Life with kids is messy and things get cluttered or dirty easily if you don’t have a plan. Below are some of my favorite “mom hacks” that we use in our home.
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My Favorite Mom Hacks
Desk Mat Under Kitchen Table – Our entire house is covered in carpet. Not ideal, especially when it comes to food. We also have my rug that I purchase in Afghanistan under the table, so in order to save our floor I placed a clear desk mat under the area where the kids sit. It gets absolutely disgusting and then I just wipe it all up! And because it’s clear you can hardly tell it’s there. This is the high chair we have for Caroline. I love that it has a removable tray.
Plastic Kitchen Trash Bag and Pillow Case over Dining Seat Cushion – Jack sits on one of the dining chairs when he eats, and in order to protect the fabric cushion I cut two little holes in the bottom of a kitchen trash bag (the holes are so that the ties can go through them) and I place the bag on back to front. Then I fold under the excess bag and then over that (forward to back) I slide on an old pillowcase. The pillowcase gets changed out frequently when he gets it dirty and it also prevents him from sticking to the bag if we only used that. The bag ensures liquid doesn’t soak through. This has worked incredibly well for us!
Hang BOB Strollers from Door or Wall – We are short on floor space (and garage space) and hanging our BOBs is such a space saver. We used to keep the single BOB hanging from an over-door hook in our house and now we keep the double BOB and the single BOB hanging from the wall rail that’s part of our garage storage system. The storage system comes with different types of hooks that clip in anywhere along the rail and it’s really nice to get the stroller off the ground. Very thankful it was installed in the garage before we moved in! And I just looked it up and it’s really affordable. We will definitely put something like this in our garage when we move.
Attachable High Chair – We LOVE this high chair. We used to use a cheaper brand but upgraded to this Ingelsina one and it is worlds better. I especially love the tray that snaps right on. Caroline sits in this at the end of our dining table and she loves it too. It’s great for small apartments because it eliminates the need for a real high chair, and it’s portable too with the attached bag that pulls out of the high chair.
Drawer Dividers – Caroline only has 3 drawers in her room and we use these spring action drawer dividers to divide 2 of the drawers in half. Up top we keep tops and bottoms, and in the second drawer we keep swimsuits and pajamas. Really helps keep the folded clothing under control and organized. They’re easy to install and remove (without tools!).
Big Kids in Back with Seat Down – Before our third child was born I was really worried about what the car seat configuration should be. When we had 2 kids it was easy because they were each in a captain’s chair, but once Tate was born we moved the big kids to the back and folded the unused captain’s chair down into the floor (we have a Chrysler Pacifica mini-van) to make it easy for us to get in there and buckle them both into their car seats. It’s so much easier than having to go in between two chairs to buckle them in. Tate is in the other captain’s chair by herself so that I can easily move the carseat in and out of the van. It’s also helpful when it rains because I can get the kids in and out of raincoats in the car, and this would also be a good configuration if you live in cold weather and have to deal with lots of layers. Also helpful for changing diapers! I’ve also nursed Tate while sitting on the floor here while Caroline played around in the car. Oh and car picnics when the weather happens to be crappy and you don’t want to run into a fast food restaurant. This configuration really works well for us! So glad we upgraded to a van a couple years ago.
Keep a Potty in the Car – This has been a life (and pants) saver on more than one occasion. We LOVE this potty that packs flat and has a basin you don’t have to clean (hooray for disposable bags!). Pardon the dirty floor…
Clear Envelopes for Storing Puzzles – Clear poly envelopes are perfect for puzzles! It keeps everything contained and then you can store them upright in a big basket. I buy them at OfficeMax but they’re probably cheaper on Amazon.
Child Latch on Sliding Closet Doors – We have those horrible mirrored sliding doors on all of the closest and it drove me bonkers when the kids would go into them and pull stuff out. We added these great sliding door locks up high and they’re really easy for adults to lock and unlock with one hand but it keeps the kiddos from getting inside the closets.
Child Lock on Doors you Don’t Want Them to Use – When Jack was 3 years old I woke up when I heard the front door open in the middle of the night and I looked out and saw Jack’s little silhouette at the open door. I shudder to think about what would have happened had I not woken up. Since he knew how to unlock the door we added a door lever child lock on the front door (which has a handle rather than a knob) so that he can’t let himself out. This safety lock has really put our minds at ease since we live next to a blind curve that people take too quickly. Helps keep the kids inside during the day too so that the door opens only when I want it to be opened. We also have one on the outside of the master bedroom door so that the kids won’t go in there and mess with stuff.
Label Baskets for Organization – I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out, but it is incredibly helpful to have toy/book/diaper baskets labeled. This helps you as parents remember where things go, and it will also help train you kids when they always find the same things in their designated baskets. This also helps keep pieces together so that you don’t end up with a few parts of a toy in one basket and then all the other pieces in another basket. These rectangular rugby striped storage bins have been with us for nearly 5 years and we still love them. In each one you can fit 2 of the larger sized plastic containers, so we have trains and blocks in one, and legos and construction toys in the other. These are the labels we use and I used a chalk marker so that the words can’t be erased.
Elevate the Things You Don’t want Used Without Your Supervision – This is an obvious one for some things for safety reasons, but I’ve found that it’s helpful to elevate certain other things simply to avoid messes. Things like games, puzzles and crayons could be used without our supervision, but the pieces will likely end up all over the floor (and played with for only 2 seconds) if there isn’t any guidance or direct parental involvement. By keeping them out of reach they’re a lot more deliberate when they actually do these activities.
What kinds of mom hacks do you use at home? I’d love to hear them so please share in the comments!
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Note: all of the good photographs were taken by Stephanie H Photography for my home tour on The Everymom.
I’m so glad that y’all have a vehicle to accommodate the car seats! I was reading an article recently (Economist maybe?) that discussed how couples are having less children because of current car seat requirements. The article stated that because car seats are both so large and children are required to stay in them longer (far longer than what we were used to) that this is inhibiting the number of children per family solely because people aren’t able to fit too many car seats in vehicles. We just had our first little “buglet” and with the Uppababy base in the back seat of my vintage ( 😉 ) 2003 Saturn sedan I can see their point. I am certainly not used to driving so close to the steering wheel BUT I haven’t had a car payment in over 10 years so trade off? 🙂 Thanks for the great tips!
It’s definitely a struggle with the car seats! I drove my 2005 sedan until we upgraded to the van after Caroline was born and now I understand why people drive minivans, they’re just so darn handy when you have kids and all that extra space is amazing! Thanks for reading and I’m glad you found some of the tips helpful!