It's amazing how many people spin their wheels each day looking for lost keys,
phone numbers, the red shirt or a specific pair of shoes. Spend a weekend getting yourself organized.
Take a few minutes to examine your home. Take a walk through and pretend that
you are seeing it for the first time. How do you feel about the physical state of the house? Does it provide a calm, soothing
environment? Do you find it easy to think clearly? Does the visual clutter jangle your nerves?
You are not just organizing your home, you are creating a nurturing
environment to soothe your own souls. A calm, peace-filled environment best allows us to understand and fulfill
our purpose in life. Remember, your home isn't just four walls holding your furniture and clothes. It's an extension of your
40 ways to save time and make life with a baby easier
After your new baby arrives, feelings of joy go head-to-head with heavy eyelids, drained energy, and fragile
emotions. Fortunately, there are plenty of crafty ways to save time and make daily life run more smoothly when you're caring
for a baby. The following tips gathered from BabyCenter moms and dads are designed to reduce stress, save time and money,
and help you stay in touch with the joy of raising your child.
Feeding your baby
breastfeeding station is a must. Mine has a glider, a snap-on light, water, reading material, burp cloths, TV and CD players
with remotes, and a portable phone." — Katherine
"Breastfeeding can be a good time to catch up on all those phone
calls you don't have time for. I think the sound of my voice soothes my baby." — Trish
"One of our best investments
was a co-sleeper. I don't have to get out of bed for night feedings; I just reach over and pull my baby to me. When she's done, I edge her
back to her bed. Neither of us has to fully wake up, which makes getting back to sleep much easier." — Sally
bought Medela microwaveable bags to sterilize breast pump parts, bottles, and nipples. I rinse items as I use them, put them in the bag, and microwave the
bag when it's full." — Suzanne
"Pump milk from one side while nursing on the other." — Melissa
of my best discoveries is a hands-free pumping bra. I can pump while reading the newspaper and eating breakfast." — Edy
Formula and bottles
a 30- to 60-ounce Tupperware pitcher and mix up 30 or more ounces of formula at once. It's good for 48 hours once mixed (refrigerated),
and it saves you from having to mix the powdered formula with water for each feeding." — Julie
baby's started solids
"I prepare a week's worth of baby cereal at a time, measuring out the right amount of dry
cereal in individual bowls or cups with lids. Then all I need to do is add milk or formula." — Paula
of baby food, like steamed veggies or cooked fruits, at one time and freeze them in meal-size quantities in small zippered
bags. Heat the bags in the microwave." — Virginia
"I divvy up boxes of snack foods like crackers and pretzels
into snack-size zippered bags and keep a picnic basket of bags on the counter so I can grab a few whenever we leave the house."
"I keep multiple diaper bags packed and ready to go with the basics, and I refill each one after
I use it." — Juliette
"We've made mini-changing stations around the house, in addition to the main one in the
nursery. Our stations consist of baskets filled with diapers, wipes, a changing pad, and a few toys. They can be stored under
a table or bed." — Cathy
"Keep a diaper bag in the car ready for a whole day of emergencies: six to eight diapers,
a supply of rash creams and wipes, a changing pad, one or two outfits, bottled water, formula if you use it, baby food, juice
boxes, snacks, antiseptic spray, bandages, eye drops, fever reducer/pain reliever, tweezers, a jacket or sweater for sudden
weather changes, sunscreen, sun hats, and bug repellent. You'll be prepared for nearly everything, from getting stuck in traffic
to an extra night of vacation." — David and Kristen
"Dress your baby in gowns
instead of sleepers with snaps. It's much quicker and easier to do night changes, and you can do them without turning on the
light." — Dana
"To save time in the morning, I bring my 11-month-old son in the shower with me. We both get clean,
and my son enjoys splashing around at my feet. This allows me almost as much time as I would like in the shower and gives
me a chance to keep a close eye on him." — Heather
Have the right gear ready
"I keep a basket in
the bathroom filled with supplies for my daughter's bath: towels, washcloths, shampoo, soap, lotions, diapers, and wipes.
I fill it up each week so I don't have to run around gathering supplies while bathing her. They're always there within easy
reach." — Melanie
The quickie cleanup
"I use laundry baskets for everything, especially
to pick up toys strewn around the house. When I don't have time to clean and company's coming over, I throw everything in
a laundry basket and put it in a closet." — Molly
"I purchase all the 'quicker-picker-uppers,' like sanitizing
wipes and dusting cloths, and keep them handy in whichever room needs cleaning. As I walk through the room, I grab one and
clean my way through. It's more expensive, but it saves time." — Catherine
the dishwasher is a snap if you put your silverware in head-down and grouped together. This way, when you only have a minute
to empty the dishwasher while the kids are asleep, you can grab a section at a time and slip it in the drawer." — Brenda
write a 'to do' list for the week on a dry-erase board. Having everything written down, and crossing things out once they've
been done, keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. It also gives my hubby an opportunity to help without having to ask me what
to do." — Natasha
"To keep track of bills, I use a flexible folder with 12 slots labeled January to December.
After I pay the bills each month, I take the whole stack of paperwork and slide it into the appropriate slot. My checkbook
and stamps go in the front." — Kate
"If I straighten up the house each time my daughter
naps it doesn't get overwhelming. When she goes down for the night, I usually don't have energy for much, so I pick one thing,
usually the dishes, and allow myself to wait until the next day to do the rest without feeling guilty." — Ryan
a bucket near the sink. Each time you're done feeding your baby, rinse the bottle, nipples, spoons, bowls, etc. to remove
food and put them in the bucket. Add some detergent and hot tap water. Tackle the rest of the cleaning when you have time.
Because everything's soaked, it'll go faster." — Pravina
Make it a game
"When my daughter wakes
up in the morning or from a nap I do things around her room while she's still in her crib. We sing, talk, and play games while
I put clothes away, sort laundry, restock diapers, pick up toys, and vacuum. She watches me all around her, and she's in a
safe place and not underfoot." — Heidi
"I place socks in large mesh lingerie bags so I
don't have to search for them in the dryer." — Kelly
"Instead of using a long block of time for laundry, I do
it as I go, starting a wash at night before I go to bed and switching it to the dryer in the morning. I throw dry clothes
in a basket and fold when I get the time, like when my daughter's napping. I've also stopped buying anything that needs ironing.
Those days are gone!" — Jill
Feeding the family
Cook in bulk
"When I do find time to fix a meal, I make huge
amounts and freeze the extra in freezer bags, ready to be heated up when I don't have time to cook. Many foods lend themselves
well to freezing, including soups, stews, pasta sauces, and bean and rice dishes." — Margarita
"I prepare enough
food for three days. That way we don't get caught in the pre-packaged food trap. I make vegetables, steamed chicken, and other
meats, cut up pieces of fruit, and put everything in zippered bags in the fridge." — Cathi
Keep it simple
you've put your slow cooker away, take it out again. I put in a bunch of veggies, rice, and meat in the morning, add water
and spices, and turn it on. A hearty meal is ready by dinnertime." — Rosemary
"I try to make meals that require
only one or two pots. They're faster to make and easier to clean up. We like pasta tossed with olive oil, garlic, broccoli,
and precooked frozen shrimp." — Linda
Pick up the phone (or the mouse)
"I do as much online grocery shopping
as possible. It's a super timesaver." — Claudia
"Delivered pizza or Chinese food is a godsend. Keep an envelope
of cash in the kitchen for tipping the delivery guys and gals — they'll become welcome friends." — Sully and Nicky
Other things to
"When we need to get our son ready to go to daycare, I express
milk from one side while he nurses from the other. Meanwhile, Daddy is in charge of getting the diaper bag together and the
car seat ready. All I have to do is burp him and strap him in." — Amanda
"My husband gives our 4-month-old a
bath every night. Our son loves it, and it makes him sleepy so it's easier for my husband to feed him and put him to bed.
It's great father-and-son bonding, and it gives me time to myself after a full day caring for our baby." — Callie
partner and I recently started a cooking schedule. During weekdays we each cook twice and on Friday we go out or get take-out.
This has saved us tons of time. Also, knowing that I'm cooking twice a week means I plan my meals ahead so I have the ingredients
on hand." — Heather
Stop and smell the roses
"I try to remember that the world isn't going to end
if dinner isn't at a certain time, or if the house isn't completely clean, or if the laundry isn't done. If my daughter is
crying or having a tantrum, the best thing I can do is forget everything else and give her all the love and attention I can.
Soon she'll be so independent that she'll want to do everything alone." — Jennifer
"I think if you're a stay-at-home
mom or dad, the main thing to remember is that you're staying home to raise children and spend quality time with them, not
to have the perfect house." — Valerie
"When the world gets too hectic, I stop whatever I'm doing and just sit
down and play with my daughter. It's amazing how much clearer my head is afterward, and I don't feel so pressured to get everything
else done. The laundry and cleaning will be there the next day, but what you do with your child today will be a lasting memory
for both of you." — Amy
OTHER MISC TIPS
- You can create a night table and storage container for out-of-season clothes or linens all in one: Buy a metal or
plastic 40-gallon garbage pail. Have a round plywood top made for it, and cover it with a circular cloth that hangs all the
way to the floor. If kids are very little, you may even want tack a piece of vinyl over the top of the cloth to keep it clean
and protect against spills.
- A divided bookshelf filled with storage baskets is an easy and attractive way to organize toys.
- a transparent shoe holder is a good way to organize anything you need to.
Getting toddler to clean
- Make Consequences and rewards. Make it a game to help and enforce those consequences! I find that young
children, like puppies, really long to have someone in control. If it isn't you, they will, like puppies, happily take over.
Organizing with an infant around
- suggest working in shorter time spans because that's about all your children will allow. It is such a
nurturing experience for children to grow up in peaceful environments. Let that desire guide you. Don't think of getting organized
as an addition to a long list of should's. Think of it as a precious gift you give yourself and your family. With that
motivation, it will be easier.
Getting older kids to help
- Remember, you aren't punishing them if you ask them to take on tasks around the house, you are giving
them the opportunity to develop a valuable skill: getting organized. Not to mention that you, my dear, deserve the help!
- make a key hook by your door for keys so you always know where they are
- Rotate toys: put away most of the toys and keep just a few out. The next week, put those away and take
out a few of the stored toys. That way they will feel they always have something new to play with and you won’t have
so many toys to put away each day.
- Keep a list on your refrigerator and, each time you finish something, add it to the list.
- Write Things Down. Always, keep a small notepad on hand. When you think of something you need to do,
jot down a reminder. This will save you endless minutes recalling just what you were supposed to do.
- Get An Engagement Calendar. Get a calendar to write down all your engagements, addresses and phone numbers.
By keeping all the information in one place, you won't have to dig for it later.
- Keep A Notepad By Your Phone. How many times have you written a note on a loose piece of paper, never
to see it again? Record those notes on a pad of paper to keep them from walking away.
- Designate Days. Choose a day or night to do your grocery shopping and errand running each week. Choose
a day to clean your home. Stick to your schedule and forget about these responsibilities the rest of the week.
- Carry juice boxes and sugar-free snacks in the glove compartment. It will keep the kids from going ballistic
in traffic jams and will save you that extra trip to the fast-food joint on the way home.
- Carry a plastic zippered
bag in your purse for receipts. It will save you from hunting later when you need to return an item. It also helps with record
keeping. Go through the bag every month and dispose of those receipts you no longer need. The best time to do it is when you
receive your monthly credit card statement.
- Designate one or two days per week as your grocery shopping day and
let your children know about it. Make a shopping list during the week and stick to it when you get to the store. The fewer
extraneous items you purchase, the more money you save. Never shop when you're hungry, too. Otherwise, that extra bag of potato
chips may find its way into your cart after all!
- Cull your recipe books on Sundays and make a meal plan for the
week. Add needed items to your shopping list. Make a few meals ahead of time and freeze them for the busiest evenings.
Tax time can be a stressful time of year. To head off last-minute scrambling, create a folder called "taxes". Place inside
any tax-related documents such as business receipts, bills of sale, charity donations made throughout the year, etc.