A few years ago, my mother decided it was time for me to take possession of my childhood memorabilia. For several weeks, she sent boxes of childhood art, trophies, and yearbooks. While I did save a few college papers I had written, yearbooks, and awards, all of my preschool and grade school artwork went right into the trash. After being saved for 30-40 years, and being moved into 4 different homes, the vast majority of it meant nothing to me. This is what I try to impart to my clients who want to save everything their children create… most of it is not worth saving.
Continue reading “Organizing Children’s Artwork” »
As the mother of twin teenagers, the baby and toddler years are a distant, but precious memory. Yet, here are some specific questions I’m often asked about managing multiples.
1. What is the greatest misconception for managing multiple births?
People think that it’s so much more difficult than managing one baby. If you get your babies on a schedule, it’s actually easier than having children that are different ages.
2. How can moms be best prepared for the arrival of twins/multiples?
Read the book about sleep training BEFORE the babies arrive! Whether you subscribe to Ferber or Weisbluth, what’s important is that you have a plan and you’re prepared to implement it. I sleep trained my twins at 3 months, and they had the same bedtime for the next 8 YEARS! Don’t underestimate how important a good night of sleep is for you!
3. What baby gear is most practical when caring for multiple babies? Which items can moms do without?
Try to limit the toys and accessories you buy, particularly those that can’t be folded up and put away at the end of the day (like the exersaucer). And, you certainly don’t need two of everything.
4. What was your greatest challenge in raising multiple babies?When the babies cry at the same time, it can be a little stressful. My strategy was to soothe the baby that could be calmed the fastest while letting the other baby cry.
5. What are some of the advantages in having multiples?
In some ways, it’s actually easier! If you get them on a schedule then your babies will always nap at the same time, eat at the same time, take classes at the same time, and go to sleep at the same time. This allows you to have down time during naps and bedtime. Also, your child always has a built in playmate that’s at the same developmental age.
6. What advice would you share with first-time parents expecting multiples?
Get the babies on a schedule ASAP!! The first three months are an endurance test no matter whether you have one baby or more. It gets enjoyable once they’re sleeping through the night (see my answer to Question 2), and that should happen within the first 6 months depending on the size of your babies. The most important thing to remember though is to savor every minute. It goes by SO fast!!
Last Tuesday, at 6:45 AM, my house descended into chaos. It was game day for my soccer-playing son, and on game days, athletes need to wear khaki pants to school. As it happened, the same pants that had fit just three weeks before were way too short. And if you have a teenager, you’ll understand that somehow, this was all my fault! I half heartedly tried to convince him that the pants were fine, since he didn’t have a choice other than to wear them, until I remembered the box of hand me downs from his cousin at the top of his closet. Disaster was averted, as I pulled out a pair of khaki pants in just the right size. Lesson learned…if you have a teenage son, always have the next size ready to go just in case you’re faced with a rapid growth spurt, as I was that morning.
When you’re super organized, hand me downs can be a blessing. You can save a ton of money and avoid buying the items that are worn infrequently. On the other hand, if you’re the type that is likely to forget what you have only to realize your child outgrew the beautiful, almost new clothes a friend gave you before you remembered where they were, the hand me downs are a curse. In this case, they just take up space, are stored for years, and then frustrate you when you find them. So, if you want to avoid the curse of the hand me downs, here are some simple tips to follow.
- Have set times of the year when you pull out the hand me downs to see what fits. The best times to do this are in August before buying new clothes for school, in April before buying new clothes for spring and summer, and in December just as things are getting a bit small.
- Only keep things that are in good condition. Sometimes, well-meaning friends who just want the bags out of their own homes, don’t check the quality of what they’re giving. Make sure nothing is torn, stained, or otherwise in disrepair before you store the clothing.
- Consider the amount of time you’ll need to save the clothing before it will fit your child. If you only need to store the clothing for a year or two or even three, then by all means take it. But, if you’re looking at holding onto the clothing for many years, be much more discriminating about what you take.
- The best hand me downs are the seldom worn blazer, outerwear, and the special occasion dress. Not as worthy…nylon athletic shorts and t-shirts that are relatively inexpensive when new.
- Contain and label the hand me downs. For example, use stackable containers with labels like “Winter, Size 4”.
- If you need to return the clothing to the giver after your child wears them, think twice. The effort involved here may be too much to justify keeping the clothes.
Because I spend so much time organizing children’s playrooms and bedrooms, I’m often asked what my favorite products are for these areas. So, here’s my list….
1. Alexandra Ferguson House Rules Pillows
2.Herman Miller Eames Hang-It-All Coat Rack
3. Neiman Marcus Lucite Dachshund Bookends
4. Restoration Hardware Storage Armoir
5. Mabel’s Labels Clothing Label Stickers
6. So Luxe Luggage Tags
7. Ubabub “Book See” Shelf
8. Sandy Vohr Animal Paperweights
9. Sandy Vohr Animal Bookends
10. Skip Hop Stroller Organizer
11. Organize It Baby Closet Dividers
12. Amazon LEGO Storage Brick
13. Pottery Barn Carolina Grow-With-You- Craft Table
14. Minimalist Desk
15. Land of Nod Wire Ball Bin
16. Bed Bath & Beyond Fabric Covered Picture Frame
17. Container Store Felt Hangers
18. Pottery Barn Mini Lazy Susan
19. Bigso Box
20. Offi Rockabye Storage rocker
21. Poppin Starter Desk Set
22. C Wonder Monogram Jewelry Box
23. Three Sprouts Laundry Hamper
24. Wisteria Kaleidoscope Wastebasket
25. Iomoi Lucite Tray
26. See Jane Work Bella Leather Desk Blotter
27. Hector Serrano Seletti’s Desktructure Organization System
28. Picture wall Photo Frames
30. Etsy Baby Keepsake Memory box/ Frames
31. Vitra Uten.Silo I
By Guest Blogger Rebecca Reich, Age 12
Growing up as the daughter of a professional organizer has its pros and cons. Since I’m extremely messy, my mom constantly nags me to put my stuff in the right place. Is it easy? No! But, there are definitely advantages to keeping things in order. Here are the tips I learned from the pro (my mom):
1. Put things away. If you leave your new necklace on your night table, you may not be able to find it when you want to wear it. When things aren’t put away, they get lost.
2. Keep similar items together. If you have headphones scattered about your room or the house, you’ll never be able to find them when you need them. You also might keep buying more because you think you don’t have any. Instead, have one place for them.
3. Label everything. That way, there’s never a question about where the tennis outfits belong and whose charger it is.
4. File loose papers. You’ll always know where your homework is and where to find the notes for the test that may be tomorrow.
5. Keep your room clean. When you have stuff all over the counters and the floor, your room can’t be cleaned properly. And living in a pigsty is just gross!