In the off chance someone else out there faces the same space limitations I do I thought I would do a quick survey of some of the space saving products I've found useful.
First: The Maclaren Easy Traveler Car Seat Carrier Stroller:
This was a product I didn't know I needed until I actually used a different stroller. Newbie mistake for sure. Here is a tip: When you pick out your child's stroller, ask a sales associate to fold it up for you so you can see how HUGE it is folded and make a decision about where it will be stored and how well it will fit in your trunk. We didn't ask questions and just registered for the travel system that went with out car seat (which was chosen based on safety). The good part about that stroller is that it not only carries the car seat but is also a stroller for a larger child as well. The problem is that when it is folded, it is really BIG and takes up A LOT of room in our fairly spacious trunk (and the closet). Which means if I try to go grocery shopping it is annoying trying to fit everything, and if we travel we can't bring both the stroller and the pack and play. Enter the Maclaren Easy Traveler Stroller. I will totally admit this has limited use because it is only useful to carry the infant car seat. However, through he magic of engineering it UMBRELLA folds and thus is very compact!! Sean and I discussed this purchase for a while and I really looked all over NY state to find a used one. Apparently people love them so much they don't give them up. I say SKIP the travel system stroller and just get this. Pick out your toddler stroller with more than the pattern in mind. Our other stroller will be used when Colin gets bigger (and hopefully we have a bigger car!).
Second: The Safety First- Fold up tub.
Some might say you could skip the infant tub, we bathe Colin every night (as per our pediatricians recommendation) so filling up the entire tub every night would be a MAJOR waste of water. We have no room to store a traditional infant tub so we got this one. It folds up and fits in our buffet cabinet! It is perfect for us, and the base fits in the sink so I don't hurt my knees or back kneeling on the floor.
Third: Bobby Rock in Comfort Travel Swing.
I will admit I have serious swing envy when I go to Erin's and see the nice big swing she has, but most swings literally have the same footprint as a lay-z-boy and our LR just doesn't have the space for that. This swing has about half the footprint and it all folds up for storage or travel. The cons: It is only good up to 25lbs sightly smaller than traditional swings and the battery life leaves something to be desired, but it was this or nothing so I can live with it.
Next: Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper:
We were going to re-use Lukas' Jumperoo but is is currently missing in action in storage so we ended up buying our own. I choose this one because 1. The company got back to me about the plastics, and it meets International standards for BPA and phthalates which I understand to be more strict than our FDA's. 2. It has extra spots to hang (and swap out) extra toys. and 3. It folds FLAT! and can fit under the bed or crib when we have company.
Last: The Fisher Price Space Saver High chair:
I got this before I started by Fisher Price boycott, but it is a good product. Again, the footprint of a high chair is bigger than you would think so we ended up not being able to fit the 'all natural' high chair (I was oh-so bummed). This one straps onto a chair you already have so it doesn't take up any additional space. I currently have it on top of the buffet table so I have somewhere to 'put' Colin while I'm in the kitchen making lunch. (I will admit this isn't the safest application since it isn't strapped down but since he isn't strong enough yet to move it I'm confident its not life threatening).