By Bre, The Toddler Mom
If you’re anything like me then you love finding new and smarter ways of doing things and managing your everyday tasks. With the craziness of the holiday season upon us, this post is dedicated to my favorite parenting and household hacks!
I know, I know, it seems like every website, magazine, book, blog and person (even those without children) have some kind of list like this. And for good reason! As parents, it’s sink or swim together people! If one of us finds a better/easier/less tedious/more fun way of getting through the mountain of everything that we all have to do on an endless loop then it needs to be shared. If we can save someone (and hopefully more than one someone) even a few minutes a week, or a few shreds of sanity, then WOOHOO!!
Here is my list of my favorite hacks – please feel free to add any others you love in the comments, I’d love to find more.
- Lingerie Bag – this may be my very favorite hack, which is why I put it first. Nothing is more frustrating (at least for me) than trying to keep track of tiny bits of clothing in a sea of other tiny clothing – inevitably something gets lost. So, I use a zip top laundry bag for my son’s socks. Just toss them in the bag, zip it closed, and throw them in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry. Everything gets clean and I don’t have to spend hours hunting for socks stuck inside other clothes.
- Mini laundry bag inside the hamper – this goes hand-in-hand with my first hack. I have a small fabric bag pinned to the inside of my son’s hamper. This little bag is where his socks and anything else small goes, instead of being thrown into the hamper with the rest of his clothing. It also means that I don’t have to go sifting through his clothes to collect his socks before putting them in the lingerie bag they’ll get washed in – they’re already together!
- Keep a stain remover on/in your changing table – I know all of my hacks so far have been around laundry, but hey, it’s one of the biggest chores as a parent, and is most people’s least favorite thing to do – unless you’re me, I actually love doing laundry (turning chaos into neat piles calms my soul!). This particular hack, however, will really save you time, money, and frustration later on. I keep a bottle of my favorite stain remover (Zout and OxiClean Max Force are my favorites for baby and little kid stains) in my son’s changing table. This is where we get him dressed and undressed for the day and by treating a stain as soon as I take the clothing item(s) off of him it’s a lot more likely to come out in the wash. Plus, since the item will sit in the hamper until you do laundry the stain remover has the time to really work before you put it in the wash. I keep stain remover in the laundry room too, of course, but having it in his room too is really helpful.
- Spare clothing – we’re really good at taking spare clothing for our children with us when we leave the house, isn’t that half of what a diaper bag is for after all?? Well, don’t forget to pack a change of shirt for you too. We’ve all been there, your tiny human has something gross all over them, they have a runny nose, or spit/throw up and you get covered in it too. At least having a spare shirt packed lets you not have to walk around wearing someone else’s bodily secretion or spend money on something new. Unless you want to buy a new shirt, of course, who am I to hold anyone back from new things?? 🙂
- Removable Hooks, Learn to Love ‘Em – I love these things!! There are so many uses for them! You can put one on the back of the highchair to keep bibs handy. You can put them up in your hall or mudroom at kid height so they can hang up their own coats, or in their bedrooms or bathrooms to hang up towels or clothing. You can use them in playrooms to hold bags or soft bins for toys. You can use the mini hooks to hang pictures in your kid’s rooms, or on their doors – you know, those places your kids want to hang things but you don’t want to put a nail. We used them last year to hang Christmas stockings since we don’t have a mantelpiece.
- Plastic bags – Of course we all want to be environmentally friendly, and we should recycle these when we can, but inevitably most of us end up with a few of plastic bags hanging around the house. So, put them to good use for an emergency! I keep several in our diaper bag, and a few in each of our cars (within reach from the driver’s seat). This way if we’re out somewhere and a diaper decides to fail in its main duty, or poop-splosion strikes, your kid gets nauseous, or mysteriously wet… (No, Mommy, I didn’t spit out my milk. I don’t know how I got wet!) You have somewhere to put the stinky wet/dirty mess until you can reach a trash can or home.
- Cup Leashes – Seriously people, these things are awesome! We have two at home, one in each car, and one in the diaper bag. They keep cups from getting lost in the car (hello, under the seat blackholes!), limit the scope of the mess since a cup can only go so far, keeps them off the floor, and saves your back when your sweet little baby decides that throwing everything within reach is their new favorite thing.
- Need Grip? Some of the cutest shoes and socks have little to no grip on the bottom, and for our little walkers they really should…. Womp… womp…. In these cases some hot glue or puff paint on the bottom in whatever pattern you want will turn any socks and shoes into grippy wonders!
- Prevent the Mold! – We all know that bath toys are just disgusting – on the inside at least. To keep the mold from ruining your kid’s favorite bath toys plug the holes with a dab of hot glue. The toys are still awesome, and no one gets sick! Score!
- Stash Diapers like a Squirrel – I keep a few diapers in different areas of our house so that if my son is playing and really having fun but needs a change I can do it right there and not have to drag him away for a new diaper. The main stash is in his changing table in his room, but I have a few in one of the drawers in our TV stand in the family room, and a few in another drawer in the playroom. Of course there are times where I have to pull him upstairs for a serious diaper change, but for the quick changes, it’s nice to have an alternative.
- The Freezer – did you know that you can freeze stuffed toys and pillows that are hard to wash? The freezing kills any mites or other gross things hanging out in/on the toys and pillows no washing machine needed.
- Another thing about the freezer… Make ahead meals – I did quite a bit of cooking before my son was born, portioned it out, labeled it and froze it. Hands down the.best.thing.I’ve.ever.done! I still do it to this day to save time during the week – taco meat, baked ziti, apple crisp, meatballs, etc… You put in the effort to cook all at once, pick the portion size that works for your family, freeze them, and all you have to do is thaw and heat it up – voila! Dinner!
I hope that you find these hacks helpful! Don’t forget to add your own hacks in the comments, anything to help a mother out!