Life as a mom of two little ones two and under is crazy! Often times I feel like I am doing everything I can just to keep up...and I feel like keeping up isn't enough. Over the past couple months I have done some things that have helped make life a little easier for me as the mom/cook/cleaner/organizer/driver and helped me to feel a little more put together and less stressed. Here they are:
1- Get Rid of the Junk & Find a "Home" for Everything
After Christmas I felt like I picked up after my toddler all day and that things got tossed from one room to the next and soon realized that in order for this to stop I needed to find a "home" for the gifts we had received. I also realized that in order for that to happen I needed to make room by getting rid of some older things/"junk". I finally gave up some toys, clothes, etc. I had been holding onto but were never used. It was hard to get rid of some things but I have LOVED the freedom that's come from having less.
My planner has become my best friend...not really, but I use it lots! I like to plan week-by-week. Our family plans every Sunday night and it really has helped the week run smoother. We plan by letting everyone know what type of appointments/games/responsibilities are taking place during the week. I also like to plan my meals for the week so I know what to buy when I grocery shop. The other thing I like about planning is it helps me remember special dates like friends/families birthdays.
3. Read Mail Everyday
I have gotten in the habit of reading the mail as it comes rather then putting it aside. This helps keep it from stacking up and ensures that I get everything done on time.
4. Trash & Recycle Bins
This is such a simple thing but it really has made life easier. I bought one white trash can for trash and one blue for recycling and put them right by each other. I find myself recycling lots more because the recycle bin is right by the trash. I also don't continually feel guilty for throwing stuff away.
5. Organize Computer Pictures as I Go
I used to get way behind in keeping my computer organized...especially my pictures. At the start of the year I created a 2012 Folder for my pictures with a folder for each month inside of it. I have loved how much easier it's been for me to organize things and find things.
6. Reuse Towels
We only have 2 towels for each person in the family (a total of 8 towels)! We each have a hook in the bathroom and hang our towel on it when we are done using it and reuse it a couple times before we wash it. I love this...less to wash.
7. Cleaning Day
I like to do all my cleaning on one day...for me it's Thursday. I spend about an hour and a half and do everything: dust, wash windows, walls, clean bathrooms, disinfect kitchen, sweep, mop and vacuum. It's a lot to do in one day but I love the feeling that comes from having everything clean at one time. I also love having a day because I know it's done every week.
8. Hygiene Day
I do what I call a "hygiene day" every Wednesday. On hygiene day I make sure all the little things that can easily be forgotten when it comes to hygiene are done for me and the kiddos. I clip nails, clean behind ears and in between toes and belly buttons, wash hair really well, ect. It only takes a couple minutes but helps me keep up on all the little things I tend to easily forget. I love knowing its done every week and don't find myself thinking "yuck, we need to cut your fingernails" or wondering when I last did something.
9. Use Totes and Bags
I started keeping all my bathroom cleaners in one tote and all my kitchen ones in another. I love the totes because I just grab the one I need for the room I am cleaning and clean away!
I also have a small bag full of all our swimsuits and pool stuff. I used to keep everyone's stuff in their own room but usually when we need it we all go together...this helps save time and space.
10. Keep Extras in Vehicle
I recently stocked the car with the "extras." I put an organizer on the back of the driver seat with treats, diapers and wipes, distractions, ect. I also put a small shoe box with an extra outfit for the baby and my toddler who still has occasional "accidents." I love the freedom this has brought...I can go somewhere without the diaper bag yet the car still feels clean and organized.
11. Rotate Food as I Buy It
I have gotten in the habit of placing food at the back of the cupboard/fridge/pantry rather than at the front when I restock. I hope to someday have rolling organizers but for now this helps.
12. Organize Storage
This is still a work in progress but I have started buying storage totes that go with what's being stored in it. Our Christmas Tree and Ornaments go in a green tote, other Christmas decorations go in a red tote, Halloween costumes are in an orange tote, boy clothes are in a blue tote, girl clothes are in a pink tote, ect. I stored all other decorations other than Christmas in clear totes so I can easily see whats inside.
13. Use Key Rack & Purse Clip
We recently started using a key rack for our keys to keep our toddler from getting them and me from loosing them. We also hung a clip up next to our garage door where I can hang up my purse.
14. Use Hand Vac
We have used a rechargeable hand vac for years but I just had to write about it. I love our rechargeable hand vac! It makes it so much easier to clean up after meals, snacks and hair cuts.
15. Bleach Dish Rags Each Month
One of my least favorite things is the smell of dirty rags/dishcloths...especially when I've just washed my hands. I have started bleaching my dishcloths every month to prevent them from smelling.
16. Use Pumps on Lotion, Shampoo, ect.
This is another simple things but it has helped me a ton! I love having a pump because I feel like it keeps things cleaner and it makes it easier when I am bathing or getting kiddos ready or when I only have 1 free hand.
17. Rotate Toys
I have been rotating toys for a long time but I usually keep a lot out. I recently started storing more then half the toys but rotating them more often (when I feel like the kids are ready for a change.) There is a lot less to clean up and the kids love when I pull stored toys out...so do I.
18. Childproof/ "Toddler-Proof" Home
I thought I was finished childproofing after my first started to crawl but I was way wrong. Childproofing for me is really more like "Toddler-proofing." The best thing I have done when it comes to child proofing was moving our DVD's and Games to higher shelves.
19. Use Hanging Shoe Organizers for Kids Outfits
This is something my mom used to do but I didn't start doing it until recently. Rather than hanging my kiddos clothes or putting them in a drawer I group them into outfits and put them in shoe organizers. The blue one is for my little boy and the white is for my little girl...nothing fancy but I love it!
20. Bins (Too Big, Too Small, Donate)
I feel like I am constantly organizing my kiddos clothes...they grow way to fast. I created these bins out of baby wipe boxes, one for things that have gotten to small, one for things that are still to big or out of season and one for things to donate. This has helped me keep up on things easily rather then feeling like I am always pulling everything out to re-organize.
I use blue totes for my boys clothes and pink totes for girl clothes these baby wipe boxes are just to toss things in as we go. When they get full I put them in a more permanent location.
I hope that some of these things help make your life a little easier too! I would love to hear what you do.