaper bag and the floor. 🙂

  33. When I was pregnant with my first I almost didn’t get a changing table because I figured I wouldn’t use it but my SIL convinced me to get one and we actually just bought a new one to use when baby #4 arrives (we wore out the old one with the first 3!). My youngest is 16 months and we still use it for her. I just find that it’s much more comfortable than changing on the floor/bed. We do keep a diaper basket on the 1st floor just for convenience but more times than not I find myself going upstairs to use the changing table.

  34. I’m another who prefers the changing table. With my kids, they haven’t tried to get away from me on the table – but a change on the floor with a mobile babe is much more likely to result in a battle. I don’t worry about them falling off because I am right there the whole time. The floor is also harder on my back!

    We are in a one story house, so I am not sure what I would do with multiple floors. With my current toddler I would gladly go up stairs to avoid wrestling with him on the ground any day! I can always use a little more exercise.

    It’s really just like any other baby equipment – some moms use them and some don’t. *shrug*

  35. In my nursery I have a diaper changing pad sitting on the dresser. It’s big and lasts until the kids are about 18 months old. But I only use it 1st thing in the morning, before and after nap, and before bed. I use a dresser drawer to hold the diapers. Downstairs on the main floor I have a diaper basket that looks shockingly similar to yours and have always changed the kids on the floor (except when they were newborns and then it was on the couch – I was recovering from c-sections and couldn’t get up and down off the floor yet). I have 2 in diapers now and just don’t have the space for a changing table and I’m sure that I wouldn’t use one anyway. I also have a diaper basket in my toddlers bedroom. Now diaper gene’s, that’s a different story…couldn’t live without them and I have 3. One in each kids room and one down in the family room.

  36. I did this too! We actually used the changing table for my first but once she was old enough to walk, we changed her on the floor. My son was so big at birth, we just started changing him on the floor. The diaper basket was a life saver and still is!

  37. Other than with our first (twins) we didn’t use a changing table either. We did like you. Actually at the beginning we would change them by the bathroom sink on the long counter on a padded quilt when they were small and then graduate to the bed or floor.

  38. We change on the floor. We used a changing table when the girls were really little, but moved to the floor once they were mobile. The diaper basket is an excellent idea!

  39. We have a changing table pad on top of a dresser. I still use it for diaper changes with my 17 month old daughter. She doesn’t squirm much because we’ve taught her not to roll around on the changing table, and since it’s on her sturdy dresser, it doesn’t matter anyway.

    I did buy a cute little diaper caddy. ( I thought we would end up changing her diaper in other rooms, but our nursery is in a central location, so it’s easier to go to her room for diaper changes. It did come in handy for keeping baby gear organized. But now that I’m using cloth diapers (pockets), they don’t fit in the caddy, so I haven’t figured out how to repurpose the caddy yet.

  40. We use cloth diapers and we have a changing table in our bathroom instead of the babies room like most people have. I love your idea of the diaper basket!

  41. I have a diaper caddy to carry around the house, and park myself on the floor! Tired the changing table thing with one of my babies and found that I never used it.

  42. I’m 5’2″ as well, but the bed, floor, sofa, table, etc. are all the wrong height for me. I can do it once in a while, but my back hurts too much to do it all the time. I guess I dawdle too much, having too much fun looking at her smiling and wiggling 😉 We bought a used chest of drawers that’s a bit taller than most, and it’s the perfect height. I have a nice gift bag (wonder where it came from!? 😛 ) on its side and each time I open a new pack of diapers I fill it up. It keeps the stacks of diapers from falling all over the place and easy to grab. When we build our 2-story addition, the nursery will be upstairs, but I’ll keep a changing station downstairs, too, probably.

  43. We have a diaper drawer in our entertainment center. We went with the drawer because it can be locked 🙂 Now that my son is mobile and into everything, the basket was no longer working as I would find diapers under the couch, in his toy box, etc. The basket/drawer works best for us!! (As well as the Pampers and Costco wipes!)

  44. Wow. So you have no idea how good your timing is! We use cloth diapers and right now, they are in the pack and play underneath the changing pad, near where my son sleeps. But, he’s been working hard at rolling over and I’m going to have to move those diapers in a week or two and just last night asked my husband for ideas. Love the portable basket and it would be nice to set it by the pack and play as I long as I can still change him on it, then move it around as he gets bigger.

  45. I just switched to cloth diapers and I still change her on the floor. Even if I’m upstairs, I change her on the floor in front of the changing table! It’s so much easier to keep her from rolling on the floor.

  46. We have a changing table in the baby’s room, but I’ve only used it maybe 10 times. It’s just so much easier to change diapers on the bed. Call me a slacker! 🙂

  47. Our daughter is 14 months old and we’ve done all but a handful of changes on her changing table. She is getting a bit long, but there’s still some room for her. The floor might be a bit of a challenge as she’ll be after whatever is nearby.

  48. I love my changing table. Maybe I’m just weird! We have a one-story rancher, so its simple and convenient for me. I love standing him up to pull up his pants, and he puts his arms around me, gives me a great big hug, and lays his head on my shoulder. I also like confining all the “stink” to one garbage can. When I do change him on the floor, I find that my back hurts a bit too much, or he’s more likely and prone to move around. We got our changing table as a hand-me-down hubby’s older brother and wife; small amount of money, but I love it!

  49. Same here! I’ve always changed all my kids on the floor. We have supplies in a cupboard or closet on every level of the house. Too much of a pain to go upstairs every time you need to change a diaper.

  50. Diaper baskets here, too. 🙂 The one in the family room also houses baby socks, onesies, and bibs since we spend a good deal of time here and he usually needs at least one full clothing change throughout the day.

  51. We started out with a changing table for the first one, and by the time his was moving around we were using the same basket/floor method you describe! With the second one we never even got out our changing table! We keep diapers and supplies in the kids rooms and a basket of supplies similar to the picture in the living room!

  52. We received a very nice changing table as a shower gift before we had our daughter (23mos). We have NEVER used it as a changing table! We actually used the changing table pad as a mattress in her bedside co-sleeper b/c it kept her centered and her changing table is still used as a central housing for all of her stuff. Her lotions, qtips, diapers, wipes, towels, washclothes, combs, hairclips, and then the bottom is storage with her diapers & wipes that I find on sale & stock up on!

    I digress – we’ve always changed her on the bed or on the floor. I am 5’2″ so its much easier for me to change her on the bed than to change her on the changing table (I am assuming based on the height of it! lol!)


  53. We had a changing table for our first child and barely used it, didn’t get one for the second one. I would change our kids on the floor, the couch where ever was easiest. I used the diaper basket system too.

  54. I’ve always used a changing table but I think it’s because I’m used to the position and it just seems awkward to change them on the floor or somewhere else. So for me, it’s just force of habit.

  55. My son is only 5 weeks old so we haven’t transitioned to the crib, yet. Once we do we have a nicer changing pad on his dresser. We did this rather than buy a changing table that you only use for a short period of time. Once we no longer need it we can simply remove it from the dresser. I love the idea of a basket for downstairs, though. My diaper bag came with a portable changing pad. We are using this right now as I am sleeping downstairs with him so daddy can get the rest he needs for the work week. Little one is a bit of a noisy, restless sleeper.

  56. With baby #1 I thought I needed one but didn’t have the space or money to buy one. By baby #2 I just didn’t bother. By Baby #3 a friend lent me one. I think I used it for two months and then just kept a basket on each floor of the house. Once they get a “little mobile”, it’s too scary to have them up there – it was for me anyways.

  57. This is a crazy discussion to me because so many of you change your kids on the floor. It’s never even really been a consideration for me to change my kids on the floor.

    We have a changing table and we’re on our third kid and we have used for all the kids, all the time. I think one difference here might be that we have a one story home. It’s small and everything is on the same floor. We also cloth diaper, so I’m wondering if that makes a difference, too. There are lots of bulky supplies and you have to put the diaper in the pail right away unless you want that stuff soaking into your carpet.

    I wonder if I’ll change my mind if we ever move to a two story home…

    1. Isn’t that wild? I’m going to guess you’re right. It might be due to the cloth diaper factor. I imagine you would want to be in one location for all the gear and mess. I knew someone with a 2-story house who had the laundry room on the ground floor. She set up her 2nd changing station atop the dryer. That may work for you if you ever move to a 2-story house. You may want to start doing it now. 😉 Might make washing diapers even easier?

    2. @Trisha,
      We used a dresser turned into a changing table for our son. We were cloth diaper/wipe people too. Even in a two story house I went upstairs to change the baby. Easier with all the supplies to do it in one location. I’m not saying I never did it on the floor, just easier for me not to.

    3. @Trisha, Yep, we are cloth diapering too and always use the changing table. In our former house it was small enough to make it very convenient to just keep everything in one place. We have a two story now, but nowhere that would work for the “stuff” of diapering. At the stage my daughter is now(11mo), we usually are changing her before or after naps/bed so not too many trips upstairs for just a diaper. Plus, who doesn’t need the extra exercise of the stairs, right!

      1. @jessica,
        Also forgot to mention, I find changing on the floor uncomfortable for me, I am 6 feet tall and it kills my knees and back. Plus she is extra squirmy if I change her on the floor!

  58. I had a diaper basket that looked exactly like yours – pampers cruisers & costco wipes. Also about five different creams in there for my girls sensitive skin. My sisters & mom gave me a changing table with baby 2, which I loved for storage. I did use the “changing” part until baby 2 was about 6 months old – then I went back to the floor. Last fall I moved the changing table to the garage where I use it to store bulk canned goods. Works for me. Baby 2 is now 2 years old – hopefully fully potty trained soon. Diapers have moved to a drawer in the bathroom – she has to get them herself.

  59. We always changed our kids on the floor also. I’m using “we” loosely here. 🙂 I did the same thing. I made two changing baskets. One for upstairs and one for downstairs. It was so much easier. I was never very good when I did have to use a changing table!

  60. My baby has been out of diapers for two years now. When she was a baby, we had a changing table of sorts. I learned very quickly though that the floor was much easier. I never got the hang of changing a diaper from the side. I would much rather put myself in the line of fire and be right in the action 🙂

    Not sorry to see those days go. I’ll have another baby when they make one that comes already potty trained!

  61. I had the baby change table for my daughter but we often didn’t use it. I see no problem with changing your baby on the floor, it can make it less stressfull as they can roll off. This was my big fear witht he change table once my daughter could roll I love the idea of the diaper basket. I think this would make a great baby shower gift. Thanks for sharing another great idea!

  62. We have that exact basket and do the same thing. I’ve always just changed the kids on the floor on a blanket.

  63. The floor totally does not work for my Monkey. We got an Ikea change table from a friend and loved it from the beginning. We just bought (second hand) a new one because Monkey outgrew the first one length wise. I love not having to bend over, the mess perimeter, and having everything right there out of regular baby reach. Mostly though Monkey stays relatively still. We change on the floor when traveling and it is a monster battle to get him to stay down and not run away half diapered.

  64. We too change our kids on the floor – I’m too lazy to keep walking upstairs! Our changing table has a top that can come off and will be our daughters dresser when she gets her big girl room so at least I didn’t waste money on a changing table!

  65. Oh my word…I have always done a diaper basket! We have always lived in a 2 story house with the bedrooms upstairs. I’m way too lazy to go all the way upstairs 10 times a day just to change a diaper! 🙂

  66. We are totally diaper basket people. The changing table holds clothes and blankets, but not baby!

  67. Our changing table is currently just a storage shelf. 😉 We used it when our first baby was a newborn (but, then again, we did a lot of things that just made our lives more difficult back then)… we haven’t used it even once for babies 2 & 3 and I was just saying yesterday that I need to dismantle it and get it out of here. We use the floor… or the bed… or the sofa when they’re not too squirmy… babies are adaptable. 🙂

  68. We always changed our babies on the floor. We were newly married and brand new parents ~ floor was what we had the most of! The carpet was clean and soft and I didnt’ have to worry about anyone rolling off the table! It’s the destination, not the journey on this one…