Streamline the Diaper Bag

September 12, 2013

Two things about me: I like to get out the door without too much fuss and I like to travel light. When T was first born, neither of those things felt very doable. But, what started as a Mary Poppins’s-sized infant diaper bag has streamlined down to a small toddler backpack.

Learn how at Brunch With My Baby!

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Man, kids have a lot of stuff!

June 4, 2012

I have never liked having a lot of “stuff.”  Don’t misunderstand me –  I like plenty of things – things that are useful and/or bring me joy, and things that have a designated place to live.  But things that fall outside of those parameters have always been ripe for the donation bin.

When I started my baby registry, I knew that things were going to have to change.

Over the past 17 months, I’ve had to expand my definitions of usefulness (let’s face it, there are lots of very useful kid products these days), joy (it may not bring me joy, but it brings the biggest smile to my daughter’s face…so, fine, it’s bringing me joy), and designated place to live (these places used to have stricter boundaries…now it’s more of a general corner or  an overflowing basket at the end of the couch).

But when it comes to her clothing, I refuse to compromise my definitions.  Sure, we only have a designated space of 6 dresser drawers, she has grown into and out of at least 5 sizes of clothing to this point, and there’s a stock of gifts where people “sized up” just waiting for wear.  But, I’m happy to report that I have taken control of the clothing, and with a little vigilance, I can keep it that way.

Here’s how:

Step 1:  Empty the contents of the dresser and as you’re doing so, sort it into clothing categories that make sense for you.  Weed out all the items of clothing that no longer fit. With kids, this is obviously an ongoing process – keep an open bin somewhere nearby to quickly toss things that don’t fit as you realize it.  When I try to get a shirt on Tess and it won’t go over her head, it goes directly into that bin.

Step 2:  Go through all those clothes you’ve been storing for “when it will fit.” Pull out the ones that fit now, and add it to those category piles you just set up.
Step 3:  Group the categories into drawers that make sense to you. Here’s what ours look like:
 
Step 4:  Make sure you know what’s there:
Step 5:  Pack up what doesn’t fit for donation or storage.

Getting Organized for a New Addition

April 7, 2011

Preparing for a new baby can be very exciting – but it can also feel overwhelming. Hormones and anxieties aside, it’s hard to wrap your head around the growing to-do list and the seemingly endless amount of stuff you need for your baby-to-be. And how on earth is it all going to fit in your apartment?! Don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling overwhelmed – even Professional Organizers can feel this way 😉

Never fear! Using your nesting instincts and these tips, you’ll be ready (and organized!) for the baby.

For tips on how to get ready for baby, read my article at Big City Moms!

 


Get Your Family Organized for the School Year

October 11, 2010

The start of the school year is a great time to adopt new, organized habits. Here are some ideas to help you keep tabs on your family’s whereabouts, allow you to see what arrangements need to be made, eliminate some of that morning pressure and to stay on top of school-generated paperwork.

Create a master calendar for your family.

So much of being organized is knowing what preparations you need to make in order to get organized. That’s why it’s so important to have a color-coded master calendar for your family. This calendar should include everything – family plans, after-school activities, field trips, vacation days, school assignments and Mom & Dad time. If you’re technologically savvy, you can create this in a calendar program like Outlook or iCal. If you prefer paper, choose a wall calendar large enough to accommodate all of your family’s activities – then assign each family member a different color. Display the calendar in a central location and hang colored markers from strings on the same hook. This way, family members can add new items (in their color) as they come up.

On a particularly hectic day, you should be able to look at the calendar and immediately know where everyone is and what they’re up to. Most important, you’ll be able to see what arrangements need to be made – booking a babysitter, arranging for a carpool or baking cupcakes for the PTA bake sale. Knowing these things ahead of time will allow you to take care of them when your schedule allows – rather than feeling the pressure at the last minute.

Hungry for more?  Check out the full article at TweenParent.com!

 


A Tool for Academic Success: The Student Planner

September 6, 2010

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the approach of the school year.  As a parent, there is a lot to juggle to get your child back into his regularly scheduled program – carpool coordination, school supply shopping and the reinstatement of pre-summer routines.  As a student, it can feel just as overwhelming.  Your preteen may be feeling anxious about a whole different set of responsibilities – in some cases, it’s the first time he’ll have a locker, the first time he’ll be changing classroom between subjects and the first time he’ll have to navigate a new school building.  One way to help your child feel more in control is to encourage him to develop organizational skills through the proper use of a student planner.

Read more at TweenParent.com!


Chaos Theory on Parents.TV!

October 5, 2009

Looking for ways to make your family’s morning routine a little easier?

Check out Chaos Theory’s tips on Parents.tv!

Hope you find them helpful!

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Ask the Organizer: Traveling with a Baby

September 18, 2009

Help! We are traveling with our infant for the first time!  There is so much stuff involved! How can I streamline this?

When there’s a baby to consider, the preparation for a family vacation can be so daunting that it’s hard to look forward to a week of family togetherness.  You could fill a skycap’s cart with bags packed JUST for your little one – forget packing for your own needs!

Here are some tips to help you travel light.  By following these helpful hints, you’ll be able to focus on the pleasures that your destination offers once you arrive, rather than the stress of just getting there.

Don’t schlep it, ship it! In a time when airlines are sticking to strict weight limits and charging passengers for extra checked luggage, it’s important to keep baggage to a minimum.  Think about bulky or heavy items that you could ship to your destination ahead of time (be sure to call your hotel or your host to let them know to expect the packages).  Diapers.com is a great resource to purchase a week’s supply of diapers and formula at a discount – but before you box up your spare Pack’n’Play, call the hotel to ask if they have cribs available.

Consistency is Key. By now, you and your baby have developed certain routines  – bath and bedtime rituals, naptime schedules, songs you dance to every night.  Whatever your routines, try your best to stick to them, even on vacation.  Purchase small toiletry bottles and travel with baby’s favorite bath products and lotions.  Bring along the CD that never fails to soothe.  Most importantly – never forget the security blanket (whatever that blanket is to your child).

A busy baby is a happy baby. You don’t need to take along every toy your baby has ever had an interest in, but it’s a good idea to travel with a few items to keep baby occupied.  Think about things that can fit easily into your carry-on:  board books and bubbles are great options.  Don’t forget that almost anything can entertain your child – got a near-empty Altoids tin in your purse?  Throw in some pennies, close it securely with a rubber band and voila!  A brand new rattle!

Make time for Mommy (and Daddy too!). Vacation is a wonderful time to spend with your family – but if you spend all of your time as a caretaker, the relaxation aspect is lost.  Try to plan some time for yourself – whether it’s an hour at the spa or an evening with your spouse.  Visiting a relative?  Perhaps they can watch the baby one evening.  Traveling to a hotel?  Most concierges can put you in touch with a reputable babysitting service – calling ahead will give you the chance to check the service’s references and credentials.

Note: This post originally appeared as an article in CribNotes’ August 2009 issue.

Safe travels!

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Got an organizing question of your own? Email info@chaostheorynyc.com and I’ll answer it in an upcoming Ask the Organizer Friday!

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