Children’s closets can be quite the mess. From all the clothes that don’t get re-hung to the piles of belongings that accumulate, you never know what is lurking behind the door. That’s why, whether you have toddlers or teenagers, to keep clutter under control, it’s wise to make a plan of attack. By implementing strategic storage solutions geared toward your household, you and your kids will have a better way to keep chaos under control.
To help you start, below are some top tips for how to manage the clutter in your children’s closets — grouped by age.
For the Nursery
If your home is like most, your bedroom closets weren’t exactly made with infant wardrobes in mind. A single rod may feel adequate for adult-sized clothing, but it’s fairly inefficient when the clothes are pint-sized. Rather than hanging baby clothes on that one rod and leaving the bulk of the closet unused, consider customizing the closet with baby-friendly storage.
Here are some ideas:
Another rod(s):Add a second (or third) horizontal rod to double hanging space, which would mean more room to organize by size, season or type.
Wall shelves:Another idea is to install one or a few wall shelves for keeping bins or containers of grouped accessories, clothes, toys or supplies.
Stacked storage:Wall-mounted or stacking drawers are another good option, offering easy-to-organize areas for types of clothes or other items.
Children who are big enough to get clothes and put them back will enjoy closets that make items accessible. Youngsters will likely get excited about these activities, and you’ll reap the benefits of having shared cleanup participation.
Consider these possibilities:
Reachable shelving, bins or hanging racks: From a row of cubbies that you designate for certain clothing groups to bins that hold groups of toys, look for ways to make reachable parts of the closet easy to use for your child.
A lower hanging rod:If a child can reach for a shirt or sweater without adult help, that task encourages independence. A lower hanging rod allows for easy access to remove and return outfits each day.
Higher shelving:While the higher parts of the closet are still perfect for storage, in children’s closets, you can save them for the lesser-used or special-occasion items. The key is to create low areas your child can reach to grab shoes, socks, pajamas and other essentials, and higher areas for everything else.
For the Teen’s Closet
As kids grow, so does their interest in clothing. Many teens obsess about what to wear, so much so that their closets are stuffed. To accommodate this collection without letting it overrule the whole room, here are some practical steps to take:
Create a doable laundry system:Give your teen a dedicated, in-room hamper for dirty clothes, and create a day of the week when that hamper always gets emptied. Ensuring there’s a place and system for dirty clothes can help keep messy piles from accumulating.
Invest in the closet style:Depending on your teen’s preference, take the door off the closet to showcase its contents in the room; hang curtains in the door’s place; and/or paint or wallpaper the inside of the closet to make it a showpiece. For some teens, caring for their personalized space will be incentive enough to be more organized.
Most children’s closets are filled with untapped potential — but, with smart storage solutions, you can reap the benefits of a more usable, organized space. Use the tips above as a starting point, and make the most of your children’s closets at home.
Tom Happ is President of Closet Works — based in Elmhurst, Illinois — which for 32 years has served Chicagoland with customized closet and storage solutions. With more than 100 employees, each solution is designed, fabricated and Installed to optimize the storage for every room within the home.
Keeping an organized laundry room is a challenge for anyone, but add in a couple kids and suddenly it can seem impossible. Dirty clothes get mixed with clean ones. Clean loads sit so long, they develop odors. The mess stacks higher and higher every day. What can you do? The good news is, you can fight back against laundry room clutter with a few practical strategies. In fact, with the right organizational system, you might even look forward to doing the laundry!
Stock and Set Up Your Space with Essentials
If all you’ve got in your laundry room is a washer/dryer set, that could be part of your problem. Ideally, you’ll have a laundry basket that allows you to quickly load and unload laundry, counter space for folding clean clothes, a drying rack for items that need to air-dry, and an ironing board if you use one. Consider these the basic building blocks of an organized laundry room.
Consider Space-Saving Appliances
Especially if laundry space is at a premium, space-saving appliances make sense. Washers and dryers come in various models, and small, efficient appliances can fit in closets or other tight spaces, while still providing room for storing laundry supplies. As an added bonus, efficient appliances save energy and utility costs, too.
Even when you’re reorganizing a room to add storage space, you’ll get the most out of your updates when you cut clutter. What should you remove? A good rule of thumb is anything that’s been sitting in your laundry room for more than a year without use needs to go.
Make Use of Walls
That said, if your laundry room is like most people’s, you keep more than dirty clothes and detergent in it. Whether your space doubles as a mud room or has become an unofficial storage space for sports gear, you need smart ways to accommodate everything you keep in the space. Start with the walls: Floating shelves, cabinets, and hooks are all good options for maximizing storage. Place items that get the least amount of use (extra towels, out-of-season décor, etc.) in the hardest-to-reach areas, and keep everyday items (laundry soap, stain sticks, fabric softener) easily accessible.
Start a Laundry Sorting System
When piles of laundry are constantly being dumped on the laundry room floor, disorder takes over everything. To prevent this from happening, create a couple different stations. You might get a few lidded, lined baskets or canvas containers, for example. Then, create a system where laundry always gets sorted as it enters the room. One container may be for lights, another for darks, and the last for colors. Because they have lids, they’re easy to close and instantly make the room look neater, too.
Establish a Routine
Every family has its own laundry rhythms, but you will find clutter a lot easier to manage when you establish a workable routine for managing yours. You might do a load every day or dedicate certain days of the week to towels or sheets or certain members of the household. Getting into some kind of schedule of washing, folding, and putting away clothes will help you make organization more automatic.
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the value of making your laundry room prettier. The aesthetics of a room go a long way towards helping you enjoy being in it, not to mention keep putting effort into maintaining its order. From fresh paint or wallpaper to decorative plants and pictures, find a way to make the room feel a little more attractive, and you may be surprised at what a difference it makes.
Creating an organized, efficient laundry room is about more than keeping the room clean; it can also be a major game changer in your daily stress! Use the tips above to figure out how you’ll set up your space, and do yourself the favor of making laundry less of a chore.
Tom Happ is President of Closet Works, the parent company of CLOSETS.COM. Happ and his team of more than 100 employees use their vast experience in the closet and organization industry to design, manufacture and deliver custom storage solutions to homeowners throughout North America.
Packing up everything you own and moving to a new home is stressful enough—but add to it the challenges of pregnancy or life with a newborn? Overwhelming. Nonetheless, expecting parents often consider moving for more space, to get in a certain school system, to be near family or for more opportunities. While taking on the stress of a big move while adjusting to pregnancy or newborn life may not be your first choice, it is definitely doable.
If you’re gearing up to move to a new home during or shortly after pregnancy, don’t panic. Even when you’ve got a new baby in the mix, here are a few tips to set you up for moving success.
Hire Experienced Movers
Perhaps the best moving gift you can give yourself as an expecting or new parent is to hire good movers. Professional movers can dramatically change the moving experience. You can hire them to simply load up and transport your possessions, or you can go full-service, letting them pack and unpack everything, too. Either way, having experienced movers on your side removes a lot of stress from the transition. Read reviews, compare prices and book in advance for the best service.
Now is not the time to grit your teeth and go it alone. In addition to hiring movers, take any and all help that is offered, from trusted family members who want to babysit older kids, to caring friends who want to drop off a meal while you’re getting ready to go. You have a lot to manage already, so let yourself receive help wherever you can!
Stay Healthy and Hydrated
From the initial days of packing to all of the tasks on your actual moving day, remember to take care of yourself and your little one by staying hydrated and well-nourished. Whether you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or dealing with sleep deprivation in the early baby days, getting enough water and nutrients is more important than ever, so keep water, fresh fruit and popsicles on hand. Likewise, have a range of healthy snacks available to fend off morning sickness or the munchies as needed.
Plan for Stress Relief
Moving during pregnancy or with a new baby demands a lot of you, so counteract the pressure by remembering to have fun and let off some stream. Amidst all the packing and planning, turn up some tunes and have a dance party in the kitchen, for example. It’s not only a stress release, but also a way to keep your body moving. Get together with friends. You could also stir up some warm feelings by making a scrapbook of memories from your old place and/or spending a day visiting all your favorite local spots. Love and laughter goes a long way towards mentally getting you through a stressful move.
Pack an Overnight Bag
Before the movers come, make sure you have an overnight bag of any and all essentials to keep with you. It should include not only important toiletries, vitamins, clothes, snacks, etc., but also any documentation you could need to access right away. Do the same for your baby, packing diapers, bottles, blankets and clothes—any must-haves for your little one.
Change Your Address
If you’re expecting, it’s especially important to change your address, so important documents such as your baby’s birth certificate and social security card go to the right place. Processing an address change can take seven days or more, so do it early if possible.
Moving is stressful—but you can minimize the extra pressures that come from moving during pregnancy by following the steps above. Make your move less of a burden, and smoothly settle into your new home with these tips.
Brian Slater is the founder and President of New City Moving, a moving company in Chicago. Slater has more than 10 years of experience in the industry and focuses on providing top-notch customer service as well as a stress-free moving environment.
How have the last few months been treating you in terms of work-life balance? Have you been feeling stressed, losing sleep, and struggling to draw the line between work and home time due to the mandatory work from home and Shelter-In-Place orders? Sister, you’re not alone.
I’m here to tell you that although work is important and productivity is a must, you don’t have to be productive 100% of the time while you work at home. It’s important to remember that while we are working from home we are still working in a crisis. Practicing self-care and mindfulness are vital for getting through this difficult time and it’s okay to rely on others for figuring out how to adapt to this “new normal”.
That being said, as many Shelter-In-Place orders extend and businesses’ budgets tighten, many companies are offering permanent work from home positions for their employees. While some may enjoy working from home or not, everyone’s situation is different. Whether you are deciding to venture back into the office or hunker down at home for a while longer it’s important to approach this transition delicately and with your own mental wellness in mind.
To aid in this transition, I’ve rounded up a few wellness strategies from professional “zen artists” who understand the importance of adding wellness to your workspace and work routine. These professionals include organizational experts, wellness architects (yes, that’s a thing), naturopathists and holistic coaches. With these simple strategies in mind, you can take ownership back over your current or future work set-up and ensure your mental and physical health isn’t being side-stepped. Keep reading for wellness strategies to incorporate into your workspace.
Optimize Your Space for Comfort
While your home or office may not be equipped with ergonomic furniture, that doesn’t mean you have to suffice with an uncomfortable workspace. Ask your employer if you can take office furniture home or “check-out” devices for optimal use at home. While not everyone works the same way, M Moser Associates, Global Design and Architecture Firm, offered a few best practices on this topic. They said, “To create a comfortable and positive work from home space, people need to feel empowered to discover aspects that create comfort and enhance mood and performance in their own homes.”
They also recommended creating a minimum of three high-performance work environments. This, they say has proven to support a range of benefits including “boosting motivation through freedom of choice, creating mood-enhancing playfulness, stimulating the brain through micro-movements, and providing head space for new ways of thinking.”
Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Routine
The next step to incorporating wellness into your workspace is by adding mindfulness into your routine. This can be done by setting strategic intentions before, during, and after your workday. Shawn Johal, Entrepreneur & Business Growth Coach at Elevation Coaching emphasized the importance of taking mindfulness breaks as you may feel that working from home means staring at your computer and phone screens more often. He says to “take purposeful breaks for mindful moments away from the screen. Breathe, meditate, and take a 5-minute walk outside every hour. Your mental health will be in better shape, your family will see you as calmer, and your work will be accomplished with more success.”
Communicate Boundaries and Set Standards in Your Work Place
As millions of employees headed home at the start of the pandemic so did millions of students and family members. You are most likely experiencing challenges you never thought you would and are being asked to set unfamiliar boundaries with family members and roommates.
To remedy this, business expert Shawn Johal also said to create boundaries for work time. He said to “communicate to your loved ones how your day is scheduled – maybe even give them a copy of your schedule.” This will give you more time to spend with them and you can incorporate walks, breaks, and meals to be spent together.
Level-Up Self-Care and Level-Down Self Destruction
There are many ways to prioritize self-care during quarantine and it seems like that’s all anyone is talking about. However what is less commonly discussed, but just as important is practicing self-care at work. While we commonly associate lighting candles and using essential oils for times of relaxation, their use can have many impacts on improving your workspace and make it more enjoyable.
Naturopathic Milana Perepyolkina recommends incorporating essential oils into your work routine due to its relaxing benefits for the body and mind. Incorporate lavender to relax the mind, bergamot to lift your mood and peppermint to increase energy and mental activity. Whatever self-care activities you incorporate into your work routine, use mantras to limit negative self-talk and spirals of anxiety that can so easily entrap us during the workday.
I hope this piece has inspired you to add some moments of wellness to your work routine and encouraged you to prioritize your mental health during the turbulent time. For more inspiration and ideas on adding wellness to your workspace check out the infographic below with strategies to “zen” your workspace.
Stacy Walden is a writer from sunny San Diego. She enjoys covering topics around productivity and wellness in the workplace. When she’s not writing she likes spending time with her family and friends and traveling to new places abroad.
A cluttered home has become one of the staples of motherhood.
It’s quite difficult to keep up with the messes that come along with raising young children. And living among all that clutter can contribute to rising stress levels among mothers. Decluttering might just be the secret to better mental health and less everyday stress. But it’s not an easy step to take.
Rebecca Brown from Rough Draft shares some tips and information about decluttering both our minds and our homes for less stress and better mental health.
Clutter is generally defined as “a lot of objects in a state of being untidy.”People often think of clutter as a result of not having enough storage space, or enough time to keep things organized and tidy, but the reasons are much deeper, and lie in our mindsets, and in our culture.
A UCLA research of the middle-class American families and their homes proved that we’re a clutter culture indeed, obsessed with possessions. We stock up on things to reward ourselves and decrease the stress of our everyday lives but often end up even more stressed, as a direct result of the clutter we have in our homes.
This is especially true for women, who feel responsible for the tidiness of their homes – the very same research found a link in the way mothers talk about the clutter in their homes and their diurnal cortisol levels.
So having clutter in our lives, no matter what form it takes, is stressful. Moreover, clutter makes us feel anxious and chaotic, and it often makes us avoid our homes, just so that we don’t need to deal with it.
Sentimental clutter. We all keep memorabilia of our past and the people we love. If it’s standing in the way of our everyday tasks, memorabilia becomes clutter. Giving up on those items can be hard, and may feel like a betrayal.
Clutter without storage space. Purposeful things that are not trash, but still haven’t been properly stored, since our storage space is cluttered.
Trash clutter. Things that lie around your house masked as clutter, that you could easily throw away. Remember that pair of shoes that you’ve been planning to have repaired, for like six months? That’s simply trash.
Aspirational clutter. Items proving aspirations we have or had. That favorite pair of jeans you wore when you had 30 pounds less, and that is only filling up space in your closet? Is that a guitar full of dust that you’ve been keeping in your living room since your teenage days when you’ve wanted to become a rock star?
Abundance clutter. Things you’ve been stocking up because you know you’re going to use them one day. It’s never a good idea when it comes to food or clothing.
Bargain clutter. You might think it’s a good idea to make a good bargain, so you buy things you don’t actually like or use.
Declutter Your Mind
One of the best and most accurate definitions of clutter is “delayed decisions.”
We can’t seem to be at peace with the idea that we’ll probably never play the guitar or go skiing again, so we leave it for the “just in case” scenario. We have several baby blankets in the garage to remind us of our kids’ childhood, as we can’t seem to decide which one to keep. Our cluttered homes and our cluttered minds are deeply connected, enticing stress from our unaccomplished businesses.
To begin decluttering your mind, you can begin with the following:
Determine what your most important life goals are and define actions to achieve them. Make time for those actions.
Keep a journal to organize your thoughts better.
Spend more time in nature as it can be beneficial for your mental wellbeing, and help you distinguish your life’s priorities. Hiking is particularly helpful when trying to connect to and contemplate the essentials of life.
Limit media consumption. This is the only way to get rid of all the media related clutter in your mind, and the stress and anxiety it causes.
Declutter Your Space
“If you don’t love it, lose it. If you don’t use it, lose it” a simple motto by Margareta Magnusson, the author of “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” can be a good one to start with when decluttering your space.
Even though the idea of what happens with your things after you die, may seem a bit too challenging, the Swedish practice of döstädning is pretty much enlightening even for those of us who would rather skip this conversation.
Simply by thinking how the item that remains behind us would affect our close ones, can make a difference in how we value the things we cling on to, and whether we should choose to keep it.
If you are unhappy in your home because of the mess you live in, or you can’t find things that you need to function because of it, choose a rainy day when you don’t feel like doing anything else and start.
Throw away or donate things that you don’t need or use.
Don’t move to another item until you’ve made a decision about the one in your hand.
If there is an item that holds a sentimental value, that it’s hard to throw away –take a photo of it.
Never buy a thing that doesn’t serve a purpose or just because it’s a good bargain.
Don’t stock up on food and clothes. Many things can change until you decide to use them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the help of your friends or other family members.
While there is a clutter around, you can hardly feel relaxed – you’ll feel as if you have a constant reminder of tasks ahead of you that you’ll most likely never finish. By decluttering your mind and your space, your days will be less stressful and you’ll be happier too.
Author Bio:I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveler, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.
Creating a self care sanctuary in your own home is easier than you might think.
While the term “self care sanctuary” might sound fancy, it’s really just a place filled with things that make you feel comfortable and at ease. Having a dedicated space to practice regular self care can make doing it seem like less of a chore. For women battling postpartum depression and anxiety, it can be a place to get away from the everyday mess and chaos that’s associated with motherhood.
Your self care sanctuary can be anywhere you choose. It doesn’t need to be a separate room in your house – it can be your bedroom, bathroom, or even an outdoor space in your backyard. You should be able to access it easily and on a regular basis. Most importantly, it should be a place that you enjoy being and where you feel like you can focus on yourself, regardless of how much time you have.
Here are some tips on how to turn your space into a self care sanctuary.
Detoxify the Environment
The first thing you need to do to create your self care sanctuary is detoxify the space. Clean the area thoroughly using non-toxic cleaning products and get rid of any clutter or unnecessary items. A minimally styled space opens the door to peace and healing and will allow you to focus on yourself without being distracted (and let’s face it, who can relax in a dirty room?).
Once you have a clean, clutter-free space, you can start to incorporate different things to purify the air.
Burn some dried sage. The ritual of sage burning can remove the negative energy from within the room (also called smudging).
Your self care sanctuary is a place where you can go to detoxify from the inside out.
This is why it’s so important for it to be free of toxins and negative energy. The environment should never feel sterile, but it should feel fresh, clean and pure. Every mom should have a place where they can avoid dishes, dirty diapers and scattered toys – even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
Select Comfort Items
When it comes to self care, comfort is essential. It’s almost impossible to relax when you feel too hot or too cold or if your clothes are restricting and uncomfortable. Escaping to your self care sanctuary means you get some time away from being climbed on like a jungle gym, or constantly being needed and pulled in different directions.
Consider all the different aspects that make you feel comfortable.
Choose furniture that you truly love to curl up in.It can be a bed, sofa, lounger, hammock, swing or something else. Try to think outside the conventional idea of comfort.
Dress comfortably, whatever that means to you. You can put on pajamas, a robe or even relax completely naked! Slip on some wooly socks, house shoes or try some toe spreaders.
Your self care sanctuary is the ultimate place of comfort and relaxation.
This means different things to different people. For example, I prefer to be warmer rather than cool and so I love my cozy blankets and fireplace. But someone living somewhere hot may need a fan or open window to feel comfortable instead. Try out different things until you find the right combination of comfort.
Surround Yourself in Beauty
Stimulate your brain visually and create a feast for the eyes. Even if you plan to keep your eyes closed the entire time, your self care sanctuary should still be filled with beautiful views. The things we look at each day, whether we focus on them or not, form part of our subconscious.
Use positive imagery to help retrain the subconscious mind.
Look out the window.If you have a naturally beautiful view through your window, then make it your focal point. If you don’t have a great view, install beautiful window coverings or hang plants or sun catchers instead.
Cover the walls.Cover the walls in artwork, favorite photos or motivational posters. Paint the walls a soothing color or make a chalkboard wall where you can write your own inspirational messages.
Decorate with intention.Lighting fixtures, decor, plants and furniture all contribute to the overall feel of your self care sanctuary. Try to choose pieces that you love or that have special meaning to you.
Your self care sanctuary is a visually stimulating place that inspires you.
If your self care sanctuary is normally a communal space, then you can still keep it in line with the design of the rest of the house. Print and frame quotes that inspire you and hang them up in the rest of the house too (Etsy is a great place to find some). Even if you don’t read them everyday, your mind will soak up the beauty, inspiration and positive vibes.
Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
Soothe the Skin
Our skin has a lot to put up with on a daily basis, and yet, it’s one of our most neglected organs. We can end up feeling really over touched at the end of a long day of caring for children. Treating the exterior of our bodies is a great way to feel refreshed and should be an essential part of any self care routine. As mothers, we tend to keep things low maintenance on a daily basis, sticking to the bare necessities of skin care.
Escaping to a self care sanctuary is the perfect time for a little bit of pampering.
Do a home spa treatment.Apply a face mask, cooling gel eye mask (or cucumbers), coat your hair in coconut oil and wrap it in a warm towel.
Try dry brushing.This is one way to stimulate and exfoliate the skin while also improving blood circulation and reducing stress.
Your self care sanctuary is where you go to feel renewed and refreshed.
Keep a basket of your favorite skin care products in your self care sanctuary. This way, you’ll be able to pamper yourself any chance you get. You don’t need to go all out on skin care every day, but remember to take care of yourself on the outside as well as on the inside.
Cleanse the Body
As important as it is to take care of the outside of our bodies, we also need to remember to take care of what’s inside as well. Leave any thoughts of dieting or weight loss outside the self-care sanctuary. Eating healthy food is something we should be doing all day long and not just during our self care time.
There are still things we can do routinely while in our self care sanctuary that help to cleanse the entire body.
Drink lemon water.This simple combination has many health benefits, especially for those suffering from depression and anxiety.
Indulge in healthy drinks.Sip on smoothies, green tea or naturally flavored water.
Your self care sanctuary is where you can reset your mind and body.
Create a routine for yourself that includes daily trips to your self care sanctuary. Then incorporate all the things you should be doing on a daily basis, such as taking vitamins and checking in on your overall health and well being. Eventually, it will become second nature.
Make Room for Physical Movement
While your self-care sanctuary doesn’t need to be fully stocked with gym equipment, it should have enough space for some physical movement. You should never feel obligated to “work out” during your self care time, because that can cause added pressure and might make you avoid it altogether. But physical movement releases happiness-inducing endorphins, which are definitely a good thing.
There are several different ways to incorporate physical movement within your self care sanctuary.
Stretch.Simple stretching can loosen up a stiff neck or back, a common side effect of stress.
Run.Running on a treadmill can help to burn off extra pent up frustration or anxiety.
Yoga. This popular option has several benefits for treating depression and anxiety.
Dance.Turn on your favorite music and let it move you. You can literally dance like no one is watching.
Punch.If you find that you suffer from anger management problems or postpartum rage, install a punching bag.
Your self care sanctuary is an outlet for releasing emotions in a physical way.
The point is not to burn calories or build muscles. The point is to connect with your body, get your heart beating and find an outlet to express any negativity. And if you just don’t feel like doing anything physical that day, it’s perfectly fine. Don’t ever feel pressured to have to do anything at all during your self-care time.
Embrace Your Creative Side
A self care sanctuary should be a safe place for you to express yourself. Often, it’s hard to communicate what we feel using words alone. Art is a different outlet for expressing the stress and feelings that often get built up inside of us.
Artistic expression comes in a variety of different forms.
Your self care sanctuary is a place for self-discovery.
It might take some time to find the right creative outlet and it may change regularly. If there’s something new you wanted to learn how to do, then the serenity of your self care sanctuary could be the perfect place to start. You never know what you are capable of until you give it a try. Having some time and space to work on what’s important to you is a great way to practice self-care.