Perhaps you were a neatnik before baby. Or maybe you were always a little messy. Whatever your temperament, you probably find the idea of getting organized daunting…..maybe even absurd. After all…you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in months (maybe years). So how are you going to find the time to clean the clutter?
My friends can attest to the fact that I’ve always been a bit of an organization freak. Even when I was working 80+ hour weeks, I always had a neat house. After Baby Mwah’s birth, some friends came to visit me. Marveling at my house, they asked me for the name of my maid. When they found out that I didn’t have one, they were shocked. One asked if I was insane since “no new mom has time to clean.”
My friends are right. Moms have no time. But I don’t think that means we have to live in perpetual disorder. Believe it or not: A small investment of time spent cleaning and organizing now will have a large payoff in the future. Clean your house thoroughly once, and you (and your husband!) will be able to maintain it in less than an hour a week. I’ll tell you how.
|Tip 1: Buy a baby carrier.Cleaning will be a lot easier if you don’t have to stop every five minutes to tend to baby’s cry. Check out our babywearing suggestions to find the right sling or carrier for your baby and body-type. You won’t believe how much you’ll be able to get done once you have your hands free again.|
|Tip 2: Start with a clean house.Enlist your husband (and the kids if they are old enough) to help you clean the house from top to bottom on a rainy day. Or make a one-time investment in a house cleaning service.Here’s what you need to do: dust, vacuum, mop the floors, wipe down counters and bathroom vanities, Windex the bathroom mirrors, clean the toilet and bathtubs, and pick up toys/clutter.If you don’t have a place to put the toys/clutter, stash it all in trash bags for now and move on to Tip 4. If your husband won’t help you, read tip 3.|
|Tip 3: If your husband is reluctant to help you clean, leave out a copy of this book. If he still won’t help you, at least you had a good laugh.|
|Tip 4: Find a place for all of your stuff.
I was messy in college because I didn’t have any place to put all my stuff. Once I got my own place, I invested in storage solutions. Guess what I discovered? Answer: If you have a place to stash your stuff, your house won’t ever get out of control messy.I’ve found that Target has one of the best home organization sections and reasonable prices. Listed below are a few suggestions to get you started.For your bedroom:
If your shoes are thrown in a messy pile at the bottom of your closet, shoe organizers are a must. I have the Simply Shabby Chic Canvas Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer ($12.99 at Target). But to make this work, you’ll have to actually go through your shoe closet and trash or donate the shoes you don’t wear. If you just cannot bear to get rid of any shoes—after all you might need to wear those ugly green dyeables you wore in your friend’s wedding again—then stash them in an underbed bin. Put today’s date on the bin. Check the bin again in a year. If you haven’t worn the shoes all that time, it’s time to toss them.
If you don’t have enough closet space, you need under-bed Storage Boxes. Stash your out of season clothes out of the way with the Iris Stor-n-Slide Under-bed Boxes ($99 for a set of 6 at Target). For this to work, you’ll have to give away the clothing you don’t wear. If you can’t bear to give away your too-small-since-it-was-pre-baby clothing, stash it in an under-bed bin. Put today’s date on the bin. Check the bin again in a year. If you still can’t fit into it after a year, donate it to charity. You’ll be doing something good for the world and for yourself since you’ll get a tax deduction. Besides when you do lose the baby weight, you’ll deserve new clothing. So stop beating yourself up and just get rid of the clothing already. Having small clothing in your closet is just a recipe for feeling bad about yourself.
Money saving tip: If you travel infrequently and need closet space, stash your out of season clothing in your suitcases instead of the under-bed bins. When you have to use the suitcase, just neatly empty it and put the clothing back in when you return from your trip. If you’re a frequent flier, this is probably too much of a hassle for you.
|If you have a drawer full of pantyhose, hang them up. Put one in each pocket of the Whitney Design Clear Stocking Organizer ($12.99 at Target). Oh…and that pair with just a small run in them that you’re holding onto because you can wear them with a long skirt….trash them unless you regularly wear long skirts.|
|If you have unorganized jewelry, pins, hair scrunchies, buy the 80 pocket Hanging Jewelry Organizer ($24.99 at Target). With this product, you’ll be able to see all your accessories in one glance. And you’ll save time when you get dressed in the morning since you won’t have to search long for matching jewelry.|
|For your bathroom:If you have a cluttered bathroom vanity, give yourself some shelf space by buying bathroom shelving. A Classic Etagere ($89 at Target) fits over your toilet and gives you three more shelves. Use them for makeup, hair care, or even for storing towels if you don’t have enough space in your linen closet.|
|For Your Nursery:Caring for baby is a lot easier when everything’s at your fingertips. I use the Dress Top Diaper Depot ($12.99 at Target) to organize baby’s diapers, wipes, creams and lotions. Even in the middle of the night when I’m half asleep, I can always find what I need.|
|Need space for baby’s clothes? I have a very small nursery, so I didn’t have room for much furniture. But I was able to store baby’s clothes in a hanging closet organizer (7 Shelf Closet Organizer, $15.29 at Target) and his toys/accessories in stacking bins placed on the closet floor (Storage Solutions Poly Stacking Baskets set of 3 large, $39.99 at Target). I made space for his sheets and blankets with an under-crib drawer. My crib came with one, but you can also buy a separate crib drawer at Target.|
|Tip 5: Take Cleaning Shortcuts Whenever PossibleLeave a basket of slippers or crocs by the door and encourage your kids and husband to take off their shoes and put on the slippers when they enter the house. If they aren’t tracking in dirt, there’s less to vacuum and mop.Dust your furniture or swiffer your floors when you’re talking on the phone.
Every night spend 5-10 minutes either: wiping your kitchen counters, wiping your bathroom sink/mirror, picking up clutter, cleaning the toilet, cleaning the tub/shower, or vaccuuming the carpet in one room. Do just one thing each night, and you won’t have ever have a big clean-up job since your house will always be clean.
If you hate cleaning your shower and tub, pick up the new Action Scrubber by Scrubbing Bubbles. A true timesaver, this disposable pad contains tiny scrubbing fibers and concentrated Scrubbing Bubbles formula which lifts away soap scum without the bad smell typical of cleaning products. Plus, you won’t have to waste time cleaning your scrub brush since you can just toss this when you’re done.Use a squeegee after daily on the walls of your shower. It will mean less scrubbing later.
Minimize the need to iron by pulling your clothes out of the dryer while they are still damp. Smooth them with your hands and either hang on a laundry line or use a drying rack (Polder Accordion Drying Rack, $29.99 at Target).
Have other messy areas and want solutions for fixing them? There were too many products and cleaning tips to list them all, but I’ve tried a ton of organization products. So leave a comment on this post with your cleaning/organization questions, and I’ll respond with an answer.