There’s no denying that life with babies and toddlers can be a little chaotic (for instance, before I had children, I never had dishes scattered around my living room floor, but this morning, I found myself stepping over all sorts of tiny plates and forks when I came downstairs).
After three years of parenting, though, I’ve learned a couple of tricks to make life easier and smoother! Here are 10 that have worked best for me, and I hope they work for you too!
#1: A Sound Machine
If you’ve talked to me for two seconds about parenting, you know this is my favorite baby item. We lived in a tiny apartment with thin walls for the first three years of parenting, and this sound machine was a lifesaver. We could have friends over, watch a movie, or bang around pots and pans and our baby didn’t hear a thing. And it’s so portable we can take it anywhere and it signals to our children that it’s time for bed, even if we’re in a different crib, room, or time zone.
#2: A key clip
For Christmas last year, my husband bought me a carabiner clip for my keys so I can clip them to my purse strap. Now I don’t have to fish around in my bag when I’m juggling a baby, a bag of groceries and trying to open the car door.
#3: Keep a Diaper Kit in the Car
I used to keep my diapers and wipes in my diaper bag, but then I would invariably use them in the house (because my bag was so HANDY!) and then be on the go and find myself with no supplies and a baby in need of a change. Now I keep a slim changer in the car with a couple of diapers, a pack of wipes, and some plastic bags for disposing of diapers. It comes with its own changing pad, and I never don’t have a diaper when I’m away from home.
#4: Leave your sunglasses in the car
Invariably, I’m always dragging a million things out to the car with me when we run errands (a baby, my diaper bag, phone, jackets, etc), so I just leave my sunglasses in the car so they are always there when I need them.
#5: A dedicated library basket
I check out SO MANY library books now, thanks to my little girls, that I need some place to keep them corralled. I love having a basket where they can all be in one place for my girls to access on their own.
#6: A shelf-stable, non-crumbly snack
I try not to let my girls snack on the go too much, but sometimes it’s just a necessity. I try to pick things that won’t leave crumbs all over the carseat, that can be stored in my diaper bag for many weeks at a time, and that they love. For us, it’s raisins.
#7: One Toy Bin
I have lots of friends with fancy organization systems for their toys. You know the kind – carefully labeled bins, sorted drawers for every kind of toy. I know myself well enough to know I would NEVER carefully sort them at the end of every day. Instead, we have one big bin and all the toys go in there. I can clean up that playroom in 5 minutes flat, and so can my toddler!
#8: Get a portable charger for your phone
Nothing is more frustrating than having your phone battery die while you’re on the go! And mine goes fast because my daughter likes to play little games on it while we’re running errands. A portable charger means I’m never left with a dead phone.
#9: Keep your reusuable bags by the carseat
No one is using that leg room anyway, so I keep my reusable bags by my baby’s carseat so I will see them when I’m going into a store. If they’re in the trunk? Out of sight, out of mind.