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iStock 612372968 CroppedWhen you're expecting a new bundle of joy, keeping your registry organized and checking off the all the key boxes might be the last thing on your mind. However, making sure that you not only get everything you want, but everything you definitely need before baby comes is easier said than done.

Accordingly, you'll want to make a plan when you create your registry. We're big fans of ranking items according to Needs, Wants, and Wishes in our own shopping lists (and ecommerce carts), and recommend this system for such a big, complex process like registering for everything your new little family member will need.

Needs: Can't Live Without It

These are all the things that you and your your baby simply have to have, like a crib, blankets, a car seat, a stroller, and more. These should be the priority on your registry if you don't already have them, and you should make sure these boxes are checked before your baby greets the world. What's more, the needs should be things that you require in the first few months of your baby's life, when you're going to be in the exhausted (but happy) newborn stages and will have little time or inclination to shop. It can be helpful to think of your Needs in three month increments.

Wants: Would Be A Good Item To Have

There's plenty of things that you might want, but don't really need. Things in this category include the majority of baby toys, a breast pump, or potentially unnecessary items like travel bassinets, an infant swing or bouncer, and similar items that would be awesome to have, but aren't make or break (and your baby probably won't miss them). This category also covers things like the luxury versions of standard items; for instance, no baby really needs a designer logo on their onesie (as adorable as it may be).

In addition, Wants can be things that you probably won't need until your baby gets a little bigger, like clothes in larger sizes, toys that a newborn won't be ready for, or even an oversize umbrella stroller.

Wishes: Reaching For The Stars

Most of the items in the Wish category are a stretch for most budgets, but you never know - you could have a surprisingly generous friend or relative, or perhaps a group of friends will go in on a gift together. Or maybe they are something to save up for! Either way, the Wishes are items that you and your baby will be okay if you never receive.

Those of you who are already moms know the feeling - you start thinking about all the things you need to get before the baby comes, and it's pretty overwhelming! But a little organization and dividing your list into chunks goes a long way towards combating that feeling, and using the "Needs, Wants, Wishes" formula is the first step. And using our sponsor Babies"R"Us to build your registry with their must-haves and good-to-have options is the next step to helping you Be Prepared-ish!

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