May 9, 2013

i hate clutter.

I absolutely can't stand extra crap in my house. If I feel like we don't need it or don't use it, I will not hesitate to get rid of it. My husband can attest to this anti-hoarder tendency and has, on more than one occasion, had to instruct me not to clean out any closets by myself for fear of losing all his belongings :)

This is true for baby stuff also. I want as few giant, plastic, battery-powered, unnecessary baby things in our house as possible. I also want there to never be so many toys in our house at one time that they are forced to be stored in the living room, our bedroom or anywhere else that's not Alden's closet. But I also want my baby to be happy and engaged. There's the conflict: how to keep your house feeling like a place for the whole family but also like a happy place for a baby to play and learn.

These are the tricks I've started using (or plan on using) to keep our house from becoming one huge playroom:

1. Never buy a toy that does something similar to a toy we already own. Alden doesn't need three types of baby mirrors, one will do the trick. (This will surely change when we get into the trucks, legos, cars and GI Joe phase because those things are only fun if you have a lot of them). We've already started paying attention to things like this and I think it's helping us keep down the clutter as well as save money.

2. Try to find gently used versions of big and/or expensive items, especially if it's something your baby could either love or hate. Example: Nick and I were crazy about this swing/bouncer made by 4Moms called the mamaRoo. We thought it was the coolest baby technology to hit the market since video monitors,'s really expensive. We searched Craigslist and found an older model that had barely been used for over half off the retail price, swooped that puppy up and brought it home. Alden hates it. He essentially cries from the second we put him in it until the second we take him out. SO glad we didn't drop $300 on one of those things! We turned around and sold it on Craigslist to a family with a preemie foster child who really needed something to help the sick little guy sleep; we made our money back and we got to help a family that really needed it...the joys of buying pre-loved stuff :)

3. Pack away the clothes, toys, etc. that are for a different stage. For example, we already have about a year's worth of clothes so to save shelf and dresser space, all the clothes that are still too big are packed in bins according to sizes and stored in the closet. This makes getting him dressed, sorting laundry and keeping clutter to a minimum easier. When he gets too big for a drawer full of clothes, those clothes will go in a bin and the clothes from the bin will go into the drawer. Every drawer is a different size and I never have to worry about sifting through clothes that don't fit to find him an outfit.

4. Get rid of stuff whenever you get new stuff. This one I haven't actually implemented yet since we still have enough storage space in the nursery for all of Alden's things but I'm planning to start this at the first sign of cramped shelves and cluttered closets. I'm also planning on making this the rule of the house so that we can keep other areas of the house from taking over (kitchen, I'm looking at you. no one needs two blenders).

5. The living room gets picked up every day. I love having Alden's swing in the living room. He loves to sit in it, it gives me a chance to get some dishes done or for Nick to start dinner and sometimes it's the only way he'll go to sleep. For now, that's not a big deal. I'm OK with things being a little more chaotic around here in the newborn stage. We're all still finding our groove and since the baby can't really do anything but lay down, it's nice to have another place in our common area where he can hang out with us. In the future, he will be allowed to bring the entire contents of his room into the living room if he wants, as long as it goes back where it belongs at the end of the day. This means that when Nick and I want to have some wine and hang out on the couch at 10:00, we're not staring at toys all over the floor. This will help us to maintain the "adult" portions of ourselves that I think is really important.

6. We're also trying to implement a new (well, new to Nick) chore schedule to help save us time on the weekends. We'll tackle small, manageable chores every day on a rotation so that each evening we're spending about 15 mins on a small chore or two (like sweeping the floors, doing a couple loads of laundry, or de-cluttering our entryway table). We're hoping that this keeps our house clean and gives us more uninterrupted time with Alden on the weekends, which is what we'd really like to be doing ;)

I'm sure we'll learn more tricks along the way, but for now, these are my big plans to keep my house under control so that I don't go crazy. :)

much love, L&N

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