You couldn’t be more excited about the new year ahead, because you’ve gotten some wonderful news: You’re going to be a mother! Right now you’re probably daydreaming about chubby cheeks, adorable onesies, and the bundle of joy you’ll be holding in your arms this time next year. You may also be feeling the urge to clean, organize, de-clutter, and redecorate. Congratulations: You’re nesting! In other words, you’re feeling the desire to prepare your home for the new arrival.

Nesting is an important “stage” of pregnancy, and I know this from experience. I’m a modern-day princess, but I come from modest means and met my Italian Prince Charming, Adriano Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, while on scholarship at Pepperdine University.

Being a princess has given me access to great expertise, but I’m adamant that the most important choices I have made (and that you will make!) as a parent have little to do with money. Instead, they have everything to do with educating yourself, trusting your instincts, and eventually, paying attention to your child’s signals.

Here are nine of my nesting tips to take into account:

1. Put paperwork in order.

You might not think of paperwork as being a nesting activity, but even more important than a well-decorated nursery and organized closet are your child’s medical needs and daily care. Find a pediatrician, make sure your insurance is in order, and look into pre-admitting if you’re giving birth in a hospital.

2. Tackle your budget.

The exact amount of your baby-related budget varies depending on your personal choices, where you live, whether or not you’re a first-time parent, and much more. Do your best to figure up how much money you’ll spend on baby paraphernalia, during maternity leave, for future daycare, etc. If you’ll be a stay-at-home mom and you’re currently working, think about how the loss of income will impact your family. Factor in new expenses like diapers and formula.

3. Organize.

You’re probably feeling the urge to organize everything: the pantry, your closet, the garage, your DVD collection, and of course, the baby’s room. Take a step back and prioritize the projects. Besides the ones that involve your baby’s room, clothes, and gear, I recommend cleaning out kitchen cabinets to make room for baby supplies. Also clean out junk drawers so that you’ll be able to easily locate things like screwdrivers, batteries, and other essentials for building baby toys and accessories.

4. Follow the fingertip rule.

In other words, when you’re organizing and de-cluttering, keep the most important things at your fingertips. With a new baby, space is at a premium, so get tough and clean out things you rarely use. Put these items in big plastic tubs and store them out of the way.

5. Get low.

Look at your home from a baby’s point of view. Clean or replace carpets, change the air filters, get a new vacuum bag, etc., to improve the air quality in your house and make the floors a safe place to play. Since it will be a little while before your baby becomes mobile, you can hold off on baby-proofing the entire house.

6. Finish baby’s room.

Decorating, organizing, and stocking the baby’s room is a favorite activity for most soon-to-be moms. Get started as early as you want, and tweak to your heart’s content. I really enjoyed painting, getting the crib assembled, and organizing all of those precious onesies.

7. Take care of any pesky chores you’ve been putting off.

They’re not things you’re going to have the time, energy, and mental clarity to tackle with a newborn in the house. Figure out daycare options, take the car in for a tune-up, and get your gutters cleaned.

8. Get help.

The fact is, you can’t do it all. In some instances, such as heavy lifting and cleaning with strong chemicals, or if you’re on bed rest, doing it all might harm you and/or your baby. That’s why I encourage you to ask for or hire help. If you want to rearrange a room, paint, or deep clean your house, for example, your peace of mind alone might be worth the cost of hiring someone. If your budget is tight, but there’s work to be done, try to enlist friends and extended family.

9. Pencil in some time for yourself.

This might be the most important nesting practice of all: Making sure that you are in order and at peace. It’s natural for moms and moms-to-be to put others’ needs first. But remember, this is the calm before the proverbial storm. Schedule a pedicure. Read a book. If there’s time, sign up for a class you’ve been wanting to take.

Ultimately, smart nesting is all about planning, prioritizing, and ensuring you’re comfortable bringing your baby home. Now’s the time to tie up all of those loose ends before your bundle of joy arrives!

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