Quick Tip Tuesday: Keeping a Clean Bathroom with Kids

Kids make messes; big, BIG messes!

Honestly, I can't quite seem to keep up with all of the toys, trash, and tangles!  Parenthood, I've found, should be approached with a sense of humor, a spoon full of sugar, and getting ahead whenever you can!


Use bath time to clean up!

While your kiddos are taking a bath, grab a sponge or wash cloth and wipe down your counters, sink, faucet, and cabinet doors (if your kids are anything like mine, toothpaste ends up in...interesting...places).

I use paper towels to clean the windows (less streak, though my grandma swore by newspapers - probably the funnies section - ha!).

If you're really ambitious (or your kids think they're Nemo, Ariel, or a submarine) you can get your kids out of the tub without a mat or towel on the floor, and use their puddles to do a quick mop up!  

Or, you could only put down "cleaning towels" (the old ones designated for spills and messy jobs - not your fluffy white bath sheets from Macy's.  Please don't.) for your kiddos to stand on and then use the inevitable splash water and damp towel to do a quick mop up.  It's not super get-in-all-the-corners-and-around-the-toilet-with-disinfectant clean, but it keeps things manageable in between the deep cleans.


Q: What are your hot tips for bathroom cleaning?  What do you like to do while the kids are splish-spashing?  I typically place cucumbers on my eyelids and listen to soothing wind instruments while getting a foot massage.

And by that I mean I'm cleaning cucumbers off my face cause my baby goobered me after dinner, listening to my kids blow bubbles and spit in the tub, while having a "feet party" where I sit on the edge of the tub and dangle my feet and legs in the water while the kids swim under them, over and over again.

Very relaxing.

P.S. When asked, my daughter also stated that she likes to pretend she's a "water cat" when playing in the tub.  In fact, it was her first response.  Had to throw that in there, 'cause there's plenty of other parents who can relate to their kids pretending they're "water cats".

Just me?

Weird...  ;)

Oxford Park: Quick Mudroom Update

Sometimes it's the smallest detail that can really pull a room together.  Plus, I love pretty boxes to store all our junk important things. ;)

We are lucky to have a little mudroom between the garage and kitchen.  It's not large by any means, but it's the perfect spot for backpacks, swim gear, snow gear, puppy leashes and toys, and a pretty pillow or two!  We have a vintage style house phone (the kids get a kick out of using "real" phone), a DIY chalkboard calendar from an old blog project, and a few decor items like our Target rug and Home Goods canvas art.

The most useful spot in our little mudroom is the three cubbies we have set up for the kids.  Three kiddos, three cubbies.  Perfect!

However, what I didn't love was the actual containers we were using.  The old boxes were lightweight beige fabric by Mainstays (Walmart brand).  And while they've worked fine, I was looking for something a little more sturdy, a little larger, and a bit more stylish (apologies to all you beige-lovers out there)!


Ohhh, ahhh.

Better Homes and Gardens bins via Walmart to the rescue!

I purchased the BHG Turquoise Vertical Trellis fabric storage bins from their store (they finally got them in stock!), but they're also available on their website.

These bins seriously make my aqua and quatrefoil loving heart go pitter patter!  I am also happy to report that they are very sturdy and are quite large - perfect for Ikea Kallax cabinets, BHG cabinets, and our mudroom cubbies!  Like, perfect.  If you want to be able to put your hand in the cubby to drop something inside a bin, then go for something like the Walmart Mainstays bins (Target makes a similar product).  But if you want the cubby and container to fit exactly without gaps, then these BHG bins are awesome (there's an inch or two of room above our bins because our built in cubbies are slightly taller than the standard cubby bookcase storage units)!

Plus, for under $6 each, it's a great deal!



So much more cheerful, right?  I could stare at those bins all day...

The teal chenille pillow comes in a two pack from Walmart, and the sea coral pillow comes in a four pack of different designs via Amazon.  Both sets are under $15!  The rug was from Target last year.

Boxwood pom poms are from Hobby Lobby, Travel canvas is from Home Goods, calendar was from Target last year.

Thanks for taking a look!  I know it's not a drastic change, but I really believe that it's the little things that add up to make a space feel good, look good, and make you smile when you walk by!


Q:  Have you purchased anything from the Better Homes and Gardens line at Walmart?  Have you noticed that Wally World has upped their home decor game lately?  Do you miss putting coins into a payphone to get a ride home from the mall?  Finding returned change in the coin dispenser as you walk by...now that was a good day!

Not So Trofast: The Best Way to Organize Kid's Toys

How do they do it?  Kids.  HOW do they manage the messes and chaos that only dolls, crayons, and kid's meal toys can create?

It's quite the talent, really.

The key to helping kids clean up quickly and keep things tidy every day is...
...not possible.  Ha!

But seriously. (*cough*)

The best way to keep your sanity is make their cleaning routine as simple and accessible as possible, so THIS doesn't happen...

Or this...


Originally, I had thought a few large bins would be an easy way for my daughter to keep her room picked up;

'Cause what's simpler than just tossing stuff in a big bin...right?

The problem was, everything ended up in the bins: dirty clothes, clean clothes, school papers, dolls, kid's meal toys, trash, blocks, books, you name it.  And of course, it was frustrating for Chloe to find her toys when she wanted something specific.

I decided a simple bin approach was still a good idea, but with more options to corral the smaller items.

Ikea's Trofast system to the rescue - yay!

In addition to great organization, the Trofast also provides a particularly efficient step stool.

And a fabulous stage from which to greet your fans.

And while this de-cluttering debacle was going on...

...this was happening.

...the whole time.

Now that Chloe's had plenty of time to test her newly organized toy closet, I can honestly say that the Trofast unit is kid-tested and mother-approved

It's sturdy, relatively easy to assemble, and with three different bin sizes to choose from, you can really customize it to suit your needs.

FYI - I decided to keep the four purple bins for dirty laundry, shoes, dress up accessories, and seasonal and dance wear (ear muffs, bathing suits, tap and ballet shoes).

Having trouble getting started?  Don't lose hope!

My darling Chloe is a sentimental pack rat.  Every little scrap of paper, happy meal toy, and broken thingamawhatsit has been assigned a special memory or emotional attachment.  Getting her to part with anything is a struggle, but we're working on it!  I'm hoping I can teach her that keeping only the truly useful, fun, and lovely will allow her to really enjoy her belongings, and keep her room a haven where she is free to play and use her imagination!


1. Keep it Simple - Young children (and us busy adults!) do best when their routines are simplified and consistent.  I've found the trick to being organized is making it EASY to be organized!  Keep your systems categorized so that you can find what you need, but simple enough that you don't get bogged down while trying to put things away.
The worst thing to happen when creating an organizational tool is when you've created a system that's too complicated and cumbersome to use!

2. A Place for Everything - If you don't know where to put an item (does it have a specific home? a drawer? a bin?) it will likely stay where it is or get put in a big ol' pile of micellaneous stuff.  My corner kitchen counter and mudroom will attest to this!  Don't add to the clutter!  Becoming more organized is a process.  It most likely will NOT happen in an afternoon, weekend, or maybe even this month - and that's okay!

Start small with a corner, or a closet, and take everything out!  Keep in mind what your daily routines are like, how you or your kids play and work throughout the day, and where things typically end up piled or disorganized.  Create a simple solution from there, and as time goes by, remember to tweak the solution to meet you needs.

3. Rotate Toys - You've heard it before: Rotate your toys so that No.1 - Piles of toys don't get overwhelming and therefore never properly cleaned up; and No.2 - Kids don't constantly ask for new toys (or say, "Moooom, I'm bored!"), because you're keeping their interest with their current toys by not making them all available all the time!

4. Less is More - In ALL cases, the very best way to get organized is by starting out with less stuff!  Many of us who find ourselves constantly overwhelmed by clutter and piles and mounds of laundry and stacks of paper and, and, and...are starting out with too. much. stuff!  The stress, remorse, and feeling of helplessness is not unfamiliar to me, and for whatever reason you might be hanging on to things that are no longer useful, it's time to release yourself from this unnecessary burden!


Q:  Tell me about your favorite organizational systems for kiddos.  Cubbies?  Shelves?  Canvas bins? Do you rotate toys?  Do you have a "one in, one out" policy?  Does your dog think she's human?

Quick Tip Tuesday: Keep Jewelry from Tangling

Packing can be such a pain:  Trying to remember everything you need, and packing everything you need so it doesn't wrinkle, tangle, squish, or leak.

We recently took a trip to California, and although I'd be spending most of my time chasing little kiddos, I still wanted to bring along a couple of sparkling statement necklaces in case we'd go out for a nice dinner or pose for a few family photos.

I love using plastic "Ziploc" style baggies for travel, and this was no exception.  I was only taking two necklaces and two pairs of earrings, so I didn't think I would need to worry about them tangling.

Uh, wrong-o bongo!

I didn't take a picture, but basically as soon as I put the necklaces together in their little baggie I knew I'd live to rue the day I didn't pack them more carefully.

Already starting to tangle, I pulled them out and decided on a new strategy.

Straws, people.  Straws will save your sanity.