Saturday, March 30, 2013

Start your day off right!

I think most of us can agree that how a day begins is a large predictor of how the rest of the day will go. Think about it. When you have a bad day, can't you usually trace its origins back to the first couple of hours?

So, this post is going to focus on the zone where the day begins. The bathroom. I recently heard the bathroom described as a real workhorse. A truer statement was never made! For this reason, organization is of utmost importance.

1. I keep my make-up and daily products stored "ready for travel." This idea was "birthed" when I was packing my hospital bag before Sydney was born. I bought a travel organizer and I liked it so much, I just never unpacked. My organizer (container store) simply hangs from an over the door hook. It is easy see and access my products, and when we do travel (not often), I just have to grab my organizer and a few things from the shower. Easy peasy. Admittedly, this won't work for someone who has a a lot of make-up. I have one eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, blush and a Chapstick (my version of lipstick). I know, BORING, but it saves me from additional decision making, which I am terrible at.

2. Feminine products are stored in a small tote. For 7 days, this tote can be kept near the toilet; It can be tucked back under the counter for the other 20-some odd days.

3. First aid and seasonal products (sunscreen and bug spray) are also kept in portable totes.

4. Tyler and I both have products that are exclusively our own, and as much as I love him, and as much as our lives are enmeshed, I still need my own space... even if its just a drawer. I am a huge fan of the stackable drawer containers for the purpose of categorizing like items; we each have our own under our sink (confession: I have stolen a couple drawers in his). The drawers are labeled of course!

5. My hair tools (hair dryer, curling iron, flat iron, etc.) are kept in a basket under my sink. I can pull it out when needed and tuck it back under when not.

6. Combs and brushes share a drawer with the Q-tips. Hoarding brushes and combs used to be a serious problem for me. A few years back I threw away probably 15 combs and brushes that I didn't use. Why I was hanging onto those unused combs and brushes like some poor soul from an episode of "hoarders" I still don't know. I think I, like many, hate the idea of throwing something away that I spent money on, but there is a valuable lesson to be learned when purging drawers, cabinets and closets. DON'T BUY S%#* YOU DON'T NEED! No one needs 6 brushes, 4 picks, and 5 combs. Find one of each that you really like and purge the rest. I know a lot of people put their Q-tips and cotton swabs in pretty decanters, (and I love that idea) but for me, if the packaging fits in the drawer and is easy to access, I don't change it. You know the saying, "If it aint broke, don't fix it."

7. Drawer organizers are used for toothbrushes, tooth paste and floss storage. This rids my counter top of that gross toothbrush holder that is layered/caked with "After brushing" tooth paste residue. Yuck. I recently came across a pin that suggested re-purposing a cutlery tray for tooth brush storage. Genius! Especially if you don't want to risk rubbing bristles with the other toothbrushes in the drawer.

8. Bath toys are simply kept in a tub scoop I found at Target. I wish our toy storage was more innovative, but it isn't. Maybe a future project? Since Rex will be turning two soon, putting his toys back into this container after bath will soon be his job. I am big on everything having a place and teaching little ones where those places are. Rex already seems to appreciate order and will put things away on his own. Not always, but often enough to make his OCD mommy proud.

9. I keep as much tucked away as possible. A clutter free bathroom is SO MUCH EASIER to clean!

And there you have it! A few tips (plus pictures) for creating a functional bathroom you won't mind starting your day in :). The last picture (of the empty drawer) is my proof (and pat on the back) that my system is working.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"I Can't Believe You Don't Already Own One?"

We are in the middle of a move and being the slightly obsessive, anal retentive person that I am, I have been trying to purge, organize and pack simultaneously. This post is dedicated to a survival tip - "label it."

I purchased a label maker on Sunday. My husband rolled his eyes, my sister wasn't surprised and my brother-in-law said, "I can't believe you don't already own one." Me either, Mitch! Me either!

The beauty of a label maker is not merely the label (relieving you of the task of questioning the contents of this bin or that bin), but that it forces you to categorize and group your belongings in a meaningful way. I have two favorites thus far.

My first favorite is our new battery chest - a small plastic chest with three drawers that fits neatly in our kitchen cupboard. Each drawer is clearly labeled as the type of battery it contains (D and C, AA, and AAA). No more digging through that overstuffed junk drawer only to find that you are one D battery short of having an operable baby swing -OR- two months after a 10PM Target run for batteries, finding a brand new unopened stash of D's on top of the fridge.

My second favorite (courtesy of Pinterest) is a similar chest for our medicines. Each drawer labeled by the ailments said medicines treat (i.e. pain relievers, stomach, cold/sinus). No more vitamins and ibuprofen bottles hiding the infant tylenol that you are frantically searching for at 2AM. Believe it or not, while sorting our medicines we discovered that we had approximately 10 bottles of infant tylenol hiding in the back of our cupboard. That sh@* is expensive!

So, my survival tip is this: LABEL IT! It will save you money (as you won't buy products you don't actually need) and, most importantly, it will save you time - precious minutes that you can spend cuddling that 2 year old with a fever, rather than cursing at the pill bottles spilling out of the cupboard while you search for that elusive syringe.

"Every Mom"

I like to think of myself as an "every mom" - not a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) or a working mom. I'm an "every mom." I simply refuse to assign myself to either category (stay-at-home or working) because they carry such strong implications... working moms are never home, and SAHM's don't work. Neither is true.

What is an "every mom" you ask? An "every mom" is one who is charged with the amazing (staggeringly overwhelming) blessing and responsibility of raising children. An "every mom" doesn't do it perfectly but she strives to do it with grace, joy and love. She wants to give the very best of herself to her family, and she wants to enjoy doing it. Does this describe you? If yes, you are my target audience. No? I suggest you stop reading as you will undoubtedly find yourself mocking me, and you don't want to do that, do you? That wouldn't be nice... and you know what they say, "If you don't have anything nice to say..." You get the picture.

Currently, I am not living up to the definition of an "every mom." I am not going to lie - I am surviving.

I have two goals. My first goal in starting this blog is to document my (hopefully successful) journey to finding that elusive balance between surviving and "living." My second goal, or hope, is that my documentation of this journey will help other "every moms."

I should also add this disclaimer: "There will be posts about my children." I love them. They are funny, and sweet, and everything I have ever hoped for. So, obviously I am going to write about them sometimes... o.k. - a lot. So if you are among the population that find "other people's kids stories" boring, I suggest you stop reading now as you will, again, find yourself mocking me.

So, that's that. You now know who I am, and why I am writing this blog. If it appeals to you, please visit again. Until then, live happily... or at least try to.