Can you be that mom who throws two diapers in your purse? Absolutely. BUT, will this list and an efficiently packed bag make your life easier? You bet.
When you pack efficiently, you pack limited amounts of the RIGHT stuff. Kids are unpredictable, right?
Diaper bag goals...
⭐ Have enough stuff for a few hours and consider that you may be out for longer
⭐ Designate a few clothing items, toys / books ONLY for the diaper bag
⭐ Drop a monthly reminder on your calendar to swap out clothes, toys /books based on your child's growth and interests
⭐ Repack diapers and wipes as soon as you get back for the next outing
These four tips have significantly cut down on my time to get out the door with the two kids. And a minute saved can make the difference in a missed doctors appointment. Or even a late-to-school-thanks-mom detention.
If you're home isn't working the best it could for you, does it even feel like home?
Evaluate your needs honestly before you transform your space into something that WORKS for you and your family. What season of life are you in? Where's the most ideal place to put the stroller (near or in the garage)? The piles of shoes (near the frequently used door, but do you even wear them all)? The baseball bat you hope your son will use one day (storage, OR the DONATION BIN - gotcha 😉😂).
I created this less than $200 "mudroom" space - a great place to hang up the diaper bags, hubby's backpack and store a bunch of kid equipment that was taking up valuable laundry room countertop and cabinet space.
This is a "try before you buy" for us - it's working great right now, and since it IS working so well, we'll plan to do permanent cabinets in this area in the future.
It was an empty hallway for 2+ years and went from nothing to good-looking and functional with things we already had around the house! If you bought this new, it would still only cost $200.
We use this space to hang bags /backpacks and store equipment, travel gear and a few other things for the kids.
The only things I specifically bought for this area were the heavy-duty Command hooks (they were black - had the brushed nickel spray paint!) and the foam for the bench seats. Yes, the hooks are holding my diaper bag and are incredible. The IKEA Kallax units are my favorite inexpensive and versatile shelf units ($49.99 each for these 1x4 cubbies). They have been with us for years and have moved from all different rooms and served many purposes!
Here's what you would spend if you bought everything all at once:
$49.99 x2 - Shelf units (IKEA)
$10 - Cube bins (Amazon)
$10 - Rug (at auction)
$50 - Foam (Joann)
$10 - Home decor fabric remnant (Joann)
$20 - Hooks / spray paint (Amazon)
$0 - Painting (hand me down from my grandma!)
Have any spaces that you can repurpose and change up in your own home to improve functionality? Sometimes all it takes is a little switcheroo!
Progress over perfection - something I am trying to live every single day!! My perfectionist tendencies really frustrated me for a long time and prevented me from getting things done. It also really stunted me getting rid of a lot of excess in my home (What if Aunt Mary comes over and she doesn’t see that toy she bought the kids a year ago?!). To have a more fulfilled home life, these three steps are so important:
1️⃣ Dump the clutter and excess - YES, that includes emotional struggles with sentimental items, gifts, etc. and YES, it can be extremely difficult. We’ll get more into the emotional side soon.
2️⃣ Organize and systemize - Figure out what WORKS for you and your family; everyone is unique, some people may need detailed lists, specific routines and rigidity, I can tell you that is NOT me, and I try to create loose, easy routines that I don’t feel guilty about skipping on occasion.
3️⃣ MAINTAIN - Maintenance can only be achieved with absolutely everything you want to be surrounded by having a place, using the layout and furniture in your home to your advantage, and getting the whole family MOSTLY on board.
The less excess you allow into your home (and life), the less overwhelmed you’ll feel. You can organize all that stuff into oblivion, but it’s never going to disappear. The clutter trap is actually a sink hole - you can try your best to claw your way out, but unfortunately you’ll just keep drowning.
You can't out-clean clutter!
We live in a pretty self-indulgent and consumerist society - that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just means there are A LOT of options and there is A LOT of stuff out there that one could possibly acquire. The ease of shopping online (lots of instant gratification), PLUS the ability to “buy now, pay later” (we won’t talk too much about finances at TTT, just the consumer mindset and delaying some of that instant gratification as you’re deciding what’s appropriate to come into your home) has made it easier and easier to fill your home with things - many of which you probably didn’t need, may be poor quality, and you might have bought on a whim.
My husband says, “buy once, cry once” (which I love) but we’ll get more into that philosophy later.
Bottom line is less really does equal more. Whether that’s…
Less time = More frustration
Less money = More stuff 😉
OR better yet…
Less stuff = More space
Less stress = More fulfilled family life
Is up to you.
According to Psychology Today, “Clutter causes stress in part because of its excessive visual stimuli. It also signals to our brains that our work is never done and creates guilt, anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed.” Add parenting responsibilities on TOP of never ending clutter, and feelings of extreme frustration and anxiety quickly escalate. I hope to help you take your home life with kids from overwhelmed to relaxed and efficient, get your time and energy back and have a place for everything once and for all.
I’m NOT a naturally orderly person, I just use home systems (scheduling, lists and routines) to my advantage!
The right systems can and should FREE UP your time. Time that you can then spend making more memories with your family, instead of looking for things to help make those memories.
It doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have to be fancy. In fact, the simpler it is, the easier it is to make small changes to your home life and routines.
Take your time back and work smarter, not harder!
I consider a "home system" a series of routines, lists and schedules that work together to make your home and family life run extremely efficiently. Performing certain routines helps to clean up and maintain your home, and involving your entire family in the process gives everyone (yes, even tiny ones!) pride in where they live and also makes more time for family fun and less time for boring and frustrating stuff like cleaning or looking for something you lost while you're on your way out the door.
It doesn't matter how big or small your home is. Stop feeling frustrated, suffocated, stressed and annoyed by all the stuff around you that you wish would just go away. Develop more quality family relationships, explore new hobbies and go on adventures together because you have more time. Regain focus, and make decisions easier with less "stuff" literally cluttering your brain (same goes for kids toys, avoid "I'm bored!" with less toys not more - sound weird? read on...).
It all comes down to time.
More clutter = less time = vicious cycle of frustration
Less clutter = more quality time = exponentially more productive
Less REALLY DOES Equal More
Systems work in all aspects of your home. Whether it's the kitchen and pantry, or the kid's bedrooms or playroom, having a place for everything makes your home both feel and function more organized and orderly. You can start with something as small as a drawer, or as big as your closet, but don't try to tackle it all at once. Take a few weeks and a few minutes a day to take steps towards a decluttered, minimal-ish home and embrace how your home begins to work for you, not the other way around.
I can't wait to share more here and hope to create a community of like-minded mamas and parents who want to LOVE their home life with children. Progress over perfection is important to me - I don't live my life every day based on a schedule and I'm not a naturally orderly person - I'm just striving for BETTER. The ultimate goal is to have more time to make amazing family memories, and not spend all you time picking up toys and laundry wishing you had time to create those memories.