Living with less can actually help you enjoy your home more. Today, I’m providing the ultimate declutter checklist, a free printable to help you tackle clutter.
The Secret to A Clean House
Do you want to know the secret to a clean house? It isn’t having a maid that stops by every week. Nor is it spending all your free time cleaning. No, the secret lies in the amount of things you have. The more things you have, the more there is to put away. The more picking up you have to do, the more there is to make a mess.
The key to a tidy house is having a place for everything. If everything has it’s place, then there is order. It is impossible to be neat if you have clutter taking over every surface, every closet, every nook, every shelf, and every cupboard. You can’t put things away if there is no place to put it. We are always acquiring new things. Birthdays, anniversaries, well meaning family, trickle items one by one into our home and before you know it, closets are full. The less you have the more spacious and clean your house looks.
Decluttering your home is a something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Clutter is one of those things that makes your house look dirty when its not. What’s worse is that we kind of get used to our clutter but people who visit our home, notice it instantly. I try to do some amount of declutter every month.
Tips for Taming Clutter
There are lots of ways that you can tame the clutter that you decide to keep. One way is to contain small groups of objects in containers or in baskets. Decorative baskets mask the clutter making shelves or cupboards appear neat and tidy to the eyes.
I’ve also found that if you have a hard time taming items in drawers, draw organizers are a great help to guide you. Personally, I’ve grown really fond of folding towels and clothes up differently in order to maximize space. For instance, in my children’s drawers, I store clothes vertically in the drawers. You get far more clothes in the drawer and I find that we rotate all the clothes because they are all visible at once. It even helps my little pick out his clothes easier.
I’ve also found that even spending fifteen minutes a day decluttering makes a huge difference when it comes to staying on top of clutter before it gets overwhelming. Focus on hot spots that attract clutter. Then if you have time pick a drawer or area to toss out things. Setting a timer and doing as much decluttering in that time can help you tackle clutter a little everyday.
The printable I’ve created for you below is focused on zone decluttering. If you don’t have time to do a whole room, just pick one line item and work on that, working your way eventually around the house.
Some people swear by the trash bag method. Grab a trash bag and declutter until you fill it up. Once it is filled you are done. Some people do this once a week, every other week or even once a month. Other people have a 1 in 10 out rule, meaning for every new thing they buy, they throw ten things out. I tried this but don’t consistently remember to do this. So I do better with regular decluttering in other ways.
I always ask a series of questions that help me say goodbye to unnecessary things. I think many times we hold on to things because we have good intentions of using them and I think we also feel guilty that we spent good money on it. Having spent money on it makes us feel obligated to keep it until we use it. However, chances are if you haven’t used it in a year or six months, you probably won’t ever use it. Sad but true.
Here are some of the questions I ask myself when I am purging:
Is it broken, damaged or missing pieces?
Is it very worn?
Do I have something else that serves the same purpose?
Am I holding on to it out of guilt?
If I saw it in a store today, would I buy it again?
Does it fit?
Is it still in style?
Do I really love it?
Have I used it in the six months?
Do I really want to keep handling this item again?
Is keeping it worth the space it takes up?
The Ultimate Declutter Checklist
Be sure to download your free ultimate declutter checklist and get started today. I have organized your checklist by room and I’ve included a list of questions at the bottom of the page to help you make decisions. If you are really on the fence about giving something away, you can do a little trick I sometimes I do. I pack it in a box and label it, “throw out in six months” and I put the six month date. Anything I am uncertain about goes in that box. If six months pass and I have not gone into the box, I put it in the trunk of my car and take it to the nearest donation place without ever opening it up. If you open it up, you’ll be tempted to keep it. If you don’t open it up, you probably would never miss it.
Your decluttering checklist includes 7 pages. You can print out multiple copies of the bedroom and bathroom page for however many bedrooms and bathrooms you have. I’ve included some extra spaces for you to add your own items as well.
Have you recently started a fitness or weight loss journey and are struggling to stay motivated? I’m going to show you how to make a fitness vision board to help keep your goals in front of you.
What Is a Vision Board
Experts will tell you that the best way to achieve goals is to write them down. Writing them down gets them out of your head (a day dream) and creates the first step of becoming real. When you write your goals down. In my post, 100 Goal Ideas for the New Year, I break down how to set goals into manageable tasks.
A vision board is simply a goal list with imagery instead of just writing. A vision board helps you to envision your goal, your journey and the steps you need to take to achieve it. Some people are inspired more by visual goals instead of a checklist of sorts. If that is you, then a vision board may be what you need!
How to Make a Fitness Vision Board
The first thing you need to do is pick a place for your vision board. There are no rules except that it should be in a place you will see every day. The point of the vision board is to come face-to-face with your goals every day. For me, this place is in my Fitness Happy Planner. I love my planner and I work in it every single day. I want it to be the first thing I see when I open it up every day. The Happy Planner offers a Fitness Planner. They also have a Fitness Planner Companion that comes with a blank vision board, so I’ll be using that. If you’d like to see a flip through of what else comes with it, you can watch my YouTube video below. I’ll also include a video of how I set up my fitness planner for success.
For you maybe it is posting it directly on the fridge or pantry door so when you are tempted to cheat, you’ll see it. Or maybe you just put it in a high traffic area in your house. Put in your bathroom so you see it first thing in the morning when you are getting ready. The choice is yours and experiment by moving it around to see what works.
For you, you may choose to do it on a bulletin board, a shadow box, a poster board, or even just some paper. Your vision board should be what inspires you and doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s vision board. Here are some things you may want to gather and use for your fitness vision board.
Old pictures of yourself
Pictures of healthy food
Markers and pens
Pictures of “goal outfits”
Anything that reminds you about your goal.
What to Include
Your vision board should include the answers to three questions:
What is your goal? Be specific. Is it a specific weight? Write down your goal weight. A dress size? Add an old tag, a picture of a “goal outfit” or simply write down the dress size for which you’re aiming. Maybe you want to get back to a previous weight. Find pictures from that time of your life and include them! Visualize what your end goal is. What does it look like and how will you know you’ve achieved it?
Next, you will include how you will get there. Maybe you put pictures of healthy, clean, wholesome food. Cut out some exercises or motivational quotes from magazines or sticker books. Maybe add a glass of water as a reminder to drink or a picture of a pedometer to remind you to wear it. The “how” is important to visualize because you will need reminders about the everyday habits you need to build. Remind yourself what needs to be done to achieve your goal.
You may even want to include a “focus word.” A focus word is a word that sums up your journey in one word. My focus word is “discipline” because that is my biggest problem when it comes to losing weight. Other good focus words might be:
Committed / Commitment
Lastly, include your reason. Maybe you want to get healthy for your kids. Then include a picture of them. Maybe it is getting off medication. If that’s the case, cut out the label on one of your prescription bottles and add it to your vision board as a reminder that you don’t want to live on medication because of your weight or eating habits anymore. On days where you feel like giving up, you will need to remember why you are doing this. This is crucial especially if you experience a setback. When you’re discouraged, go back to your vision board and remind yourself of your “why.”
If you would like to see me put together my vision board, step-by-step, take a look at my YouTube video below.
I hope this helps you plan for success. You can follow my fitness progress on my personal Instagram. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later so you have it when you get started making your vision board.
I’ve asked some of the most productive ladies I know how they run their household smoothly. Here are 9 habits of a productive stay-at-home-mom.
Momming ain’t easy which is why we need every trick in the book. Today, I’m sharing 9 habits of a productive stay-at-home mom to help you get more done with the time you have.
Wake Up Early
I value my sleep. I do. In fact, I actually have to take a sedative at night that leaves me groggy in the morning. But I’ve discovered something since being a stay-at-home mom. Getting up before the kids makes a big difference in my attitude for the day.
If I’m woken up by them, it often leads me to be being in a rotten mood. I’m still trying to wake up and struggling to make that first cup of coffee when toddler requests are being made in rapid succession. No one wants to wake up to a needy toddler or to the sound of a crying baby. Think of it as being gentle with yourself.
I always found that if I was able to have some peace and quiet first thing in the morning, my whole day is better. Wouldn’t it be nice to drink your coffee while it is hot? Whether you spend that time in prayer or a morning shower, having those few minutes to yourself while you wake up helps you ease into your day. If you feel like you’re always waking up on the wrong side of the bed, you might want to try simply getting up before your babies.
Write It Down
When you are a stay-at-home mom it is very easy for the weekdays to blend together. Organized mamas will tell you the importance of writing things down. When I first became a stay-at-home mom I thought I wouldn’t be that busy and would be able to keep everything organized in my head. But just a few months into this full-time job I realized I couldn’t keep things straight. I constantly double-booked myself, couldn’t remember things I needed from the store and forgot about appointments altogether. Trying to manage the schedules of an entire family can lead to a lot of stress, especially if you are disappointing others by your disorganization.
For me, I use a Happy Planner. You can read all about how this decorative planner helped me in the post, “How Happy Planner Changed My Life.” Maybe you don’t care for a planner. Some moms opt for a command center. While others are list makers. Even a wall calendar can help manage tasks, but write down the things you need to remember. I promise it will save you lots of headaches in the long run. And fewer headaches means less stress for you! You are also more likely to complete your goals when you write them down.
They Create Routines
You may have found that keeping up with housework is a lot more challenging than you thought. Kids and their needs often put a halt on the things that need to get done. But you can make things run more smoothly by creating routines that both you and your kids know. For example, one of the first things I do in the morning is to start a load of laundry in the washer. Doing at least one load a day ensures that I won’t get overwhelmed by the laundry. I also, do certain types of laundry for each day of the week. For example, Saturday is bed linen day. All the beds get stripped, washed and changed. Doing that ensures that the bed linen will never go more than seven days without being cleaned.
You can implore this method for each of your chores. For instance, I wash dishes every evening before bed so I don’t wake up to a dirty kitchen. I take out the trash every morning while my coffee is brewing and clean the microwave every Friday. My cleaning is on a regular schedule and it isn’t just good for me. It also helps the kids know what to expect at any given time. You can save time and brainpower by relying on routines.
They Teach Their Kids to Help
Good bosses delegate tasks and that is exactly what you are. As a stay-at-home mom, the responsibility of running a household falls squarely on your shoulders. That’s why it is so important to ask for help. Younger children love to help and this is the best time to start training them to pick up after themselves. Even my four-year-old scrubs the toilet and puts his clothes in the drawers when I’ve folded them. He knows to throw his food in the trash and put his clothes in the hamper. I even get my twenty-month-old to helps switch clothes out of the washer and dryer. You’d be surprised what your kids will do if you create the habit of making them help. You can make it fun, by using a reward chart or chore chart so they feel accomplished.
Some days, I get creative and make chores into a game or competition. Like I try to see who can pick up all the clothes the fastest. The first child who wins gets a cookie with lunch (yeah, I’m not above bribery). I can tell you, picking up after a whole family isn’t fun. Delegate.
Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to be late to events. I’m rarely, if ever, late to an event even with two kids to get ready. My secret? I prepare the day before. As part of my evening routine, I prepare the diaper bag for the next day. Check the weather. I get clothes ready for the next day, particularly if we have an important event. I’ll gather the things I’m going to need and put them by the door. In the case of large events, I may even pack the car in advance. I make it as easy and as stress-free as possible. There is nothing more anxiety-inducing than rushing to leave the house or forgetting the thing you were supposed to bring. Do yourself a favor, prepare.
They Take Care of Themselves
Moms get crumbs. It’s okay to put your kids before yourself. Sometimes it’s necessary and it’s part of being a good parent. However, we also shouldn’t forget about ourselves. Productive moms know that you must take care of yourself so you can take care of others. If you are burning the candle at both ends, over time there will be nothing left to burn. Little will get done if you are dragging all day.
At some point, you need to remember to take some time out for yourself, even if it is just for a few minutes a day. Whether it is taking a hot, long soak in the tub or getting some alone time, make sure you find some way to recharge. If you are really struggling to make a habit of taking care of yourself, I highly recommend my 30 Day Wellness Challenge. Remember, even moms need a work-life balance.
Stay Off Devices
Phones, tablets, computers, and TVs are time burglars. It is so easy to get caught up in a Facebook newsfeed or a sucked into one of your favorite shows. Before you know it, time is lost. Valuable time. Time that could be spent with your babies. Time that could be spent getting chores done. We almost always spend more time on our devices than we originally intended.
Take it from me, friend. A digital detox is amazing for what it can do for your mental health and productivity. Put the phone down. Put the devices down and be present. Be mindful. Your kids notice if you are always on a device and not with them. Take a look at my two posts Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook and 30 Day Social Media Detox. Every now and then I take a break from social media and it’s always refreshing and time-saving.
Schedule Tasks for The Right Time of Day
This may sound too simple, but I think its an underestimated point. It is mentally and physically exhausting to do things that require concentration while both my kids are full of energy in the morning. Over the years, I’ve become better about carefully scheduling when to do certain tasks.
For example, my youngest son loves to unfold the laundry I just folded. So, I don’t do it while he is awake. I do it during his naptime. Also, during naptime, I do things that require my full attention like balancing the checkbook, paying bills or making phone calls. During the summer, I do my outdoor chores, while the kids can play in the cool hours of the day. It’s a win for both of us. I do my errands in the morning while the kids’ attitude is still fresh and peppy. Picking the right chore at the right time will take some of the frustration out of your day.
They Automate What They Can
When I think back to my grandmother’s days, I feel like a total wimp. My grandmother was incredibly productive with six children. These days, we have it much easier, which is why we should try to take advantage of the conveniences that are available to us.
I save so much time now that my grocery store offers online ordering and curbside delivery. Even places like Target and Sam’s Club are offering it. I’ve learned to go to the website of stores to see if they show items that are in stock before I make a wasted trip. I set up lots of our bills on recurring automatic payments. I set up monthly prescriptions on automatic refills. I save money and time by using Amazon’s subscribe and save. I automate as much of my life as I possibly can. Take advantage of modern-day conveniences.
There are lots of ways to get things done and parent at the same time. It isn’t always easy which is why you need to be clever about how you go about your day. I’d love to hear from you and the things you do to stay productive.
Are you staring at your blank planner and have no idea what to write in it? Don’t let those pages go to waste. I’m sharing 100 things to track in your planner.
Welcome friends. I am not shy when it comes to my love for planners. If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ll learn I love The Happy Planner. You can read how keeping a planner completely changed my life in my post, How Happy Planner Changed Life. I’ve managed to get lots of friends and family members to start using a planner to help organize their life. However, I always get one similar question. “What do I write down in my planner?”
Most people write birthdays and anniversaries and the random appointment, but most pages are left blank. In fact, I’ve heard many people say. “I forget to use my planner.” The reason why people forget to use their planner is that they aren’t opening it up every day – and the way to open it up every day is to have something to write every day! The more often you use it, the more it will become second nature to open it up.
So today, I’m sharing 100 things to track in your planner. I track all these kinds of things in my planner. Here are some ideas to get you started. If you’d like to see how I use my planner, follow my planner-related Instagram @ PaperNPlans.
Seasonal chores (changing air filters, oil changes, etc)
Pet Grooming Schedule
Pet Walking/Feeding Schedule
Pet Vaccine Schedule
Baby/Child Developmental Milestones
Renovations/ DIY list
Weather Login / Passwords
School Activities / Days off
Online order tracking
Yard Maintenance Schedule
Happy Planner Classic Sized Recipe Inserts
These Happy Planner classic sized recipe inserts are perfect for organizing your recipes. The recipe inserts come in a set of three versions – blush pink, pale blue, and neutral grey in a downloadable file so that you can print them at home. Light grey trim lines allow for easy and precision trimming at home. Simply punch, fill in and decorate to your liking. Yours forever to use over and over again! You never have a download limit (you download again if you lose your digital file).
It’s FREEBIE time and you deserve a whole sheet of gold stars. Download your FREE Adulting Happy Planner Habit Tracker insert.
Hey planner babes! It’s been a while since I’ve done a planner post. If you are new to my blog, I will tell you I’m a slightly fanatic (trying not to scare you off) fan of The Happy Planner. I’ve been a proud Happy Planner babe since 2015 and you can read all about my journey in my post, How Happy Planner Changed My Life.
Today, I’m sharing a fun FREE printable with you. Recently, someone in the MAMBI Facebook group wished that there was an adulting habit tracker. You know, something where you can give yourself gold stars for adulting. What a great idea.
I mean, I think I deserve something special for cooking instead of picking up fast food and for the fact I shaved my legs in the winter! Also, the kids being alive is a good thing. I mean, I call that a win if no one dies and I keep the cursing down to a dull roar in the car. Am I right?
Adulting Happy Planner Habit Tracker Insert
I’ve made an adulting habit tracker insert for the classic-sized Happy Planner. If I can find some time over the next couple of weeks, I’ll see if I can make other ones for the mini and the big. I’ve made it as a PDF and added some adulting wins I thought were cute. I’ve left 5 blank spaces so you can add your own as well. I know every single entry may not apply to everyone, but I’ve tried my best to write something for everyone.
If you have other ideas for inserts, be sure to let me know. I’d love to make them if I can!
How to Use Your Adulting Habit Tracker
How to use your Adulting Habit Tracker
Download Your File
Use the button below
Open Your PDF file
You’ll need Adobe Acrobat or other PDF viewing software to print it. You can download Adobe Acrobat for free here.
Print out on your home computer
I’ve put light-colored trim lines so it fits perfectly in your planner
Punch & Use
Use your Happy Planner classic punch so you can add it to your planner.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. By the way, my subscribers get lots of FREE printables (yes, even Happy Planner sized printables) directly to their inbox. So be sure to subscribe so you can get Happy Mail too! Don’t forget to share this post with your friends.
Also, take a look at some of my other Happy Planner posts:
Save time and get organized this Thanksgiving with this printable Thanksgiving planner. Seven pages included!
Hey there, friend. I hope you’re having an awesome November. Novembers are so hectic. I love the crackling fires and and brisk days. But as we approach Thanksgiving, it feels anything but calm in my house.
Several years ago, I took over the responsibility of hosting during the holidays. With two kids and all the other responsibilities on my plate, I always felt frazzled when it got close to Thanksgiving. So much to remember! So much to prepare for!
Thats why, I created this printable Thanksgiving planner to help me create my guest list and gather my recipes. I’m able to keep track of all my annual Autumn decor. I use the monthly calendar to space out my responsibilities so I’m not saving everything for the last minute.
Here are my tips:
If you haven’t already decorated for Fall, you can do that in late October. I like to keep an inventory so I know if things get lost or broken. It forces me to look at every item and see if they are getting too raggedy. It also helps me see how much I really have so I don’t go crazy buying during every season. I make note of where I store it (I number my tubs) so I know exactly where to look to find it.
The first week of November, make your guest list and set your food budget. Give guests at least two weeks notice for an invitation. Three or four weeks is even better. Paper invitations are always more personal and elegant.
On the second week of November, I would start gathering recipes. Consider what entertainment or music you’ll have for guests. Order or create any table centerpieces.
The week of Thanksgiving, buy your groceries. Wash all your plates and dishes that have been sitting in storage.
If you’re using a formal dining room, consider setting your table the day before to save time.
Also the day before, you can bake your pies and do a lot of the prep work (like chopping) to help save time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.
I hope my planner helps you get a handle on entertaining the way it has helped me. I’d love to hear about what things have helped you!
Here is What You Get
2 Planner Covers or you can use them as signs to frame or hang.
A Party Planner sheet with guest list and menu
Decoration Inventory Worksheet to keep track of all your decor and where it is stored.
An undated monthly calendar to use year after year
A Recipe page
A Thanksgiving music playlist for your dinner party
Life on the struggle bus is rough, but there are some things that can make life easier. Here are 20 life hacks for busy moms.
Hey there, mama! I feel how busy you are. There is so much to do and not enough hours in the day. We’re always looking for ways to save us time and energy. Am I right? So today, I’m sharing 20 things, small hints and tips that have helped me in the past. Maybe some of these aren’t new to you. If so, congratulations on figuring this stuff out before me! But if you’re a struggling mama like me maybe these things will help you get through the day. Here are 20 life hacks for busy moms.
20 Life Hacks for Busy Moms
1. Disposable Placemats
I was first introduced to these things at Chick-fil-A. Then I discovered Amazon sold these in packs. These were amazing for me as a busy mom, which suddenly create any surface in a clean eating space when I was on-the-go. (Yes, even at restaurants. I don’t trust the rags they use to wipe down tables). I’ve always stashed these in the car and diaper bag.
2. Online Grocery Ordering
I’m a Texas gal and we have the best supermarket ever, H-E-B. That said, their online grocery ordering system has literally changed my life. First, I find myself buying less because I can see how much I’m spending when I add stuff to the cart, but I found it also stopped a lot of impulsive buys. Lots of grocery stores are following suit and getting into the online ordering game. Even Target, Wal-mart, and Sams Club now offer curbside or online pick-up-in-store ordering. If you haven’t checked out Shipt, they offer a delivery service from stores in your area.
Let me introduce you to your new best friend – Norwex. Norwex is a brand of green cleaning products. It’s the best cleaning product you’ll ever use. Best of all, all you need is water. NO CHEMICALS! The special silver infused microfiber is designed to pick up bacteria once and for all. You’ll never go back to Clorox wipes again! All the products are enviro friendly because they are reusable and sustainable. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars over the last two years because I’m no longer using toxic commercial cleaning chemicals around my family.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Just check out some of the amazing demonstration videos on YouTube.
You can purchase Norwex through independent sales consultants, directly through their website or even through Amazon. This was a game changer, y’all! Here are some of my favorite Norwex products.
4. iRobot Roomba
I admit. I was skeptical when my husband first suggested getting one of these. Certainly, I thought it would do a terrible job and have no real suction power. Boy was I wrong. My hubby surprised me with one for Christmas a couple of years ago and let me tell you – it’s impressive!
As it vacuums your house, it learns the layout of your house and will become even more efficient the more you use it. It has a downloadable app where you can schedule cleaning. I love to set it when I leave the house with the kids. I come back and the house is vacuumed!It has a soft rubber all the way around so it won’t damage the bottom of furniture. In addition, it automatically adjusts it’s height so it can go from carpet to hard flooring without any problems! It even detects stairs and steps. Also, it moves around objects that it bumps into. It’s self-charging meaning it heads back to the docking station when the battery is low. For the mama who doesn’t have time to clean, this is worth every penny!
5. Command Hooks on The High Chair
All you have to do is apply a large command hook on the back of the high chair and hook your bibs so you always have them at hand when you’re serving your little one.
6. Potty Pads
Potty training is so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again with baby #2. I lie. Potty training is a nightmare and I’d rather have my head sewn into the carpet than do that again. That said, I found something that really helped. One of the hardest things to do is to get your toddler to stay seated on the potty. They don’t want to sit still and you’ll resort to anything, including bribery to get them to stay seated. That said, accidents happen.
I can’t count how many accidents we had early on. From standing up too early to simply not telling me when he needed to go, we had lots of pee accidents on our floors. Trust me, after you’ve mopped the floor for the fifth time in one day, these things will look awesome to you. It saves your furniture from urine and from you mopping all day long. Puppy training pads. Just put them under your toddler to catch accidents without all the awful clean up.
7. The Instant Pot
Maybe you’ve heard of the Instant Pot and don’t know what it is. Well, let me introduce this amazing whatchamacallit to you. It’s basically an electric pressure cooker and pressure cookers allow you to cook food very quickly and efficiently. It’s like if a microwave and a slow cooker had a baby. You get the amazing tenderness of a slow cooker, but 2 to 10 times faster than a conventional oven. Unlike a microwave it doesn’t dry out food or make it hard. What is really nice is it’s programable so you’re cooking things properly. Most of them also function as a slow cooker or just keep things warm as well.
I did this when I had my first baby and I’ve been doing it ever since. Freezer meals! There are lots of casseroles and dump dinners you can freeze and dump into the oven or crockpot on a busy night where you don’t have time for a lot of kitchen prep. Instead of eating out, you can still offer your family a home cooked meal. A lot of times when I make things like chicken pot pie, lasagna or enchiladas, I make two batches. One for that night and one to freeze. I can’t tell you how many nights they come in handy.
Make life easier with Amazon subscribe and save. If you are an Amazon Prime customer, this makes a lot of sense to do. You can automatically set up regular subscriptions to things you use all the time. Things like paper towels, toilet paper, Goldfish crackers, diapers, wipes, coffee pods, etc can be delivered right to your door on a schedule. Setting this can up saves you both time and money. Lighten your grocery load and let Amazon do some of the work for you!
10. Restaurant Busy Bag
Please tell me I’m not the only mamas whose kids suddenly decide to get fussy, moody, and full of energy any time we decide to have a nice dinner out at a restaurant. With my oldest son we struggled to enjoy dinners out. Then I decided to create a restaurant busy bag. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of busy bags. its just a bag you have full of small toys or activities that keep your kid busy by themselves. So I made one just for eating out and it was a life saver. You can see how I made ours here.
11. Pacifier Clips
My oldest was so addicted to his pacifier. These things are so gross. They fall between seats, on the floor, etc. They get so dirty and you are constantly washing them off. Did I mention they get lost? Like all the time. But I found something that really helped. Pacifier clips. These little things helped us so much and minimized all the washing and hunting for pacifiers.
12. Door Latch Cover
There are times when you might need to check on your little one face to face instead of using a monitor. I don’t know why, but my boys would immediately startle themselves awake no matter how quiet I was turning the door knob. Before the door was open they’d be standing at attention at the end of the crib. So much for the rest of nap time! That’s where these door latch covers are a godsend. Hook it to both door knobs and it holds the latch back so the door makes no sound when it’s opened!
13. Car Seat Lap Table
Okay, I found this when my son was about 2 ½ and it was a game changer for us on our road trips. This handy dandy disk straps around the car seat to turn it into a portable table. This was great for keeping his little hands busy. He could play, color, and eat in the car all without ever leaving his seat. If you spend a lot of time on the road, I can’t recommend it enough.
14. The Potette
One of the most nerve wracking things when you first potty train your little one is being on the road for a long period of time without a potty. Suddenly trips across town or road trips seem impossible. That is where the lovely Potette comes in handy. This awesome potty chair is completely portable. This is great for storing in your car for potty emergencies. Best of all, it comes with disposable liners. So you can throw their “business” in a trashcan when they are done. It’s a lifesaver on long road trips.
15. Rubber Band Baby Proofing
I too have spend lots of money on baby proofing products, but I’ve also learned that having some spare hair ties or rubber bands around is super useful. Slip rubber bands around cabinet knobs and other things so your baby can’t open it. My favorite use? For toilet paper. It makes is harder for them to unravel the roll.
16. Mattress Pad & Sheet Layering
I don’t know what mama came up with this one, but I could kiss her. I can’t even remember where I saw this, but early in my mom journey I came across this nifty little bedding trick. You layer your baby’s crib mattress with a crib sheet, then a waterproof mattress protector then another fitted crib sheet. If you have a terrible poop-splosion or vomiting in the middle of the night, you can whip these off in the dark and have clean sheet ready in a flash without having to turn on lights and wake your child up further.
17. Pacifier Medicine Dispenser
My little one hated taking medicine, but then who could blame him. Most baby and toddler medication comes with this syringe and you awkwardly squirt it into their mouth. It was always a fight until I found this. This is just an ordinary pacifier except it has a vial to dispense medication through it so it isn’t a traumatizing syringe. For mamas who are at their wits end, this might help. It did for us.
18. Mess Free Baby Art
I did this with both my kids when they were around a year old. Put a piece of paper in a large gallon zip lock bag. Squirt some tempera paint and close up the bag. Tape it to the high chair and let your little one smear it and mix it within the bag. I used to love doing this activity when I was busy making dinner. It kept my little one occupied and bought me a few minutes and I didn’t have to worry about a mess to clean up.
19. The Yeti
I’m an avid coffee drinker. Since I’ve been a mom, the Yeti has been awesome. First, as a mom, you rarely get to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee while it is still hot. But now you can keep it warm even if it takes you a while to drink it. The Yeti is the best hot thermos I’ve found. But here is the clincher! I’ve also used it to keep water warm for formula feeding and I’ve even kept chicken nuggets warm for my kiddo while we were out of the house. The Yeti is great!
20. Keep Your Fridge Clean with Bins
I’m gonna share a secret. I’ve finally figured out how to keep my fridge clean. I use bins. How many times have you opened up the fridge to discover something has dripped all over the fridge? It’s over all the shelves and somehow manages to find its way all the way under the veggie and fruit bins. Suddenly, everything has to come out and you are washing every crevice with hot soapy water.
I found these bins. Not only do they keep all my food grouped and organized but if anything spills it catches it in the little bin instead of escaping all over the fridge. Here is a sneak peek into my own fridge. It cuts down on how often I need to remove, soak and scrub the shelves and drawers.
That’s it. 20 Life Hacks for Busy Moms. I’d love to hear about the things that have helped you. Have you learned any tricks? Don’t forget to PIN this post or share with a mama who needs it!
Has going out to dinner become a nightmare? Here is how to make a restaurant busy bag to tame your toddler while they wait for food.
I remember when our oldest son was around one. Something changed. Going out to dinner started to get difficult. He knew being at a table meant yummy food was coming. By the time he was 18 months he was really getting cranky at restaurants. So, I came up with something that ended up being a life saver! A restaurant busy bag!
Its a bag filled with the necessary things like bibs, utensils, placemats, etc. Plus it had things to keep my little boys busy while we wait for food. I even kept a couple of snacks in there so in case they were inconsolable, I had something to keep their hunger at bay. Hey, mamas gotta do what mamas gotta do!
All you need is carry style bag that has some compartments. A hanging cosmetic bag actually works really well for this purpose. See my examples below.
Items to Add
Here is a list of some of the things I put in our busy bag. You certainly don’t have to copy me. These are just ideas for you.
Little People / Toy Figures
Mess Free Color Kits
Clorox Wipes / Wet Ones
I always keep some disposable placemats and bibs in the busy bag. I never understood why some restaurants bought hot plates to the kids. Also if you are like me and you don’t trust the rags they wipe down tables with…then this is for you! I also kept some kids utensils since my little ones struggled with adult sized ones. In addition, I kept some Clorox wipes or Wet Ones to wipe their hands or surfaces. I even kept a couple of stain remover wipes because accidents happen!
The rest is for them to keep their little hands busy. Really as long as it fits, you can bring it with you in the bag.
I always kept this in our car so it was ready to go. It was so nice when my boys no longer whined and fussed at restaurants. Now they have a distraction. Over time, kids will learn how to sit still and patiently wait at a restaurant. But until then, I hope this idea helps you like it helped us.
The Happy Planner has a new summer release coming to Michaels stores this summer. Let me show you how to use in this Radiate Positivity Plan With Me.
Hey friend and welcome back! I love it when the Happy Planner comes out with new accessories. This summer, we’ve had so much Happy hit stores. First we had the Back to School release with both student and teacher planners and accessories. Then we had a whole new summer release of an all new Color Story as well as two main themes Radiate Positivity and Womankind.
Today, I’m doing an all new Plan With Me with a new sticker book, Radiate Positivity. Me and My Big Ideas (MAMBI) surprised us this summer with an all new release of planner accessories exclusively to Michaels stores.
Also, if you haven’t seen it they’ve also come out with these awesome Block Paper Pads (9.99). They are classic sized and ready to tear off and punch for your planner. All the block paper pads come with 100 sheets!
School time is upon us!Memorialize you child’s first day of school with these cute printable back to school signs.
Wow! Can you believe we are in August? It’s hard to believe that summer vacation is coming to an end and our little ones are going to heading back to school. I’ll be honest. We didn’t do much this summer. It was just so hot here in Texas. Also, with all the uncertainty we had with our job loss and moving life just kind of got put on hold.
We are homeschooling this year and I can’t wait to start preschool with my little guy. I know most kids are heading back to school in August and what better way to start than to memorialize their first day of school.
Printable Back to School Signs
That’s why I created some printable back to school signs. I’ve made one from tot school (2-3 years), preschool, kindergarten, and from first to eighth grade. I’ve also included a “Back to School” signs that don’t include grade years. These are great if you don’t want to disclose which grade your child is in or if you want your non school age children to participate with their siblings in the photos.
You can get all 12 signs for just $5.
You can purchase it through my Etsy shop or through my shop here on the blog. All you have to do is print them out one your home computer or at a print shop and have your child hold the sign while you snap some photos. The signs are sized for 8.5 x 11.”